Wicca is a neo-pagan religion, which is loosely based on the very ancient religion of witchcraft. Unfortunately, due to the witch hunts in Europe, most of that ancient religion died. But some aspects and traditions were passed down from word of mouth, and they are still being used today. Wicca is also an earth-based religion, meaning there is a deep respect for Gaia (mother nature) and all that lives within her. The beauty of Wicca is that you can take whichever beliefs you are comfortable with, and you can disregard those with which you do not agree. It is, in all regards, an 'unorganized' religion.
Wiccans believe in the duality of 2 gods: The Horned God and the Goddess. Most view these 2 deities not as 2
separate gods, but 2 different aspects representative of the one, single positive energy. The Goddess reigns during the seasons of spring and summer. She represents life, growth, birth; whereas the God rules during the Fall and Winter, representing re-birth, renewal and change.
In the Wiccan religion, there is but one law. It is known as the Wiccan Rede, and it reads as follows: "An it harm none, do as thou wilt" This translates to mean: For example: A wiccan will never do a "love spell", since it causes the aimed individual to feel something that is against his/her will. A Wiccan can only do a spell of love if there already is a spark. All we do is add fuel to an already existing flame. There is also a "sub-law" which Wiccans abide by: The ThreeFold Law. This means that
whatever actions you perform will return to you threefold. If you are mean to people, this will come back to you threefold. But if you are nice and helpful towards others, this will return to you threefold as well.
Most Wiccans, in their rituals, practice magick (please note the different spelling of magick, which separates it from parlor tricks (magic). There are many various types of magicks used, but the most widespread is Ritual Magick. A Ritual is a 'session', whereby an individual or group expresses their belief in the gods. Like other religions, there are different religious holidays (known as Sabbats), and the rituals on those days reflect the holiday. Please note that yes, most Wiccans do practice magick in one form or other, not all of those who use magick are Wiccan. Wicca is a religion which uses magick for a purpose, but it is far from being the religion in it's entirety. One can use magick without being Wiccan, and vice versa.
What are Sabbats? The traditional Wiccan holidays revolve around days of they year that reflect nature and the
seasons. There are 4 major Sabbats and 4 lesser Sabbats. CandleMas (Feb 2nd), Lady Day (March 21st, Vernal Equinox), Beltane (April 30th), Summer Solstice (June 21st), Lammas (Aug 1st; 1st Harvest), Autumn Equinox (Sept 21st), Samhain (pronounced Sow-whun, Oct 31st, Pagan & Wiccan New Year). Day to pay respect to our ancestors) and Yule (Dec 21st), though not considered sabbats, Wiccan generally hold
rituals on full moons, because it is a time where magick is more powerful than at other times, and more can be
Like other religions, Wicca has different sects that
express their beliefs in different ways. But, for the sake of simplicity, there are only 2 kinds of Wiccans: Solitary practitioners, and those who are in Covens. Solitary
Practitioners, like the name implies, allows one to
practice Wicca on their own. Some areas even have "Open Circles" where solitary practitioners meet and perform rituals together. "Open Circles" are open to any Wiccan. You do not have to 'join'. Covens, on the other hand, are an 'organized' group of Wiccans who practice almost all aspects of the religion in this group. Covens are usually closed to everyone, unless you want to become a member of that Coven. Most covens make new members go through one or a series of initiations before fully joining the group. These initiations are generally performed in way of ritual, and not like so called college Greek system initiations. Like stated earlier, there are different sects of Wicca that exists. There are Traditional Wiccans, Celtic Wiccans, Dianic Wiccans, Gardnerian Wiccans, even Christian Wiccans. There are far more sects that I have not listed. The various sects have different approaches on how the express their beliefs and the rituals they utilize.
BLESSED BE TO ALL
WHO WALK THE GODDESS PATH
In 1974, the Council of American Witches adopted a document called "Principles of Wiccan Belief". They hoped it would educate and inform people seeking to learn more about Wicca, either as new practitioners or just out of curiosity.
1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal quarters and cross-quarters.
2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with nature, in ecological balance, offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.
3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than is apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary, it is sometimes called "supernatural", but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.
4. We conceive of the creative power in the Universe as manifesting through polarity-as masculine and feminine-and that this same creative power lives in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sexuality as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship.
5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological worlds-sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, the Inner Planes, etc-and we see in the interaction of these 2 dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.
6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.
7. We see religion, magick, and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it-a world view and philosophy of life, which we identify as Witchcraft or the Wiccan Way.
8. Calling oneself a "Witch" does not make a Witch-but neither does heredity itself, or the collecting of titles, degrees, and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within him/herself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well, without harm to others, and in harmony with nature.
9. We acknowledge that it is the affirmation and fulfillment of life, in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness, that gives meaning to the universe we know and to our personal role within it.
10. Our only animosity towards Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that it's institutions have claimed to be "the one true right and only way" and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practices and belief.
11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present, and our future.
12. We do not accept the concept of "absolute evil", nor do we worship any entity known as "Satan" or "the Devil" as defined by Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor do we accept the concept that personal benefits can only be derived by denial to another.
13. We work within nature for that which is contributory to our health and well-being. We are not bound by traditions from other times and other cultures, and owe no allegiance to any other person or power greater than the Divinity manifest through our own being. As American Witches, we welcome and respect all life-affirming teachings and traditions, and seek to learn from all and to share our learning. We do not wish to open ourselves to the destruction of Wicca by those on self-serving power trips, or to philosophies and practices contradictory to those principles. In seeking to exclude those whose ways are contradictory to ours, we do not want to deny participation with us to any who are sincerely interested in our knowledge and beliefs, regardless of race, color, sex, age, national or cultural origins, or sexual preference.