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What Wicca Is and Isn't

Forums ► Wicca ► What Wicca Is and Isn't
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What Wicca Is and Isn't
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 1

Having watched the posts of many on this site in which they claim to either be Wiccan or want to be Wiccan and then go on to ask questions about casting spells, I can only assume that many here don't understand what Wicca is all about. So let's try to clarify what Wicca is...and what Wicca isn't to help clear up the confusion.

Let's start with what Wicca is:

  • Wicca is a polytheistic religion focusing upon dedication to the Divine manifested as both God and Goddess. These two Deities are viewed as a Moon Goddess and a Horned God.
  • Wiccans believe that the world was created and is maintained by the joining together of the God and the Goddess in the Sacred Marriage (also called The Great Rite).
  • Wicca is a modern religion influenced by a variety of pre-Christian beliefs. Some of the sources drawn upon to create Wicca were British folk magic, ceremonial lodges like The Golden Dawn, and Masonic rituals. The religion was created by Gerald Gardner in Britain in the 1940's and made public in 1951. The Wicca devised by Gardner was coven-based, oath-bound, and initiatory. Newer versions of Wicca accomodate those who practice as solitaries.
  • Wicca views the spiritual and material worlds as overlapping: the Gods are not distant beings but entities whose presence we can experience. Wiccans believe that Divinity is immanent within the world, and therefore all that is is in some part Divine.
  • Wicca stresses personal experience with divinity and developing greater harmony with the larger world.
  • Wiccans believe that each person is able to experience direct contact with the Divine without a need for an intermediary.
  • Wicca teaches that we all are ultimately responsible for our own actions. The ethics and behavior of Wiccans are guided by the Wiccan Rede. Wiccans believe that the world will return to them the same sorts of energies they send out into the world.
  • Wiccans tend to believe in reincarnation, the soul is reborn into this world many times.
  • All Wiccans are Witches, but not all Witches are Wiccan. Because Wiccans perform magic as part of their rituals they are considered Witches. A person who claims to be Wiccan but who does not do any magic is in error. While spellcasting is not necessary in Wicca, the use of magic to cast a circle, etc. is a vital part of Wicca. If you do no magic you aren't Wiccan.

Now let's consider what Wicca isn't:

  • Wicca is not Satanic. The concept of an evil entity called Satan is a Christian concept and has nothing whatsoever to do with Wicca.
  • Wicca is not all about spells and magic. While it is certainly true that Wiccans believe in magic and that they perform magic whenever they cast a circle, consecrate a tool, Draw Down the Moon and other rituals these are not the same as spellcasting. In fact many Wiccans seldom, if ever, cast a spell. So if you're thinking you have to be Wiccan in order to cast a spell you are mistaken. Don't try to be Wiccan unless it's the religion that draws you, not spells.
  • Wicca is not a nature religion. Wiccans have a deep respect for nature since we believe that all of nature partakes of the Divine, Wiccans do not worship nature or go around hugging trees.
  • Wicca is not " whatever you want it to be ". Some people, generally teenagers and the religiously immature, describe Wicca as whatever you want it to be. Sometimes it comes from a misunderstanding of Wiccas religiously tolerant teachings, confusing tolerance with belief. Other times it comes from laziness or wishful thinking: the person has latched onto some notion of Wicca, often because it has become popular among his peers, but he has no interest in actually learning about it, preferring to just make up something appealing and call it Wicca.

I hope that this helps clear up some of the mistaken understandings of Wicca that I have seen here on SOM. I'd suggest reading through the articles at http://www.spellsofmagic.com/read_post.html?post=580909 to better understand what Wicca is and what it is not.

Re: What Wicca Is and Isn't
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 2
Terrific explanations of Wicca/Not Wicca,Lark!
One small point, Gardner and Valiente were trying to get Wicca established much earlier than the 1940s!

Re: What Wicca Is and Isn't
Post # 3
I knew some of this, but the nature thing was a surprise lol good to know!
Can you talk about Wiccan covens and how they work?
I've been wondering how the hierarchy works or even if Wiccan covens are the only ones to have a hierarchy.

Re: What Wicca Is and Isn't
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 4

Brysing, Gardner was initiated into the New Forest Coven in the 1939. In the 1940's he wanted to take this coven public and was told that he could not talk about their rituals. So in 1949 Gardner published the fictional book "High Magic's Aid" under the pen name of Scire. Because he could not use the rituals of the New Forest Coven he began writing his own rituals and material. Doreen Valiente did not meet Gardner until 1952 and was not initiated by him until 1953.

Re: What Wicca Is and Isn't
Post # 5
That is very interesting. I've known many people like that who think Wicca is whatever you want it to be. I've tried to learn about Wicca but always find it hard with all the craziness people post all over the internet.

Re: What Wicca Is and Isn't
By: / Beginner
Post # 6
I love the way you try to explain Wicca in small points as not to confuse the reader. For me the importance of the argument is simplicity and thanks to you i have learned a little bit more about Wicca today.

Re: What Wicca Is and Isn't
By: / Novice
Post # 7
@ meatwad please note I am not as knowledgeable as Lark, but in answer to your question about covens, each coven is different so its hard to say exactly how they work. Normally a coven needs 13 people, each coven has a set of rules to keep order and to keep the coven together. Some covens meet only on the sabbat, while others meet on Sabbats and Esbats, and some also meet on new moons. Covens usually include all members in decisions but there is a council of elders [knowledgeable members] who teach and give advice as well as a High Priest and High Priestess to run the meetings. I've been told most do an annual vote for leaders, but this isn't a universal fact. My coven started as a teaching coven, everyone gets a turn to lead the circle. Now its got more structure, but since we began as a teaching coven, we let people [friends of coven members only] observe our circles on occasion, but many covens wouldn't allow that because these people could be a threat to the coven. You could also be solitary, but like with a coven, you should decide what you wish to gain, how often you wish to have a circle, and what the rules are.

Very nice post, its true many join thinking you can do whatever, its upsetting but hopefully this helped some people understand.

Re: What Wicca Is and Isn't
By: / Novice
Post # 8
A solitary wouldn't be considered Wiccan by their peers would they Lark? maybe I am mistaken, but you have to be at least a 1st Level intitiate in a lineaged coven to be recognized by your peers as /a Wiccan, I mean what Wicca is and what Wicca is not.

Re: What Wicca Is and Isn't
By: / Beginner
Post # 9
thanks for helping me find some information on wiccan was having trouble getting somewhere on it.

Re: What Wicca Is and Isn't
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 10

Some people only recognize Wiccans who can trace their initiation lineage back to Gerald Gardner and his coven. Other people don't necessarily believe you have to be traced back to him, but still won't recognize any solitary initiate. Their argument is that Wicca is a closed religion with specific traditions and rituals while other others argue that you can be a solitary because the Goddess and God are the ones initiating you as they're the ones to actually teach you the mysteries of the universe.

Truthfully, it all depends on who you ask. If you're wanting to be Wiccan as Gardner and his coven were, then you'd want to be initiated through his lineage or coven.

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