Wicca Is A Modern Pagan Religion












    WICCA:
    Beliefs and Practices

    Stereotypes abound the moment one begins to discuss Wicca as a religion. The
    first question is, ""What is Wicca?"

    Most people view Wicca as being the same as witchcraft, but the religious
    beliefs of Wiccans are only slightly similar to witchcraft. They may be
    represented in the press with flying crones, cauldrons, and as people who cast
    spells like witches.

    Wicca is actually a complex belief system that may best be described as a
    system of beliefs that defy our traditional institutions.

    Sabbats in Wicca
    Those that believe and practice Wicca have eight major Sabbats, including
    days of the equinox and solstice. Each Wicca believer is left the choice to
    select the god or goddess figure to worship. Whatever locus is chosen, divine
    power ultimately rests within each worshiper and their intimate connection
    with the forces of nature.











    Solitary and Group Believers
    Some Wiccans practice their beliefs alone and are "solitaries." Most Wiccans
    choose to join groups, or covens, in order to expand the learning process and to
    perform rituals and Sabbats in the company of others. Most covens gather at
    specific sites and generally worship outdoors.

    Most of us worship a Judeo-Christian God as a single diety, but Wiccans
    believe each individual is implicitly sacred by their connection to the
    designated divinity of nature. Most of our traditional religions require some
    type of intervention of an ordained clergy or priest to illuminate and excite
    our belief in a single God.

    In contrast, Wiccans view a religious path more in terms of the individual
    exploring the spiritual world as they wish. Wiccans believe each believer is
    capable of becoming their own Godhead in the understanding that they are one
    of many and similar to the others.

    Do Wiccans Use A Bible?
    Wiccans do not have a "Bible," but there are a number of texts to which
    Wiccans routinely turn to for the structuring of rituals and to help them learn
    about the figure of their chosen deity. Judeo-Christian religion is
    monotheistic. Wicca, with its numerous dieties is pantheistic.

    The Book of Shadows is used by many Wiccans as a structure for belief,
    including methods for casting spells, observing holidays, and providing an
    organization around which to discuss their practices. Some Wiccans choose not
    to thoroughly immerse themselves in the texts, preferring the more modern
    interpretation of various rituals and practices of 20th and 21st century
    Wiccan worshipers.

    The Wiccan rede: "An' it harm none, do what you will" stands as the core
    ethical statement of Wicca and all other teachings are considered an
    elaboration or application of this tenet. It holds their believers to a code of
    behavior and indicts those whose actions deviate from such an understanding.

    Wiccan Covens
    Each coven is headed by a priestess or priest, although decisions are made by a
    selected committee, consisting of founding members and coven elders. Covens
    may also allow other pagan groups to meet within their space and rituals may
    be led by any coven members approved by the committee. The coven
    structures practice around divine nature via a set of deities held common by
    those who meet there.

    Wiccan Gods and Godesses
    Wiccans have a system with an immanent deity, a god/goddess figure who looks
    over the four elements of life--air, fire, water, and earth. Their beliefs are
    channeled through a number of goddess and god figures, including those
    adopted from Celtic deities, and the Egyptian and Greek pantheon.

    Their gods and goddesses are intimately tied to nature and are worshipped as
    a source of power. At the core of Wicca beliefs is the need to resolve psychic
    conflict in the body/mind of the believer. This will reunite the believer with an
    integrated spiritual existence involving all living things.

    For example, many Wiccans revere the Celtic gods, while others focus their
    devotion on the Norse gods. Some worship the Egyptian figures of Isis and
    Osiris or the Greek gods, including Gaea, Rhea, Diana, and Aphrodite. These
    deities possess specific powers in accordance with their pre-existing
    mythologies.

    Whichever figures are held sacred, their connection to the natural world
    remains central to worship. In addition, the sun, the moon, earth, air, water,
    and fire, Wiccans celebrate the rhythm of birth, death, and rebirth, and
    throughout their lives they are attuned to the cyclical movement of the astral
    bodies as a determining factor in shaping the world.

    Wiccans practice divination through Tarot card or Rune reading. Runes are an
    ancient Germanic alphabet, used for writing, divination, and magic, usually by a
    member of the coven who specializes in oracular interpretations.
    Many covens script their rituals while others prefer to leave them open to
    improvisation.

    Wiccans do not try to convert others to their group. They believe that most
    believers come to Wicca intuitively, by seeking and following a vague interest
    in alternative religions.

    Initially, practicing Wiccans tend to try and dissuade would-be believers, but
    covens usually have open Sabbats and discussion groups are often held that
    help augment solitary inquiry. Covens are accessible via the Internet and
    through a number of holistic stores and alternative healing groups, many of
    which are aligned with feminist organizations.

    Core Wicca Ideas

    They worship the Great Mother Goddess as well as her helper Pan, the Horned
    God. However, there are many other pagan deities representing the creative
    force of “The One” or “The All. Nature is revered including rocks, plants,
    planets and animals and all are believed to have a spirit.

    The Great Mother Goddess Of Wiccan Belief
    The Mother goddess is a female part of “The All,” who represents the
    fundamental stages of life.

    Wiccans Cast Spells For Positive Power
    Wiccans are forbidden to cast spells that attempt to manipulate or hurt
    others. They conduct rituals to assist in everyday activities and to bring
    positive powers to bear on issues.

    References
    D' Este, S. Towards the Wiccan Circle - A Practical Introduction to the
    Principles of Wicca. 2008.

    Dunwich, G. Wicca Book Of Days: Legend and Lore for Every Day of the Year.
    2000.

    Dunwich, G. Exploring Spellcraft: How to Create and Cast Effective Spells.
    2008.

    Normand, L. Witchcraft In Early Modern Scotland: James VI's Demonology
    and the North Berwick Witches. 2000.