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What is Wicca

Wicca is loosely defined as a spiritual practice that honors the Earth, and honors the animals and peoples of the Earth as a reflection of the Goddess and the God who are Mother and Father of the Universe. Witches can be either male or female, and the proper term is 'Witch' or 'Wiccan' for both. The term 'Warlock' means oathbreaker and is considered an insult.

Learning to control one's impulses and temper is an important part of learning the Craft, and in this way Wicca is much like Buddhism and Hinduism. A novice learns only those things which can not be misused until s/he has acquired the self-control needed to understand the principle of "harm none."

The craft is an unorganized religion, meaning that there is no dogma one must believe or follow in order to join. Those who follow the path use their power for healing, teaching, and developing inner wisdom. "Wicca" is Welsh for "the wise".

Wiccan Belief
One of the main differences between Wicca and Judeo-Christianity is that there is no set system of beliefs. Ask 100 witches, receive 100 personal belief systems. But to give a basic overview of Wicca we have provided some common tenants between traditions.

Nature Oriented
Wicca searches to attune oneself with the natural rhythm of life marked by the phases of the Moon, and the four seasons. [Wheel of the Year]

Gods and Goddesses
Some believe in a multitude of Goddesses and Gods, some in One Vast Intelligence who is neither male nor female but both. Many worship the Mother Goddess and the Green God of the Forest which symbolize the belief that everything exists in balance: female and male, negative and positive, light and darkness, life and death, yin and yang. Some follow the old Druid principle that "All Gods are one God, and S/He is within". Within each belief is balance. There is a place both for male and female, and mankind is not removed from nature but rather a child of it.

The Wiccan Rede
The main tenet of Wicca Craft is the Wiccan Rede, a simple and benevolent moral code that is as follows: AN IT HARM NONE, DO WHAT THOU WILT. Think on this. This covers a lot in a short and precise phrase.

This includes mental, emotional, or physical harm to the self, other people, animals, plants, and Earth in general. Doing what you will means knowing your true will yet not imposing it upon others. It's a lot more complicated than it sounds. (Ethics of the Goddess)

Respect for others and a knowledge that there is no One Right True Way.

The Law of Threes
The Threefold Law, or Law of Three, is a karmic law of triple retribution which applies throughout your life to each action you take or do, good or bad. Some believe that what you put out will return to into your life three times. Others believe that the energy your send out effects you on three levels - physical, emotional, and spiritual. Thereby if you are sending out good you are nurturing those parts within yourself. It is the basis of "What you plant so shall you reap."

Wiccans are aware and concerned with the ethics of their actions, and in accord will not do anything that might infringe upon the free will of another. For this reason, the Sibylline Order does not teach hexes, or curses, as all of these are manipulative.

Wiccans commonly believe that all actions and all beings on this earth are inter related. Meaning that any action performed has a ripple effect upon others.

Power From Within
Wiccans do not search for power from others. The divine spark that the Gods have endowed us with lies within each of us; no one is more special than another. Praying to a God or doing energy work is attuning ourselves to the divine spark that lies within ourselves and seeking to understand the divine nature of the world. Magic is the transformance of ourselves to change our world and understand our true will. There is no power over others, only over ourselves through discovery and acceptance.

The Origins of Wicca
In prehistoric Asia and Europe, around 35,000 years ago, it is theorized that the primary deities were a Mother Goddess and a Father God. Many theories abound as to this power structure and the apparent shift to patriarchal God forms that occurred around 6,000 years ago. The shift in focus from a Goddess/Mother based spiritual belief system to a God/Father based system occurs at this time, though the Goddess herself never disappeared from the patriarchal world. She exists in the form of wife (Hera), terrible demon (Lilith, Medusa), and Mother (Mary).

However, to say that the Modern Craft is a direct descendant of ancient Paganism is incorrect. Gerald Gardner is considered the father of Modern Wicca. having read Margaret Mead, James Leland, and Aliester Crowley, he reinvented what he viewed and understood of an ancient Celtic pagan practices. While his claims of 'ancient origin' appear to be false, he did manage to invent a "new" religion that combined ancient practices and spiritual philosophy with modern ones. The religion, commonly referred to as Wicca, gained ground through the intercession of the Feminist movement

The feminist movement and ecological movement of the 20th century truly restored reverence to the Feminine Deity, the Goddess, and the sacred duality -- the Mother Goddess and the Father/Son. Starhawk and Z. Budapest are considered the Mothers of Wicca, as it is practiced today. They got rid of the dogma and hierarchical structure of Gardnerian Craft and changed the nature of Wicca. Their books are still considered to be the best available on the subject.

What is the difference between Witchcraft and Ceremonial Magic?
Those who practice ritual magic are not witches. Ritual magicians use a different type of ritual structure to accomplish their goal, which is the attainment of True Will (Conscious conversation with Deity). Ritual technology is not a religion, and ritual magicians can be of any religion, even Christian. They do not call on Christian deities (Satan and so forth), but use the technology to understand other beings and to develop themselves as people. There are different types of Ceremonial Magickians. Some are Kaballistic (meaning that they follow the Western Traditions of Jewish Mysticism in the Kaballah.), some are not. The Rosicrucian Order, the OTO, and The Golden Dawn are all Ceremonial Secret Societies that practice different forms of Magick to attain enlightenment.

What is a "tradition"?
A Tradition can be loosely defined as a group of neo-pagans who have a set system of ritual, training methods, and practices; call themselves by an identifying name; and consider themselves a group apart from other systems. Some Traditions are: Gardnerian, Sumerian, Celtic, Dianic, and Eclectic, but there are hundreds more.

Traditions in the Craft are much like denominations in Christianity. Catholic ritual is not the same as baptist ritual, though the two religions share basic ideals and worship the same Divinity. There are hundreds of different traditions of the Craft being practiced, including some non-craft neo-pagan religions that have been either reconstructed from ancient beliefs, or developed to serve the needs of the modern Wiccan. The Craft recognizes that all positive spiritual paths are valid, and that the individual must follow his/her right path. In other words, we have complete respect and curiosity for a different way, and enjoy the opportunity to exchange ideas and methods, rather than arguing as to who is "right".

Modern craft also embraces non-traditionalists, called eclectics. The eclectics are people who do not use a specific set of rituals and beliefs, preferring to borrow and incorporate whatever works for them from every source. Eclectics are free to use Zen meditation, Greek mythology, Christian symbolism, Wicca ritual, and Native American philosophy (etc.) if they so choose, in any combination that feels spiritually correct.


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