I have always taken an interest in nature and witchcraft, and Wicca is a combination of the two. In this blog post I will attempt to give an informative history/ summary/ explanation of the Wicca religion and all it encompasses. I am fairly new to learning about the religion so I apologise if some of the facts stated are not 100% true or fully explained. I also encourage everyone to do research of their own because this is beyond fascinating!
In short, Wicca is a form of Pagan witchcraft and part of the contemporary pagan new religious movement. It was originally developed in England by Gerald Gardner who was a retired British civil servant. The religion is duo-theistic which means Wiccans worship to both a God and a Goddess (the Moon Goddess and the horned God). The horned God is associated with animals and the natural world but also with the afterlife and is viewed as an ideal role for men. Similarly, the moon goddess or mother goddess symbolises life, fertility and the springtime and is also considered an ideal role model for women. I suppose it could be argued that Wicca symbolises equality much more than other religions as they worship both to man and woman. Unlike Christian religion where God is always seen as taking the form of a man. As well as this, Wicca encompasses theists, atheists as well as agnostics, demonstrating that no one gets left behind (like my Lilo and stitch reference there). Like most religions, Wicca celebrates a number of holidays and festivities. With a huge emphasis placed on nature it is not surprising that many celebrations encompass the cycle of the moon which is known as Esbats.
Many people have huge misconceptions about the Wicca religion because it is so closely related to the practice of witchcraft. It doesn’t help that misconceptions of witchcraft have been present since the beginning of time during the early modern period and even now in every corner of popular culture. It’s also a bit ridiculous because Wicca and witchcraft are separate and different, and it is very possible to be one without the other. Ultimately, you can be a witch without being a Wiccan. Wicca is a religion, witchcraft is not. Even though Wicca involves ritual practices of magic, spells and charms it is not a necessity to be a Wiccan. Magic should be thought of as a way to strengthen ones Wiccan beliefs and is not something that the religion is simply centered around. As a result of the misconceptions brought forward, many Christians argue that it should not be labelled a religion but as a spirituality or a way of life. While I respect and understand this belief it seems to me as thought stripping the label of religion from Wicca would be hugely problematic for hundreds of thousands of practicing Wiccans. For the majority of those who do practice it, it is not unreasonable to say that they give their whole lives to Wicca, breathing and living it. Doing everything in their power to continue their Wiccan journey and their beliefs, sounds like any other religion to me?
I find the history of Wicca to be one of the most interesting. The modern English term Wicca is actually derived from the old English wicca and wicce. Wicca is the masculine term for wizard or sorcerer and wicce is the feminine term for witch that was used in Anglo-Saxon England. When the term was adopted for modern usage Wiccans were helping to cement their connection to the ancient pre-Christian past in a way that was symbolic as well as using a word that was generally less controversial than witchcraft.
It is common belief that human beings have a spirit or soul that survives bodily death. Of course, every Wiccan is different. Some believe you can come back as an animal, another human or even come back as part of nature. As a result of this they highly believe in the law of threefold. This is pretty similar to Karma in the Buddhist religion if you would like a comparison. It basically means that if you do something bad it will find its way back to you and will be three times worse than what you originally did. After all, a wiccan’s primary belief is to harm none within and without your practice.
I think Wicca is one of the most interesting religions I’ve come across and can’t wait to continue learning and reading about it. Things I have included in this blog post only scratch the surface of this wide and varied religion so please bear that in mind, otherwise I would go on for days! I hope you enjoyed this post and would love to know your thoughts on anything and everything Wicca!