Basic Principles & Concepts of Wicca

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Basic Principles & Concepts of Wicca

Post by TheJedi » Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:49 pm


There's an old saying that if you ask any ten Wiccans about their religion, you'll get at least fifteen different answers. That's not far from the truth, because with nearly half a million Americans practicing Wicca today, there are dozens -- perhaps even hundreds -- of different Wiccan groups out there. There is no one governing body over Wicca, nor is there a "Bible" that lays down a universal set of guidelines. While specifics vary from one tradition to the next, there are actually a few ideals and beliefs common to nearly all modern Wiccan groups.

Origins of Wicca:

Wicca as a religion was introduced by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s. Gardner's tradition was oathbound, initiatory, and secret. However, after a few years splinter groups began forming, and new traditions were formed. Today, many Wiccan groups owe their basic foundation to the principles laid out by Gardner. Wicca is not an ancient religion, but Gardner did incorporate some old esoteric occult traditions into his original tradition, including Eastern mysticism, Kabballah, and British legend.

Who Is a Wiccan, and How Do You Find Them?:

Wiccans come from all walks of life. They are doctors and nurses, teachers and soccer moms, writers and firefighters, waitresses and computer programmers. In other words, anyone can be Wiccan. In fact, there are nearly half a million Wiccans in the United States today. As to where to find them, that might take a bit of digging -- as a mystery religion that doesn't proselytize or actively recruit, it can sometimes be difficult to find a group in your area. Never fear, though -- the Wiccans are out there, and if you ask around enough, you'll bump into one eventually.

Calling Upon the Divine:

Wicca acknowledges the polarity of the Divine, which means that both the male and female deities are often honored. A Wiccan may honor simply a non-specific god and goddess, or they may choose to worship specific deities of their tradition, whether it be Isis and Osiris, Cerridwen and Herne, or Apollo and Athena. In Gardnerian Wicca, the true names of the gods are revealed only to initiated members, and are kept secret from anyone outside the tradition.

Initiation and Degree Systems:

In most Wiccan covens, there is some form of initiation and a degree system. Initiation is a symbolic rebirth, in which the initiant dedicates themselves to the gods of their tradition. Typically, only an individual who has attained the rank of Third Degree dedicant may act as a High Priest or High Priestess. Study is required before an individual may advance to the next degree level, and often this is the traditional "year and a day" period.
Someone who is not a member of a coven or formal group may choose to perform a self-dedication ritual to pledge themselves to the gods of their path.

Magic Happens:

The belief in and use of magic and spellwork is nearly universal within Wicca. This is because for most Wiccans, there's nothing supernatural about magic at all -- it's the harnessing and redirection of natural energy to effect change in the world around us. In Wicca, magic is simply another skill set or tool. Most Wiccans do use specific tools in spellcrafting, such as an athame, wand, herbs, crystals, and candles. Magical workings are often performed within a sacred circle. The use of magic is not limited only to the priesthood -- anyone can craft and perform a spell with a little bit of practice.

The Spirit World is Out There:

Because the concept of an afterlife of some sort is typical in most branches of Wicca, there is a general willingness to accept interaction with the spirit world. Seances and contact with the unknown are not uncommon among Wiccans, although not all Wiccans actively seek communication with the dead. Divination such as tarot, runes, and astrology are often used as well.

What Wicca Isn't:

Wicca does not embrace the concepts of sin, heaven or hell, the evils of sex or nudity, confession, Satanism, animal sacrifice, or the inferiority of women. Wicca is not a fashion statement, and you do not have to dress a certain way to be a "real Wiccan."

Basic Beliefs of Wicca:

While not exclusive to every single tradition, the following are some of the core tenets found in most Wiccan systems:

   * The Divine is present in nature, and so nature should be honored and respected. Everything from animals and plants to trees and rocks are elements of the sacred. You'll find that many practicing Wiccans are passionate about the environment.

   * The idea of karma and an afterlife is a valid one. What we do in this lifetime will be revisited upon us in the next. Part of this idea of a cosmic payback system is echoed in the Law of Threefold Return.

   * Our ancestors should be spoken of with honor. Because it's not considered out of the ordinary to commune with the spirit world, many Wiccans feel that their ancestors are watching over them at all times.

   * The Divine has polarity -- both male and female. In most paths of Wicca, both a god and goddess are honored.

   * The Divine is present in all of us. We are all sacred beings, and interaction with the gods is not limited just to the priesthood or a select group of individuals.

   * Holidays are based on the turning of the earth and the cycle of the seasons. In Wicca, eight major Sabbats are celebrated, as well as monthly Esbats.

   * Everyone is responsible for their own actions. Personal responsiblity is the key. Whether magical or mundane, one must be willing to accept the consquences -- either good or bad -- of their behaviour.

   * Harm none, or something like it. While there are a few different interpretation of what actually constitutes harm, most Wiccans follow the concept that no harm should intentionally be done to another individual.

   * Respect the beliefs of others. There's no Recruiting Club in Wicca, and the Wiccans are not out to preach at you, convert you, or prosetylize. Wiccan groups recognize that each individual must find their spiritual path on their own, without coercion. While a Wiccan may honor different gods than you do, they will always respect your right to believe differently.

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Post by tourbi » Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:11 pm

Also, for those who watch tv. and see people suddenly becoming Wiccan, it isn't that easy.  
Wicca is a Pagan tradition passed on while studying with a Wiccan teacher in a coven.
It's takes a year and a day to get each step of the training.  There are a series of initiations.
Altho there are various paths within Wicca, that is basically how one become Wiccan.  There are mysteries that are passed on only thru the teaching.

To be Pagan is a personal decision and in understanding that one is Pagan, following the changes of the earth and the moons, honoring the Earth and the Gods requires no teaching.
Many are Pagan, few are Wiccan.
There are many many tradtions that are Pagan that people may follow, from ecclectic, to Kitchen Witches, to Wiccan, Gardenarian, Druid, and many more.
Stand in Love,Walk in Love, Live in Love ड़ारा
Nora Roberts
Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, delight the heart. And they both take practice.

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Post by Bella Lutopi » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:52 pm

I am looking into Wicca and I am more than a little confused. Can you only be Wiccan if you are taught by and then initiated into a coven? I have read a lot of different things and some say you can do a self initiation and others say no you have to be initiated into a coven to truly be considered Wiccan. So I am not sure which information is accurate. Any help you could offer on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.
Bella Lutopi

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Post by Spirit_of_Phoenix » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:59 pm

if you choose to go it alone- it's being a solitary witch (or Hedgewitch) and this path is one you follow alone without being initiated into a coven. This way you can go along the year and a day by yourself and teach yourself the Wiccan Way how you want to follow it as it is a very personal thing and has no set rules- other than the Wiccan Rede- "If it harms none, do what you will"
My best advise to becoming a witch- or Wiccan- is to read lots on the subject and make notes along the way of what feels comfortable with you, this makes it easier for you to understand which direction you will go towards as there will be plenty of times you will change your mind about things and this is good to question everything and is how your knowledge grows... read, read, read... question and understand :)
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