Lines of the Dragon

Wicca:

Wicca is another celtic-based pagan religion that shares many of the same traditions as druidry and is much more popular in the United States than druidry currently is. Wiccans in my experience are generally more focused on magick and the occult than most druids. While they are still nature-based they don't seem to emphasize learning and observing directly from nature like most druidry does. I do, however, know many many fine practioners of this fine faith and will personally vouch for Wicca in general as very valid and up-to-date version of paganism. I recommend Wiccan authors such as Silver Ravenwolf, Starrhawk & Scott Cunningham.

The following information is NOT mine or owned by me. I present it to the public simply as information that has fallen into my hands. I have read it thoroughly and I feel it is an excellent representation of Wicca today as I understand it.

Merddy

 

 

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The U.S. Army Chaplains Guide to Wicca
A guide to Wicca for U.S. Military chaplins.
EXTRACT FROM "Religious Requirements and Practices of Certain Selected Groups: a Handbook for Chaplains"
U.S. Government Publication No.008-020-00745-5

Historical roots: Witchcraft is the ancient Pagan faith of Europe. This nature-oriented, agricultural, magical religion had no central organisation, but was passed through families. During the Christian era, particularly after the beginning of the systematic persecution of Witches in 1484, almost all the public expression of the Craft disappeared. Surviving in hidden and isolated places, Witchcraft has made a comeback in the twentieth century, partially spurred by the repeal of the last British Witchcraft Laws in 1951.

Current World Leadership: No central authority. Many Witches have, however, affiliated with the American Council of Witches, formed in 1974, to provide a structure for co-operation and mutual sharing.

Origins in the U.S.: Brought to the U.S. in the 17th century by immigrants from Europe. Since then, many Witches from many ethnic and national traditions have brought their religious practises to the New World. It survived in the isolation of rural settings and the anonymity in the city. The 1960's saw a significant revival of the Craft, and many Witches and "Covens" (local groups) became at least partially public. Many discovered others of like mind through the emerging Pagan press. A meeting in Minneapolis formed the American Council of Witches (1974) and a statement entitled "Principles of Wiccan Beliefs" was adopted.

Number of Adherents in the U.S.: Unknown: Between 10,000 and 100,000.

Organizational Structure: The basic structure is the Coven (local group) with 5 to 50 members (ideally 12-15) led by a High Priestess or High Priest. The Priest and/or Priestess derives authority from initiation by another Witch. Some Covens are tied together in fraternal relationships and acknowledge authority of a Priestess or Priest from whom orders are derived. Many are totally autonomous.

Leadership and Role of Priestess and/or Priest: The High Priestess and/or High Priest has authority for the Coven. Witches pass through three degrees as they practise the Craft:

acknowledges one as a full member of the Coven and initiates the process of mastering the skills of a Witch;

recognizes growth in ability and admits one to all the inner secrets; and admits one to the priesthood. Who may conduct Worship services?: A High Priestess or Priest.
Is group worship required?: No, but it is encouraged.
Worship requirements: None, but Witches are expected to practise their faith, which includes mastering magick, ritual, and psychic development and the regular worship of the Wiccan Deities.
Minimum Requirements for Worship: The athame, or ritual knife; the pentacle, a metal disc inscribed with magical symbols; a chalice; and a sword. Various traditions will demand other items.
Facilities for Worship: Witches worship within a magick circle that is inscribed on the ground or the floor. The circle should be located so as to insure the privacy of the rituals.
Other Specific Religious Requirements other than Worship (see above): None.
Dietary Laws or Restrictions: None.
Special Religious Holidays: The four great festivals are seasonal:
Spring Equinox, March 21
Summer Solstice,or Midsummer, June 21
Autumn Equinox, September 21
Yule, or Winter Solstice, December 22
These are joined by four cross festivals related to the agricultural and herd-raising year:
Candlemas, February 2
May Eve, or Beltane, April 30
Lammas, July 31
Hallowe'en, October 31
Besides these eight, most Wiccan groups meet either weekly or bi-weekly (on the full and new moon).
Funeral and Burial Requirements: Practices vary widely. In case of death, the Coven to which the Witch belongs should be contacted.
Cremation: Many prefer it, but the local Coven should be consulted.
Autopsy: Generally no restrictions.
Medical Treatment: No restrictions.
Uniform Appearance Requirements: None are proscribed.
Position on Service in the Armed Forces: No official stance. Many witches are presently military personnel, while others are conscientious objectors, derived, from the generally pro-life stance of Wicca.
Is a Priest or Priestess required at time of death?: No.
Any practices or teaching that may conflict with military directives or practices: None, generally, though individual covens may have some. The local Coven should be contacted if specific questions arise.
Basic teachings and beliefs: Underlying agreements are summed up in the "Principles of Wiccan Beliefs" adopted by the American Council of Witches. Specific expressions of beliefs will vary widely, due to the ethnic roots or the traditions of the individual covens.
Creedal statements and/or authoritative literature (see also Basic belief): All Witches use two books, a Grimoire, or book of spells and magical procedures, and a book of shadows, or book of ritual. Each Coven will use a different grimoire and/or book of shadows.
Ethical practices: Wiccan ethics are summed up in the Law called the Wiccan Rede, "An Ye Harm None, Do As Ye Will".
How does Witchcraft recruit new members?: Witches do not proselytize, but they welcome inquiries from those who hear about the Craft by either word of mouth or the media.
Relationship with other religions: Co-operations with the whole pagan community is very high. Relations with other religions are cordial, except those groups which have sought to persecute or defame the Craft.


FAQ and Information on Wicca

Merry Meet,
Wicca,Witchcraft,a couple of words that spark fear,confusion,and hate......
But to me it is beauty,love and sacred.Please continue to learn more........

Historically, the name Witchcraft has been used to refer to two unrelated
and often mutually exclusive religions:

* Wicca, the revival of a pre-Christian religion of Northern Europe, and
* Satanism, the worship of the Christian devil, Satan.

The roots of this confusion can be traced back to Europe during the Witch
burning times of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Wiccans were accused
of worshipping Satan and selling their soul to him. This false belief
continues today, and is still being actively promoted by some Christians.

This paper will deal with the religion of Wicca only. It is unrelated to
Satanism. There have been many references in the books, media, etc which
attempt to differentiate between the two very different religions.

Wicca, is a reconstruction of an ancient Pagan religion of Northern Europe
which pre-dates the Christian era. It can be directly traced back to the
writings of:

* Margaret Murray who authored The Witch Cult in Western Europe and The
God of the Witches. These books promoted the concept that some of the
Witches who were exterminated by the Christian Churches during the
"Burning Times" (circa 1450-1792) were remnants of an earlier,
organized, and dominant pre-Christian religion in Europe.
* Gerald Gardner, a British civil servant, who:
o joined a Wiccan Coven in 1939, taking the (then) usual vows of
secrecy
o persuaded the coven to let him write a book in 1949 about Wicca in
the form of a novel, High Magic's Aid. He carefully revealed a few
of the Old Religion's beliefs and the historical persecutions that
they endured
o wrote Witchcraft Today in 1954 in which he described additional
details about the faith
o wrote The Meaning of Witchcraft which described in detail the
history of Wicca in Northern Europe.

According to Gardner, Wicca:

* began in prehistory, as ritual associated with fire, the hunt, animal
fertility, plant propagation, tribal fertility and the curing of
disease.
* developed into a religion which recognized a Supreme Deity, but
realized that at their state of evolution, they "were incapable of
understanding It" . Instead, they worshipped what might be termed
"under-Gods: the Goddess of fertility and her horned consort, the God
of the hunt.
* continued their predominately Moon based worship, even as a mainly
Sun-based faith of priests, the Druids, developed and evolved into the
dominant religion of the Celts. By this time, Celtic society had
gradually spread across Northern Europe into what is now England,
France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland etc. They never formed
a single political entity, but remained as many tribes who shared a
common culture and religions.
* survived the Roman, Saxon, and Norman invasions by going underground
* suffered major loss in numbers during the active Christian genocides,
which continued into the 18th Century
* reached a low ebb by the middle of the 20th century. Much of the
theology and ritual had been lost; Wiccan covens had become so isolated
that they had lost contact with each other.

Relationship between Witchcraft and Christianity

The first missionary to the Celts was probably St. Paul. His conversion of
the Celtic land of Galatia is recorded in his Epistle to the Galatians of
the Christian Scriptures (New Testament). Later Missionaries and the Roman
army gradually spread Christianity across Europe, easily converting the
rulers and the Druidic priesthood, but having less success in bringing the
common folk to the new religion.

Much of Christianity was derived from Wicca, Druidism and other Pagan
sources; this includes the sites of many cathedrals, the lives of many
Christian saints (who were really pagan Goddesses and Gods), and many
Christian holy days. There are many vestiges of Paganism which remain a part
of our culture; e.g. Groundhog Day, Christmas, May Day, Halloween, the names
of the days of the weeks and months of the year, common sayings, numerous
traditions associated with holidays, etc.

In order to gain a complete religious monopoly, the Christian Church decided
during the 15th century to hunt down and burn believers in the Old Religion.
The Church created an imaginary wicked religion, and said that Wiccans were
evil Witches who followed that religion, sold their sold to Satan, etc.
Hundreds of thousands of suspected witches were exterminated during these
"burning times" which lasted until 1792 in Europe and into the 1830's in
South America. The Roman Catholic church burned witches; the Protestant
churches hung them. Wiccans went underground, and stayed out of sight until
the middle of the 20th century.

Wicca emerged from the shadows in England in the 1950's with the publishing
of books by Gerald Gardner. It has expanded at a furious rate in North
America and Europe. They total about 200,000 in North America, where they
have surpassed in numbers such established religions as Buddhism, the
Quakers, and Unitarian-Universalism. The Canadian Census of 1991 recorded
5,530 Neo-Pagans, which would be mostly composed of Wiccans. However, the
actual number is believed to be much greater, as many Wiccans are known to
lie to the census taker rather than expose themselves to physical harm in
the event that their faith became publicly known.

Wicca is the only religious group of significant size whose members are
persecuted in North America. Many Assaults, arson, economic attacks are
reported yearly. There have even been shootings and one public stoning! The
perpetrators of this religious hatred are usually very devout, very
concerned but terribly misinformed people. They believe the misinformation
that has been spread about Wiccans continuously since the Middle Ages. It is
only in Eastern Massachusetts, Southern California and in a few cities in
North America that most Wiccans feel secure while coming out of the (broom)
closet.


Wiccan Beliefs

Their beliefs include:

* Wiccan Deities: Most Wiccans believe that a creative force exists in
the universe, which is sometimes called "The One" or " The All". Little
can be known of this force. They regard the Goddess and the God as
representing the female and male aspects of the All. Most regard
various pagan Gods and Goddesses (Pan, Athena, Diana, Brigit, Zeus,
Odin, etc) as representing various aspects of the God and Goddess.
* Respect for Nature: Wicca is a natural religion, grounded in the earth.
All living things (including stars, planets, humans, animals, plants,
rocks) are regarded as having spirit.
* Gender Equality: Wiccans celebrate the sexual polarity of nature: the
fertilizing rain is one manifestation of the male principle; the
nurturing earth symbolizes the female. Females are respected as equal
(and sometimes at a slightly higher rank) to males. They aim for a
female-male balance in most of their covens (groups), although men are
typically in the minority. Sexuality is valued, and regarded as a gift
of the Goddess and God, to be engaged in with joy and responsibility.
* Three-fold Law The law states that:

All good that a person does returns three fold
in this life; harm is also returned three fold.

* The Wiccan Rede: This is the main rule of behaviour:


An' it harm none, do what thou wilt

This means that a person should feel free to do what ever they want to,
as long as it does not harm themselves or anyone else. This and the
three-fold law obviously prevent a Witch/Wiccan from doing harm to
themselves or to others, or attempting to manipulate others, or taking
illegal drugs, etc.

Wiccan Practices

Their practices include:

* Organizational Structure:Wicca is one denomination (the largest) within
Neo-paganism. Other Neo-pagan groups include individuals and groups who
are reconstructing Druidic, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and other ancient
religious traditions.

Many, perhaps most, Witches are solitary practitioners; they perform
their rites alone. Others form covens which are informal groups of
Wiccans. There is no hierarchy beyond the coven; no provincial or
national organization. Those covens which have a High Priestess and/or
Priest elect one of themselves to that office.
* Rituals: Wiccans try to meet out of doors where possible. North
American climate and concern for personal safety usually forces them
indoors. They gather in a circle, which is often 9 feet in diameter.
Candles on the circumference are oriented to the four cardinal
directions. An altar is at the centre or at the northern candle. Rites
begin with a casting of the circle, in which the circle is outlined and
purified, and the candles lit. A space is thus created within the
circle; this is sometimes visualized as a sphere, or as a cylinder or
cone. The purpose of this space is to confine healing energy until it
is released.

The central portion of each meeting may celebrate the full moon, a new
moon, a Sabbat or a special Wiccan ceremony. It might include healing,
divination (scrying, Tarot cards, Runes, etc), teaching, consecration
of tools, discussion, or other life-affirming, nature based activities.
After the major work is completed, food (perhaps cakes and wine) is
eaten, and the circle is banished. Because of the increasing concern
over addictions to alcohol and other drugs, many covens have replaced
wine with juice, water etc.
* Wiccan Sabbats: (Seasonal days of Celebration) There are eight Wiccan
Sabbats, spaced about 45 days apart during the year. Four of these are
minor Sabbats: the two equinoxes of March 21 and September 21st when
the daytime and nighttime are each 12 hours long. The Saxons added the
two solstices of December 21, (the longest night of the year) and June
21 (the shortest night of the year). Actually, the exact date of these
Sabbats vary from year to year and may occur from the 20th to 23rd of
the month. The major Sabbats are also four in number. They occur
roughly between the minor Sabbats, typically at the end of a month.
Different Wiccan traditions assign various names and dates to these
festivals. Perhaps the most common names are Celtic: Samhain (Oct. 31),
Imbolc (Feb. 2), Beltane (May 1), and Lammas (Aug. 1). Dates are
approximate. Their origins are believed to be related to hunting,
farming, and animal fertility.
* Rites of passage: These include:
o Dedication, where a person confirms an interest in the craft,
o Initiation, when a person symbolically dies and is reborn as a
Wiccan; a new name is adopted
o Handfasting, which was originally a marriage for a one year
period. Most Wiccans now regard it as creating a permanent
partnership
o Parting of the Ways, which recognizes the end of a marriage
o Wiccaning, which welcomes a baby into the craft, but does not
obligate the child in any way
o Funeral Ceremony, for a Wiccan who has died
* Wiccan tools: Hardware which are used to perform Witchcraft rites often
look like common household items. The following are typical:
o Athame (double sided ritual knife) used for many purposes, but
never for cutting
o A bowl of salt representing the element earth
o Incense representing the element air
o Two candles representing the Goddess and God
o A bowl of water representing the element water
o A bell which is rung to delineate sections of the rite
o A wand to cast the circle
o A goblet and perhaps a libation bowl to hold a drink
o A circle, typically 9 feet in diameter, formed from a rope or row
of small rocks, markings on the ground or floor, etc
o Four candles just outside the circle, at the four cardinal
directions

Prejudice Against Wiccans

Wiccans suffer from one of the highest levels of unwarranted discrimination
of any religious group in North America. This is caused by:

* Popular confusion between two essentially unrelated religions: Satanism
and Wicca
* 500 years of negative and false beliefs about Wiccans which had their
origin in the Witch burning times of the 15th to 18th Centuries.
* Present day religious hatred and misinformation, spread primarily by
conservative Christians

The Green Egg quarterly magazine has a column called Jane's Tidings which
collects Pagan and Wiccan related news. In the 1995-Summer edition she
documents the following acts of discrimination:

* Providence RI: Rhode Island Child Protective Services made their first
unannounced visit to a foster home in history. They removed three
foster children. This occurred four days after the foster mother was
identified in a positive local newspaper article as a Wiccan.
* Palm Bay FL: The city prohibited the Church of Iron Oak from holding
meetings at the home of one of their members. This is a Wiccan group.
* Knoxville TN: A Wiccan group had been meeting in a room at the World's
Fair site. They were booted out after an individual became upset at the
sight of some robed Wiccans.


References - Thanks to The Ontario Centre for Religious Tolerance for use of this information

1 Introductions

1.1 What is this group for?
1.2 What is Wicca and how is it related to Paganism?

2 Basic Orientation

2.1 What are some common, basic beliefs in Wicca?
2.2 What god(desse)s do Wiccans worship?
2.3 What tools and rituals do you use?
2.4 Is there a set liturgy or liturgical calendar?
2.5 What is basic Wiccan thealogy? Are you satanists?
2.6 What are Wiccan ethics, the "Wiccan Rede" and "three-fold law?"
2.7 What is the difference between a white witch and a black witch? And white, grey and black magick?
3 Wiccan Beliefs and Practices

3.1 Can I be a Christian/ Jew/ Muslim/ Buddhist/ Taoist/ Astrologer/
Druid/ Shaman/ omnivore/ whatever and a Wiccan?
3.2 Why can't I be a satanist and a Wiccan at the same time?
3.3 Do I have to wear a pentagram and black clothes to be Wiccan?
3.4 What are "dedication" and "initiation" in Wicca?
3.5 Do all Wiccans practice magic/k?
3.6 Is Wicca the same thing as witchcraft?
3.7 What were "the Burning Times?"
3.8 What are the origins of Wicca?
3.9 What are the major traditions in Wicca?
3.10 What is the "Book of Shadows?" Where do I get one?
3.11 What is a coven and how do I join one?
3.12 How do I witness about Jesus Christ to a Wiccan?
3.13 How do I learn more about Wicca?

4 Resources

4.1 Introductory books on Wicca
4.2 Other Internet Newsgroups
4.3 Wiccan Organizations
4.3 Wiccan Periodicals
4.4 Respected authors
4.5 Other Internet Resources

5 Copyright and Distribution Notice

Introductions

1.1) What is this group for?

Established in December 1994, alt.religion.wicca is a Usenet
newsgroup for the discussion of Wicca, also known by some as Wicce,
Goddess Worship, the Old Religion, Witchcraft (with a capital "W") or
simply "the Craft."

1.2) What is Wicca and how is it related to Paganism?

"Wicca" is the name of a contemporary Neo-Pagan religion, largely
promulgated and popularized by the efforts of a retired British civil
servant named Gerald Gardner. In the last few decades, Wicca has spread
in part due to its popularity among feminists and others seeking a more
woman-positive, earth-based religion. Like most Neo-Pagan spiritualities,
Wicca worships the sacred as immanent in nature, drawing much of its
inspiration from the non-Christian and pre-Christian religions of Europe.
"Neo-Pagan" simply means "new pagan" (derived from the Latin _paganus_ ,
"country-dweller") and hearkens back to times before the spread of today's
major monotheistic (one god) religions. A good general rule is that most
Wiccans are Neo-Pagans but not all Pagans are Wiccans. Please consult
alt.pagan or the alt.pagan FAQ for more general information on Neo-Paganism.

2 Basic Orientation

2.1 What are some common, basic beliefs in Wicca?

In addition to its positive view of nature, many find Wicca more
welcoming of women than other religions, with an emphasis on personal
experience and a tolerance of other paths. As a whole, Wiccans value
balance with a respect for diverse complexity, seeing sexuality and
embodiment as essentially positive, spiritual gifts. There is a sense of
personal connection to the divine life source, which is open to contact
through "psychic power," mysticism or "natural magic."

2.2 What god(desse)s do Wiccans worship?

Although some Wiccans focus on particular gods from particular world
mythologies, Wiccans may worship many god(desse)s by many different names.
Most worship some form of the Great Goddess and Her consort, The Horned
God. Such duo-theistic forces are often conceived as embodying
complementary polarities, not in opposition. In some traditions worship
of the Goddess is emphasized, although in others the Goddess and God are
seen as complementary co-equals. The Goddess and God may be seen as
associated with certain things (such as the Goddess with the earth or
moon, God with sun and wildlife, etc), but there are no hard and fast
rules. Some traditions worship the Goddess alone while others see
Divinity as essentially beyond human understanding, with "Goddess" and
"God" simply a convenient shorthand.

2.3 What tools and rituals do you use?

Some ritual items are common to almost every Wiccan tradition, such
as the athame (ritual knife) and chalice (ritual cup). Others may be used
by some traditions but not others: bells, brooms, candles, cauldrons,
cords, drums, incense, jewelry, special plates, pentacles, scourges,
statues, swords, staves and wands. The meaning of these items, their use
and manufacture will differ among traditions and individuals. Usually a
Wiccan ritual will involve some sort of creation of sacred space (casting
a circle), invocation of divine power, sharing of dance/song/food or wine
and a thankful farewell and ceremonial closing. Rituals may be held at
Wiccan "sabbats" or "esbats" (see below) or to mark life transitions such
as births, coming-of-age, marriages/handfastings, housewarmings, healings,
deaths or other rites of passage.

2.4 Is there a set liturgy or liturgical calendar?

Most Wiccans mark eight holiday "sabbats" in the "wheel of the year,"
falling on the solstices, equinoxes and the four "cross-quarter days" on
or about the first of February, May, August and November. The names of
the sabbats may differ between traditions, and many Wiccans also mark
"esbats," rituals for worship in accordance with a given moon phase (such
as the night of the full moon). Although there is no one source for all
Wiccan liturgy, many liturgical items such as the methods for casting the
circle, the "Charge of the Goddess," certain myths and formulaic
expressions are common to many traditions. Some common formulaic
expressions include "hail and welcome/farewell," "blessed be" (sometimes
abbreviated on the net as B*B) and the closing "Merry meet and merry part,
and merry meet again." There is no one bible or book of common prayer for
all Wiccans, however, and great value is placed on creativity, poetry and
the artful integration of different myths and ritual elements.

2.5 What is basic Wiccan thealogy? Are you satanists?

Some myths and associations are common to many Wiccan traditions,
such as the Goddess' giving birth to the Horned God, the theme of their
courtship and His death, the descent of the Goddess into the realm of
death and others. Another thealogical point held in common by many
Wiccans is the *immanence* of deity/divinity within the natural world,
self and cycle of the seasons. This places value on the earth and this
world, as distinguished from views of transcendent divinity and an
unenchanted creation. Wiccans as a whole are very much "into" cycles: of
life, of the moon and seasons. Cyclical change as an erotic dance of life,
death and rebirth is a popular theme in Wiccan imagery, ritual and
liturgy. (_Thea_ is Greek for "goddess," by the way, so "thealogy" is not
a typo here, but a way of emphasizing the Goddess.)

Although it may be foolhardy to compare things as complex as
religions, people do. Many Wiccans distinguish themselves from Satanists,
for example, in preferring complementary views of divinity to adversarial
ones. Infact, Wiccans do not believe in an ultimate evil, for how would we know what is good? And if one calls him of herself a satanic witch, this is not possible. For Wiccans and Witches alike do not believe in satan or devil. Others may note their own comfort and embrace of ambiguity and
polytheism (many gods). Unlike the Jewish, Christian or Islamic
traditions, there is little emphasis on interpretation of "scripture" or a
revealed text. Although many Wiccans may believe in some sort of
reincarnation, they may distinguish themselves from Buddhists in seeing
life as a journey or adventure without any desire to "leave the wheel" of
return. Like Hindus, Wiccans may pride themselves on their tolerance for
other paths, like Buddhists they may value personal insight and like
Taoists they may seek to align themselves more perfectly with nature.
Some Wiccans may separate themselves from the "New Age" in their value for
both "light" and "dark" aspects of existence, a do-it-yourself attitude
and a distrust of money or hierarchies of "enlightenment" which seem to
place spirituality up for sale.

2.6 What are Wiccan ethics, the "Wiccan Rede" and "three-fold law?"

Wiccan ethics are seldom codified in a legalistic way, but may be
informed by some common expressions such as the "Wiccan Rede" and the
"three-fold law." According to most versions of the three-fold law,
whatever one does comes back to one thrice-multiplied, in amplified
repercussion. One short, rhymed version of the Wiccan Rede states "Eight
words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: An it harm none, do what you will." Often
"none" is interpreted to include the doer themself in analogy to the
"golden rule" of other faiths. There are no universal proscriptions
regarding food, sex, burial or military service and Wiccans, as a rule,
discourage proselytization (attempts to convert others to a different
religion).

2.7 What is the difference between a white witch and a black witch? And white, grey and black magick?

There is no such thing as a white witch or a black witch, because this
emphasises the fact that there are bad witches. Also, there is nothing good
or bad about white and black respectively. If you distinguish between a white
and a black witch, that would be slightly racist. So you can be a good witch or
a bad one. As for magick, it's colourless. Only the soul of the practioner colours
the magick


3 Wiccan Beliefs and Practices

3.1 Can I be a Christian/ Jew/ Muslim/ Buddhist/ Taoist/ Astrologer/
Druid/ Shaman/ omnivore/ whatever and a Wiccan?

Since much of Wicca is more worldview and ceremonial practice than
anything else, there is no Wiccan proscription of such things. Most
traditions have no requirement to denounce any other faith and, indeed,
Wiccans often look askance at "one true wayisms" which claim to have a
monopoly on truth, divine revelation or enlightenment. "Christian
Wiccans" probably face the largest skepticism, however, given the history
and ongoing reality of allegedly "Christian" persecution.

Prejudice (fear of job-loss, child-custody challenges, ridicule,
vandalism and even violence) may still keep many Wiccans "in the broom
closet," with concealment and dual observances a traditional Wiccan
defense against persecution. This may make contact with Wiccans
difficult in some areas. Since Wiccan worship is fairly active by its
nature, non-participating observers are rarely invited to Wiccan rituals.

3.2 Why can't I be a satanist and a Wiccan at the same time?
No, you can't, Firstly for the reason that there cannot be an ultimate evil due
to the fact that there would be so much more mayhem then there is. Secondly,
the devil is a Chistian invention. They had a look at the Horn'd One and decided
he was a devil, hence the horns. But the Horn'd God is a very loving and proctective
God, as is the Goddess.

3.3 Do I have to wear a pentagram and black clothing to be a Wiccan?

No you don't have to wear a pentagram and black clothes to be Wiccan,
although if you want to, by all means do so. The pentagram is symbollic
for Wicca because of its spirit over the elements, or power, and the circle
symbolising the Goddess and God and rebirth. The pentagram was said to
be the perfect shape by Pythagoras. Black is the colour of everything,
every colour and mystery, that's why people wear it, as well for its
fashionable qualities. Most Wiccans prefer to wear purple, green and
blue in natural fibers.
3.4 What are "dedication" and "initiation" in Wicca?

These things mean different things in different traditions. Usually
"dedication" ceremonially marks the beginning of Wiccan study, while
"initiation" may mark full membership in a coven/tradition (such as after
"a year and a day") or may indicate elevation in skill or to special
clergy status. Some traditions look on all initiates as co-equal clergy,
while others have grades or "degrees" of initiation, which may be marked
by distinct sacramental ceremonies, duties or expectations within the
tradition.

Some people claim that "only a Witch can make a Witch," whereas
others say that only the Goddess and God or demonstrated skill can make a
witch. Doreen Valiente was initiated by Gardner himself, but slyly asks
"who initiated the first witch?" Valiente and others assert that those
who choose to "bootstrap" a coven into existence (by an initial
initiation) or to use self-initiation may do so, citing the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. Self-dedications are also quite common among
new practitioners and solitary Wiccans ("solitaries").

3.5 Do all Wiccans practice magic/k?

That depends on what one means by magic. The occultist Aleister
Crowley helped re-popularize archaic spellings such as "magick", terming
his "the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with
Will." Others may think of magic as folk parapsychology or see the
changes wrought as primarily changes in consciousness. Ceremonialists may
distinguish between the "high magick" of ritual observance and the "low
magic" of practical spells (such as for protection and health). Almost
all Wiccans, however, have some sort of ceremony or psychological practice
to better attune themselves with divinity, encouraging insight and a sense
of efficacy. Others may cast love spells or other curses but no, we don't
do it for strangers on the net and no, we don't confuse this with stage
magic.

3.6 Is Wicca the same thing as witchcraft?

The short answer is no. Many cultures have a negative word like
"witchcraft," often viewing it as a malevolent, supernatural tool used by
the weak, old or malicious. Some people use the term "witchcraft" to
cover more general skills, such as counseling, the occult and herbcraft.
Some Wiccans call themselves "Witches," capitalizing it as a gesture of
solidarity with the victims of the Burning Times, but this is a personal
decision. Although many Wiccans today may cast spells and practice
magic/k, these are not considered an integral part of Wicca by all
Wiccans. Wicca is not traditional folk magic and all magic is not
necessarily Wiccan, anymore than all people who pray belong to any
particular religion.

3.7 What were "the Burning Times?"

"The Burning Times" is the term used by many modern Neo-Pagans and
feminists to refer to the great European witch-hunts of the early modern
period, coincident with the time of the reformation and seen by many as a
crucial step in Christianity's crushing of the Pagan religions, driving
these underground. Some authors claim as many as ten million people were
killed in these hunts, while more recent scholarship puts the number of
documented deaths at 20-100 thousands, 80-90% of these women. Sometimes
these numbers are doubled to account for non-judicial killings and deaths
from torture, suicide, etcetera. Whatever the numbers, however, victims
of these hunts are perceived as martyrs by Wiccans today, with the lessons
of intolerance, misogyny and religious terror clearly noted.

3.8 What are the origins of Wicca?

This is a matter of some debate within Wiccan circles. Some Wiccans
see their inspiration and traditions as coming directly from the gods.
Certain Wiccan mythology holds that Wicca has come down from the stone
age, surviving persecution in secret covens for hundreds of years. Others
say that their Wicca is a long-held family tradition (or "fam trad"),
passed down through villages and grandmothers. Aidan Kelly argues that
modern Wicca was largely pieced together by Gerald Gardner from Margaret
Murray, Charles Leland and other sources, with significant revisions by
Doreen Valiente (and others), beginning in 1939. Whatever its origins,
Wicca today is a vibrant, modern religion, open to change, creativity and
personalization.

3.9 What are the major traditions in Wicca and where do they come from?

Aidan Kelly argues that all of Wicca derives from Gerald Gardner,
with some crucial editing and revision by his initiate Doreen Valiente.
Alex Sanders is widely thought to have acquired a Gardnerian book of
shadows, with which he started his own "Alexandrian" tradition, initiating
Janet and Stewart Farrar. Other well-known traditions include Raymond
Buckland's Seax Wicca, Victor and Cora Anderson's Faery Wicca and feminist
Dianic Wicca, which emphasizes the Goddess as put forward by such authors
as Zsuzsanna Budapest. There are also branches of Wicca identifying
themselves with various ethnicities and traditions such as druidism,
shamanism and so forth.

3.10 What is the "Book of Shadows?" Where do I get one?

The Book of Shadows (or "BoS") is sort of a customized reference book
for Wiccans, containing useful information such as myths, liturgical
items, one's own writings or records of dreams and magical workings.
According to Gerald Gardner, such a book should be handcopied from teacher
to student but in practice not every Wiccan has a "book of shadows" and
few are exactly alike. Sometimes only initiates are allowed access to a
tradition's book, or it may be called by a different name, such as "mirror
book," "magical diary" or "grimoire." There are many "books of shadows"
available in print and on-line (leading to the "disk of shadows" or even
"directories of shadows" several megabytes large). If you'd like to copy
from these sources for your personal use, you may assemble your own book,
but please observe copyright laws in your newfound enthusiasm.

3.11 What is a coven and how do I join one?

The coven is the basic, cellular "congregation" for some Wiccans, but is
often very formal, selective and closed, aiming for an ideal of "perfect
love and perfect trust" among members. Most Wiccans begin in less formal
ways such as attending festivals, public rituals, classes or more open
groups (often called "circles"). Many Wiccans probably begin and continue
practice as "solitaries," whether before, after or while a member of a
coven. Solitary practice is a valid "tradition" in the Craft, but some
good places to find other Wiccans are on the net, at public Pagan events or
through occult, political or "new age" bookstores.

3.12 How do I witness about Jesus Christ to a Wiccan?

First of all, please don't do it here. Alt.religion.wicca is
explicitly for discussions on Wicca and Wiccan practice: evangelical
posters are not welcome. Those posting and reading here are adults, many
of whom are or have been Christians, have read a bible, heard of Jesus and
considered their beliefs as seriously as you have yours. The more you
know about Wicca, however, the more intelligent you will seem and you are
certainly welcome here as long as you remain on-topic. Reading this FAQ
is a good first step, and in general it is a good idea to "lurk" and read
for a while before posting to ANY newsgroup. Please keep in mind,
however, Wicca's distrust of proselytization and its conscious lack of an
evangelical tradition. Posts which claim we are all going to hell or
blather about TRUE POWER!!! [IN ALL-CAPS!!!] are particularly
inappropriate, and may be answered with e-mail complaints to you and/or
your service provider.

3.13 How do I learn more about Wicca?

Sticking around and reading this group is one way, as are books and local
contacts. Below is a list of initial resources, beginning with the books
most frequently recommended, two historical books and a few well-respected
authors. At least a few of these should be available through your local
library, and most are easily ordered through any local bookstore. All
contain bibliographies and pointers towards other material.

4 Resources

4.1 Introductory books on Wicca

Margot ADLER, _Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers
and Other Pagans in America Today_ (Boston: Beacon Press, 1979). Second,
1986 edition, ISBN 0-8070-3253-0. Newest Arkana ISBN 0-14-019536-X.

STARHAWK, _The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the
Great Goddess_ (San Franciscso: Harper & Row, 1979). Second, 1989
edition, ISBN 0-06-250816-4.

Scott CUNNINGHAM, _Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner_ (St Paul,
MN: Llewellyn, 1992). ISBN 0-87542-118-0.

Stewart FARRAR, _What Witches Do: A Modern Coven Revealed_ 1983 (Custer
WA: Phoenix, 1989). ISBN 0-919345-17-4.

Silver RAVENWOLF, _To Ride a Silver Broomstick: New Generation Witchcraft_
(St Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 1993). ISBN 0-87542-791-X.

Aidan A. KELLY, _Crafting the Art of Magic: A History of Modern Witchcraft,
1939-1964_ (St Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 1991). ISBN 0-87542-370-1.

Ronald HUTTON, _The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their
Nature and Legacy_ (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991). Paperback ISBN
0-631-18946-7.

Other authors who are generally well thought of include Amber K.,
Zsuzsanna Budapest, Janet and Stewart Farrar, Gerald Gardner, Jade and
Doreen Valiente.


4.2 Other Usenet Newsgroups that may be of interest

alt.pagan soc.religion.paganism alt.religion.shamanism
alt.magick alt.religion.druid soc.religion.shamanism
alt.mythology alt.religion.asatru talk.religion.misc
alt.divination alt.magick.tyagi talk.religion.newage
alt.tarot alt.pagan.magick

4.3 Wiccan/Neo-Pagan Umbrella Organizations

Covenant of the Goddess, PO Box 1226, Berkeley CA 94704, United States.
http://www.caw.org/
Universal Federation of Pagans, PO Box 6006, Athens GA 30604, USA.
New Wiccan Church (Gard/Alex), PO Box 162046, Sacramento CA 95816, USA.
Witches Against Religious Discrimination, PO Box 5967, Providence RI 02903.
Alliance for Magical & Earth Religions, PO Box 16551, Clayton MO 63105, USA
http://inner-sanctum.com/magus/AMER/
Military WARD, PO Box 2610, McKinleyville CA 95521-2610, United States.
The Pagan Federation (British, address same as for _Pagan Dawn_, below).
http://www.paganfed.demon.co.uk/
Circle Network (address same as _Circle Network News_, below_).
http://www.circlesanctuary.org/


4.4 Established Wiccan/Neo-Pagan Periodicals

Green Egg, PO Box 1542, Ukiah CA 95482-1542, United States.
Circle Network News, PO Box 219, Mt Horeb WI 53572, United States.
Enchante, 30 Charlton St #6F, New York NY 10014-4295, United States.
Pagan Dawn (formerly The Wiccan), BM Box 7097, London WC1N 3XX, U.K.
Beltane Papers, 1333 Lincoln St #240, Bellingham WA 98226, United States.

4.5 Other Internet Resources

Other resource lists are posted to this group from time to time,
including lists of FTP sites, WWW urls, offers of materials and reference
files. Among those we found particularly useful in writing this FAQ (and
explicitly tried *not* to duplicate or replace here) are the US Army
"Chaplain's Manual" entry on Wicca and the alt.pagan newsgroup FAQ. Both
are recommended for those with further interest in Wicca and Neo-Paganism,
as are the Yahoo pages on Paganism, Wicca and Witchcraft:

http://www.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Religion/Paganism/
http://www.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Religion/Wicca_and_Witchcraft/

5 Copyright and Distribution Notice

Doreen Valiente retains copyrights to all her copyrighted material, but
the rest of this FAQ is in the public domain as a service and gift of the
Goddess. We ask all who distribute it to keep it intact and attribute it
when quoted or reproduced elsewhere.

This FAQ is posted to alt.religion.wicca once each full moon, and
to other forums as seems appropriate. It is also available on the
World Wide Web and by anonymous FTP as noted in the header.

* "Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: An it harm none, do as you will" *


If you need any help with anything Wiccan, Witchy or Pagan. need a potion or spell help E-Mail me, or add me to your MSN Messanger with ask_a_witch@hotmail.com

 

 

 

 

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