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Wicca

An introduction 

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Overview:

Wicca differs from many other religions by its emphasis on:
bulletThe feminine as being at least as important as the masculine,

bulletThe importance of preserving the environment,

bulletMoral behavior as determined largely by the individual,

bulletPositive attitudes towards human sexuality as a gift of the Goddess, and

bulletThe passage of the seasons.

A follower of Wicca is called a Wiccan. Wicca and other Neopagan religions are currently experiencing a rapid growth in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Growth is particularly obvious among some teenagers, who are rejecting what they feel is the autocracy, paternalism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and insensitivity to the environment that are found in the conservative wings of some of the larger religions. Many North Americans of European descent, who are keen to discover their ancestral heritage, are also attracted to this religion.

Origin of Wicca:

Depending upon how you look at Wicca, it is either one of the newest or one of the oldest religions in the world:

bulletWicca is a recently created, Earth centered, Neopagan religion. The various branches of Wicca can be traced back to Gardnerian Witchcraft which was founded in the UK during the late 1940s.

bullet Wicca is based on the symbols, seasonal days of celebration, beliefs and deities of ancient Celtic society. Added to this material were Masonic and ceremonial magickal components from recent centuries. In this respect, it is a religion whose roots go back almost three millennia to the formation of Celtic society circa 800 BCE.

About deities:

Depending upon one's point of view, Wicca can be considered a monotheistic, duotheistic, polytheistic, henotheistic, or atheistic religion, Hang onto your hat; this gets a bit complex:

bulletWicca is monotheistic (belief in a single deity): Some Wiccans recognize a single supreme being, sometimes called "The All" or "The One." The Goddess and God are viewed as the female and male aspects of this single deity.

bullet Wicca is duotheistic (belief in two deities; a.k.a. bitheistic): 1 Wiccans often worship a female Goddess and a male deity -- often called the Lady and Lord.

bulletWicca is polytheistic (belief in many deities): Many Wiccans recognize the existence of many ancient Gods and Goddesses, including but certainly not limited to: Aphrodite, Artemis, Briget, Diana, Dionysius, Fergus, Hecate, Isis, Pan, Thor, etc.

bulletWicca is henotheistic (belief in a single main deity among many): Many Wiccans view the many ancient deities as being aspects of the Lady and Lord, and view the latter as the male and female aspects of "The One."

bulletWicca is atheistic (no belief in a deity or deities): Some Wiccans view the God and Goddess as symbols, not as living entities. Depending upon which definition of the term "Atheist" that you adopt, these Wiccans may be considered Atheists.

Terminology:

Terms relating to Wicca are confusing, as they are with so many other religions:

bullet Wiccans often refer to  themselves as Neopagans. The term "Neopagan" includes all faith groups which are based on the attempted reconstruction of ancient, extinct Pagan religions. However, not all Neopagans are Wiccans. The umbrella term "Neopagan" includes followers of many other earth-centered faith traditions, including Druidism, and sometimes Asatru.

bulletWiccans often refer to themselves as Pagans. Unfortunately, this term has at least six different meanings, some of which are rather negative. "Pagan" is often used as a general-purpose snarl word to attack others. In its positive sense, Paganism includes Neopaganism as well as many other religions.

bulletSome Wiccans consider Wicca and Witchcraft to be synonyms.

bulletOthers differentiate between Wicca, which they view to be a religion, and Witchcraft, which they perceive to be the practice of magick. Under this definition, Witchcraft is not a religion and thus can be performed by members of any religion.

bullet Most Wiccans practice magick. However, some do not and rather concentrate on the spirituality of the Wiccan religion.

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A useful information sheet to hand out to cowans (non-Pagans):

Wiccan info sheet

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You can buy the following books on Wicca safely from Amazon.com's online bookstore

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Reference used:

  1. Google listed 288 hits for the search term "duotheistic" and 29 for "bitheistic" on 2003-JUL-15

Site navigation: Home page > World religions > Wicca > here

Copyright 1995 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last updated 2012-JAN-31
Author: Bruce A Robinson
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