Wicca: A Misunderstood ReligionWhen someone hears about Wicca, usually their first thoughts are of Satan, love spells, and strange rituals. The truth about Wicca is slow to come out, since there are so many stigmas involved. I began researching Wicca 11 years ago. I was raised a Christian, and was told that anything like Wicca was devil worship. The older I got, the less I believed in God, and Christianity as a whole. To me none of it made sense, and most of it contradictory. So I began a search for a new religion. One that actually made sense to me, and one I could truly believe in. What I found was Wicca, a religion that is so misunderstood, and one with many enemies.
Wicca was founded in 1940 by a man named Gerald Gardner. However, it's roots and beliefs date back to hundreds of years ago. Wicca has several basic rules or beliefs. The most important of these is the Wiccan Rede. There are several interpretations of this, but the basic is "Eight words the Wiccan rede fulfill. And it harm none do what ye will." It basically means that we are free to practice and do what we want, as long as we harm no one. It is a general belief that Wiccans will cast evil spells on others. That is entirely false. Any true wiccan will abide by the rede, and harm no one.
There are roughly 13 principles of beliefs, however I will only touch on the major ones. We believe in a being called the "All". This means that we acknowledge a higher power, but see it as both male and female. We believe that everything in the universe is part male and part female. And that each of these parts are equally important. We believe in multiple Gods and Goddesses. We believe that each of these deities have wisdom, and abilities to share with us in different ways. We DO NOT worship Satan. We do not believe in the Christian Satan. We also believe in the power of mother earth. We believe in using "earthly medicine" to help cure illness, and help us to live full lives. We do go to doctors, specialists, and dentists like anyone else. However we believe these practices are aided by the use of herbs and oils. We believe in both the seen and unseen worlds. Basically, we believe in things that are not always seen by human eyes. We believe in the three fold law. This means that no matter what we do, good or bad, it will be returned to us three fold. This belief is commonly called Karma. These are the major beliefs of our religion.
Our rituals can be seen as both strange and scary by those who do not understand them. We use items such as an altar, wand, book of spells (AKA Book Of Shadows), herbs, statues, tarot cards, and incense. Let me explain a few of these tools. Our altar is used in rituals to call the God and Goddess for assistance and wisdom. On the altar we place things such as statues, crystals, incense, and candles. Our Book Of Shadows difers with each person. They are very personal. They contain research, spells (which I will explain in a moment), Sabbats (Holidays) and uses for herbs ect.
Many people hear spells, and automatically assume we are using them to harm others. This is not true. We use spells to ask for advice and assistance, to help others, to ask for healing of an illness, and to speak to our Gods and Goddesses. A true Wiccan will hurt no one. My Book Of Shadows is filled with spells such as Prayers of Thanks, to remove negative energy and thoughts, prayers for advice, ect. Wiccans can not do love spells. It is against our beliefs to do anything to make anyone do something against their will, this includes making someone fall in love with you. A true Wiccan can not and will not do love spells. I also have spells to help attune myself to the earth, and to bring my energies in line, and to center myself.
We have many Sabbats or Holidays we celebrate. All of these date back to Pre-Christian times, so you will see where Christianity has borrow many of our dates and beliefs. This was done in order to help Pagans convert to Christianity. I celebrate 8 Sabbats, The first is Yule which is our version of Christmas, we Celebrate for 11-12 days, starting on December 20th-December 31st. This is a celebration of winter. The second is Candlemas which is celebrated on February 1st. It is to celebrate the passing of winter. Third is Ostara celebrated on March 15th-March 17th. It is similar to Easter. Where we celebrate Spring. Fourth is Beltane celebrated May 1st-May 5th. This is my favorite, it is also to celebrate spring. It is commonly known as May Day. Fifth is Mid Summers Night on July 5th. This is a celebration of summer. Sixth is Lammas whish is celebrated on August 2nd- August 7th. It is a time to celebrate the Harvest. Seventh is Mabon, which is on October 7th. It is a celebration of Fall and the upcoming winter. The last is Samhain, commonly known as Halloween. This is a very important Sabbat. On this night it is said the veil between the worlds of the seen and unseen is at it's weakest. It is a time to honor those who have passed away. This Sabbat carries great significance to Wiccans. If you are interested in learning more please look it up. Due to time, I will not go into great detail about each, but I do suggest researching them if you are so inclined.
There are many sects of Wicca, like Christianity. There are Eclectic, Celtic, Fairy and many many more. I consider myself to be Eclectic, I use many various traditions, Gods and Goddesses, and I borrow from many different sects. Each sect has a rich culture.
We believe in 5 different elements. They are Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit (AKA Akasha and The All). We call upon each one of these during rituals to help lend us power.
Mainly there are 2 types of Wiccans, Solitary and those who are in a coven. A coven is a select group of Wiccans. Each coven has a high priest or priestess, consider it to be like a minister of a church. To become a part of a coven will involve varying rituals and trials. Many times Wiccans in rural areas have a difficult time finding covens. I myself prefer to be a Solitary Wiccan. I preform everything on my own, so I can make each ritual the way I feel comfortable, and I can choose how I will do things.
I have touched briefly on several aspects of Wicca. There is so much more information out there. If you are interested in researching, or becoming Wiccan, my suggestion is to do a lot of research. This is not something to enter into lightly. Also please remember you can believe everything you read, and it is nothing like you see on television (Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer). It is a wonderful and life changing religion.
If you do decide to study further I would recommend books written by Scott Cunningham and Silver Ravenwolf. They are very trustworthy and will be able to give you enough information to get started. I personally recommend starting with "Living Wicca" by Scott Cunningham. This is my favorite books for beginning, and I still refer to it frequently. I would also recommend "To Ride A Silver Broomstick : New Generation Witchcraft" by Silver Ravenwolf. I use both of these books frequently.
I hope that this article helps to debunk many myths in regards to Wicca. I hope that this will open people's eyes to a very peaceful, very misunderstood religion.