WICCA (sometimes called Wicce, The Craft, or The Old
Religion by its practitioners) is an ancient religion of love for life and nature. Many unlearned people assume that Wicca
and Witchcraft are the same. Though, many times, the two will cross lines into each other, they are for the most part seperate
beliefs that work together.
In prehistoric times, people respected the great forces of Nature and celebrated the cycles
of the seasons and the moon. They saw divinity in the sun and moon, in the Earth Herself, and in all life. The creative energies
of the universe were personified: feminine and masculine principles became Goddesses and Gods. These were not semi-abstract,
superhuman figures set apart from Nature: they were embodied in earth and sky, women and men, and even plants and animals.
They were, for the most part, an incarnation of nature itself.
This viewpoint is still central to present-day Wicca. To most Wiccans, everything in Natures
-- and all Goddesses and Gods -- are true aspects of Deity. The aspects most often celebrated in the Craft, however, are the
Triple Goddess of the Moon (Who is Maiden, Mother, and Crone) and the Horned God of the wilds. These have many names in various
Though some practice alone or with only their families, many Wiccans are organized into
covens of three to thirteen members. Some even large "churches" exist, but they are few and far between. Some are led by a
High Priestess or Priest, many by a Priestess/Priest team; others rotate or share leadership. Some covens are highly structured
and hierarchical, while others may be informal. Often extensive training is required before initiation, and coven membership
is considered an important commitment.
There are many branches or "traditions" of Wicca in the United States and elsewhere, such
as the Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Welsh Traditional, Dianic, Faery, Seax-Wica and others. All adhere to a code of ethics. None
engage in the disreputable practices of some modern "cults," such as isolating and brainwashing impressionable, lonely young
people. Genuine Wiccans welcome sisters and brothers. They prefer to be part of a "family style unit" or brother/sisterhood.
They never accept disciples, followers or victims.
Coven meetings include ritual, celebration and magick (the "k" is added to distinguish
it from stage illusions or modern magic). Wiccan magick is not, for the most part, a visable magick. It does not hold the
glamor of stage magic or the dark fantasy of old horror movies; it operates in harmony with natural laws and is usually less
spectacular -- though effective. Various techniques are used to heal people and animals, seek guidance, or improve members'
lives in specific ways. Positive goals are sought: cursing and "evil spells" are repugnant to practitioners of the Old Religion.
Wiccans tend to be strong supporters of environmental protection, equal rights, global,
peace and religious freedom, and sometimes magick is used toward such goals.
Wiccan beliefs do not include such Judeo-Christian concepts as original sin, vicarious
atonement, divine judgment or bodily resurrection. Craft folk believe in a beneficent universe, the laws of karma and reincarnation,
and divinity inherent in every human being and all of Nature. Yet laughter and pleasure are part of their spiritual tradition,
and they enjoy singing, dancing, feasting, and love.
Wiccans tend to be individualists, and have no central holy book, prophet, or church authority.
They draw inspiration and insight from science, and personal experience. Each practitioner keeps a personal book or journal
in which s/he records magickal "recipes," dreams, invocations, songs, poetry and so on.
To most of the Craft, every religion has its own valuable perspective on the nature of
Deity and humanity's relationship to it: there is no One True Faith. Rather, religious diversity is necessary in a world of
diverse societies and individuals. Because of this belief, Wiccan groups do not actively recruit or proselytize: there is
an assumption that people who can benefit from the Wiccan way will "find their way home" when the time is right. Despite the
lack of evangelist zeal, many covens are quite willing to talk with interested people, and even make efforts to inform their
communities about the beliefs and practices of Wicca.