Taking the time to fully understand what Wicca is as opposed to what the media, fairytales, and even mainstream society believes it to be is a step further in learning tolerance and respect for those who choose to follow a different path. It just takes an open mind and an open heart to learn that what has been feared for so very long, really isn’t anything to fear at all. So, let’s understand a little of what being Wiccan means.
What is Wicca? Wicca is a Neo-Pagan, Earth Centered Religion that is recognized by the United States. By definition by The American Heritage Dictionary, Wicca is ” A polytheistic Neo-Pagan nature religion inspired by various pre-Christian western European beliefs, whose central deity is a mother goddess and which includes the use of herbal magic and benign witchcraft” (Source: http://www.bartleby.com/61/) Wicca is celebrated using the symbols, seasonal days and harvests of celebration, beliefs and deities of ancient Celtic society but there are other paths, and sects within the Wiccan and Pagan Community. Because Wicca is a decentralized religion there are many paths to choose depending on what spiritual path one has taken. There can be monotheistic, polytheistic, duotheistic, or atheistic.
What Holidays and Seasonal Celebrations do Wiccans Observe? Wiccans follow seasonal celebrations (commonly know as Sabbats) eight times a year which mark The Wheel of the Year and the cycles of nature. These include the Summer and Winter Solstices, the Spring and Autumnal Equinoxes, and the quarters days or what is known as the fire festivals- Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh. All of the eight sabbats were celebrated in the ancient world, but not all necessarily by the same people or in the same place.
Wiccans Do Not Believe in Satan. There isn’t a Devil within the Wiccan religion and Wiccans are not Satanists. They do not harm children or animals. Wiccans follow what is called The Wiccan Rede which is a group of *Laws*, Beliefs, Ethics and Teachings. It’s Eight Word foundation to this these beliefs are “An it harm none do what ye will..” Wiccans are very centered on environmental issues, animal advocacy, volunteering, and anything that can improve the Earth itself and those who inhabit it.
Wicca is such a broad topic that it would take an entire book to explain exactly what it is, how it’s celebrated, and what it’s not. The best thing to do is to view some of the Resources below and take the time to educate yourself in understanding what has been so misunderstood for far too long. Respect and tolerance is key.