I thought to begin by bringing you a basic overview of the Wiccan culture. In doing so, it is my hope to dis-spell some of the myths still surrounding this way of life. To be Wiccan simply means you draw on beliefs and practices that date back to pre-Christian times. You focus on a natural spirituality in your day-to-day life.
As you evolve in your comprehension of Wicca, much like it has evolved since being brought public in the 1950’s by Gerald Gardner, you will feel freer. Our forefathers experienced this, but were often run into hiding their beliefs due to prejudice and misunderstanding. Today, we are blessed with the ability to stand proud and choose what we want to believe and practice. There is still much prejudice and ridicule from those who don’t understand, but through the many websites and books that are out there some are gaining insight to our beliefs.
While this is just a basic overview or introduction, there will be more to come on this topic. If you are interested in learning more, read on. At the end I’ve included a few thought provoking questions. You might want to use them to gain insight as to how open you are to experiencing a new spiritual path. You might even want to skip reading and answer the questions first, then come back and read to see if your perceptions have changed.
Reading the following excerpt from the book Solitary Witch by Silver Raven Wolf, you get a feel for the Wiccan path…
The essence of witchcraft is a transformation. The idea is to take the “you” currently present and accounted for and change your essence into something better, greater, stronger, and incredibly dynamic. Being a Wicca means to want to work every day to be a better person.
Who doesn’t want to become a better person?
Terminology here can and does get rather tricky. While Wicca and Witchcraft are often used interchangeably, it is important to know the differences. Don’t waste time arguing the difference, but do keep it in mind. It will help you to focus on learning and practicing the Wicca path that suits you best.
The many debates on where the practices originated from can help you grasp the history behind Wicca. With all magical traditions however, it is the experience and practice of these traditions that matters most. You will grow and learn with each experience you have thus clarifying your understanding of the origins.
The Wiccan rituals are not the same as all Pagan traditions in the modern world. Wicca follows a set pattern. One that is created in a sacred space. The circle is drawn, the guardians are called as are the Goddess and God, celebrations or magic is worked, and at the end the circle is opened after a small respite. Modern Pagans may follow a similar structure, but the symbolism and ideals may differ at each stage.
This difference in ideas is what creates the stance that Wiccans can be Witches, but not all Witches are Wiccan. You see, Witches usually only draw on earth elements, where the Wicca draw on both the earth and stellar energies. Witches, also, tend to focus less on the ceremony, while Wiccans tend to create a ceremony for each time in the circle.
Although Witches have a belief in a higher power, they are not spiritual in nature. The Wicca have a set belief system. They live and breath by it. There may be a bit of flexibility in it, but they never practice to harm which cannot be said of all Witches.
It is true that back in the day, Wicca was an initiatory tradition. You were invited to join a coven and learned from them until the day you felt it was time to strike out on your own to lead new initiates. Today, however, it is very hard to find such a coven and be invited to join. Because of this and the plethora of information to be had from books and the internet, many choose to learn the craft on their own.
You can spend a fortune on books if you aren’t careful. There are many Wicca scams out there that can lead you astray and end up costing you much in the way of dollars and time. What can you do? Start by reading what others recommend. 13moons.com has a great site with awesome books, a newsletter, and oh so much more. My personal favorites so far are by Cunningham and Silver Raven Wolf.
Questions to Ask Yourself About Wicca
1. Find a quiet corner of your world and meditate on your beliefs. Take notes on how you look at deity (God vs Goddess and God), nature, life, death and what comes after. You may want to write down your thoughts so take along a notebook and something to write with.
2. Based on what you know about Wicca and its traditions, write up a definition of Wicca, and any questions you have that you want to follow up on later.
you need to understand the traditions, both spiritual and practical, to experience the mysticism inherently steeped in the old customs. You will need to grasp the meaning and practice it daily of the seasonal Sabbats and Esbats to apply them daily to your spiritual journey.
It’s not for everyone, but it is a way of life that can free your soul to fly.
Be on the lookout for my next article on the origins of Wicca. Until then, Blessed be!