Wicca, Beliefs, Facts, Symbols, History: What is Wicca?

Wicca Beliefs and History

Wicca is a pagan belief system founded in the 1940s and 1950s from a variety of religious traditions and beliefs as well as Freemason rituals. Some Wiccans are polytheistic, worshipping more than one deity, while others worship only the "God" or the "Goddess." Still other Wiccans worship nature, and call it Gaea, after the Greek earth goddess. Wiccans also practice magic and cast spells. Most practitioners of Wicca believe in reincarnation.

What is Wicca?

Wicca is a modern pagan religion that was created in 1954 by Gerald Gardener, England, based on certain ancient pre-Christian pagan ideals. Gardner claimed that Wicca had secretly existed for thousands of years, originating in the pre-Christian Paganism of Europe. Various related Wiccan traditions have since evolved from Gardner's time, with their own specific beliefs, rituals, and practices. Outsiders often assume that Wicca is a form of black-magic and superstition, but insiders claim that Wicca is a modern version of the ancient practice of honoring the Mother goddess found in creation and nature. Due to the open and uncontrolled structure of the religion there are no precise statistics for Wicca; however, estimates range between 50,000 and 800,000 practitioners world-wide.

It can be very difficult to come up with a universal definition of what a Wiccan is. Most Wiccans desire to live as one with nature, which could be adapted from Buddhism and other religions. Wicca calls on the practitioner to act as their own priest(ess)/shaman, interacting directly with the spirit force sometimes in the form of a horned god and goddess. They are inclusive, many worship nature or at least hold a deep respect for the natural world, and many promote peace or seek to live in a peaceful manner. Wiccans do not accept or worship the Judeo-Christian devil as Wicca is not a Judeo-Christian religion and as such does not acknowledge the devil. Wicca is often referred to as an "earth based" religion and many Wiccan ceremonies use earth-centric symbolism.

While Wiccans do perform magic and use spells to attempt to change the world around them, doing so for express personal gain or to harm someone else is taboo. Attempting to solve ones problems with magic and ritual before exhausting mundane means is also strongly frowned upon and a Wiccan who engages in this on a regular basis will quickly find themselves pushed out of the greater Wiccan community. Along with that, an extreme importance is placed on free-will and the ability of the individual to make his/her own choices. Anything that impinges on that is not accepted by Wiccans; including preaching religious beliefs and use of ritual magic on someone without their knowledge or consent.

Wicca Facts

Wicca is an earth and nature-honoring religion that celebrates the cycle of the year and the duality of what they perceive as divinity. Wiccans celebrate eight holidays; two solstices, two equinoxes and four other holidays roughly equally spaced throughout the year. These holidays are called sabbats.

Wicca, called 'witchcraft' by some, was popularized (or perhaps invented) in the middle part of the twentieth century by Gerald Gardner. He wrote a book called Witchcraft Today that was published in 1954. In the book, he claimed to have discovered a survival of ancient pagan religions still being practiced today. Most practicing pagans today discount his claim to a survival, and celebrate rather a revival (or at least a best-guess reconstruction) of a pre-Christian religion.

Wiccans believe that the deity is both male and female and as such, honor both gods and goddesses that represent some aspect of the deity. Some Wiccans choose not to personify a deity at all, and speak instead of the 'creative force of the universe' or some similar phrase. Some women choose to follow a version of Wicca that downplays or ignores the god-aspect altogether, as a reaction against what they perceive to be the 'masculinization' of more traditional religions.

Wiccans may practice with a group, called a coven, or alone, in which case they are called 'solitaries'. There is no central Wiccan authority or canon, with each group or individual deciding what their practice consists of. Note that many of these groups, may claim to be practicing the only 'true' Wicca.

Wiccans, and most other neo-pagans, believe, in common with many of the Eastern religions, that there is a universal force that exists within everything. Wiccans believe that this force can be manipulated through an act of will — this is the basis for Wiccan magic.

Wicca's basis for ethical behavior is in the Wiccan Rede, or rule: "An (if) it harm none, do what you will." The 'harm none' qualifier puts Wicca in the same camp with Buddhism and other religions that believe in non-violence. The Three-fold Law further states that whatever you send out into the universe, be it good or bad, you can expect to return to you threefold.

Contrary to common belief, Wiccans do not worship or even believe in the devil. Wicca recognizes no personification of evil. There are certainly people who wear black and call themselves Satanists and wear pentacles (a Wiccan symbol) but they are generally not considered to be Wiccans.

It is true many young adults and teens are initially drawn to Wicca as an act of rebelling against the religious faith of their parents. And Wicca is no more immune than any other faith to abuse by powerful personalities in need of followers to control.

The number of people who self-identify as Wiccan or other neo-pagan religion continues to increase — there are now Wiccan chaplains tending to the pagan population in prison and serving in the military.

Is Wicca Witchcraft?

Most Wiccans will vehemently deny that Satan is part of their pantheon, citing major doctrinal differences between themselves and Satanists. Wiccans generally promote moral relativity, disdaining labels like "good" and "evil" and "right" or "wrong." Wicca has one law or rule, called the Rede: "Do what ye will, harm ye none." At first blush, the Rede seems like complete, uninhibited personal license. You can do whatever you want, as long as no one gets hurt; however, Wiccans are quick to point out that the ripple effect of one's actions can carry far-reaching consequences. They articulate this principle in the Three-fold Law, which says, "All good that a person does to another returns three-fold in this life; harm is also returned three-fold."

One major factor that contributes to the abiding fascination with Wicca is the purported use of spells and magick (a deliberate misspelling intended to separate Wiccans from magicians and illusionists). Curiosity seekers, as well as spiritual neophytes, are most eager to delve into these mysteries. Not all Wiccans practice witchcraft, but those that do claim magick is to them what prayer is to a Christian. The difference between the two is that Wiccans claim magick is simply using their minds to control matter, or they are appealing to their favorite deity to do them a favor, while Christians call upon an omnipotent, omnipresent God to heal people and to intervene and work in their lives. Because the Rede disallows witches from hurting others and the Three-fold Law spells out the consequences for Rede-breakers, witches who practice magick prefer to call themselves "nature witches" or "white witches" to further distance themselves from Satanists.

Wicca is basically a religion that is about minding your own business and living peaceably with your neighbors and environment. Wiccans are eager to draw parallels between themselves and biblical Christianity for the sake of earning credibility, but what does the Bible have to say about this religion? You won't find the word "wicca" in the Bible, so let's evaluate the beliefs in light of what God says about them.

Wiccan spells are idolism—Romans 1:25 says, "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things, rather than the Creator…" Who wants to settle for second best? In Isaiah 40, God paints a picture of how much greater the Creator is than His creation. If you are worshipping anything besides the Creator, you are not only spinning your wheels, you are guilty of idolatry.

Wiccan spells bring false hope. Hebrews 9:27 says, "…Man is destined to die once, after that, to face judgment." God says we get one chance at life, and that is it. There are no do-overs. If we don't accept God's gift of Jesus in our lifetime, He judges us as unwilling to be in His presence, and we are sent to hell.

Wiccan spells bring disillusionment. Mark 7:8 says, "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." God is God, and we are not. We have a decision to make. Are we going to take God at His word and adopt His worldview, or are we not? Knowing God takes a lot of discipline. Wicca is a religion that takes a pack of lies, ties it in a romantic ribbon, and searches out a well-intentioned, but lazy and gullible mark to sell its hollow doctrines.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 says, "Let no one be found among you who… practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells…Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD..." Wicca witchcraft is a mortal sin, and God hates it. Why? Because it is an attempt to cut off our dependence on God and get answers apart from Him.

Sin isn't just a heinous, socially disagreeable action. Sin is our decision to disagree with God on any topic—to rebel against Him. Sin is saying, "God, I want to live my life my way." Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death…" This isn't bodily death, this is spiritual death: eternal separation from God and all the blessings that His presence brings. This is the definition of hell: the absence of God's presence. That is what our sin gains for us.

Thankfully, Romans 6:23 doesn't end there. It goes on to say, "…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." God knew that we would all rebel in one way or another, and He provided a way for us to avoid that separation—through faith in Jesus Christ. Wicca witchcraft is nothing more than another lie from Satan, the enemy of our souls, who "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

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