Contrary to popular belief, Wicca is NOT an old religion! It is NOT the “old ways". Wicca was founded in the early 1950’s by a man named Gerald Gardner. Gardner was initiated into a coven of Witches that practiced the “old Religion" in England in the late 1930’s when England still had witchcraft laws in effect making it illegal to practice any form of the craft. When the laws were repelled in the early 50’s, Gardner broke away from his coven claiming that the information he had received was too sparse for his liking. He then went on to form his own covens combining his knowledge from the Free Masons and the Order of the Golden Dawn (having supposedly been a member of both) and of ceremonial magic. This was the beginning of Wicca and the start of what we know as the “Gardnerian Tradition".
My reason for using this particular example is to let the newbie Wiccan down easy. Yes, although the Religion is based off the old ways over 25,000 years old, Wicca was not formed until 1950’s. With that knowledge please take into consideration that the old religion was an oral religion and handed down from generation to generation. It was not written down until the Old religion scattered in secret after the burning times. These writings were what we call the Book of Shadows (A book that is used to keep your records of spells, rituals, knowledge. what ever you want)
This is not to say that Wiccans do not honor the “old religion" but it is to clear up the common misconception that Wicca is the oldest religion out there. It is no secret that Witchcraft was practiced through out the ages of time and probably ever since man was able to notice a power of something that was outside of himself. You can find many artifacts and drawings of early cave men that seem to worship a Horned Deity and a fully pregnant female deity. Some of these were brought to life by an anthropologist at London University named Dr. Margaret Alice Murray. She did studies on the witch trials through out history especially during the burning times.
Now, on to a little bit of the different traditions of Wicca:
There are several different branches of Wicca while the most famous of these would be the Gardnerian tradition. There is also a branch called Alexandrian Wicca which was founded by Alex Sanders the self proclaimed “King of the Witches" In all actuality, he took Gardner’s book of Shadows and spruced it up a bit after being denied entrance into several covens that practiced the Gardnerian tradition. There is also the Seax Tradition that was founded by Raymond Buckland (who was once part of Gardner’s coven but wanted to focus more on his Saxon roots). Raymond Buckland was responsible for Bringing Wicca to the U.S. There are several other branches of Wicca. Some are strictly Goddess focused usually denying entrance for Males. Those are Dianic Wiccans. But you will not find too many Dianic Covens today in modern America.
All of these are the basis for Modern Wicca as we know it today.
I will end the history part with a little note stating that Wicca is NOT satanic or “long hair tree hugging devil worshipers" Wiccans do not acknowledge Satan so therefore, how can we worship someone we don’t believe in? Just thought I would throw that out there for good measure! I do reiterate the fact that it’s unfortunate that people make this mistake because it does give Wiccans and or Pagans a bad name.
This is not to say that Wiccans are all “light and love" or “Fluffy Bunny" either. Many Wiccans (myself included) strive to achieve balance. There needs to be an equal amount of light and dark to achieve this too. So…does this mean we place hexes and curses upon everyone who cross our path? Nope, but a well trained Witch knows how to do it! You must understand that even though we strive to follow the Wiccan Rede (please look up the whole thing. it is beautifully written) and try to cause no intentional harm but that is not always possible. People are going to get angry at you and some may try to do bad things but its like my High Priest says “Do not start the fight, but be prepared to end it" meaning that do not go out looking for harm, but know how to defend you and your loved ones.
I hope this clears up any misconception about what Wiccans are and what they are not!
What is Witchcraft then? Isn’t Witchcraft and Wicca the same?
The short answer of this question is NO! Wicca and Witchcraft is NOT the same! The biggest difference between Wicca and Witchcraft is that Wicca is a religion and Witchcraft is a practice. Lots of people mistake Witchcraft as a religion. It is not…ANYONE can practice Witchcraft! One can practice witchcraft and be any religion they want to (Shocking huh?!)
For those new to pagan terminology, I will use a more mainstream example: "ALL Baptists are Christian, but NOT all Christians are Baptists." The majority of Wicca (I say majority because some will argue this) practices witchcraft. There is a saying that “All Wiccans are Witches but not all Witches are Wiccan". This is what is argumentative between some Wiccans, but in my personal view, Wiccans practice witchcraft simply by manipulating the energy around them to create the sacred circle. After all, that’s the basis of spell work is manipulation of energy.
This Leads us to Magick!
Why do I spell magic with a k at the end? To me, it separates the difference between ceremonial magick and stage magic (think David Copperfield). Magick is like I stated earlier, a manipulation of the energies around you to achieve a desired goal or need. I do stress though, that the universe and magick will not help you if you are not willing to help yourself! I always do the mundane actions first. Let’s say I need a new job and I’ve tried everything and I am yielding no results. I want to do a spell to aid in my job quest. I research the proper moon phase and the planetary correspondence down to the color of a candle to represent my goal. I do my spell and what comes next? First…you need to keep working your mundane measures, things don’t jut fall in your lap. Then you need to believe your magick will work. If you even have the shadow of a doubt…it’s not going to work at all. That’s just a small example of magick and spell work since there is so much to it, I don’t want to write a whole book here!
I do hope this helps clear up any misconceptions that one had about us Witches and what we do!
Written by Witchmom78, Copyright 2010 TrueGhostTales.com
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