Wicca for Beginners
This "Wicca for Beginners" page is a central index for the various Wiccan pages on the site. I figured that even though you don't need to be Wiccan in order to practice witchcraft, this is still a topic that most people are going to be interested in.
First of all, what does it mean to be Wiccan? Unfortunately, the term has been misused so many times in recent history that it has lost a lot of its real meaning. People seem to think that whatever path of Pagan belief they are following can be called "Wicca". That is not the case. Your personal path is just as valid as anyone elses but if you are not following the basic tenets of Wicca, then you are not Wiccan.
Basically, Wicca is a Neo-Pagan religion that was either founded or discovered
(depending on who you ask) by Gerald Gardner in the mid 1950s. Most people feel that the religion in it's modern state can only be traced back to this point, regardless of how much Gardner based his practices on older traditions. So do not treat Wicca as a thousand-year old ancient religion. It's not.
Wicca has a male and female deity (not a whole pantheon), and it focuses strongly on natural cycles for its 8 sacred Sabbat days of the year. Originally, Wicca was an initiation-based religion that required coven membership. That was mainly because learned from established members was the only way to learn. Today, there is enough information out there on Wicca that it is possible and generally accepted to be a solitary Wiccan if you choose. Some people do not agree and will only consider people to be truly Wiccan if they are in a coven.
You might also consider taking a Wiccan name when you start learning on this path. As you grow into being Wiccan, more formal rituals such as the Wiccan handfasting may become important.
Some Wiccan's choose to follow the Wiccan Rede but that is not "officially" part of the Wiccan religion. Some will follow a general rule of "Harm None", but again that is not part of everyone's belief system. A Wiccan altar is another common aspect of this religion.
Understanding the various Wiccan Gods and Goddesses is another whole part of Wicca as well. Dealing with more than one Deity can be a little hard to grasp at first.
There are several different Wiccan traditions (similar to the denominations in Christianity). The original and most authentic is Gardnerian, as it is passed down directly from Gerald Garner himself. Alexandrian Wicca is similar and has a similar history to it, coming from the same time period. Many others have sprung up in more recent years, such as Georgian, Corellian and Dianic. Regardless of the specific tradition, they all tend to adhere to the same Wiccan philosophy.
This is just a brief introduction to Wicca for beginners, but it should give you a place to start. Follow the various links to other articles for further details and more explanations about the different aspects of this magickal religion as you continue your Wiccan studies.
There are also several good free Wiccan ebooks that you can download if you want to look into this faith a little more deeply, or try a free online Wicca class instead. And if you are looking to purchase books for your personal Wiccan library, I have a selection of great beginner Wicca books you can browse through.
And once you have mastered all the beginner material, you might find it helpful to have a few tips on moving past the Wicca 101 stage.
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