The Wiccan Religion

The Wiccan religion can be a bit controversial, and by controversial I don't just mean all the Christians who think we're brainwashed devil-worshippers who follow a made-up and evil religion/cult. Though that is a whole problem in itself.

When I say controversial, I mean even within the larger Pagan community. How to define the Wiccan religion is something frequently argued, debated and fought over. In some ways, it's not that different from Christianity.

Ok, I'm not saying the religions are similar, just that the core religion isn't always that clear cut or easy to define. Do you have to go to church to be a Christian? Do you have to repent, live by the bible, pray or just believe in God? Though the idea of Christianity is simple enough, it's not that easy to say exactly what it means when you actually stop to think about it. Wicca is the same way, more or less.

Enough comparison. I think I've made my point. I am not going to try and create the perfect definition of Wicca, just introduce you to the basic concepts of the religion.

Sabbats - Wiccans celebrate 8 Sabbats or sacred days each year, usually corresponding to seasonal changes or historical harvest times. I've done a whole article on the Sabbats, but will just leave it to a simple list for now:

  • Yule - December 21
  • Imbolc - February 2
  • Ostara - March 21
  • Beltane - May 1
  • Midsummer - June 21
  • Lammas - August 1
  • Mabon - September 21
  • Samhain - October 31

Magick and Witchcraft - Wiccans practice witchcraft as part of their religion, though you don't need to be Wiccan in order to cast spells. That part tends to trip people up, thinking that Wiccan and witch are the same thing.

Gods and Goddesses - Within traditional Wiccan religion, there are 2 Deities: a male God and a female Goddess. Many people who are Wiccan also embrace a more polytheistic view point and may believe in and/or worship a larger number of Gods and Goddesses.

Coven Membership - This is generally where it gets sticky. As it was originally designed, the Wiccan religion was taught within a coven and only those within a coven could learn it. But as decades have passed, and many books on Wicca have been published, some say that you can truly be Wiccan without a coven (also known as being a solitary Wiccan). I'll leave it at that for the moment, since I could probably go on for pages about this. Whether you are in a coven or solitary, you may also decide to choose a Wiccan name to identify yourself.

Wicca has its origins in old Pagan beliefs and practices that came before the spread of Christianity, though the religion itself is NOT ancient. Some people say the founder of Wicca, Gerald Gardner, simply revived an old religion that has existed for thousands of years. That was Gardner's claim as well. Since then, it's become more generally accepted that Gardner really created the religion himself, drawing on concepts from old beliefs as well as ceremonial magic practices. So Wicca has only existed since the early 1950s.

Interested? You can find out a bit more about Wicca on the Wicca for Beginners page.

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