What is Wicca?
The short answer is that Wicca is a nature-based religion with a reverence for all life that views deity as male and female and celebrates the cycle of the seasons. It is personal and experiential, meaning one must experience it to understand. My flavor of Wiccan practice may be very different from your flavor of Wiccan practice, yet we can agree that we are Wiccans.
There are many paths to spiritual growth. Wicca is a participatory revelation, a celebratory action leading to greater understanding of oneself and the universe. Wiccans believe there is much to learn by looking to our future, studying our past through myth, through ritual drama, through poetry and music, through love and through living in harmony with the Earth.
I think of Wicca as the modern manifestation of an ancient longing for connection to the divine, whatever one may think of as divine.
In my case, I think of deity (the Goddess and the God) as divine, the earth as divine, the elements of life as divine, and the life force itself as divine. Wicca is my way of connecting to the life force that surrounds me, fills me, sees me, and colors my world.
What does your Wicca look like?
It might help you to know the definitions to some commonly used terms to know whether you are Wiccan or not!
Pagan, Witch, Wiccan – Differences and definitions
Pagan is a term often used to describe anyone who is not a member of one of the big three, Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. A Christian might call anyone not Christian a pagan. A Jew might call anyone not Jewish, pagan. And likewise, a Muslim might call anyone not Islamic, pagan. Or they might call them an infidel, which would be considered very similar in this context. An infidel is defined as someone without a religion or who is not of the same faith. Hmmm… Isn’t that a Pagan?
The common use of Pagan is a very broad term that includes Hinduism, Buddhism, and polytheistic religions such as Wicca, Druidry, Asatru, etc… But a Hindu or a Buddhist might be offended to have their religion referred to as Pagan.
A Witch is someone who practices magick. That is magick with a ‘k’. Not the stage illusion variety. Witch is a gender-neutral term and refers to both women and men. I have seen Warlock used by folks who are Witches but the word is an old Scottish term meaning traitor… Not something I would want to call myself. A Witch who practices witch-craft is not necessarily Wiccan; because witch-craft is not a religion. You could be a Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan, Druid, or a Muslim and practice witch-craft.
Wiccan refers to someone practicing some form of the Wiccan faith. Wicca is a federally recognized religion with the same rights and responsibilities as any other religion. The term Wicca was coined in the 1950’s by Gerald Gardner.
To recap, a Wiccan is a Pagan and is usually a Witch because most Wiccans practice witch-craft, but not all Pagans are Witches and not all Witches are Wiccans.
Are you confused yet?
*Think of Pagan as the overall umbrella, Wicca as a religion under that umbrella, and Witch as the person who did the rain-making spell so you needed the umbrella in the first place.
*Special thanks to a sweet sister of mine for the great quote!
Further information can be found in Dallas area resident, Bryan Lankford’s book, Wicca Demystified – A Guide for Practitioners, Family and Friends found here: http://www.amazon.com/Wicca-Demystified-Practitioners-Family-Friends/dp/1569243808
A Word to the Wise – Seeker’s Bill of Rights
Spiritual seekers are in an extremely vulnerable position. In their quest for fellowship and teaching, they risk encountering those who use faith to prey on others. To empower the Seekers of our community, a Seeker’s Bill of Rights has been drafted. It will serve to remind Seekers that they are human beings with dignity and rights and should expect to be treated as such. (Written by Charles Mars, Texas Local Council Member and 1999-2002 National CoG Board Member.)
Please read it here, Seekers Bill of Rights.