Wicca has long been a very misunderstood religion. The words “Pagan” and “Witch”, for many people, bring to mind visions of dark rituals, blood sacrifices, and devil worshipping.
The truth is, Wicca is nothing like that. Those are false stereotypes.
I could go on and on about what Wicca isn’t, but will instead tell you what it is. There are many forms of Wicca, and the information below is just a general explanation; my eclectic interpretation of Wicca. Details may vary between certain branches of Wiccan belief, and between individual practitioners.
Wicca is an earth-based religion, which means that we honor and respect life in all of its forms, and the earth herself. We celebrate the changing of the seasons, and yes, we perform rituals and spells. But there are no sacrifices at these rituals.
Rather, we give offerings to Goddess and God, of bread, cheese, fruit, flowers or herbs, wine or juice. (It depends on what the ritual is for) We light candles and incense, we pray and meditate, and we raise energy.
Raising energy means simply gathering energy and power, forming it into a specific thought or desire, and then releasing it into the Universe. The energy comes from ourselves, from Goddess and God, and from the four elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water.
Wiccans see ‘God’ as two deities, the Goddess and her consort, the horned God. Some see these as facets of the same God (male and female aspects), while others see them as two separate deities. It depends on the practitioner.
(and NO, the horned God does NOT represent Satan. Wiccans do not believe in Satan. It is believed that the horns are symbols of virility, deriving from male hunters of ancient tribes who would don horned headpieces during pre-hunt ceremonies, symbolizing the animals they were about to hunt, and thereby bringing luck to the hunt, and sustaining their families during the harsh winter months. Over many centuries, the horns themselves became symbols of male virility and strength.)
The Goddess is the Lady of the Moon, the Mother of all creation, of the trees and plants. She represents life, spring, fertility, birth, creation, emotion and intuition. The horned God is the God of the Sun, God of the harvest, and he represents strength (during the summer months), completion, death (during the winter months), and rebirth (spring).
Wicca is a morally responsible religion, and we are governed by The Wiccan Rede, which states (in part) “An it harm none, do what ye will“.
This means, stated simply, that Wiccans can do whatever they want, so long as it harms no one, including themselves (this includes plants, animals, the earth herself, etc. – any form of life).
Further, there is a rule that Wiccans believe in, called The Law of Three, which means, whatever you put out into the Universe, whether it be thoughts, words or actions, it will come back to you someday, threefold. If you put out only positive, loving energy, then you have nothing to worry about, and much to look forward to in life.
On the other hand, if you are a negative, unkind person, (Wiccan or not) and put out mean thoughts, perform hexes and spells of a negative nature, and generally spread malice wherever you go, you have some nasty surprises in store for you. You will receive three times the agony you have spread. Not very appealing, is it? So, in short, any Wiccan would be foolish to do something negative to another, for they know it will be coming back to them someday.
Those who practice Wicca are often referred to as Witches. Some like this title, some are offended by it. I personally refer to myself as a witch, simply because I see a witch as someone who uses the powers within herself and the Universe to create a desired result that benefits all.
There are also those who practice witchcraft, but are not Wiccans. These people are spell weavers and workers of magick, and are not governed by the Wiccan Rede. My belief is that the Law of Three still applies to these people (whether they realize it or not) and they also would be foolish to perform negative spells.
Now, a word about free will. Each of us on this earth has free will. This means that we can choose to do, or not do, anything we want. We can spread sunshine, or rain on others’ parades. We can be a force of healing, or one of destruction. No one will stop us from doing this. However, the Law of Three applies to every thought, word and deed. Morally responsible Wiccans will not perform spells which interfere with another’s free will.
(Most of us are well aware of the consequences of doing so, and will not bring such a fate upon ourselves. However, there are always a few, in any religion, who seek to serve only themselves, regardless of the consequences. Rest assured that these people will be dealt with, in their own time.) Spells that interfere with another’s free will include love spells (those placed on a specific person), spells to get a lover back, hexes, and the like.
Wiccans will not perform a spell with a specific person in mind, unless that person has specifically asked them to do so. Rather, we will perform spells to increase our personal power and strength. We will perform spells to heal ourselves (or others, with their permission). We will perform spells to bring love into our lives or to increase our personal attraction, rather than a spell to make a certain person fall in love with us.
We always focus on how WE can change, to improve each and every situation, rather than trying to change others.
A “spell”, for those of you who don’t know, is an orchestrated ritual that is performed to obtain a specific desire, much like a prayer. In fact, most Wiccans believe a spell is just that – a prayer.
For example, to perform a simple spell that will bring more money into your life, you would choose a green candle, and anoint it with a corresponding oil, burn fragrant incense, and sprinkle money-drawing herbs into the candle flame. Magickal words are recited, much like a poem, and you would sit quietly while staring into the flame of the candle, visualizing prosperity flowing into your life.
It is best to let the candle burn all the way down, if possible. The key is visualization, believing that your spell has worked, to SEE it working (in your mind’s eye), and welcome wealth into your life.
For more specific spells, see our Spells Page.
Using a spell that someone else has written is effective, but not nearly as effective as one you write and create yourself. Writing a spell may sound hard, but it is actually very simple. You don’t have to be a great poet or a master in the Craft to write a powerful spell.
The most important factors that determine an effective spell are your intention, the energy and effort you put toward it, and your belief that the spell will work. Study and learn correspondences for candles, herbs, oils, incenses and crystals. (i.e., which ones should be used for different types of spells) Once you know this information (or at least have it written down for easy reference), creating a spell becomes very easy, and a whole lot of fun!
Most witches have a Book of Shadows, which is a diary of favorite spells, rituals, and useful information. This is where s/he keeps a record of magickal workings, and it is a reference book containing information on spells, herbs, oils, incense uses, candle color correspondences, etc.
A Book of Shadows can be made from just about anything, from an expensive, leather-bound book to a simple ring-binder notebook (this is recommended for beginners while they add and change information frequently).
Spells can also be more complex than the one described above.
Most witches cast a circle of energy to work within. This does two things: it creates a circle of protection, (from negative energy and entities) and it provides a sacred space to work within, a circle which spans between the physical and spiritual worlds.
You can also invoke the God and Goddess, and the four elements. There are complex, ritualistic ways of doing this, and I will not go into them here. I usually use a much simpler method of invoking the God and Goddess and the four elements. After casting the circle, I ask for the presence, participation, and protection of God and Goddess, then invite the presence of the elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water.
I also place a symbol of each on my altar. A bowl of salt or dirt for Earth, a bowl of water for Water, incense for Air, and a small candle for Fire.
The Earth symbol should be placed North on the altar, Air should be placed East, Fire South, and Water West. The altar itself should face North. I have a Goddess candle and a God candle, to symbolize each deity. The Goddess candle should be placed in the upper left-hand corner of the altar (Northwest), and the God candle should be placed in the upper right-hand corner (Northeast). God/Goddess candles should be color coordinated as follows:
Plain taper candles are fine, scented or not. It is also a good idea to have a large, plain white candle on the altar (placed in the center of the altar usually), which should be lit for protection and clarity during each magickal working, but this is optional.
Wiccans also have eight holidays, called Sabbats. These are referred to as The Wheel of the Year. Each Sabbat is a celebration of life, death and rebirth. They mark the birth, death and rebirth of the God (who is symbolized by the sun), as well as the changing of the seasons.
We also celebrate Esbats, approximately thirteen times a year, which are full moon rituals. These are to honor the Goddess (who is symbolized by the moon).
Divination is simply discerning Divine Will; that is, messages from God/dess. We can learn much about ourselves and our paths by studying these ancient arts.
Many Wiccans belong to a coven, which is a group of two or more witches who gather together for rituals and celebration of the Sabbats and Esbats. It is not necessary to belong to a coven, and many Wiccans don’t. Some prefer to work on their own. These witches are called Solitary Practitioners.
That’s the beauty of Wicca, you mold it to fit your preferences and your life. The benefits of Wicca are numerous.
Wicca is a powerful, respectful, peaceful religion that focuses strongly on healing and growth. It teaches reverence and respect for nature, ourselves, and others. It teaches us to own our power responsibly, and to use it to benefit ourselves, others, and the Earth.
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