Wiccans all follow this basic tenet: Do whatever you want to do as long as you harm none. Wiccans also believe in the threefold law of return. This law simply states that anything you put out such as magic, you receive times three. Therefore, a Wiccan would never cast a negative spell, for if they did it would come back on them three times as strong.
Wicca is a modern revival of the ancient folklore and magickal practices of Europe. Wiccans generally perceive divinity in the form of a Goddess and a God, who have many different aspects. Because witches honour nature, they have eight festivals (Sabbats) that mark the year as it turns through its seasons, and hold meetings (Esbats) in accordance with the phases of the Moon.
Image © Astral Aspects
Wicca is a religion free of any central dogma. Wicca, like many religions, recognises Deity as dual - it worships both the God and the Goddess. These deities are equals, loving and warm, not detached living in heaven but omnipresent throughout the universe. Wiccans do not believe in or worship Satan, they generally believe that all evil originates with human kind and is not the production of the devil. Many Wiccans believe in the doctrine of reincarnation and they believe that humans possess souls as do animals and elements. The Wiccan religion has what is called 'The Summerlands'; a place where souls find rest before being re-born into the physical world.
Wicca is a religion that utilises magick and magickal ritual and prayer is a form of magick used to commune with Deity. Magick is simply the use of naturally occurring energy to produce change either in one's self or the external world. There is nothing supernatural about magick. Wiccans believe in free will and that humans have full control of and responsibility for our lives. Our weaknesses and misdeeds are not blamed on some evil deity.
The terms Wicca and Witchcraft can be used interchangeably, but there is a subtle distinction. Wicca is a contemporary Neo-Pagan religion and Witchcraft is the practice of natural magick. Not all Wiccans are witches, and not all witches are Wiccan.
Wicca is a Neo-Pagan religion with many traditions that date to pre-Christian (and prehistoric) Earth religions. It is based on a deep respect for nature and the certain knowledge that we do not have the right to exploit it for our own gain.
Wiccans are deeply concerned with conservation and ecology, and as in all Neo-Pagan religions, Wiccans believe that both animate and inanimate objects possess a spirit which forms part of the Whole. The term 'spirit' is not used as in the Judeo-Christian sense of a 'ghost,' but rather that essence which every object possesses that links it to nature and makes it an inalienable part of the universe.
Wicca is a celebration of the life-forces of nature as personified by the Goddess and her consort, the God.
Wicca may include the practice of magick which is defined as the process of causing change through the focusing of natural powers. It is important to note that magick is natural. There is nothing supernatural about it. Wiccans use certain tools such as spells, visualisation, chants, candles, amulets and meditation to help focus their power, but the power comes from within - it is not in the tools. Our ancestors knew how to use it effectively, but it is a largely forgotten art in modern times.
Wicca is not a cult. A cult presupposes blind faith in a central figure whose every word is regarded as ultimate truth, and the utter conviction that no other way or philosophy will lead to this truth. You would be very hard pressed to find a Wiccan anywhere who would blindly follow anyone else. Wiccans are historically very independent people who seek truth from within through rituals, meditation, magick, study and communion with nature. Wiccans respect the right of everyone to worship in their own way. They do not feel that Wicca is the only way - only that it is their way.
Wicca is not synonymous with Satan worship. The very concept of a supreme evil spirit is alien to Wicca. In fact, most Wiccans do not even believe in Satan. The devil is a Judeo-Christian construct and as such, it has nothing to do with Wicca. The notion that witches worship Satan was propounded by the Roman Catholic Church as it made its way across Europe, in an effort to suppress the native earth-based religions prevalent at the time. They succeeded to the extent that they drove the practitioners of these religions underground where much of their knowledge and traditions were lost. Through the work of the Golden Dawn, as well as anthropological and archeological research, many of these traditions have been rediscovered and incorporated into Neo-Paganism, an umbrella term for most modern earth-based and shamanistic religions.
Wicca does not include flying on brooms. There are many rituals which include brooms, however, and these may be the source of the flying-broomstick stories. In parts of Europe, some people run across their fields astride a broom to coax the grain to grow. They may also jump over a broom handle asking the grain to grow as high as their highest leap. It is also common for a ceremonial broom to be used to sweep away negative forces from any area one wishes to cleanse.
* We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal Quarters and Cross Quarters
* We recognise that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept
* We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called 'supernatural', but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all
* We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity-as masculine and feminine-and that this same Creative Power lies in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither (gender) above the other, knowing each to be supportive to the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship
* We recognise both outer worlds and inner, of psychological worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, Inner Planes, etc. and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment
* We do not recognise any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honour those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership
* We see religion, magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it - a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft - the Wiccan Way
* Calling oneself 'Witch' does not make a Witch - but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well without harm to other and in harmony with Nature
* We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal role within it
* Our only animosity towards Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have clamed to be 'the only way' and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief
* As Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future
* We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as 'Satan' or 'the Devil', as defined by Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another
* We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being
Bide the Wiccan Laws we must
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.
Live and let live,
Fairly take and fairly give.
Cast the Circle thrice about
To keep the evil spirits out.
To bind the spell every time
Let the spell be spake in rhyme.
Merry meet and merry part,
Bright the cheeks and warm the heart.
Mind the Threefold Law you should,
Three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow,
Wear the blue star on thy brow.
True in Love ever be,
Lest thy lover's false to thee.
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill:
It if harm none, do what ye will.
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