What Wicca is and What it is Not
Let’s start this conversation with a statement that seems to have to be said. Wicca and Pagans don’t believe or worship the devil. Many of those outside of the Pagan community seem to think that we, of the Pagan community, worship the devil or Satan. This isn’t the case. We don’t recognize him as an entity outside of Abrahamic belief systems. Yes, we worship many different Deities but not a one of them is the devil. It is true that some of our Deities wear horns or antlers but They are Deities of nature and many creatures in nature wear horns or antlers. And yes, some of our Deities have cloven feet but again this is a feature of nature. We also recognize that our Deities have a due nature to Them, They have both a dark side and a light side. But again, this is also a feature of nature. So no, we don’t worship the devil. And though demons do exist they do not walk openly on our public streets. Not only that but they are extremely rare and have usually been summoned by someone and generally sent back where they came from by the same person. However, the Wicca does not in general practice the summoning of demons. This is a practice done by other belief systems. The Wicca does summon or call forth spirits, but generally for guidance and help in magical workings.
Another aspect of Wicca is that we practice magic. I’ve heard it said that some Wicca don’t practice magic, but even the act of casting a circle to perform a ritual of worship is an act of magic. So yes, we, as Wicca, practice magic. This means that we are Witches. A Witch is a person who practices magic. There are many Witches that are not Wicca though, so don’t think that all Witches are Wicca.
Also as Wicca we try to do no harm and most of us believe that when we enact an action that that action, in like form, will return to us. We also believe in free will and thus we try to act accordingly. Thus, we do not force our will unduly onto another person. To do so not only violates their free will but will probably cause harm which we strive to avoid. So, it follows that we strive to have respect for everyone, and we mean everyone. This also applies to respect for things of nature as well. This respect and the action of trying to harm none mean that many Wicca are vegetarians or vegans; as they do not wish to harm any animal unduly. But not all Wicca are vegetarians or vegans. Some believe in the natural order of things that allows for the consumption of meat. But most that do eat meat do so with respect to the animal it came from.
Another belief of Wicca is that of the Summerland and of reincarnation. We believe that our spirit or soul is eternal and genderless and that when we pass from this earthly plane we go to a place we call the Summerland and there we contemplate our past lives and our future lives as well. We believe that eventually we are born again in the earthly body of human and live another life. We may return to Earth as male or female but we are always human. Many of us believe that we plan out each earthly life while in the Summerland but only the circumstances in which we are born and that, through free will, we live out that life, hopefully in a way that betters our spiritual selves. We do not believe that we have no control of our lives once we have returned to Earth. We believe that it is up to us to make the most of what we have been born into. There are some that believe that through adversity we are better apt to grow spiritually, though we know that not all do. This doesn’t mean that if we are born in a good life that we are not able to grow spiritually though. There are no perfect lives and though we may not see it, there could very well be adversity in the lives of those who seem to have all they need or could want.
Still another belief of Wicca and Witches is that we can through various devices and methods can divine the past, present and future. These devices are, but not limited to, things like the tarot, pendulum, runes, tea leaves, etc. Some Wicca and Witches can easily learn to use these devices and others have to study a bit harder, but virtually anyone can learn to use them to some degree of success. No, we do not call on demonic forces to use these devices, it is an inner gift that we all have. Some of us ask for guidance from the spirit world or the akashic records, but the devil is not involved in any way, shape or manner.
Another practice of Wicca is that of meditation. This practice helps in many ways the practice of the Wicca. Witch it we learn to focus and also to relax. This seems to be a contradiction in terms but they are not in actual practice. Also, through meditation we can seek guidance from the spirit world. This may be in the form of a guiding spirit or what some call a guardian spirit, sometimes a person, sometimes an animal, it may also be from the Deities Themselves. Also, those that practice meditation on a regular basis find that they tend to be more relaxed in their daily li9fe than they did before they started the practice of meditation. And when we are relaxed, we are better able to focus on what we really want in a given action.
Now for a practice that is rare these days. Though in the past Wicca has practiced free and open sex and nudity, also called skyclad, it is not generally practiced these days. For one thing sex has been seen to cause dissent within the coven sometimes and for another with the advent of proliferation of HIV it has simply been deemed unadvisable. These days when sex is used within the ritual setting it is usually between existing couples. The use of sex is part of a very specific ritual that is generally only preformed once or twice a year. As for the practice of going skyclad, naked, it is practiced by some few covens but again it has fallen out of practice for the most part. It is sometimes practiced by solitary practitioners but as they practice alone and within their homes or in very secluded places it is hard to say how many actually practice it. The reason for the practice of skyclad is that some see clothing as a barrier between themselves and the Deities also the clothing is seen to interfere with the flow of energies in magic. Most find these two reasons to not be true in their practice and thus another reason why few people practice skyclad these days.
There is one practice that the Wicca is accused of and that is the use of blood in our practice, but it is not a practice of Wicca. The Wicca does not use blood in our practice. It is not taken from humans or animals. There are no animal or human sacrifices practiced with the Wicca community. We do use a knife in our practice though. It is called the Athame but it is generally a dull blade and never used to cut anything in the physical world. We have another knife we call the Boline that is sharp but it is used to cut things like herbs, ribbons, cords and into candles or other objects like wood. Neither knife is ever used to cut into flesh in any way shape or form. There are other magical practices that use blood and animal sacrifices but not Wicca. So no, there is no blood used in Wicca.
One more point. Please don’t think that what Hollywood or even many fiction writers puts out for public consumption is what it is to be Wicca or even a Witch. As stated that is fiction and great for entertainment but does not work in reality. A fiery light does not stream forth from our wands and we can’t make objects fly. And no, we don’t fly on broomsticks as is seen and read in a popular fiction. All of this is great for the imagination but just doesn’t work in reality. Please don’t confuse the two.
There are many other beliefs and practices that vary from tradition to tradition. Solitaries each have their own beliefs and practices too. What are listed here are the basics that bind us to our beliefs and practices as Wicca. If you choose to study Wicca and Witchcraft then understand that that study is a lifelong pursuit. Only a dead Wicca or Witch has stopped in their studies and then they pursue those studies again when they return to an earthly existence as many practice Witchcraft in more than one life time. Life is a never ending pursuit of knowledge, so as long as we live we learn something new every day.
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