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   Home arrow Content arrow Articles arrow Faq about Wicca, Paganism and Witchcraft   
Faq about Wicca, Paganism and Witchcraft   E-mail 
Written by Atheneris  
Tuesday, 07 September 2004
Page 1 of 15

Written by:

Translated by:
Xeyn witch

What is Wicca?

Wicca doctrine is an earth- based belief system which is based on the Pantheist pagan beliefs. In the beginning of the twentieth century, it’s been formed by Gerald Brosseau Gardner as practices which are re-combined in an Eclectic structure. Although a lot of people accept the right date as the publishing of “Witchcraft Today” by Gardner in 1954, it needs to be more carefully analyzed. Before the abolishment of “Witchcraft Act” officially in 1951 that was made against witches in England that dates back to 15th century (the spiritual and esoteric societies that were established during the second half of the 19th century and afterwards have contributed greatly to this development), Gardner was accepted to the much disputed New Forest Coven in 1939, and formed his own coven after leaving in 1948.

There are a lot of things written about Wicca. Because of the existence of solitary practice as well as initiation system, it’s open to subjective interpretations; however that pluralistic, pluralistic and eclectic approach has also some limits. Wicca has some basic principles as a religious system;

*Belief in Gods and Goddesses. As well as being explained as blessing and accepting the masculine and feminine wholeness of creation from the perspective of one God and Goddess concept, that might also be explained in a polytheist way. As it is understood from the Pantheist or Panantheist structure, an Atheist practitioner is apart from Wicca system, but can be named as a “Witch”.

* Accepting “Wiccan Rede.” (See: What is “Wiccan Rede?”?) 
* Believing in “Threefold Law” or “Law of Return.” (See: What is “Threefold Law?”?)
* Accepting the Nature centred understanding and the concept of forming a relationship with the Natural Laws.
* Accepting the existence of the concept of Magick (Maji). However, practicing magick is not required. There are Wiccans who accept magick but do not practice. In its core, Wicca is made of esoteric practices which don’t require magickal practices, but deep understanding and devotion.  Deep work on Rede, grasping the doctrine’s different perspective and aspects in the awareness of ritual practices and depth psychology can be examples of that.
“Self awareness” and “self discipline” plays a big role in Wicca. Thus, it’s a belief system which is far away from dogmatism and it’s directly based on experience. Its philosophy’s essence is experiencing and practicing the creative energy intimately, instead of using some prepared guiding instructions.

* The form of the ritual and the equipments used, vary according to tradition and the individual practitioner. Thus, sources used to gain information (books, internet, etc.) should be examined carefully and it shouldn’t be forgotten that the responsibility belongs to the practitioner her/himself. Some Eclectic and Solitary wiccans do not accept “Rede” and “Threefold Law”, and it’s a matter of discussion. The difference is between the actual practitioners of initiation tradition and the subjective interpretations of the solitary practitioners. Because of the interest increasing in West, there are lots of books published about Wicca, overshadowing the real discipline. On the other hand, realizing what is wrong or right both requires personal attention and the ability of perceiving and searching what is really behind the seen. No matter how much it is spoken about, the turning of “Knowledge” into something very easy to reach, leads us back to question of what knowledge itself is. The most valuable parts of mystic doctrines are made of the statements which are left behind or haven’t been expressed yet.

* Wicca has a three-level initiation process.

As a mystic tradition, Wicca includes self transformation, inner and internal practices that esoteric manner requires. Gardner didn’t abstain from including eastern esotericism, western tradition, folkloric practices, shamanic notions and exercises, kabalistic and ceremonial magick practices into the system he first formed. Then, his first high priestess he worked with, Doreen Valiente, re-arranged those ceremonial and cabbalistic elements while removing some aspects, and developed a more Pagan-based system. That approach still preserves its existence today. It should also be considered that, although Wicca’s core might seem to have a combined philosophy, it has a deep and serious tendency to collect the pagan beliefs and practices of the past as a revisionist persperctive, and support it with other –ex: some ceremonial exercises- sources.


The origin of the word is Indo-European “wic” or “weil” which means to direct and give shape in Old English. Wicca is the masculine form of “wise man”. The feminine form of the word which means “wise woman” is “wicce”. Thus, the practitioners of the Dianic tradition name themselves as “Dianic Wicce”. Interestingly, Gardner has never used that word, but for the sake of etymology he had made use of the word “wica” (for the first time in 1959 in “The Meaning of Witchcraft”). That word is related to the “wych” word in Saxon language. The etymologic explanation of “witch” are the roots “wit-“(which means “to know”), and “wych”. Moreover, Wicca is originally pronounced as “witchae” or “witcha”, which is phonetically close to the word “witch”. 
For example, in the 11th century old English translation of the Halitgar Penitentiary which belongs to the early latin period we come across the expression  “swa wiccan tæcaş” that has been added by the translator. This has to be a delibarate addition because it shows us beyond doubt that in the 11th century there were still “'wiccan’ teachers” who were continuing the pagan tradition and that the christian clergy were aware of them; had this not been the case they wouldn’t need to make this addition to the text and renew the ban.   

So, it’s possible to observe pagan religion practitioners who were named “wiccan” much before Gardner. Leland has also used that word in his works before Gardner.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 November 2004 )

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