A Small Introduction to Wicca and Witchcraft
by Thomas Moore
Through the years I have heard many people talk about Wicca and Witchcraft. Half of these people are curious about it and want to know more, while the other half, have false ideas and myths about what Wicca and Witchcraft really are. I would like to use this article to set a basic introduction to Wicca and Witchcraft to educate those that are unaware or spark the curiosity of those that are interested.
What is Witchcraft?
The best way to put this is that Witchcraft is a nature oriented way of life that is said in part to be over 20,000 years old. Witchcraft can be traced all the way back to a Neolithic foundation. Wicca however is quite different though we will speak of that in a short while. In Witchcraft practitioners honored “Old Gods”. Many of these “Old Gods” were pre-Christian Gods (Zeus, Thor, Isis, Aphrodite etc.) they also have archetypal forms that are called the Goddess and God. Witches meet in groups called Covens. These groups are like that of a family or even a church or youth group. They gather to discuss, celebrate, and honor their Gods together. Yes, witches cast spells. Though to them spells are a form of prayer. They do not use spells to cause harm to anyone living or non living and will never cast one without the permission of the spells recipient. Witches are Earth lovers, and they try to “Live Green” as the popular phrase now goes. They strive to protect the Earth as well as all of the life that resides upon her. Witches celebrate the changing of the seasons in rituals that are called Sabbats. These Sabbats tell the story of the Goddess and God as well as the cycle of Life, Death, and Rebirth. Many of these rituals mirror the Christian rituals for the holidays. They also honor the Full Moon once a month in a ritual called an Esbat. These are meant to honor the Goddess and usually include a meditation to “Draw down the Moon” and fill ones body with vitality and energy from the Goddess force. There is balance in this belief system Goddess and God form two parts of a single entity known as “The All”. Balance is important in Witchcraft and in Wicca, if you cut down a tree, you plant another. This way whatever you take from the earth is returned. There is a moral code that Wicca follows called “The Wicca Rede” that states in its simplest form ‘An Ye Harm None Do As Thou Will’.
What Wicca and Witchcraft are not!
There are so many misconceptions about Wicca and Witchcraft as well as some rumor. It is important to know what is not part of these traditions. So many of the things that Wicca and Witchcraft strive for have been misunderstood by so many for so long that it is hard to separate fact from fiction, especially with the movie industry right up our tails! First let me say that a Witch could be anyone! Your neighbor, paperboy, insurance agent, lawyer, or doctor anyone can be a witch! They do not have to be female, males are witches as well. They do not have to be ugly or hermits, they can be quite beautiful socialites in their communities. With that said let me move onto some of the most popular things that I have heard about Wicca and Witchcraft and debunk them for you.
- Witches worship Satan
This is probably the biggest misconception that I hear and quite often too! Fact is that Witches do not worship Satan, and they never will. This falsehood was created by Christian misconception. One of the images of the God force in Witchcraft and Wicca is similar to that of the Roman figure Pan. A horned God playing the flute with goat legs. It was this symbol of Pan that Christians used to create the image of Satan in order to put to rest the traditions that were not Christian based. The truth is that a Witch cannot follow Satan, mainly so because in order to believe in Satan you need to be Christian. In addition to that Witches feel that to give evil a name is to give it power over you.
- Get Rich Quick Spells and Schemes
This is another one of my favorites! Witchcraft and Wicca are not a way to win the lottery, gain money, or succeed in any way without try or effort. Fact is that everything that is put out into the universe needs to be worked on in a physical way as well. You can’t just sit back and do nothing, then nothing will be done fore you, remember that balance aspect we talked about? The film industry is largely to blame for this one; many of their portrayals of Witches are teenage girls that are hell bent on power and success in some form or another. That is simply not the truth when it comes to Witchcraft and Wicca.
Yes, I said it…..orgies! Believe it or not this does not happen in Wicca or Witchcraft! There are many a lesson about self love and awareness that occur through studies in Wicca and Witchcraft, but none of them focus on large group orgies or festivals filled with sex. There are some traditions however that will practice ‘Skyclad’ witch is naked. Though they practice naked they do not do it in a sexual way, instead they do it in a way similar more to nudist colonies. They want to attain a closer link to the Earth by shedding the clothes that keep the apart from fully experiencing it.
- Death Spells and Hexes
Witches do not use spells to curse, hex or kill people. Yet again this is one of the most major false beliefs out there. Remember back to the “Wiccan Rede” that was spoken of briefly? It is that code of ethics that prevents Witches from doing things that are harmful. In fact there is another law that combines with it called “The Threefold Law”. This law says that whatever you put out either good or bad will come back to you three times more. With that law in effect who would want to do anything to harm another person?
There are of course many other falsehoods that are circulating around about Wicca and Witchcraft. To get to them all could be a book in itself. I think that the most important thing that needs to be understood is that before you attempt to judge or create story or rumor, be sure to do your homework first and find out the facts instead of the fiction.
What’s that word, Who are they?
One other thing that I hear often is people using word and definitions from Wicca and Witchcraft and not really knowing what the meaning is behind them. To end us off I want to go over a few names and words as well as the definitions from a Wiccan standpoint.
This word in Christianity has come to man anyone that does not follow a Christian faith. However in Wicca it is a word for anyone that follows a nature oriented path. Pagan is more of an umbrella term, though there are nature oriented groups that call themselves Pagan as opposed to Wiccan.
A Witch as said can be male or female. There is no need for the term Warlock as it is mainly a creation made by stories and film. Witches utilize the power of the Goddess and God in their daily lives as well as use magick to enhance their lives as well as themselves in spiritual growth.
This is a nature oriented way of life that dates back over 20,000 years. It was often hidden to avoid religious persecution. Witchcraft today has evolved a bit using both ancient and modern traditions because many of the old ways have been long lost to us.
This is the modern religion of Witchcraft. Wicca has now become a recognized religion by the U.S. Government. Wicca focuses on the worship of deities as well as the casting of spells. They seek to use the balance of nature to help heal the Earth and learn spiritual awareness and growth. Wicca uses Witchcraft in its belief system.
Magick is the art of manipulating energy in order to change ones reality. Magic without the “k” is the art of illusion and parlor tricks. There are no such things as Black Magick or White Magick; these are just made up terms. Magick itself is a neutral force that exists around us everyday. It is the person that harnesses the magick that can make it good or bad.
Usually a group of 13 or more Witches that practice and worship together in a family oriented atmosphere. Many times Covens will use lesson and teachings in order to aid others in spiritual growth and a closer connection with the Goddess and God. There is usually a High Priestess and High Priest that oversee the Coven.
Wicca has many different traditions of it similar to that of Christian denominations. Traditions are systems of worship that exist and though they may all be very different form each other they usually always follow the same core beliefs and morals.
The information here will help to give you a small understanding of Wicca and Witchcraft. I do suggest that if you want to know more to please read up on it. There are many great books out there that give a deep history of Wicca as well as go more into the worshipping parts of the religion. Check with your local metaphysical shops as well to see if they have Full Moon Ceremonies, or even classes on Wicca and Witchcraft that you can attend. As with anything in life knowledge is the most powerful instrument that we can attain, so attain the knowledge and learn and see for yourself!
High Priest Thomas Moore has been a practicing Wiccan for over 15 years. He teaches classes on Wicca as well as leads Esbats and a Coven. He is located in Port Charlotte Florida and works at a local metaphysical store.
Article Source: http://newagearticles.com