Wicca is a “religion” that falls under the umbrella of Paganism. Please read the Brief Introduction to Pagan Theology to understand more about this categorization. (https://earthdna.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/theology/#more-782)
WHO ARE THESE FOLK WHO CALL THEMSELVES WICCANS?
By Fey Fand, High Priestess, Celestine Circle of Southern Africa
Wiccans, generally speaking, are happy people. Wicca is a celebratory religion, encompassing a love for and responsibility to all living things – from stones and trees to animals and humanity to Mother Earth and the living Universe. Wiccans do not expect another entity to save their immortal souls – and indeed, most of us believe that our souls are immortal. We also do not believe that after Earthly death there is nothing – we know and understand the functioning of the Universe and the meaning of our many lives here. We acknowledge the laws of Karma, and know that, as the old saying goes “life is like a mirror; what you put in is what you get back”. We endorse this Law three-fold – whatever you do comes back to you – times three. We also don’t expect all our Karmic rewards and punishments to be meted out to us in lives to come – Karma can be pretty instant in its action.
The root and basis of the Wiccan religion is a deep love and respect for the planet we live on, Mother Earth. We work from a geocentric perspective, marking the passing of the Moons and the Seasons and the passages of our own paths. Together in community, we celebrate the two Solstices and Equinoxes (Lesser Sabbats) and the four Great Fire Festivals which mark the beginning of Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. During these times we gather together to examine ourselves, our environment, and our pasts and futures, and give thanks to the Goddess and God, however we choose to know them, for all our lessons and all our blessings. We believe that no creative force can exist without equal but opposite polarities – masculine and feminine, light and dark, positive and negative. Like a battery is charged by two opposing poles, so is all life in the Universe. As such, most of us choose to worship a Goddess and a God, with our Goddess being First Among Equals, so to speak. And as our Moon lighting up the night sky travels on her 28 day cycle from New, to Full, to Dark and then again New, our Goddess has three aspects: Maiden, Mother and Crone. These aspects reflect the cyclic nature of woman on Earth. While the Sun represents the power of the God, the active, male energy which travels on his annual journey across the sky, weakest at Mid-Winter and then waxing to His greatest strength at the Summer Solstice, before beginning to wane again, the Moon represents to us the mystery of the Sacred Feminine. And, as these bodies in the sky change, and die, and are born again to grow to fullness, so we believe in different aspects of our Goddess and our God. We give these aspects names, and they come from many ancient cultures and traditions worldwide. We recognize that life, and indeed, time, is cyclic, not linear. So Wicca is a polytheistic religion, working with and worshipping many Goddesses and many Gods. We do not simply believe in a Father God sitting on a cloud somewhere. Our Goddesses and Gods are IN and OF us – our souls, too, are Divine, and the more responsibility and respect we have for our own souls, the more we tap into the great Universal Force which is All That Is. The “I Inside” is what makes us self-aware; it is an attribute we share with our Deities. Along with our own inner divinity comes the concept of re-incarnation. We chose to be here on Earth at this time for a purpose, and every one of us has one. Part of our duty in this lifetime is to find and fulfill our purpose in life. We choose our parents, our circumstances and our more important life challenges – and along with this comes the responsibility to make the right choices in
our lives, in the here and now. When we cross from this Earth, we are met by our ancestors, those who have gone before us, teachers and Spirit Guides, who assist us to cross into the place we call the Summerlands, where we review our past incarnation, rest and decide upon and choose the teachings we need for our next lifetime. God doesn’t judge us – we stand in judgment of the harshest judge of all – ourselves… so the most hedonistic thing we believe we can do, is to do the right thing. The Wiccan Rede is “an’ harm none, do what you will”. This means that we can do anything we wish to do with our powers and abilities, as long as we harm no-one, and this includes ourselves, other people, our communities and everything we hold sacred. We believe that the energies of crystals, plants, trees, insects, animals, humans and Mother Nature herself are sacred parts of a great creation, and we do our best to nurture and protect all of these. We also, though the practice of Magick, work with these energies to heal others, to heal ourselves and to help in any way we can during these difficult and challenging times.
By the time a Wiccan has completed a year-and-a-day of practice and study, meaning he or she has worked with 13 Moons and 8 Sabbats, he or she will be able to smile wryly when Magick is pooh-poohed as “hocus-pocus”. For the Goddess recognizes Her Hidden Children, and we all know, through personal experience, that it works. Most of us are intelligent people with enquiring minds who have rejected established monotheistic religions because they don’t make sense, and I for one would not still be practicing Magick 20 years on if I hadn’t seen tangible results, many times over. Being individualists, Wiccans disagree on many things, and the saying “A thousand Wiccans, a thousand religions” holds true. But we all believe in reincarnation and the Karmic Law of Three, we all love and respect Mother Earth and worship Her as a living Goddess, and we all subscribe to the Rede “an’ harm none, do what you will”. Wicca is a religion which fits those who find it, according to their own measurements. It allows for change and growth and it encourages constant inquiry and investigation into the meaning of life, the Universal Laws and Truths, and the divinity of all things. It is a religion which has warmed me when I was cold, shielded me when I was cowed, protected me when I was challenged, and given me a daily sense of joyful celebration and gratitude for the greatness of the Universe and the beautiful planet we live on.