Wicca- The Spiritual 1

WiccaThe Spiritual

RST 314 Professor Weeks 3/2/2006

Wicca- The Spiritual 2 Spirituality in most people’s beliefs usually means connecting your innermost self to the world that is supreme and unseen, whether it be in the Abrahamic way trying to connect with the unseen Godly world, or with Hinduism and trying to connect to the many Gods that they have. Although this is a hard concept to understand, that can be perceived or taken in many different ways, in most religions the word spirit is something that each individual solely strives to achieve. Even religions that are looked down upon or highly misunderstood still hold true to the overall concept of the spirit and spirituality. For instance, when you hear Wicca, what instantly comes to your mind? Is it cauldrons around a fire with green smoke billowing into the foggy surroundings calling evil spirits? Or is it a little green lady with an ancient, pointed hat and a mountainous wart mixing the magic potion? For most people they would immediately answer yes to both of these questions, bringing up thoughts of childhood tales. True Wicca is actually a small spiritual religion that has an entirely different complexion than what society explains. To fully understand the true Wicca in today’s realm we must turn back the clock to 1954 when the first book about Wicca was published by Gerald Gardner. In Gardner’s writings, he claimed Wicca was a survival of the “matriarchal Pagan religions of prehistoric Europe.” Most details about Wicca presumptions and are usually taken on a case by case basis. Supposedly a woman, Doreen Cluttercuck taught everything she new about Wicca to Gardner. But there are others who reject this position claiming the Gardner had invented Wicca himself. Unlike many other religions, Wicca never really had a written history, and until the British Witchcraft Act was repealed, Gardner felt that he should make known the practices of Wicca to the public, fearing that this religion would soon die out (What is Wicca).

Wicca- The Spiritual 3 Interestingly enough, Wicca having obviously been influence by European tradition, the spiritual content is inspired by older Pagan faiths, with hints of Buddhist and Hindu inspiration. Even though most of this can not be traced, many believe that Gardner took bits and pieces of other religions and works and made almost a patchwork of a religion. Still there are others that believe that Gardner didn’t write the Wicca rituals at all, saying that he had received the works by an unknown source. Either way most people that practice modern Wicca follow Gardner’s teachings (Wicca). Wicca has a rough history that is full of speculation and doubt amongst its followers. Wicca, for the most part, is a sect of neopaganism based on pre-Christian traditions in England and the surrounding areas. It can be traced back to ancient people who worshipped a Hunter God and a Fertility Goddess. Cave drawings depict people standing in a circle worshipping these supreme beings. Some consider that by these principles, Wicca is possibly the oldest religion in the world (What is Wicca). But based Wiccan history there’s a lot of ideas up in the air. When one thinks of religion, Wicca probably isn’t one that pops in first. There are many misconceptions for the religion as a whole. In Wicca there are witches and sorcerers, but they are not associated with evil, heathenism, or blasphemy. Many of these fallacies were supposedly originated with Christian myths trying to convert members of the “Old Religion” to the “New Religion” (What is Wicca). Witches in Wicca do not worship Satan, in fact they don’t even believe in Satan. Wiccans believe that all life is a spiritual constant flow of positive and negative energy that creates the balance of life. Witches do not cast evil spells because they believe that

Wicca- The Spiritual 4 whatever spell they cast, it will be returned to them three fold, by the body, mind and spirit; this is known as the Law of Threefold Return or Wiccan Rede (What is Wicca). Wicca has an extremely strong belief in the spirit realm of the universe. They believe that the spirit of the Gods and Goddesses exist in every part of every living thing: in the air, the rain, the oceans, the flower, and each living thing is intertwined. One of the key characteristics of Wicca is their emphasis on worshiping and giving of themselves to nature by celebrating the cycles of the sun and moon. This is where you get many known worships during Halloween and the like (Being Fully Human). They do this to try and spiritually become one with the movements of nature. One of the best explanations of spirituality in Wicca is explained in the passages: “Wicca is a forest in the light of the silvery moon... a glade enchanted by the light of the Faery. It is the dewdrop on the petals of a flower in bloom, the warmth of the summer sun on the skin, the fall of colourful autumn leaves, and the softness of winter snow upon the Earth. It is light, and shadow and all that lies in between. It is the song of the wind, and the tune of the tides. It is the symphony of life! To be a Witch is to be a healer, a teacher, a seeker, a giver, and a protector of all things living and alive. If this path be yours, may you tread it with honour and with light!” (What is Wicca) Air, fire, water and Earth, the four elements, combine together to manifest all creation emphasizing each individual’s spirituality. Wiccans attempt dances to mimic the pulse of the Earth, hence Wiccans gathering in circles to dance (Johnson). There is an

Wicca- The Spiritual 5 undeniable relevance of Wiccan dances with those of Native American and African religions connecting to the spirit realm. Modern worshippers believe in uttermost freedom, believing that their religion isn’t the “one true way” but a path among any. They do not publicize or actively recruit new members. This may be why there is so little known about Wicca. They believe that if someone is meant to follow the Wiccan path then they will find their own way to Wicca. This belief may also be why many Wicca followers became upset after Gardner had publicized a written work of Wicca. Wiccans belief in the afterlife much like the Eastern religions of Hindu and Buddhism where reincarnation presumes (Friedman). Each person determines their own destiny, but there isn’t a belief in an ultimate destination like Heaven or Hell. There is no real organized place of worship for many Wiccan. Much of this belief goes back to the emphasis on freedom. For instance, if you want to practice alone and nothing else, that’s fine, but there are groups that you can join called “Covens” that usually have around 13 people joined (Friedman). Usually groups are assembled in circles, ideally “under the stars and silver moon.” In most religions, followers pray or cry to their god and ask or plead for changes. In Wicca, the witches believe in the power of magick to create changes. One witch put that magick is “the art of changing consciousness at will.” Can you get any better than that? Whenever you’re in distress or want something, just whip out the pot and start boiling. Again, Wiccans believe that they are a freewill having complete control over their spirit and being.

Wicca- The Spiritual 6 Wiccan has many direct comparisons with Wicca. Christians believe that the “world” is separate of the divine world, where Wiccans believe that we are one with the world, inseperable. Christians believe in resurrection where Wiccans believe in reincarnation. Christians believe in Heaven, Hell, and Sin, where Wiccans believe in none. Christians believe in a hierarchy deity, where Wiccans believe in none. Christians have the ten commandments, where Wiccans have the Wiccan Rede (Christianity and Wicca). Even though religions like Christianity have many comparisons to Wicca, they are worlds a part in their beliefs. An article explained how Christianity is and has been based around masculinity. From God being masculine, to pastors being male, and the “calling” falling on men. This is a far cry from Wicca that believes in both gods and goddesses, and having no emphasis on gender. Everything carries a divine spark and deservers respect. Even though many religions focus on the aspects or either masculinity or femininity, Wicca Divine sees gender as just another part of nature with no polarity to gender (Schneiders). All beings inherit spiritual aspects no matter their gender, race, creed, etc. Nature shows all of its beauty in many forms and Wiccans are taught to respect this matter. Wiccans believe in walking to the beat of Nature, knowing that you are one in the same. Although there are many connections between Wicca and other religions it is still extremely different in many ways. There has been many misconceptions over history about Wicca that exaggerate and connect them with things that they have no association. Even though these common misconceptions aren’t true, it doesn’t mean that it is still a little weird. I think that the one aspect of Wicca that really gets to people going is their

Wicca- The Spiritual 7 magick and potions. But that’s for another paper. One article that sums up what Wicca is all about proclaims that “True spirituality is an exquisite awareness of the interconnection of all things” (Leciejewski).

Wicca- The Spiritual 8 Works Cited

Friedman, Ellen C. “ Reverence for Nature is Central to Wicca.” The Austin AmericanStatesman. 31 Dec. 2005, pE5. Johnson, Elizabeth A. CSJ. “Passion for God, Passion for the Earth.” Article Number 103. Leciejewski, Sister Mary Ellen. “Connecting With the Earth.” Article Number 97. Moonstone, Rowan. “Christianity and Wicca: A Comparison.” 23 Feb. 2006 <http://www.msu.edu/user/rohdemar/earth/versus.html>. Pato, Luke Lungile. “Being Fully Human.” Article Number 118. Schneiders, Sandra M. “The Effects of Women’s Experience of their Spirituality.” Article Number 128. Vergara, Vernieda. “Wicca.” Religious Movements. 23 Feb. 2006 <http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/wicca.html>. “What is Wicca?” Dragonwood, Inc. 23 Feb. 2006 <http://www.msu.edu/user/rohdemar/earth/whatwicc.html>.

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