The term Wicca can scare a lot of people away from a practice that would otherwise bring meaning to their life. Is it a religion? Is it a tradition? Are there rules?
Every person will probably have a different answer to these questions, and that’s okay. I’ll use this article to explain how I think about these things so that you can have some understanding for the rest of the site.
What is Wicca?
My training in Wicca began back in the late 1990s. There were some prominent books out at the time, but far, far less than today.
I guess you could say my understanding came a lot from the early books of Scott Cunningham. My journey has evolved my philosophy of Wicca, and I haven’t even read those books in a decade.
But I’m sure those sentiments linger as a core part of me.
So…What is Wicca?
Wicca is a religion in a sense. Most practices aim at creating a personal connection with nature and the divine. The religion is not organized, and it does not have a set of beliefs that must be held. There are no religious texts that must be held as truth.
In this sense, many might consider Wicca a spiritual path rather than a religion. There are endless debates about how Wicca fits into other religious paths, but my personal philosophy is that Wicca should be open and accepting of all faiths.
There can be Christian Wiccans that use ancient traditions to build a deeper relationship with their Christian understanding of God. There can be atheist Wiccans that emphasize practices that build their relationship to nature.
It is up to the individual to figure out how the craft of Wicca fits into their lives and beliefs. We live in an age of natural destruction, and so the more people who develop a reverence for nature, no matter how contradictory their beliefs may look to an outsider, the better it will be for our planet and future as humans.
Disclaimer: I am not saying we should tolerate groups that intend to persecute us. There has been enough persecution over the centuries. I’m only emphasizing that a person’s current religious affiliation should not exclude them from exploring Wiccan practices.
Does it Work?
Wicca technically descends from the oldest shamanic traditions of humankind.
Ask anyone who has participated in a shamanic ritual if it worked, and they will laugh. Sweat lodges and peyote ceremonies truly alter a person’s consciousness. These practices can awaken lifelong changes in a person as they realize the world as seen in front of them is not the whole picture.
Ask anyone who has performed sacred music in a large choir or danced to a primal drumbeat about their experiences. They will talk about how the whole world melted away, and they were left with profound indescribable feelings and a connection to nature and the other people around them.
Ask anyone with a long practice of meditation if it has benefits. They will describe the loss of sense of self and feelings of gratitude.
No reasonable person questions the ability of ritual, especially those descending from shamanic spiritual traditions, to naturally alter our consciousness to commune with nature and the divine.
It is a testament to many people’s bias against the term “Wiccan” to then wonder if the same types of practices “work.” Whether you call it God, the Goddess, the Divine, nature, or the human spirit, it doesn’t matter.
Wicca is the practice of ritual to commune with this transcendent, universal aspect. This is also why it is such a deeply personal journey. Every person will find variations that work better for them.
Yeah, But What About Magic?
As you can see, Wicca and magic are not the same. Wicca is a path of spirituality that uses magic. Magic is an often misunderstood term. It refers to the transformations that occur when performing Wiccan rituals.
All things have energy and/or spirits associated with them. These altered states produced from ritual let us see these underlying aspects to move and alter them. Magic should be used to improve ourselves and the world around us.
Nature and the divine aspect is far more powerful than we can ever imagine. Anyone who tries to do harm our bend nature to their will is in for some trouble. You get back what you put in threefold (often called the “threefold rule”).
If your main purpose in studying Wicca is to learn spells to curse or cause someone harm, you would be far better going a different path.
I’ll reiterate that magic is natural, not supernatural. Wiccan rituals tap into the already present natural energy to do magic. Though the process can be awe-inducing and transformative, there is nothing paranormal about it.
Wicca is a union with the natural, not a subversion of it.
Check out my whole article on: Do Wiccan Spells Work?
Are Wiccans Witches?
This, again, is a tricky question. Many Wiccans identify as witches and many do not. I may occasionally use the term “witch” to refer to all genders of Wiccan practitioners in the context of magic.
This already feels a bit awkward, because, as I pointed out above, I would like the site to be inclusive. The term “witch” carries a lot of baggage, and it can serve to turn people away unintentionally.
I will not try to specify “warlock” or other terms for a male witch.
How Do I Get Started?
Here are the beginner’s guides I’ve written so far. From there, you can explore the site to your heart’s content.
- The Witch Types
- Setting up a Wiccan Altar
- Wiccan Holidays
- Wiccan Books
- Wiccan Symbols
- Magick Square Sigils
- Do Spells Work?
- Wicca for Beginners
- The Wiccan Rede
- Best Online Wiccan Schools
- Starting a Wiccan Meditation Practice
- A Wiccan Wedding Ceremony Script