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What Is Wicca

By Angela Bradley,2014-01-24 00:32
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What Is Wicca

Wicca & Magick: Beginning Wicca: What is Wicca?

    Wicca is an unending path of light, magic, love, and constant learning. We revere nature and see the true divine beauty of the universe. It’s about recognizing that we all have the ability to take our fate into our own hands, and we have the right to choose how we use that power. There is no bible and no prophet. Our only rule is a simple and logical one: "An it harm none, do

     .as ye will"

    Wicca is an earth religion based on ancient (even prehistoric) paganism. Wicca itself is relatively new, a reconstruction loosely based on old religion and early witchcraft. Its roots are hard to trace because of persecution, which caused people and records to be hidden or destroyed.

    Most Wiccans worship the Goddess and the God. They have thousands of

    2names given to their many aspects by various cultures. Each name given to

    the Goddess and God in old mythology represents a different facet of the Goddess and the God's personality. Today, we invoke them by the name that is most appropriate for the purpose.

    Wicca is based on the concept of natural and essential equilibrium. All things have spiritual "life"- people, animals, plants, and even stones. Everything is part of a delicate balance of light and dark, day and night, good and evil, male and female. Even the Goddess and the God are both creators and destroyers. They give life, nurture it, and eventually take it away. This cycle is seen in the seasons and in the cycle of the moon, and is often symbolized by the Triple Goddess- Maiden, Mother, and Crone. The mother creates, the maiden develops, and the crone eventually fades away. We see this each month when the moon is a sliver, then grows to be full, and then becomes a sliver and fades away, before beginning again. Because of this, the emblem of the triple goddess is a full moon with a crescent on each side. We do not believe that Wicca is the only valid religion, nor do we try to convert people to Wicca. It is an open-minded path and there are many traditions, which offer different rules and ways to follow the religion. But many of us are "eclectic", and choose what elements of paganism we wish to incorporate in our practices as a Wiccan. One might choose to include things they learned from studying Buddhism, Asatru, Santeria, Baha'i, etc. into

    their tradition, if they are eclectic. (There are, however, some limitations

    3) that come about with non-pagan religions.

    We are not Satanists. In fact, we do not believe in Satan or a supreme evil, nor do we believe in hell. Let's just clear up a few misconceptions about witchcraft while we are on the topic. We do not sacrifice animals or people. We are not trying to become gods. Love spells, revenge spells, and hexes are not a practice supported by the Wiccan rede. We do not run around in black pointy hats and cloaks, turn people into toads, or fly on brooms. Never believe what you see in Hollywood; it's probably wrong or exaggerated for interest. Magic is more complicated and has a more subtle nature. Merely pointing a finger will not give someone a fatal disease or knock down a tree. Some of us do have special abilities- telekinesis, psychic power, shapeshifting. But these takes years and years of concentrated study and practice and are incredibly rare to see. Wicca is not about easy answers!

    Don't be in any big hurry to convert to Wicca. There is no instant way to "become" Wiccan, it's the result of learning and growing into it. There is no initiation ritual that can give you all the knowledge in the world in a few minutes. Study, practice, advance. You'll get there!

    The most valuable advice I can give to the beginner is read, read, read. Learn from the wisdom of others. Learn to listen to yourself, as well... you already know a lot about Wicca, you just don't realize it. Once you begin down the path, you will recognize many of the landmarks along the way. You are more familiar with the God and Goddess than you might think. Notes:

    Note 1: This law is stated in the Wiccan Rede, the basic tenet of the Wiccan religion. This means that one may do whatever they wish, as long as it is not done with the intent to harm a person, animal, place, or thing. The follow-up to this basic rule is the threefold law, which states that whatever you give out is returned to you threefold, whether it's positive or negative. Note 3: To fully understand why non-pagan religions are incompatible with Wicca, first you should know that Wicca belongs to a branch of paganism called neopaganism (or "new paganism"). So, every Wiccan is pagan (though not every pagan is necessarily Wiccan). The dictionary defines paganism

    not Christian, Muslim, or Jewish. Because of this, the as any religious belief

    concept of a "Wiccan Christian" becomes technically convoluted. Wicca & Magick: Beginning Wicca:Learning Outline

    0. Introduction

    This course outline is intended for the serious beginner who wishes to enter an intense and complete study of paganism, magic, wicca, and the occult. This

    is ONLY for those interested in a real self-education. If you're looking

    for an easy, quick way to gain instant gratification, forget about it. It doesn't exist. Knowledge is a reward you must earn.

    There is no answer key, in fact, many of these will have different answers for each person. This is only an outline. You may add to it or change from the suggested route if you would like. Good luck, begin whenever you are ready. DO NOT RUSH. This course is intended to allow for years of learning, if you finish it in a week or two I guarantee you that you barely scratched the surface.

    00. Getting Ready to Learn

    A. Notebook

    1. Have a plain notebook prepared to store research and answers

    to the questions included in this course outline. Print out this

    outline if you can and put it inside your notebook.

    B. Knowing where to look: Not sure how to find answers?

    1. Internet: Search engines and link directories

    a. AltaVista

    b. Yahoo!

    c. Infoseek

    d. HotBot

    e. SpiritLinks- (Occult)

    f. AvatarSearch- (Occult)

    2. Books: Check bookstores, libraries, and online bookstores [like

    amazon.com]

    a. Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner (Cunningham)

    b. Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs (Cunningham)

    c. To Ride a Silver Broomstick (Ravenwolf)

    The Spiral Dance (Starhawk) d.

    e. The Witch's Bible Compleat (Farrar)

    f. Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft (Buckland)

    I. Ethics

    A. The Law of Return: What goes around, comes around.

    1. What does this mean to you?

    2. How does it apply to your life?

    3. How does it apply to your magick practices?

    B. Perfect Love and Perfect Trust: It must be maintained between

    partners.

    1. Define "Perfect Love and Perfect Trust"

    2. How do you know when to trust someone?

    3. Who should you trust, and when should you maintain secrecy? C. Wiccan Rede: If you wish to become a wiccan, it's important to

    understand the rede.

    1. What is the meaning of the rede?

    II. Preparatory Understanding

    A. Faith: You must fully believe in magick for it to work.

    1. What does the phrases "magic is afoot" and "magic is

    everywhere" mean?

    B. Willpower: Nothing can stop you from reaching your goal.

    1. What are some possible obstacles to magick?

    2. How can you overcome those obstacles?

    C. Privacy: When to talk, when to preserve secrecy.

    1. Why should you sometimes keep your magick inention to

    yourself?

    2. When should you tell someone about your practices?

    3. How do these rules apply to a coven or group ritual atmosphere?

    4. Do you plan to "go public", or practice as a silent solitary? D. Willingness and Fearlessness: Leave your doubts at the door.

    1. Are you ready to walk a path less traveled, and less understood?

    2. If you are trying to change religions (ie to wicca or another

    form of paganism), are you prepared to give up whatever

    religion you may have been raised in?

    3. What fears or trepidations do you have? These must be dealt

    with before you can go any further.

    III. Magick Prep Skills

    A. Cleansing

    1. Define "cleansing"

    2. Define "ritual bath"

    3. What is one method for cleansing? B. Raising/controlling energy- These topics must be practiced and

    understood:

    1. Meditation

    2. Grounding

    3. Centering

    4. Concentration/Focus

    C. Visualization of a single goal

    1. Practice and understand visualization techniques D. Casting and opening a circle

    1. Why cast circles?

    2. Must you always cast a circle before rituals?

    3. One method for casting a circle

    4. One method for opening it afterwards

    IV. Beginning Spellcraft

    A. Creating your own spells

    1. Why not just use pre-created spells?

    2. Create a basic outline for all-purpose spell use

    3. Types of magic: research each form of magick and when each is

    appropriate to use:

    i. Spells/Rituals/Rites

    ii. Poppets/Dolls

    iii. Mojo bags

    iv. Potions and philtres

    B. Putting it all together: research and understand why, where, when, and

    how to use various spell elements:

    i. Affirmations, chants, and incantations

    ii. Color correspondences

    iii. Candle magick

iv. Stone magick

    v. Amulets, talismans, charms

    vi. Timing

    a. Days of the week

    b. Days of the year

    c. Lunar phases/cycles

    d. Astrological cycles

    vii. Herbs:

     . Meanings and magickal uses of herbs

    a. Incense

    b. Essential oils

    viii. Elements- Know the correspondences, meanings, and usages of:

     . Water

    a. Earth

    b. Fire

    c. Air

    d. Akasha

    ix. Elemental Spirits

    x. Invocations

    xi. Tools (ie, athame, chalice, broom, etc)

    Do you have to use ALL of these elements in every

    spell you create? (hint: NO) Explain.

    V. Advanced Skills

    A. Divination

    1. Gain a basic understand of each form of divination:

    i. Scrying

    ii. Astrology

    iii. Tarot

    iv. Runes

    v. Runesticks

    vi. Pendulums

    vii. I Ching

    viii. Oneiromancy (dream divination)

    ix. Tasseography (tea leaf reading)

    x. Ovamancy (egg divination)

    xi. Bibliomancy (book divination)

    xii. Ceromancy (candle wax divination)

    xiii. Geomancy (sand or dirt divination)

    xiv. Ouija

    2. Develop a divining skill

    i. Which form or forms of divination interest you most?

    ii. Research skill(s) of interest and attempt to practice

    them

    iii. What forms of divination are easiest or more natural for

    you?

    B. Psychic Powers

    1. Gain a basic understand of each form of psychicism:

    i. Precognition

    ii. Clairvoyance

    iii. Telepathy

    iv. Telempathy

    v. Clairaudience

    vi. Clairsentience

    vii. Telekinesis

    viii. Teleportation

    2. Develop a psychic skill

    i. Which form or forms of psychicism interest you most?

    ii. Do you feel you have any natural psychic powers?

    iii. If so, research ways to develop your natural skills.

    C. Beyond the Body

    1. Out-of-Body Experiences

    i. What are they? How are they different from astral

    traveling?

    ii. State and summarize some methods

    iii. Have you ever experienced this phenomenon? What is it

    like?

    iv. What abilities do you have that you normally don't have

    on the physical plane?

    2. Astral Travel

    i. What is it? Compare it to OBEs (Out-of-Body

    Experiences)

    ii. State and summarize some methods to induce it.

    iii. Discuss wraths, travelers, and the characteristics of this

    plane versus the physical and OBE planes.

    iv. Have you experienced it? And if so describe it.

    Wicca & Magick: Beginning Wicca:Principles of Wicca

    The Council of American Witches finds it necessary to define modern Witchcraft in terms of the American experience & needs.

    We are not bound by traditions from other times & other cultures, & owe no allegiance to any person or power greater than the Divinity manifest through our own being.

    As American Witches, we welcome & respect all life-affirming teachings & traditions, & seek to learn from all & to share our learning within our Council. It is in this spirit of welcome & cooperation that we adopt these few principles of Wiccan belief. In seeking to be inclusive, we do not wish to open ourselves to the destruction of our group by those on self-serving power trips, or to philosophies & practices contradictory to these principles. In seeking to exclude those whose ways are contradictory to ours, we do not want to deny participation with us to any who are sincerely interested in our knowledge & beliefs, regardless of race, color, sex, age, national or cultural origins, or sexual preference.

    We therefore ask only that those who seek to identify with us accept these few basic principles:

    1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon & the seasonal quarters & cross-quarters.

    2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, inecological balance offering fulfillment to life & consciousness within an evolutionary concept.

    3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than is apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary, it is sometimes called "supernatural," but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.

    4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the Universe as manifesting through polarity - as masculine & feminine - & that this same creative Power lives in all people, & functions through the interaction of the masculine & feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sexuality as pleasure, as the symbol & embodiment of Life, & as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practices & religious worship.

    5. We recognize both outer worlds & inner, or psychological worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious & Inner Planes, etc. & we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena & magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment. 6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge & wisdom, & acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership. 7. We see religion, magick, & wisdom-in-living as being united in the way one views the world & lives within it - a world view & philosophy of life, which we identify as Witchcraft or the Wiccan Way.

    8. Calling oneself "Witch" does not make a Witch - but neither does heredity itself, or the collecting of titles, degrees & initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within herself/himself that makes life possible in order to live wisely & well, without harm to others, & in harmony with Nature. 9. We acknowledge that it is the affirmation & fulfillment of life, in a continuation of evolution & development of consciousness, that gives meaning to the Universe we know, & to our personal role within it.

    10. Our only animosity toward Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy-of-life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed tobe "the one true right & only way" & have sought to deny freedom to others & to suppress other ways of religious practices & belief.

    11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present, & our future.

    12. We do not accept the concept of "absolute evil," nor do we worship any entity known as "Satan" or "the Devil" as defined by Christian Tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor do we accept the concept that personal benefits can only be derived by denial to another. 13. We work within Nature for that which is contributory to our health & well-being.

    Wicca & Magick: Beginning Wicca:Wiccan Rede

    Wiccans follow a basic law called the Wiccan Rede. The idea of the law is to that you can do whatever you want, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone- including yourself.

    Since the Wiccan Rede is the spine of Wicca, every action you take must adhere to it. The basis of the rule is ethics. Ethics must be taken into consideration in every decision, most especially when it comes to writing and casting spells. Spells must never manipulate someone to make them think or feel a certain way, and they must never cause psychological or physical damage.

    A common misconception is that one can cast a love spell at will to cause someone to love you involuntarily. This is a violation of the Wiccan Rede and is, in fact, often considered black magick. It manipulates the will of the individual being targeted. There are intricacies to love magick... you can cast a spell to draw a willing person to you, but you cannot cast a spell to force a specific person to love you.

    Since we've been leading up to it, here it is- the Wiccan Rede. Make sure you understand it thoroughly before continuing. It's an essential piece of information to help understand all aspects of The Craft- why we do certain things and not others.

    This poem known as the Wiccan Rede today was written by Adriana Porter who died in 1946.

    The Wiccan Rede

    Bide the Wiccan laws ye must,

    in perfect love and perfect trust.

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