Wicca has changed so much over the years that the definition and description of Wicca have grown to encompass many different nuances and different teachers have their own take on it. This is the version I was taught. This is written in my own language and terms that I understand them to be.
Wicca is a religion that is constantly evolving. It can be summed up in just a few words. “It is a nature-based religion that honors both the God and the Goddess”.
Wicca changes with individual preferences, convictions, beliefs, and so much more because of the nature of the religion being so diverse. There are so many variations of the term Wicca that every part of it can be controversial right down to the basic interpretation of the Wiccan Rede of “Harm none” which is often left without discussion of the previous few words of “do as ye will”.
Wicca is Not a structured religion like we see in mainstream Religions such as Catholicism. It has no Hierarchy to set rules and regulations such as Catholicism has the Pope in the Vatican and Mormons have the Prophet and his disciples as we can see in most religions.
My mother was just a child back in 1974 when the American Council of Witches came together to make them, leaving me with only what I have been told. However, it is my understanding that the beliefs of all of these individual witches were so diverse that the group, and it was a considerably large group, couldn’t get along or agree with each other and that is why they quickly disbanded once they argued their way through these set beliefs.
They are a very important part of American History involving Witchcraft. That brings me to my next point. Although today, Wicca is a religion, it didn’t begin that way. It started out as a small movement in society at the time. If we look back in history there were a couple of famous movements on the rise.
When Wicca began, it was a movement started by a man named Gerald Gardner. The story is told that he started out practicing with a small coven of Witches (New Forest coven). He felt that Witchcraft had a religious feel to it and decided to embark on a journey to places all over the world. In his search during this spiritual expedition, he experienced many different types of mysticism, rituals, practices, and beliefs that he incorporated into this new tradition of Witchcraft he called Wicca. With the whole peace and love and civil rights movements happening in society at the time, it began to grow and evolve.
People branched off and began their own traditions. Now there was Gerald Gardner’s tradition called Gardnerian and then grew traditions like Alexandrian which was started by Alex Sanders. Some of the first headline and familiar names we find at the start of Wicca also included Doreen Valiente, Scott Cunningham, and Raymond Buckland. Raymond Buckland was one of the first to help spread Wicca in the United States.
Although Wicca began in the 1950s and the movement found its roots digging into society in the 1960s. It wasn’t until the 1970s when the Wicca Movement became a recognized religion. Wicca itself is not thousands of years old. In Fact, Wicca is still very new as far as religions go. However, the practices of ritual, magick, and spirituality are from old and respected practices from different cultures around the world and tied together with new concepts and even contains in many traditions some reconstructionist views, practices and beliefs.
Although Wicca began as a tradition of Witchcraft, it has evolved today into an ever-growing religious group under the broad and modern umbrella term of Paganism. Many people have separated the religious part of Wicca from the magickal part of Wicca that we know as witchcraft.
That separation is a fairly new concept that has taken hold in the modern American concepts of Wicca. As this religion grows and evolves into small and large traditions all over the world, new ideas, beliefs, and concepts definitely influence its development and evolution.
Wicca is a nature-based religion that also incorporates a form of Witchcraft. It is a roughly defined spiritual path. One misconception about Wicca is that Wicca is an ancient religion. When I refer to Wicca, I am referring to a belief system that has only been around since the 1960s. That does not take away from its value because it holds practices from time-honored traditions from many different cultures around the world.
As was explained in the last lesson the concept of “Wicca” began with a man named Gerald Gardner. Since I am not teaching the Gardnerian tradition of Wicca, I am not going to go very deep into the background of Gerald Gardner. I am going to suggest that you look up some documentaries on Youtube featuring Doreen Valiente, Alex Sanders, Witchcraft, Wicca and information about Gerald Gardner. there are many awesome Wiccans on Youtube that can also give you their versions or interpretations of Wicca too. That is a good place to start in research to get an idea of where Wicca came from. On Youtube, there are pieces of our history of how society viewed Witchcraft as it was inspired through common media of the times. Knowing the history of witchcraft and Wicca gives an idea of how it evolved into what it is today. Wicca isn’t for everyone but it does offer a lot of value to the practitioner.