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 The origins of wicca

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PostSubject: The origins of wicca   Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:24 am

The Origins
Wicca's origins can be traced back in Europe during the 20th century. However, the religion is believed to be far older than that, even dating back during the time of the witch trials. It is believed that many of the witch trial victims were not followers of Satan or demonic powers, but rather Pagans who followed a more "nature-based" belief system. Sadly, most of the earlier records of the religion have been lost or long forgotten.

In the 1950's, a man by the name of Gerald Gardner led a revival in the religion that has continued to grow strong even today. Early Wicca was known as Witchcraft or the Witch Cult, but by the 1960's it had become labeled as Wicca.

Gardner himself noted in many of his writings that Wicca's origins could be traced back as early as the witch trials. However, many researches and historians have applied reasons to discredit this claim. Many of them have stated that Wicca was simply a compilation of several things, including 19th and 20th century occultism.

Without any real records, it is hard to determine the exact origins of Wicca. Most Wiccans however follow what Gardner and other scholars have stated in that Wicca is as old, if not older, than the time of the witch trials.

Common Beliefs and Practices
Most Wiccans believe in a connection with a god and a goddess. Often times these will be referred to as the Horned God and the Triple Goddess, but not always. The Horned God should not be confused with Satan or the devil, as he is not a representative of either. Wiccans do not believe in Satan or hell, hence further indicating that the Horned God is not Satan.

Not all Wiccans believe in a god and a goddess. Some choose to believe in only one or the other, whilst some disbelieve in a higher entity all together. Some believe in a more nature-based system, similar to the Native Americans, and believe in Spirit Guides and Animal Totems instead (or along with) a god and a goddess.

"The Witches are firm believers in reincarnation, and they say that 'once a witch, always a witch.' " -Gerald Gardner

Almost all Wiccans believe in reincarnation. Some believed that they are reincarnated into another person, whilst others believe in reincarnation through another being, such as an animal. However, reincarnation is not a universal belief amongst Wiccans.

Witchcraft and Magic (often referred to as Magick) is generally practiced amongst all Wiccans. Some Wiccans do choose to not practice any form of magic, whilst others believe more in the use of herbology, gemstones, etc.The Wiccans that do practice magick practice "good magick" or "white magick", which means that they do not cast spells to cause harm to themselves or another. The people who do cast spells with ill intentions are not welcomed amongst Wiccans.

"The Gods are real, not as persons, but as vehicles of power. Briefly, it may be explained that the personification of a particular type of cosmic power in the form of a God or Goddess, carried out by believers and worshippers over many centuries, builds that God-form or Magical Image into a potent reality on the Inner Planes, and makes it a means by which that type of cosmic power may be contacted." – Gerald Gardner

As afore mentioned, Wiccans do not believe in a hell or Satan. They believe in a Heaven like place called Otherworld or Summerland, where their souls go to rest.

Many witches practice in covens or are solitary. Solitary means that they practice by themselves whilst coven means they practice amongst a group of fellow witches. Either form of practice is perfectly acceptable within the religion and both forms are encouraged.

Famous Wiccans
Avril Lavigne

Gerald Gardner

Doreen Valiente

Raven Grimassi

Terry Pratchett

Selena Fox

Silver RavenWolf


Wicca Today
"Wicca, as you practice the religion today, is a new religion, barely fifty years old. The techniques you use at present are not entirely what your elders practiced even thirty years ago. Of course, threads of 'what was' weave through the tapestry of 'what is now.' no way can we replicate to perfection the precise circumstances of environment, society, culture, religion and magick a hundred years ago, or a thousand. Why would we want to ? The idea is to go forward with the knowledge of the past, tempered by the tools of our own age."- Silver RavenWolf

Wicca is one of the most popular Neo-Pagan religions today. It is increasingly popular amongst women and feminist. Wicca saw a huge surge in popularity in the 2000's amongst teenagers (more specifically teenage girls) however, many of these would not be considered "true followers" amongst Wiccans.

The religion is particularly popular in English speaking countries, especially the United States and England. Other countries have seen a rise in Wicca over recent years, but nothing like that of the US and England.

Unlike years past, Wicca and Witchcraft are becoming more mainstream and accepted. In Gardner times, practicing Wicca was a guaranteed way of being persecuted for one's beliefs. Today, it is commonly more accepted, however it's practitioners can still face ridicule from friends and family.

Wicca today is a very open religion; generally known for accepting all classes and races. It is more common to see female practitioners, and even entire covens with only female witches. However, this is not to say that male members are not accepted.

The religion today is also known for having an eclectic mix of beliefs. There are no set rules or guidelines stating that it's practitioners must believe in a certain set of things. The only general rule amongst Wiccans is to harm none least you be harmed. This means that Wiccans believe if you practice the faith with ill intentions, you too will receive a bad fate.

Wicca can be a very rewarding religion. Not only does it provide a means for people to explore magic and the unknown, but it also encourages exploring your beliefs and developing your own. Wiccans are encouraged to practice with fellow witches, or to practice on their own as solitary witches. Both ways can work for many people; some who wish to be amongst people of similar beliefs and other who prefer the privacy of their own homes to practice.

Wicca will on occasion receive bad reviews as being a religion where people practice dark magic to harm others or simply as a religion for rebellious teenagers. This is not the true meaning of Wicca and it's main practitioners are nothing like this. Wicca is about using magic for good and having a strong bond with spirits and nature. It is about love and togetherness, with the world and fellow believers.
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