What is Wicca?

Disclaimer: This is a very, very basic introductory explanation of what Wicca is.

So... what is it? 


Firstly, Wicca is not devil worship nor is it a cult. Wicca is (generally) a polytheistic, earth-based Pagan (or Neo-Pagan, depending on how picky you want to be) religion.

Many Wiccans believe in two or more higher powers. Some say that the God and Goddess are just representative of all the gods and goddesses throughout the world and time. Many others believe in the concept of a pantheon of gods and goddesses such as the Greek, Celtic, Roman, or Egyptian gods and goddesses. In a pantheon theology, each god and goddess is separate, has their own attributes, and are worshiped and honored individually. However, there are some Wiccans who only believe in the female Goddess aspect.

Wiccans do not believe in "converting" people, but believe that if you are interested in the craft, you must seek it out.

All living things are sacred, to include plants and animals. 

There are many denominations or traditions, as they’re called, of Wicca. I the Eclectic path. There are many others such as Gardenian, Dianic, and Alexandrian. Those aren’t the only few, but I encourage you to look into them. Depending on who you talk to, the terms Wicca or Wiccan can only be used if you are taught within the Gardenian or Alexandrian traditions because Gerald Gardener is the fore-father of "traditional Wicca." Others believe that Wicca is for everyone, even if you can't trace your coven initiation lineage back to Gardener.

Each person who walks "the path" of the Goddess can speak to the deities and the elements.You don't need an intermediary such as a priest or a pastor. This is the ONE philosophy all Wiccans agree upon. Everything is else widely debated, but you are your own direct link to the deities.

The God and Goddess 


The Goddess can be called as Isis, Hecate, Demeter, Cerridwen, and many others. She is the Mother of all and ruler of the Moon. During the year, she transforms from Maiden, to Mother, to Crone which is shown in the waxing, full, and waning moons. She is the giver of life and death. She is both the stormy sea and the calm lake.

That “Horned God” part is what most people (who don't know what Wicca is) are scared of. I mean, the devil has horns, right? The reason He is called the “Horned God” is because he is the life energy of the animals, the hunt, and the wilderness. He has been depicted with elk, deer, or goat horns. He is the ruler of the Sun. The God has many names: The Sun God, as Pan, Lugh, Osiris, Apollo, and many others. He is the Father of all and the consort of the Goddess.

There are two versions to the God's story:
The Sun God - During the year He is born, ages, and dies.
And then there's the Oak King and the Holly King - These twins battle throughout the year. The Oak King reigns during the summer and the Holly King reigns during the winter.

The Pentacle and Pentagram 


The five-pointed-star is the symbol used by Wiccans to represent the elements  and the spirit. Each point corresponds to an element (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) and the highest point of the star is the Spirit, which unites everyone and everything. A pentacle is the five-pointed-star without the circle and a pentagram is the star with a circle.

The Rede


 Many Wiccans follow a basic moral code, called the Wiccan Rede:

“An it harm none, do what ye will.”

Not as long as you thought it would be? Well, above is technically all the Wiccan Rede is. However, in 1978 there was a poem published based on the shorter rede, called “The Witch’s Creed.” It goes as follows:

Bide within the Law you must,
in perfect Love and perfect Trust.

Live you must and let to live,
fairly take and fairly give.

For tread the Circle thrice about
to keep unwelcome spirits out.

To bind the spell well every time,
let the spell be said in rhyme.

Light of eye and soft of touch,
speak you little, listen much.

Honor the Old Ones in deed and name,
let love and light be our guides again.

Deosil go by the waxing moon,
chanting out the joyful tune.

Widdershins go when the moon doth wane,
and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane.

When the Lady's moon is new,
kiss the hand to Her times two.

When the moon rides at Her peak
then your heart's desire seek.

Heed the North winds mighty gale,
lock the door and trim the sail.

When the Wind blows from the East,
expect the new and set the feast.

When the wind comes from the South,
love will kiss you on the mouth.

When the wind whispers from the West,
all hearts will find peace and rest.

Nine woods in the Cauldron go,
burn them fast and burn them slow.

Birch in the fire goes
to represent what the Lady knows.

Oak in the forest towers with might
in the fire it brings the God's insight.

Rowan is a tree of power
causing life and magick to flower.

Willows at the waterside stand
ready to help us to the Summerland.

Hawthorn is burned to purify
and to draw faerie to your eye.

Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning-
adds its strength to the bright fire burning.

White are the flowers of Apple tree
that brings us fruits of fertility.

Grapes grow upon the vine
giving us both joy and wine.

Fir does mark the evergreen
to represent immortality seen.

Elder is the Lady's tree
burn it not or cursed you'll be.

Four times the Major Sabbats mark
in the light and in the dark.

As the old year starts to wane
the new begins, it's now Samhain.

When the time for Imbolg shows
watch for flowers through the snows.

When the wheel begins to turn
soon the Beltaine fires will burn

As the wheel turns to Lammas night
power is brought to magick rite.

Four times the Minor Sabbats fall
use the Sun to mark them all.

When the wheel has turned to Yule
light the log the Horned One rules.

In the spring, when night equals day
time for Ostara to come our way.

When the Sun has reached it's height
time for Oak and Holly to fight.

Harvesting comes to one and all
when the Autumn Equinox does fall.

Heed the flower, bush, and tree
By the Lady blessed you'll be.

Where the rippling waters go
cast a stone, the truth you'll know.

When you have and hold a need,
harken not to others greed.

With a fool no season spend
or be counted as his friend.

Merry Meet and Merry Part
bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

Mind the Three-fold Laws you should
three times bad and three times good.

When misfortune is enow
wear the star upon your brow.

Be true in love this you must do
unless your love is false to you.

Eight words the Rede fulfill
"And ye harm none, do what ye will".

Some follow this as strict law, while others use it as a guidance. It’s a poem… I use it as guidance and advice. The one part that follow more closely than the rest is, “An ye harm none, do what ye will.” Even that part needs some sort of explanation though. You can't go through life without harming anything or else you couldn't eat to live.

Altars and Tools 


Altars are used to perform magick rites and to give offerings to The Old Ones. These can be simple things such as plants found outside or even pieces of your meal to say thank you. Tools on the altar include: bell, wand, cup, cauldron, pentacle, bowl, white-handled knife (bolline), black-handled knife (athame), sword, broom, candles, incense, salt, and censer. Tools can be found in nature, given as gifts, or purchased. Most of our tools were purchased, with the exception of my wand, which I found underneath a rosebush. Tools each have a different purpose in ritual. For example: the broom is used to sweep away negative energy, while the athame is used to absorb energy or power. 

More tools include herbs, oils, and the grimoire or book of shadows. In some traditions, to have a book of shadows you must copy it from your teacher, who copied from theirs, who copied from theirs, and so on. Others are made as you go. They can be in leather-bound, musty books or saved on the computer. Or... you might choose to not use one at all. Mine is in a neat little handmade journal, which was a gift from a family friend. I write down things in it as I go.



"Blessed be" - It means that you wish blessings on someone. It is generally used as a greeting, blessing, or farewell. It also means that you recognize the Goddess in another person's being.

"Merry meet, merry part, merry meet again" - Greeting and farewell, saying that you are glad to have come together and hope that you have a happy farewell and will happily meet again. You can shorten it to each of its parts. For example: When you get together, just say, "Merry Meet."

"So mote it be" - Basically, "make it happen". 

"The Old Ones" - The God and Goddess 

"Coming out of the broom closet" - Letting people know you're a Wiccan or Witch.

Witch - You can call yourself a witch if you'd like, but many other types of pagans use the term witch, not just Wiccans.




Secrecy - Even in this day and age, Wiccans are seriously misunderstood. It is a big no-no to point a Wiccan out to others. If you would like to share about yourself, that is great, but let others make that decision for themselves. Some only like to share with certain people in their lives. Please respect that. 

Converting - Don't do it. No one likes religion being forced down their throats. If someone is curious you're more than welcome to share, but don't be a crusader. 

Sacred items - Don't touch anyone else's ritual tools or items. They are charged with that person's energy. If you touch them, you're putting your energy into their tools. It's not nice and then they'll have to clear and charge their tools again, which can be a lengthy process... kind of like letting someone else borrow your underwear. If you really want to touch then ask. If that person feels that you really have positive energy, good intentions, and are close enough with you to know that then they may let you. On the same note, just because they said yes once, doesn't mean it's ok the next time. If they decline the next time, don't feel offended, just accept it graciously.

No drugs or alcohol before ritual - Yup! I said it... no drinking and driving. If you're performing a ritual, you want to be clear and sound of mind. If you're not, you never know what kind of nasties you could inadvertently let into your circle or your spell could go awry. (Little side-note: This rule is what I was taught. There are many other pagan religions and traditions that do use entheogens or alcohol, but in a regulated and spiritual way. It's not just because it would be "cool to try." I have never used them during ritual though and don't really see a need to.)

Other References and Awesome Books:


As I stated in the beginning, this is just a very basic introduction to Wicca. Excellent books on the subject include: 

by Scott Cunningham

by Starhawk

by Margot Adler

Notes on the literature you read: Not everything will appeal to you. Even as you read other's opinions on certain authors, you'll see that some people will say certain books are amazing, while others will hate on the same author like there's no tomorrow. These books for me, for example, contained a lot of good information and caused me to look within myself. However, much of the information in these books did not appeal to me because they were written in what I felt to be a very "flower-child" feel. I loved the books, but I had to interpret and apply to my lifestyle.

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