Is Wicca Witchcraft or Religion?

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What is Wicca?

Wicca is a Modern Pagan Religion based on the rituals and practices of the “Old Ways” of Witchcraft and Worshiping Nature. Wicca Witchcraft is a Religion rooted in pre-Christian traditions of Europe, primarily in the North and West, which spread throughout England in the early 1950’s. This belief system of Wicca became extremely popular and attracted followers through the rest of Europe and America.

Where did Wicca come from?

Wicca began with the writings of a retired British Civil Servant named Gerald Brousseau Gardner (1884-1964). Gardner, who worked his long career mainly in Asia, studying many occult belief systems and magickal practices. He was also inspired by the acclaimed English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer, Aleister Crowley.

How did Wicca start?

Gardner became involved with the British Occult community just prior to the outbreak of World War II and founded the Wicca movement.  It was based on the practice of Magick, with a “K”; the reverence and command of nature – as opposed to magic, which is nothing more than illusions performed by theater magicians, as Crowley explained in his writings. Wicca also worshiped the inclusion of female deity, or the Goddess, and many associated male deities, or the Horned God. He also incorporated much of Western Witchcraft traditions, such as the observed holidays, the layout of the altar, and many incantations and spells.

Propelled with England’s repeal of the archaic and falsely made “Witchcraft Laws” in 1951, Gardner published his book “Witchcraft Today” in 1954.  He then founded his first Coven, a group of followers and influential witches of the day, especially Doreen Edith Dominy Valiente. She was an English witch, who was responsible for writing the early religious liturgy within the tradition of Gardnerian Wicca.

Wicca spread throughout the United States like wildfire in the late ’60s.  Considering the young of America was searching for a “new way” in spirituality and getting away from the traditional religions.  Wicca, with its reverence for unconventional ways and means, and its focus on nature and natural energies, excited the movement in the US.

What is a Coven?

Groups of Wiccans or practitioners of Wicca are called a Coven.  A coven ideally is 13 people but can range from 10 to 15. A Wiccan starts their initiation into the coven with what is referred to as “a year and a day”.  Here they wear a cord around their cloak, cape or garb, that is exactly as long as they are tall. If they do not hold to the law of the coven, they are to hang themselves by this cord.  Thus the old saying: “just enough rope to hang yourself”.

What is the Wiccan Rede? 

The Law of Wicca is called the “Wiccan Rede” and goes as follows:

“Bide the Wiccan Law Ye Must,

In Perfect Love, and Perfect Trust

Eight Words the Wiccan Rede Fulfill:

In it Harm None, Do As Ye Will.

And ever Mind the Rule of Three:

What Ye Sends Out, Comes Back to Thee.

Follow this with Mind and Heart,

And Merry We Meet, And Merry We Part.”

Wiccans commonly practice Reiki, meditation, and do rituals throughout the year, celebrate the full and new moons each month, the equinoxes and solstices.  The most controversial and shunned attitudes of outsiders are the fact that they call themselves “Witches”. 

Indecently; a witch is both male and female.  Common, (Disney witches), that would be wanna-be’s, think that a male witch is called a “Warlock”.   Not so, never has been so. A warlock is an oath breaker, nothing to do with the craft at all.

It is also these muggles, if you will (tongue in cheek) also associate anyone called a witch with “Satanism”. Which is also false.

“To call a Wiccan Satanic is like calling a Christian an Atheist”

Wicca in History:

In 1986, Wicca was recognized as an official religion in the United States through the court case Dettmer v. Landon.

By 1990 there were estimated to be 50,000 plus Wiccans in Western Europe and North America.

Wicca and Law 

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In the case, incarcerated Wiccan Herbert Daniel Dettmer was refused ritual objects used for worship. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Wicca was entitled to First Amendment protection like any other religion.

In 1998, a Wiccan student in Texas enlisted the aid of the ACLU after the school board tried to prevent her from wearing Wiccan jewelry and black clothes. The board reversed its view.

In 2004, the Indiana Civil Liberties Union fought to reverse a judge’s decision that divorcing Wiccans were not allowed to teach their faith to their sons.

In 2005, U.S. Army Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart became the first Wiccan serving in the U.S. military to die in combat. His family was refused a Wiccan pentacle on his gravestone. As a result of a court case initiated by the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, Wiccan symbols are now accepted by the Veterans Administration.

The number of practicing Wiccans in the United States has proven difficult to estimate, with sources reporting anywhere from 300,000 to three million practitioners.

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