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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wicca, A Modern Day Revival of Ancient Belief Systems

My intention in posting this is for informational purposes only especially to the benefit of the "Seeker". I mean no harm nor arguments arising because of this post from other belief systems or faiths. I've been hesitant to post this a long time ago and I guess now is the time. The gods have started whispering...

The terms Wicca and Witchcraft have been used interchangeably but an explanation below will tell us that it's wrong. Additionally, the word "Witchcraft" creates a very striking impression to almost anyone. Well, a lot of us may have ask or had been asking ever since, "Is witchcraft similar to the ones portrayed in movies? Hags sacrificing babies or things like that?" I've been researching topics from Mysticism to New Age movements for a long time including mainstream earth-based religion like Hinduism and such, although I am not saying that I am a know-it-all guy but I believe that I am free to voice out my opinions based from facts. 

Now going back to the question above... The answer? A big NO. Contrary on what you see on TV or movies. Those are exaggerations and barely hold any truth. The truth behind the word "witchcraft" has its positive story. I'll be enumerating here most of the FAQs, from my research and being me as a Universalist and from interviews with other friends as well in the Cyberspace.

Suggested Comprehensive Reading: 

"Like love, or any other Witchcraft is different for each person. Witch is probably one of the most difficult words to define. Its usage and etymology are shrouded in the deep of history. We cannot provide a definitive explanation, but we are aware that some of our visitors have never met a Witch..."

These are the most common questions from the general public who only knows witches from the TV or movies. Remember: We are not talking about movie witches but "real" witches, not the exaggerated ones.

Is Witchcraft a religion?
NO. Witchcraft is just one of the discipline of Wicca (the religion). It is the practice of deeply associating one's self with the Divine focusing intentions to raise energy, healing, clairvoyance, awareness and other positive mystical experience. The works of Witchcraft are toward balance and harmony, considered to be healers and protectors.

What is Wicca (as a religion)?
Wicca, is not intended to be categorized as a 'religion' since it does not have any structure or leaders. It is an individualistic belief system. Wicca is a modern day revival and/or reconstruction of the pre-Christian religions (nature-based) from across various traditions in the world. We must need to remember that before the rising of organized religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, etc.), ancient civilizations from all across the Earth had one thing in common. These ancient people revered nature or Mother Earth, or simply the Universe and all things in and around it. With the introduction of strong personalities like Gerald Gardner (UK) and Doreen Valiente (UK), Wicca is introduce to the masses. The name was officially coined by Gerald Gardner who popularized the Wicca religion in England. Wicca is a distinct Pagan religion with many different traditions within it.

Do you have gurus, leaders, priests, masters? Every Witch is her or his own priest/ess. That's part of the point of the Craft. We need no intermediaries between us and Divinity; each of us can have our own personal "revelation." Mostly, the Craft is too diverse and anarchic to follow any one leader. We all partake of Divinity, and no one person has exclusive knowledge of the Divine or sole power to decide the directions of our lives. We have no infallible leader, no Grand High Exalted Poobah, no dogma. Nobody can have all the answers. So many of us have our own ideas about what the Craft should be and how it works, that we can rarely agree on points of religion - the idea of all of us agreeing to follow one person is manifestly absurd.

Each Circle or Coven may have a High Priestess or High Priest, or it may be democratic and operate by consensus. There will always be people with leadership tendencies; these are people who tend to do outreach work, networking between Wiccan groups or outside the Craft, or even teaching.

Wiccans or Witches? Which is Which?
Wicca is quite often referred to by the phrase “Wicca witchcraft” but this term is technically incorrect. The reason it is often incorrectly called Wicca witchcraft by many is because it is actually a form of witchcraft, but those practicing Wicca are more accurately referred to as Wiccans and not witches.

Can men be Witches?
This is one of the questions people ask most often. There have always been male Witches. At one time, when Witches were the healers and mystics of the Celtic tribes, both sexes were encourages to pursue the mysteries. Witchcraft is often associated with Women due to the fact that Witchcraft has its roots in the reverance of nature and fertility, and Women have traditionally been more associated with these ideas as well. A male Witch is not referred to as a Warlock in Witchcraft. He is a Witch. Warlock was a term used by the Witch hunters to designate male Witches and meant Traitor. Witches would never use such a derogatory term for one of their own.

Do Witches believe in God?
Most Witches believe in a creative force that has both masculine and feminine properties and powers. Frequently, we refer to the "Goddess and God" to describe this energy in a way that the human mind can process. Witches use various pantheons from around the world to symbolize the forces of deity. Some Witches do not practice the religion of Wicca; instead, they practice the Craft as an art and/or science. Most Witchcraft traditions teach that "all gods are one god, all goddesses are one goddess, and the God and the Goddess are one". This is an underlying truth that Witches have always understood. The universe is alive and we refer to its living energy by many names.
What do Witches believe about the afterlife?
The majority of Witches believe in reincarnation. The soul passes through many physical bodies on its way to enlightenment. Some Witches envision the soul entering "Summerland" between incarnations. Summerland can be equated to Nirvana, Heaven, or Valhalla, and many Witches call this place Avalon, after the sacred isle of Witches in ancient Britain. Each person's idea of the perfect place to rest and reflect has a personal, almost unique description.

Do Witches worship the Devil?
Witches do not worship any evil entities. The concept of the "Devil" most people picture is a Christian one. Witches are not Christians. We are not Satanists (though we have seen Satanists referred to as Witches) and we do not practice evil magic. We would not hurt children or sacrifice animals in our rituals. There is nothing in our belief system that states we are required to hurt anyone; in fact, witches believe in karma: whatever you do will come back to you multiplied by three. This threefold law, coupled with our belief that everyone and everything alive is a piece of deity, exists as insurance that those who do not hold all life sacred will reap what they sow.

Do Witches have a "bible"?
Each Witch inherits or creates a Book of Shadows. There is no universal dogma. All of the Witches we have ever networked with believe in the same rule, known as the Wiccan Rede. It can be expressed in modern English as "If it harms none, do as you will". Volumes of text exist on store shelves, waiting for seekers to uncover the secrets they contain, but not one can claim to be the only true scripture of Witchcraft.

Why do Witches practice magick?
There are too many reasons to list, but some popular motivations include healing, prosperity, luck, romance, protection, psychic awareness and development, worship, celebration, and the marking of important milestones in our lives. Witches know that they have a responsibility to take part in their own development and to assist those in need. Magic is an important part of this function, as it gives us the tools to manifest great change.

Do you cast spells?
Yes. That's part of being a Witch. There are those who wish merely to worship the Goddess (and God), observe the turning of the seasons with ritual, and honor the Earth. These are what may be called "Neo-Pagans" (to distinguish them from indigenous, aboriginal pagans). Nearly all Witches are Neo-Pagans (believe it or not, a few Witches are even Christian or Jewish); not all Neo-Pagans are Witches.

Can you give me a spell to.........?
Spells are not a cure-all. They do not take the place of hard work; they add to it. Spells focus your Will and can help you make necessary changes in your life, but they are not a bandage for everything that is wrong in it. You must resolve to work on your issues in every world: the physical world we exist in (body), the psychological and emotional world of your personality (mind), the spiritual realms of magic (soul). When you have exerted your Will in all of these, you can attain your goals.

Why do Witches wear black?
Witches are often associated with the color black. Some would argue that both are evil, and represent the powers of darkness. Witches know that this is not the case. We aren't evil and neither is the color black. Black is a powerful color in religious symbolism, worn by spiritual representatives of many faiths, such as priests, nuns, and Hasidic rabbis. Few people would accuse their local nunnery of Satanic worship even though so many of them are found in flowing black robes (Sally Field, in The Flying Nun, being one of the exceptions). Whether they know it or not, religious leaders wear black because the practice carries with it an ancient psychic truth that has always been a part of Witchcraft. The color black is like a solar battery, drawing in energy and light which allows Witches to tap into the universal wisdom.

Do Witches have holidays?
Like other religions, Witchcraft has its holy days of sacred importance. Witches refer to the collection of their eight holidays as the Wheel of the Year. They do this because Witchcraft is a nature religion and teaches that everything in the universe is part of a cycle. The wheel turns throughout the year and Witches take part in this natural cycle of events. Our holidays are centered around ancient solar and harvest festivals. We honor the solstice and equinoxes, and also the great fire festivals, such as the last harvest and the rites of spring. The most well known Witches' holiday is Halloween, which we call Samhain (sah-wen). This is the time when the "veil between the worlds is thin", and we can contact the spirits of our ancestors. Thought the others are not as well known, Witches cherish all of nature's holidays as we cherish all of nature. The ancient holidays of Witchcraft have survived through centuries of misunderstanding. Many of them have been adopted by the younger religions as a means to convert the Pagan peoples to the new faiths. Even today, many of the trappings of the Christmas season come to us from the religion of Witchcraft. In this society of technology, people still practice them because they stir memories of their ancestors who walked the path of natural wisdom.

Are there different types of Witches?
Like other religious groups, there are many denominations of Witchcraft. These denominations are known as traditions and this diversity exists because of the environment in which Witchcraft evolved. In the earliest times of our history, Witches were the magic makers of the pre-christian pagan peoples of Western Europe. Pagan groups, such as the Celts, were often connected to a certain region or territory. The gods they worshiped were determined by the needs of their particular situation, such as the climate, growing season, or abundance of food. What further fragmented the various types of Witchcraft practiced was the burning times, where hundreds of thousands of people were hung, burned, and tortured under the false charges of Witchcraft. As a result of persecution by religious authorities of the era, the Witches who survived went underground, practicing only within their families, passing on the secret knowledge of Witchcraft through the generations. When the first Witches "came out of the broom closet" in the early 1950's, many of them were surprised to discover that there were others like them. They were also intrigued that there were also many differences, brought about by centuries of hiding. Today, Witches celebrate the diversity within our movement, knowing that it nourishes the beauty and wisdom of the Witchcraft religion.

Are all Witches psychic?
All living beings possess some degree of psychic ability, though how far it develops depends on motivation, determination, and practice. This is much like other disciplines, such as singing, painting, and swimming. Witchcraft is both a religion and a practice. The religion of Witchcraft deals with the spirit of nature, the life force that flows through every particle of the universe. The practice of Witchcraft involves the use of magic as a means to create change, and psychic ability as a means to map out the influences in our lives. People drawn to the craft are often attracted to one or both of these aspects. Some Witches simply prefer to worship the God and Goddess and revere the forces of nature. Others pursue the attainment of psychic wisdom, both as it applies to magic and to psychic perception. Many of the Witches we know are somewhat involved in both, but almost all of them have a preference in their approach. As a result, there are many Witches who, while possessing a degree of innate psychic ability, do not pursue it and therefore are not "psychic" according to the popular definition of the word. Those Witches who do apply themselves to psychic work often excel at it. This is because Witchcraft is a way of life, and the energy that exists in all things is honored and respected by Witches every minute of every day.

Why is Salem so often associated with Witchcraft?
Salem and Witchcraft have been synonymous for over three-hundred years. This is because, in 1692, 20 innocent people were put to death under the charge of worshiping the Christian devil, a practice which at the time was mistakenly called Witchcraft. This event is one of the darker chapters of our nation's history and a timeless lesson on the dangers of intolerance that can be applied to any era. Salem draws more than a million visiteors each year, who hope to understand the events that took place here. They also come to experience the growing community of modern witches who live here. Hence the other association between Witchcraft and Salem. Beginning in the early 1970's, a substantial number of Witches have flocked to the city in hopes of a place where they can practice their ways in safety. Today, there are several thousand Witches of various traditions who help to make Salem one of the most visitied cities in America.

What is the difference between "black magic" and "white magic"?
Spells, like people, have no simple categories. As far as we are concerned, these labels are misleading at best and do not adequately explain the subtlety of magic or the responsibility of the Witch. Each individual is responsible for his or her own actions. Even spells done with the best intentions can be manipulative, because no one knows what is best for someone else. Any spell done for another person, to another person, or involving another person in any way should ONLY be done with that person's permission. A responsible Witch does not take chances with Karma: always ask.

These are some of the many questions Witches are often asked.
Big Thanks to


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