Wicca, A Gentle Nature Based Religion


I get many, many questions about Pagan/Wiccan Beliefs , so many I have a hard time keeping up. A lot of questions I am finding are sent to my spam box. If you haven’t received a response and it has been more than 2 weeks, please resend your questions. I want to encourage everyone that I can to continue to explore and educate themselves on Pagan Beliefs.

I found this article on info.com. The original article can be read here

WICCA

Learn about Wicca, a goddess-worshiping, nature-based religion.

According to the American Religious Identification Survey, 8,000 American respondents identified themselves as Wiccan in 1990. In 2001, that number increased to 134,000. While the leap points to the increasing popularity of Wicca as a religious or spiritual choice for Americans, Wiccans are still a tiny minority, often misunderstood and subject to unfair prejudices.

Misconceptions of Wicca

Because Wiccans generally refer to themselves as Witches, Pagans or Neopagans, they are commonly mistaken for devil or Satan worshippers. The misconception has a long history rooted in religious propaganda that began in the late Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church began hunting down and burning at the stake those they considered Satan worshippers.

This grossly prejudiced “burning” lasted three centuries, and among the victims were those considered “witches,” despite the fact that they had no association with Satanism. In fact, as a Judeo-Christian anti-God or anti-Christ figure, Satan had no place in Pagan or Wiccan traditions, religious or otherwise. But the link between witches and Satanism captured the popular imagination and continues to persist today.

What is Wicca?

Part of Paganism, a contemporary religious movement that is gaining popularity in North America, Wicca is a nature-centered religion recognized by the federal government. Like many other religions, including Christianity, Wicca uses symbols, observes religious days (often seasonally determined) and honors deities (often rooted in northern European Pagan traditions that sometimes predate Christianity).

Because Wiccans have been subject to violence and persecution stemming from ignorance and religious intolerance, Wicca has long been an underground religion practiced out of sight of the public eye. This secrecy, necessary for survival for many Wiccans, has unfortunately lent Wicca a shroud of mystery that has further perpetuated society’s misguided suspicions.

With the publication of the works of the English civil servant and Wiccan-convert, Gerard Gardner, Wicca began to take off in England in the 1950s. The religion, sometimes practiced individually in isolation, has continued to attract members in North America and Europe. In the United States, Ford Hood, Texas, has become one of the centers for the Wiccan religion.

Wiccan religious leaders are permitted to marry people, function as chaplains in federal facilities and rent public facilities for their religious activities, among other rights granted to religious groups.

Common Beliefs and Practices of Wicca

Because Wicca has multiple roots and influences, its exact genealogy and theology have been fraught with controversy and debate. Many scholars trace Wicca’s roots to northern European pagan traditions, while others point to influences ranging from the Masonic Order and astrology to Jungian psychology, feminism and quantum physics.

However, there are generally accepted principles shared by most Wiccans. For instance, many Wiccans consider themselves pantheists aharm none, do what you will.” They believe in the individual quest for a personal spiritual path that can coexist harmoniously with all humans and the natural world.

Other shared principles include:

  • Rejection of any doctrine, as well as traditional and dominant cultural and religious values
  • Focus on ecology and seasonal cycles of which humans are a part of
  • Rejection of patriarchy and male idols (including Satan) and an embracing of feminism and other all-life-affirming values
  • Belief in the interconnectedness of all life, deeds and beings
  • Rejection of the mind/body split and an embracing of a more holistic view of humans

Some shared practices and rituals include:

  • Consecration of space, usually emphasizing circles and spheres
  • Use of magic and other ritual practices like divination, chanting, dancing and meditation to celebrate natural cycles and promote healing
  • Use of the upright pentagram (as opposed to the upside down pentagram used by the Satanists), a sign rooted in the Babylonian symbol for protection, balance, the elements of the Earth, the human body and the hand

Controversy Among the Wiccans

While information and religious freedom has granted Wiccans legal legitimacy and the security to openly practice their faith, the confusion of Wicca with Satan worship has produced ongoing debate among Wiccans.

For instance, some Wiccans have challenged the general Wiccan identification with the word “Witch.” While many Wiccans worry that abandoning the term will erase Wicca’s painful and unjust past, others contend that using the term continues to bring unnecessary harm to the community. After all, while it is important to remember the history of religious intolerance and persecution (which can crop up any time, even today) the term “Witch” continues to carry negative connotations.

The urgent issue for Wiccans is the misconception that equates Wicca with Satanism. Wiccans are not Satan worshippers. Nor are they anti-Christian. And while Wiccans call themselves Witches, not all Witches are Wiccans.

Wicca has fought a long battle to gain even minimal mainstream acceptance. But until the general public becomes more educated and less afraid of this gentle religion, Wiccans will continue to be marginalized.

 

Identifying with Animals-Animal Totems


In many Pagan beliefs religions and cultures, it is customary to work with an animal guide or spirit. The idea behind it is that you are to adopt the likeness of the animals qualities and personality as a positive force in your daily life.

(I hope this list can be of some help to you.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Adder/Snake – wisdom, cunning, striking ability in defense

Badger – facing down larger adversaries with unyielding courage

Bat – out only at night moving at great speed

Bear – solitary, defensive when protecting it’s young

Bee – works in cooperation and coordination

Blackbird – has it’s own distinctive song and sings for the joy of singing

Boar – cunning and ferocious; sly and agressive

Bull – strength and potency; protection

Butterfly – carefree; yet able to defend itself against predators; able to camouflage itself

Cat – independent, competent; can fight its way out of a bad situation, but knows when it should retreat from overwhelming odds

Cock – confident

Cow – loving; comfortable with others

Crane – dignity

Crow – cunning and bold

Deer – shy, inconspicuous, swift

Dog – devotion

Dolphin – intelligence, communication

Dragon – knowledge, riches

Eagle – wisdom, longevity, quick to attack

Eel – quick, fluid

Fox – intelligent, loving, playful

Frog – still, invisible, able to take large leaps

Hare/Rabbit – peaceful, defensive

Hawk – keen sight, swift to strike

Hedgehog – able to curl up with sticky spines to deter enemy

Heron – slow and methodical; dignified

Horse – freedom, friendship, stamina, defense

Lizard – able to camoflage itself; quick to move

Lynx – travels over any type of ground and any type of weather; playful

Mouse – shy, fast

Otter – playful, friendly, curious, enjoys life

Owl – knowledge, wisdom, protects itself with talons and beak

Pig – ferocious when attacked; otherwise, peaceful and content

Rat – sly, invisible, silent

Raven – intelligent, noisy when disturbed

Salmon – wise, magickal, will travel in rough water to get where it wants to go

Seagull – knows when to take advantage of a situation

Sow – unpredictable

Squirrel – diligent worker; evasive

Swan – stately, beautiful, defensive

Turtle – slow, methodical, withdraws from danger

Unicorn – links physical and spiritual realms

Wolf – cunning, intelligent, free, invisible

Wren – musical, joyous, yet able to swoop down on intruders

 

Full Wiccan Rede


 


Wiccan Rede

Bide the Wiccan Law ye must,
In perfect love and perfect trust.
Live and let live,
Fairly take and fairly give.
Cast the Circle thrice about,
To keep the evil spirits out.
To bind the spell every time,
Let the spell be spake in rhyme.
Soft of eye and light of touch,
Speak little, listen much.
Deosil go by the waxing moon,
Chanting out the Witches Rune.
Widdershins go by the waning moon,
Chanting out the baneful Rune.
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 wind’s mighty gail,
Lock the door and drop the sail.
When the wind comes from the South,
Love will kiss thee on the mouth.
When the wind blows from the West,
Departed souls will have no rest.
When the wind blows from the East,
Expect the new and set the feast.
Nine woods in the cauldron go,
Burn them fast and burn them slow.
Elder be the Lady’s tree,
Burn it not or cursed you’ll be.
When the Wheel begins to turn,
Let the Beltane fire’s burn.
When the Wheel has turned to Yule,
Light the Log and the Horned One rules.
Heed ye Flower, Bush, and Tree;
By the Lady, Blessed Be.
Where the rippling waters go,
Cast a stone and truth you’ll know.
When ye have a true need,
Hearken not to other’s greed.
With a fool no season spend,
Lest ye be counted as his friend.
Merry meet and merry part,
Bright the cheeks and warm the heart,
Mind the Threefold Law you should,
Three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow,
Wear the blue star on they brow.
True in Love ever be,
Lest they lover is false to thee.
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill:
An’ ye harm none, do what ye will
Follow this with Mind and Heart
Merry ye Meet and Merry ye Part

The 3-Fold Law


The 3-Fold Law

In magik this is often called the Law of 3-fold, meaning what you put out
will be returned to you 3-times over. So be careful what you wish for, YOU
will get it!
What Is The 3-Fold Law ?


A belief that any energy put out into the divine universe will return to
the sender three times.
Ancient beliefs state the energy will return to the senders mind, body and
spirit, thus the threefold concept.

Law of 9-fold


The 9-Fold law (also called the 3x3x3 law) is also practiced by some Craft
traditions. The concept is the same, however, the return is a little
different. In these traditions, the essence of the mind
holds within itself the energy of mind, body and spirit. The essence of the
body holds within itself the energy of it’s own mind body and spirt. And so
for the essence of the spirit. When energy is returned, it comes back 3
times to the Mind, 3 times to the Body and 3 times to the Spirit.

The Laws of Magickal Rights


The Laws of Magikal Rights
When you’re performing a ritual, rite or spell, karma is always in affect.
As a Shaman, or witch you must always think of the spiritual implication of
your intent. Here are some basic do’s and don’ts for the magikal practioner
to adhere to. Follow these simple rules and the laws of karma will not come
back to bite you and knock you off your feet.
The Do’s:
1.All actions should be of positive intent.
2.Conduct a spell or right with happiness, love and kindness.
3.Hold respect for all living things.
4.Accept the responsibility for your actions.
The Don’ts
1.Never cast a spell or right out of anger, jealousy or greed.
2.Never cast a spell for harm or to endanger another living being.
3.Never conduct a spell or right that requires harm to another living
being.
4.Never cast a spell or right to force someone into following your will
and desire.
The Reasoning Of The Laws
Now that you know the basics, think about why they’re in place to begin
with.
The most important and ultimate lesson of any spiritual belief system is to
learn, practice and live unconditional love. Above all else, this is the
underlying goal of all spiritual paths. Unconditional love is not an easy
path to follow. We are all human and we do make mistakes. But as a magikal
practitioner you must make the extra effort to adhere to this path. And the
lesson starts with yourself.
But why do you think this one lesson is so important and is the underlying
reason behind all the laws of magikal right? Well look at the laws. Your
actions in life and in magik should be positive in their intent. Having
respect for all living things is part of being positive and practicing
unconditional love. You wouldn’t harm a living creature if you loved it
unconditionally.

The Witches Pyramid


The witches Pyramid really worked to help me understand and get POWER out of my spells and other castings.

To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Keep Silent. These make up the witches Pyramid.. Follow them with every spell casting and see how miraculous you’re results will be.

To Know
-corresponds to Air
-represents the witch’s reason/intellect/intuition/wisdom and other more mystical understandings…

This means know what you are doing, intellectually and practically. To have knowledge of spell work & magick, what may work best in your situation, what you are able to handle, are comfortable with, how to execute what you want. Know your spell. Research it, think of ALL possible outcomes. Know what element of spell it should be candle (fire), incense (air) and so forth. If you choose a candle spell, then know why you want to do a candle spell. If you choose a certain type of spell do it b/c you like it or b/c it speaks to you in a certain way. This is all about you and your energy don’t do what another is doing, do what is right for you.

Now that you have decided on the type of spell, learn about and know the steps/process. Always gather your tools in advance. Make each spell your own…For example…Let’s say you are feeling nervous and tense and want to do a relaxation spell on yourself. You find a the perfect spell for you BUT the spell calls for Lavender (lavender buds, lavender oil, lavender scented candle) but you relate pink to relaxation and roses make you feel calm..So tweak the spell to suit you. Instead of lavender use roses (rose oil or rose water, rose petals, rose scented candle). If you complete the spell using elements you don’t like. The spell will NOT work, b/c your energy will be focused on your dislike for lavender…

To Will
-corresponds to Fire
-represents the witch’s Will/Discipline/her skills in the arts of magic and life.

To Will – refers to magickal will. This means to be able to generate enough emotional and psychic energy to accomplish your purpose. I can’t stress enough that you must believe. Believe in your work, believe in your words, believe in your craft, believe in yourself and believe in your inner power. It’s not only your conscious mind that has to believe in the spell. Every fiber of your being must BELIEVE.

My spells still make me feel all giddy and nervous inside. I gather my tools and talk to the Goddesses and/or Gods I will be working with or if my spell does not involve a God or Goddess, I still talk to them while I prepare and thank them for previous spell works.

You should also respect the spell by turning off all distractions (t.v, radio put your cell phone on vibrate). I like to play Enya while I’m casting ( Enya-Only Time or Enya-Orinoco flow) or I like complete silence with no music. Remember this is your spell so do what is right for you. Your spell feeds off of your thoughts and energy, and if you don’t feed it well, it will not prosper.

To Dare
-corresponds to Water
-represents the witch’s Emotions/Heart since the word courage derives from a word that means “heart”

Until you act, the spell will be nothing more than a particularly vivid daydream. Yes, thoughts are real and can have an effect upon the world, but for an effective spell, you have to go through the motions. You don’t have to wait until you have your own private temple and the bestest altar and a perfect relationship with your Deities. You can make do with a few basics. Intent is the key here. Intent comes under Will and Dare. Are you making the best of your time, energy and resources? If you can’t afford actual granulated Frankincense, charcoal and a brazier, a stick of frankincense incense will do. If you don’t have your own permanent stone altar, a nice altar cloth spread over a convenient surface will suffice.

To Keep Silent
-corresponds with Earth

To Keep Silent– means to Shut Up About It!!! Don’t talk to anyone about it. Your positive energy is very important to a spell but someone elses negative energy can effect your spell also (even if they were not part of the ritual). Have you ever heard of a hater..Then you should understand why you should keep silent. There are even a rare few people who will go home and actively craft a counter-spell Witches have always been a secretive lot. In the old days of persecution, of course, there was a life-or-death need for secrecy. Today, Witches are more likely to be discreet about their spells and workings. There’s a practical reason for this: spells seem to work better when they’re not blabbed about. Indeed, some traditions believe that, after the spell is cast, it must not be spoken of nor thought about until the desired result has been achieved and verified. Many groups will not even discuss the particular working while in Circle, believing that this has a tendency to “pull back” the power and negate the working.

Not only that I just think it is bad etiquette to talk about such a sacred act.

I hope this helps

Brightest Blessings,

Bewitched

XOXO

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