Wicca is a modern Pagan religion and is the most popular and active of several modern Pagan religious movements. Paganism has been used in a derogatory way to describe uncivilized polytheists—believers in many gods—who have not yet been Christianized. This meaning is out of date and is not representative of what we are. We capitalize the word Pagan to show that it is the proper name of a family of beliefs and practices that are our rightful spiritual heritage. A heritage we are reclaiming.
The history of Wicca is a curious history, steeped in mystery and shadow. The uncontested history of Wicca goes back perhaps a century. Into a world dominated by a powerful patriarchal society that was insular and intolerant of spiritual and cultural diversity. Modern Wicca was launched in the 1930s with the work of Gerald B. Gardner, a retired British civil servant. He claimed to have inherited a fragmentary tradition of rituals, beliefs, magick and folk culture that had been persisting underground in Britain for over 500 years. Since a time when traditional folk religion was still being practiced.
Wicca is a modern revival of that traditional Pagan folk religion. In its modern form it is a blend of polytheism, nature worship, folklore, witchcraft and western occultism, which come together in a structured and systematic way as a complete and viable religion.
We believe that the natural world, you, me, the animals, the trees, the air, water and earth are alive and sacred. We do not draw a distinction between the creator and the created. Nor between good and evil. We believe that men and women are equal but not identical, that humans are not superior to other living beings, and that it is our spiritual goal to live and to be in harmony with nature not opposed to it. We identify the forces within nature in complementary halves which we recognize and name as Goddess and God.
We believe the diversity of nature is its strength. And believe that each and every being wants to live in its own way. And that they have the right to choose how they want to live. We believe in karma, that the universe is a great balancing force. But that the outworking of one’s karma is in the hands of the Lord and Lady, never in the hands of the aggrieved.
Traditionally, Paganism has always been more about how one practices than about what one believes. This is true of Wicca as well. We put less focus on the theological truth of our beliefs and we care less about the uniformity of our beliefs than about how we live our lives and how we related to nature.
We celebrate eight festivals a year. These are Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltaine, Litha, Lughnasadh and Mabon. Perhaps more commonly known in popular culture as Hallowe’en, Winter Solstice, Candlemas, Spring Equinox, May Day, Midsummer, Lammas, and Autumn Equinox. On these sacred days we attune ourselves to the turning of the Wheel. The procession of the seasons and the cycle of the year, the grain cycle and the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
Our Lord is represented by the Stag. Often as a combination of a man and stag together. The Stag is the symbol of strength, and nobility, but not controlling power over the lives of others. He is strong, honourable, respected, loving, gentle, kind and loyal.
His love for the Lady is beyond compare. He would do anything for her. He would die for her. He protects her. He is her companion, friend, lover and soulmate. The Lord is the embodiment of freedom, individuality and self–confidence.
Our Lady is represented as a strong and beautiful woman. She has the wisdom of ages, the beauty of divinity, and the compassion of a loving mother. She is not always easy on us. She sets a high standard. She is agile, dexterous, crafty, witty, mysterious and sometimes cruel.
She is the Lord's perfect partner. She fulfills him as he fulfills her. She loves him, empowers him, and blesses us all. She is the embodiment of nature, beautiful in its diversity and endless creativity.