When you are searching for your own spiritual path, you will come across Wicca, the largest neopagan religion practiced in the world. To accurately discover and immerse yourself into the study and research of this nature-based religion, it’s crucial first to sort out fact from fiction. In this article, I will explain what Wicca is, how it is practiced, and how you can learn it.
Let’s start with the most common question.
What is a Wiccan?
A Wiccan is someone who is apart of the pagan religion Wicca. Just to clarify, Paganism consists of several different religions that are typically nature-based and polytheistic (worships more than one God). Wicca is one pagan religion that follows these beliefs. To be more specific, Wiccans observe the eight Wiccan Sabbats, honor Deities, have rituals and perform magickal (the spelling Wiccans use for the word magic) witchcraft rituals.
However, to this day, Wicca is still a religion that can not accurately be defined and can mean something different to Wiccans based on their beliefs and traditions. For instance, many traditional Wiccans are apart of a coven and believe those who practice Wicca solitarily are not real Wiccans. This is only a matter of perception and not a recognized truth of the religion. Nevertheless, all Wiccans, whether they are solitary or part of a coven, practice magick and witchcraft spells. In so doing, they are also witches.
Wicca has been rooted right back to the belief of the ancient pagan who emerged hundreds of years ago. The Wicca spells are referred to as “magick” and not “magic” the addition of the “k” is to differentiate real magic from that of just tricks that are performed by magicians on stage.
Nature, including its elements such as air, earth, water, and fire are just revered and loved amongst Wiccans. Wiccans do consider themselves the same as that with nature. Any harm to nature is unacceptable for them. Therefore it’s easy to see why Wiccan spells are just white magic spells and only meant for good purposes.
When you look back in history, you will see that Wiccan teachings have always been about the good, the positive, and most importantly living in harmony with nature.
The Origins of Wicca
The origins of Wicca may date in fact to ancient times, but the Wicca we practice today has its origins in the teachings of practitioners dating from the mid-1800s.
Margaret Murray wrote on some of the practices of Wicca and the Western Central portion of Europe in the early to mid-1990s and had a lasting effect on what would become modern Wicca. Gerald Gardner belonged to a Wiccan coven in 1939 and wrote a book about Wicca “Witchcraft Today” in 1954.
Many of the symbols, rituals, and elements of Wiccan magic were introduced and used by other covens. You have to keep in mind that Wicca is a living and evolving religion. Since then many different traditions have formed, but it is safe to say that modern Wicca originated with the teachings of Gerald Gardener and Sir James Frazier.
It is essential to recognize that Wicca is a form of religion as well as a form of witchcraft. There are strong beliefs in the Goddess as being supreme and being connected to the Horned God. Some of this dates back to ancient Celtic beliefs. The practitioners of Wicca are also highly connected to nature and revere the elements of nature. It is related to the Essenes, who were early Christians and those who practice the Wiccan ways learn about the ancient spiritual teachings of witches who have come before them, even those who came centuries before them.
Modern Wicca has so many different traditions that it becomes difficult to list them all in the same compilation. Although the basic philosophy and principles of these traditions are similar, there are vital points in which they differ. Alexandrian, Celtic, Circle, Dianic, Eclectic, Gardnerian, Georgian, Erisian, Sacred Wheel and so on are all forms of Wiccan traditions.
Wicca can be practiced individually or as part of a coven. Many are drawn to a specific tradition and I want to outline the more well-known practices. They can be practiced individually or mix and match as you feel comfortable with. Some of them can be discussed as follows:
There is the Alexandrian tradition. It is derived from a coven that was begun by a man named Alex Sanders, living in England. He believed he was first initiated in 1933; however, much of his work is the same as those involved in the Gardnerian tradition so his statement may not be true. There are elements of Gardnerian traditions, along with some Judeo-Christian traditions and traditions of Ceremonial magic. They observe eight holidays or Sabbats and believe in both the God and the Goddess. Other traditions have come out of this one. In one case, a woman by the name of Mary Nesnick combined Gardnerian and Alexandrian traditions to create a tradition known as Algard.
British Traditional Wicca
British Traditional Wicca is another Wicca tradition. They trace themselves back to the Gardnerian tradition and to Alexandrian tradition. Their belief system is very similar to both of the “original” Wicca traditions.
Celtic Wicca is a tradition that stems from the druids and the Celtic people. They stress the natural elements to a great degree and believe in the importance of nature and covet the Ancient Ones. They understand a great deal about herbs and nature in general and believe in fairies, gnomes and other types of little people.
The Church and School of Wicca are Welsh-based. There are several Welsh-based traditions. It was originally created in the 1970s by a couple by the name of Yvonne and Gavin Frost. There is course material you have to go through in order to belong to the tradition. They have a book called the “Witches Bible”. Originally, there was no belief in the goddess; however, in later editions of the Witches Bible, the goddess is mentioned. It is a very popular Wicca tradition.
Circle Wicca is one of the traditions that began in the 1970s. It began at the Circle Sanctuary, which is a herb farm and nature sanctuary in Wisconsin. While they believe in the Circle Wiccan Tradition, they also service many neo-pagan religions. They sponsor many concerts, workshops, and seminars on Wicca and on other neo-pagan religions. It is a religion that is mostly based on Shamans and on the American Indian beliefs and traditions and less on Wiccan traditions.
Covenant of the Goddess
The Covenant of the Goddess is another Wiccan tradition based on the 1970s beliefs. They enjoy more than a hundred covens and are a legally recognized religion. It originated in California and spread throughout the nation, but there are even covens overseas. The Grand Council makes decisions at an annual meeting and there are local councils that act as governing bodies. Each coven has an Elder and they worship just the Goddess or the Goddess and the Old Gods.
The Dianic Tradition was first alluded to in 1921 by Margaret Murray. Its focus is on the goddess and it is considered a feminist Wiccan tradition. An offshoot is called the “Dianic Feminist Tradition” and is a group that practices both the religious aspects and magical aspects of Wicca. Both men and women practice this Wiccan Tradition. It includes a variety of tradition with the focus recently being on the Goddess, which is why it has been called a “craft feminist movement.”
This is a very popular choice for those that wish to practice solitarily and at home. It focuses on the practical side of the religion, magick, and the elements – earth, air, water, fire, and spirit.
The Wiccan God and Goddess
Most Wiccans believe in a god and goddess that are both parts of the total god. This is called duotheism. The goddess is symbolized as governing the earth and the moon. This is the polar opposite of the god, who is considered to be an aspect of the sun.
The god governs the life cycle, hunting, sexuality, wilderness, and nature.
The god has different names, depending on the tradition but is often called Pan, Cernunnos, Karnayna or Atho. He is sometimes just called the Sun God, or the Horned God. This god is often worshipped during the festival of the Litha, also known as the summer solstice. The god is believed to rule over spring and summer (the Oak King) and autumn and winter (as the Holly King).
The goddess portion of Wicca belief is seen as the Triple Goddess, which represents the maiden, the mother and the old woman or crone. She is seen to oversee the Moon. There are those who practice Wicca who see the goddess as pre-eminent over the god because she conceives all things. The god is considered to be simply the spark of life within her. In some feminist Wiccan belief systems, the god is not worshipped in the slightest and only the goddess is recognized.
Although some followers of Wicca do not personify a deity but speak of a creative force in the universe that is all-powerful.
The Five Elements of Magic
Air, Water, Fire, Earth and ‘Aether’ or ‘spirit’, the five elements of the Wiccan tradition, represented in the shape of a pentagram. Below are the elements and their attributes and how they influence magical thoughts.
- Air – active, moist and warm. Corresponds the direction of East. It also represents intelligence and perceptions. It is associated with the first breath of new life and speech.
- Fire – dry and warm, energetic and active. It corresponds direction of the south. The Element of Fire has the power to purify and destroy. This element as seen as not just the beginning but also the end since it is considered as a means of life and also a life destroyer
- Water – passive, moist and cool, transformative and creative. Corresponds direction of west. Personified esoterically as the primal water of every creation. It also represents regeneration, subconscious and receptivity.
- Earth – passive, cool and dry, fertile. It corresponds to the direction of North. Earth has come to existence from the above elements mentioned. It represents groundedness, stability and the amazing ability of manifestation.
- Spirit – spirit is nothing but the connecting point of the above-mentioned four elements. It is the representation of the phrase “as above, so below”. Just like how we have understood these four elements, we are coming closer to understand the divinity of the sources.
The Wheel of the Year
The followers of Wicca refer to the changing seasons as “The Wheel of the Year”. Eight holidays called sabbaths are celebrated throughout the year and include two solstices, two equinoxes, and four other holidays.
The Wiccan wheel of the year (for the northern hemisphere) consists of the following holidays:
- Samhain – This sabbath is celebrated on the 31st of October and corresponds with the festival of Halloween. Samhain is about honoring the dead and celebrating the Pagan New Year.
- Yule – This sabbath takes place during the Winter Solstice and takes place on the 21st of December. It celebrates rebirth and life that triumphs over death.
- Imbolc – is celebrated on the 2nd of February is for purification, initiation, and dedication.
- Ostara – is the Spring Equinox and takes place on March 21st. Wiccans celebrate conception, regeneration and new beginnings.
- Beltane – May 1st celebrates the passion that fuels joy, fertility, and life.
- Litha – This holiday occurs during the Summer Solstice and is celebrated on June 21st. Litha is all about transition and planning.
- Lammas – takes place on the 1st of August is all about gratitude, a celebration of abundance and fruition.
- Mabon – is the Fall Equinox and is celebrated on the 21st of September. This holiday is all about thanksgiving and reflection.
The Importance of the Moon
In addition to the sabbaths, most Wiccans also celebrate Esbats, which coincide with different phases of the moon. Most covens celebrate one monthly Esbat during that month’s full moon but can be observed at any time.
Witches also draw power from the Moon to carry out their rituals and magic. Thus making this astronomical body one of the most important sources of power for them.
New Moon Magic – is performed from the day of the new moon until three and a half days after. During this period, spells cast for new ventures and beginnings are more likely to be successful. This phase is highly beneficial to cast spells to find a new romance, job, and hobby.
Waxing Moon Magic – is performed from seven to fourteen days after the New Moon. This period is best for constructive magic focusing on love, wealth, friendship, successful endeavors, and even luck.
Full Moon Magic – is performed fourteen to seventeen and a half days after the New Moon. This is considered as the most essential time for rituals when seeking protection, prophecies, and predictions. For those wanting extra powers in finding a new job, for the healing of severe health conditions, attracting love, legal undertakings, finances, and dreams, now is the best time for these.
Waning Moon Magic – is performed three and a half to ten and a half day after the full moon. This time is best to be used for banishing magic; purging oneself from addiction, illness, negative vibes, and other unconstructive elements.
Wiccans believe that magic is a law of nature, a way to cause change through the power of nature and the universe. That’s why practitioners follow the Wiccan Rede which states, “do what as you will, that it harm none.” This statement reaffirms the intentions of doing magic only to spread goodness without the intent to harm anyone.
Every action taken by you to cast a spell is bound by the code of conduct, the Wiccan Rede. The Wiccan Rede prevents the manipulation, domination, and control over the minds of others in the effort to achieve your desired outcome.
The Law of Threefold is a law that every Wiccan adheres to, which states that whatever deed a practitioner does for another person, the deed will return to the practitioner three times stronger in the future. Therefore, goodwill only returns good. Any harm done to another may bounce back with thrice its power causing sufferings three times the misfortune caused.
It is because of this reason that Wiccans believe in the power of using positive magic only!
Covens and Solitary Witches
Many Wiccans practice as a group or coven, while others are known as ‘solitaires’ that prefer to practice alone. Whether you like to work alone, in a coven, or in a group is a matter of personal preference.
The covens usually have a High Priestess, or a High Priest, with each member being a Priest or a Priestess. Because more power is often given to the Goddess, the High Priestess holds more power than the Priestesses typically. The coven does not usually restrict their members to worshiping one God or Goddess, but are taught to obey by the Wiccan Rede and any rules that may apply specifically to the coven.
Every coven can decide on their own mode of practice and make their own rules, as long as they adhere to the Wiccan Rede and the Law of Threefold.
There are plenty of Wiccan groups you may find in your area. Join a group as a catalyst to embark on a spiritual journey and to practice magic. You can also learn on your own and be initiated into the faith with a self-initiation ritual. Whatever your choice, living by the Wiccan values will help you discover the divine forces of nature that surround you.
Working With Wiccan Spells
The Wiccan faith also includes performing magick and casting spells. Usually, this is the part that sparks the most interest. Magick and spells were already practiced centuries ago in many different faiths and traditions. In this article, however, we want to focus on Wiccan spells.
Everything in the universe is sacred, which is why Wiccans only perform in benevolent magic. The practitioners believe in the power of magick in removing the negativity surrounding the circumstances or people. At the same time, they adhere to the strict code of morality.
How a Wiccan Spell is Cast
Magick is practiced by a witch who is a seeker, healer, and protector. Casting a spell may require the use of items that you are already familiar with. For example, incense, oils, candles, crystals, and herbs are all used to cast spells. Every tool has a particular significance in a ritual, for example, white candles are used for good luck, for most love-related issues, pink candles are used, for money spells, green candles are the best to use.
Casting a spell uses the forces of nature to bring about change. Witches use tools to direct those energies. To perform a successful spell, three things must be present – need, emotion, and knowledge.
So, for example, your need could be a place to live. Don’t confuse need and desire. Desire is something you want today but have forgotten about by the next day. Emotion is directly related to your need, and the knowledge is that you have the ability to perform the spell, including understanding how and why it works.
Since Wiccan spells involve the release of positive energies, it is crucial for a person casting a spell to be free from any negative thoughts. It is important to stretch on the fact that negative energy can block a spell from working effectively. The most essential ingredient in any Wicca spell is love, which comes from the practitioner, as well as an open heart – together, they form the success to spells. The basis of Wiccan witchcraft is that ‘like attracts like’, so you need to be focused on positive thoughts and desires.
When to Use Wiccan Rituals?
So if you are looking for pure magic that works, then Wicca spells could be just what you are looking for. Rituals are usually held in a sacred circle that is meant to protect the spellcaster from any outside interference.
You should never cast a spell for harmful purposes and always remember the “Three Fold Law,” which is the belief on which magick is used. It relates to the use of power and energy, for when used power is returned to the sender three times the level it was sent out. That means if you were so inclined to do bad, it would return to you threefold, as would when you do good.
Magick performed for yourself is not selfish because it betters you, which in turn betters the world. You should use caution when performing a spell for others. Do them only if they feel right. Even if your motives are pure, theirs may not be.
Successful magick is dependant on your strong beliefs. Draw a strong visual image of what you want to achieve. Feel the energy of desire filling you and then imagine the energy exploding outward. Feel the energy drain from you and chant, “So mote it be.”
Now that you know how a spell is cast in Wicca Witchcraft you will likely agree that it isn’t nearly as mysterious as you might have thought in the past.