Bide the Wiccan Laws we 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 hearts desire seek.
Heed the North wind’s mighty gale, 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 fires 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 others’ 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 thy brow.
True in love ever be, lest thy lover’s false to thee.
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: An ye harm none, do what ye will.
The second you walk into any book shop’s metaphysical section, you are smacked in the face with books to your left and books to your right about Wicca. These days we can even see Wicca in Pop culture, such as Buffy the Vampire and Charmed. There have even been news articles from mainstream media that have been devoted to the rise of Wicca and Neo-Paganism, but what is Wicca?
Wicca is a modern Pagan religion that was introduced to the general public in 1954 by Gerald Gardener, the founding father, in Great Britain. It is a diverse set of Pagan and Hermetic beliefs that form the theological structure and ritual practices. These beliefs were outlined in the 1940s and the 1950s by Gardner and Doreen Valiente. There is one belief though, that has become so common with Wicca that anyone who has brushed, even briefly against it, can quote it “Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: An ye harm none, do what ye will.” But we are getting ahead of ourselves. We will return to that motto in a short bit. Let’s take more of deeper look into Wicca.
We aren’t 100% sure who named the religion of Wicca, as Gardner typically referred to his religion as the “Craft of the Wise” or “witchcraft”. The first recorded use of Wicca happened in 1962 and then took off. In 1968 there was even a magazine called The Wiccan. What we do know is that Wicca is an Old English term, although not pronounced the same, that means witch for both genders. Although, traditionally Wicca is polytheistic, celebrating the Horn God and the Moon Goddess, there are pantheist, monotheistic, duotheistics and polytheistic. As there is no central ruling body of priests or priestess, beliefs are normally left up to individuals or coven.
There are two sets of fundamental beliefs that do make up the Wiccan belief for 99%. The Three Fold Law – whatever you send out, both positive and negative, are reflected back to you threefold and the Wiccan Rede, although most just focus on the last line of the poem, An ye harm none, do what ye will. These two core beliefs form the morality of the religion as many Wiccans believe in performing positive actions and or magick.
Wicca within the U.S tends to have a more loose hodge podge of covens and solitary practitioners with the set core of Wiccan beliefs. In the U.K, there is British Traditional Wicca. This line of Wicca, is just that, a line of tradition that HAS to be followed for any sort of validity. These lines of succession through initiation can always be traced back to Gardner himself, and in fact, the covens and high priest(esses) have papers for lineage. I am not saying that there isn’t any BTW (British Traditional Wicca) simply that it is a rare occurrence, at least not something I have personally come into a lot of contact with.
Solitary practitioners of Wicca may or may not choose to go through an initiation ritual. Most initiations within Wicca, please note I say most, center around the time frame of a year and a day. This will normally occur within a coven or when a practitioner has a teacher that has taken him/her under the wing. There may even be more than one initiation, depending on the teacher and or coven. An initiation is not required to practice Wicca though. I have known several solitary practitioners that have never gone through an initiation.
In my personal opinion, Wicca is a great stepping stone for anyone looking to get into Paganism. Why? Because there are so many many books out there on it. You will never want for reading material or even online resources when it comes to Wicca. It is okay if after a little while you step away from Wicca. As I have said, Wicca is an excellent stepping stone and it is not required that you stay tied with Wicca if you don’t want to. On the other side, if you have discovered that Wicca is the right path for you, than rock that out and stay Wiccan. Just remember that not everyone will be following the same guiding principle even if they are Pagan. Not every Pagan believes in the same thing.
If you are looking for some good beginner reading material when it comes to Wicca, I recommend the following books;
Bucklands Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland
Wicca for Life: The Way of the Craft by Raymond Buckland
Wicca: Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham
Living Wicca by Scott Cunningham
Book of Shadows by Gerarld Butler
Wicca for Beginners by Lisa Chamberlain
Of course there are many more books out there and other resources as well. As I have said before, Wicca is one of the most mainstream Pagan religions that is out there. I have just listed a few that I personally know to be rather well written. I will be honest, Scott Cunningham is one of my favorite authors and I have a lot of his books even though I have not Wiccan, they make for excellent resource materials.
Mind you, this is a very brief and understand exam of Wicca. More detail would turn this thing into something epic which is not something I am willing to do at the moment. So until next time witches. May the brew in your cauldron never burn and your broom never splinter.
(Don’t forget to check out our updated calendar for our upcoming articles and our livestreams. Also, over at our Facebook page we are running a January giveaway. Check it out now to enter to win a rune set, a witch’s bottle, a wire wrapped stone and a wooden box)