What are the basic FAQs about Wicca?
The History of Wicca
Who were the Witches?
Where did they come from?
Maybe your great-great-
Grandmother was one . . .
-- Wiccan Children's Song
Is Wicca really a continuation of the Old Religion? What historical evidence exists? What is Wicca really based on, if not Celtic witch craft? What were the witch hunts really about?
Many people call Wicca "The Old Religion." They suggest that it had been practiced prior to Christianity, gone underground, and is now experiencing a revival.
I'm fond of this theory myself.
However, there is a lack of evidence to support the belief. There are extremely limited sources of Wicca information, and no reliable sources about the original practices at all.
The documented history of Wicca itself goes back only a handful of generations.
(Not counting the so-called studies of Witch Craft during Burning Times in the Middle Ages or Witch hunts of Salem at the end of the 17th century. Those events had little if anything to do with Wicca. And the "documentation" they provide is more the hysterical ravings of zealots than a believable source of Wicca information.)
Of course, there is no evidence that modern Wicca is not the direct continuation of the ancient Pagan religion, either!
In science, when there can be no final proof nor disproof, the question is deemed to be meaningless. We will never know the answer. What's left, then, is what we believe.
Most Wiccans prefer to claim an ancient heritage, however. And in some ways, it's indisputable that Wicca stems from the Old Pagan Religions.
Personally, I believe Wicca is a reincarnation of the Old Religion. An heir, rather than the original.
Even if Wicca has continued through the ages, it must be quite different now from what our ancestors used to practice, because we as a culture are far removed from the concerns and experiences of their lives.
Does this recent arrival diminish its validity? Quite the contrary! Buddhism was as valid when Buddha was alive as it is today... perhaps even more so! Same with Christianity.
The New Wicca is designed in and for the contemporary world - this is why Wicca is a perfect spirituality for the 21st century.
Related Pagan Religions
And Wicca is not sitting out there alone in a field, even if it is a recent arrival.
Wicca does have ties to other nature religions and shamanic traditions. Its development is closely tied in with similar religions such as
Is All Wicca The Same?
Several variations on Wicca are currently practiced.
There is traditional Wicca, as in the Gardnerian and Alexandrian lineages. Dianic, Faery, Reclaiming, Eclectic, and even Christian Wicca round out the major schools, and there are many minor ones as well.
And then there's what I call the New Wicca - a personalized, fully-empowered, grass-roots form of Wicca.
In fact, just as in every religion, there are as many versions of Wicca as there are Witches. While we may share beliefs and practices with certain others, we all experience spirituality in a very personal way.
What Wiccans generally share are the Wiccan Rede, the Three-Fold-Law, and a certain basic philosophy of the Divine as embodied in all matter. (Please see Wicca Beliefs for more on these subjects.)
Why Do We Spell "Magick" With A "K"?
There's no real mystery to it. It's simply to distinguish real magickal work from the sleight-of-hand tricks that parlour magicians perform.
It also helps distinguish it from the slang use of "magic," meaning something inexplicable, mysterious, or miraculous.
Lastly, it makes us feel different and special. Just kidding.
Wicca is a legally recognised religion in the United States, and in many aspects of Canadian bureaucracy as well.
It is the fastest growing religion in the USA, according to the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey by the City University of New York, and presumably in Canada too.
As the web mistress of this site, I am inundated with emails from people wanting to know how they can get started in Wicca, and that seems to confirm the trend.
It is estimated that over a million people in the United States practice Paganism, with three million worldwide. There can be no concrete numbers because it is still quite risky to proclaim yourself as a Pagan or Witch, so naturally any census will fall far short of the truth.
At any rate, even the conservative estimate of 400,000 makes Paganism the seventh largest religious organisation in the USA . . . and growing by leaps and bounds.
Which Is "Real Wicca"?
There are a great many versions of Wicca out there. Like all mystical paths, every practitioner is following their own path, virtually their own religion.
In fact, everyone alive has their own brand of their religion. We only think other people believe as we do.
In Wicca, we don't let this bother us. It's simply reality. And for a mystical religion, it is perfectly right. (This is covered more in Wicca Philosophy,)
Out of all the varieties of Wicca being practiced, how do you know what is "real Wicca"? The question assumes that only one variety can be real. But because New Wicca is not a religion, there is room for all variations.
Wicca Philosophy is really the fundamental source of Wicca information. Philosophy supplies the underlying beliefs that Wicca is founded on.
This is a long subject, so rather than take up the whole page, please see this article for more on Wicca philosophy.
There is no central authority in Wicca. There is no one church, no pope, no bible. The Wiccan Law is a law not because someone else imposes it upon us, but because it is a true law in the spiritual sense - a standard of behaviour we agree is important.
Wicca is a path of personal choice. Your heart is your only authority. This is a practice of authentic Power, rather than force or control.
So it follows that Wicca leads to empowerment, free will, creativity, and a personal relationship with the Divine.
Misconceptions about Witch Craft
Somehow when offering Wicca information we always need to address what Wicca is not.
Please see this article on the Misconceptions about Witch Craft for more info.
More Wicca Information
You can find specific Wicca information on this site, in their own sections. See Wicca Beliefs, Wiccan Philosophy, Being a Witch, Wicca Practices, and Wicca Wicca Magick for good starting places.
And of course, see below for a list of all the articles in this Wicca Information section.
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