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Wicca is generally viewed as a Celtic-inspired faith. The names most Wiccans use for the Sabbats come from Celtic culture, as to some of the most common names used for the Lord and Lady. In actuality, Wicca has very little in common with the religious practices of the Celtic people. But this doesn’t stop people of any nationality and/or background from saying that they are drawn to Wicca because it reflects the ways of their ancestors.

I am Welsh, and I am a practitioner of Wicca. However, my path isn’t that of Traditional Wicca, the path most heavily influenced by pseudo-Celtic elements. Instead, I consider myself an Eclectic Wiccan, which means I follow the general Wiccan framework but incorporate aspects of other paths. In my case, I don’t focus on Celtic, or even Greek/Roman divinities (the next most common influence on Wicca), instead I am drawn to the goddesses and gods of Ancient Egypt. I wonder why sometimes, since They are obviously very far removed from my ancestry. (I harbour no illusions about being a priestess of Isis in a past life.) Sometimes I even feel a little guilty, like I should be honouring the divinities my ancestors likely honoured as a way of respecting family history. Of course, there is really no way to know how my ancestors may have worshiped beyond the past few generations. It will always be speculation.

Rather than trying to be true to a family past that may not even exist, I think that it makes more sense to be true to a spiritual calling that I experience every day. Family, ancestry, and traditions are important, but so it personal spiritual satisfaction.

Yesterday I spent some time looking around on eBay at items listed using the keyword “Wicca”. There was the usual assortment of stones, jewellery, herbs and candles. There were also some handmade Books of Shadows, and quite a few pages for them available, something that I feel isn’t quite right, but not offensive. (I’m of the opinion that one should create all the pages within one’s own Book, rather then just slap in some pages bought off of eBay.) I was, however, offended by a series of listings from a lady calling herself “London’s most powerful psychic and Wiccan Witch.”

Putting aside the fact that I’ve never heard of her (which is odd if she really is what she claims to be), I question the ethics of what she is offering. In one of her listings she promises that the man you love will marry you after she casts the spell–he will be “in love with you hopelessly and passionately even after the marriage.” Yikes! This is so far outside of the Rede that the mind boggles. If she had only claimed to be a witch, and not Wiccan, I wouldn’t be anywhere near as annoyed as I am.

This eBay witch also offers a pregnancy spell guaranteeing a beautiful and healthy baby with the man you love (I wonder if you get a refund if the baby isn’t beautiful; I’m pregnant, I can say these things), a money spell to make you a “money-magnet” (with my luck all I would attract are pennies), and a love spell (to attract a man so she can then cast the marriage and/or pregnancy spell for you).

My disappointment in seeing these listings (and others from different sellers) comes from the fact that they use Wicca as one of their selling points. At the risk of sounding redundant, Wicca isn’t about casting spells. It is about developing a relationship with the divine. Yes, some Wiccans do cast spells for themselves and others; but it is repugnant to use Wicca as a selling point for spells that are meant to manipulate another person, a clear violation of one of the basic tenants of Wicca.

It serves me right of looking through eBay.

Below are some general notes on associations of the God and Goddess. When I speak of the God and Goddess here, I am referring for the general male and female energy. These are associations that make sense to me.
The Goddess

* She is of the Earth and Moon.
* She is the stars and the universe.
* She is water, lakes, rivers, seas, and oceans.
* She is fertility, beginnings, growth, and potential.
* She is wisdom, power, magic, and prophecy.
* She is love and forgiveness, anger and punishment.
* She is war, destruction and vengeance.
* She is death and darkness.

The Goddess is sometimes seen as the Triple Goddess – Maiden, Mother, Crone. In Her Maiden aspect she is associated with the Waxing Moon and innocence. Her Mother aspect is associated with the Full Moon, motherhood and children. Her Crone aspect is associated with the Waning Moon, death, destruction, and wisdom.

I see the Goddess as having both a dark side and a light side. I think that we need to recognize both sides to maintain balance. The Goddess is both death and birth, forgiveness and anger. There is no need to call on this Dark Goddess unless there is a great need. As long as we are aware of Her other side, and honour it, it is fine to focus on Her light side.
The God

* He is of the Sun and Planets.
* He is the forest and mountains.
* He is of the wild animals and the outdoors.
* He is the hunter and the hunted.
* He is the Summer, the heat and the crops.
* He is death and rebirth.
* He is war and retribution.

God energy can be difficult for some Wiccans. There are those who avoid working with the God, sometimes because of past association with male dominated religions. Some Wiccans who focus only on the Goddess claim that they are doing so to help return balance. They argue that male deities have been worshipped exclusively for so long, that they must worship the Goddess alone to balance this out. I don’t agree. Balance is obtained by worshipping both the God and Goddess. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

In general, there are two God myths followed by Wiccans. A group may follow one or the other, both at once, or choose the one most appropriate for the Sabbat they are celebrating. One of these myth cycles is that of the Oak and Holy Kings. These two kings each rule over one part of the year, fighting twice for this rulership. One dies on the appropriate Solstice, relinquishing their rule to the other. The other myth is that of the dying and reborn God, who is born to the Goddess at Yule, grows to marry Her, and dies again at Samhain (or Mabon, depending on the tradition). Through your study you can determine which of these myths are right for you. The mythology you follow may have a myth that fits one of these cycles – for example, the myth of Isis, Osiris and Horus.

There has also been a move toward a Triple God to balance the Triple Goddess. The God appears as the Horned God of nature to balance the Maiden, the Sun God of abundance to balance the Mother, and the Lord of the Underworld or the Sage to balance the Crone. This Triple God symbolism isn’t yet (nor may never be) widely used in Wicca, perhaps because it is more difficult to fit into the traditional cycle of the Sabbats with the death and rebirth of the God and the maturing of the Goddess.

There are many conflicting opinions and theories surrounding the history of Wicca, and now I’m going to add my own. I don’t do this to muddy the waters even further. Rather, I do it in hopes that my thoughts will help stimulate your own desire to figure out what is really true.

In general, there are two opposing camps when it comes to the idea of what is the true history of Wicca.

The first group believes that Wicca has been practiced more or less as is since prehistoric times. They generally claim that the modern Celtic-inspired words and holidays we now use were also used by Palaeolithic man. Often cave paintings are used as evidence of Wiccan practice, in the tradition of Margaret Murray. This group will then often skip forward to the Inquisition and Reformation, claiming all (or at least most) of the people killed were Wiccans and/or pagan witches. Often, Gerald Gardner is only mentioned in passing, if at all, as “revealing” Wicca to the modern world.

The second group usually believe either Gerald Gardner created Wicca himself or that he used the New Forest coven as a base on which he built further rituals. This group also often recognizes the influence of ancient religions and spiritual practises as providing the inspiration for modern Wicca. They also recognize the influence of late 19th century and early 20th century secret societies and the ritual magic movement, specifically the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley and Dion Fortune. (Note that Crowley could not have written Gardner’s Book of Shadows, as the two didn’t meet until May 1947. This was too late. It is clear, though, that Crowley’s work strongly influenced Gardner. Gardner even obtained an O.T.O charter.1)

There are, of course, those people who believe a combination of both types of history, with each contributing in varying degrees. My thoughts essentially fall here. I recognize the influence of ancient religions on Wicca, especially the idealized Goddess-based society. It encourages the popular imagination, and gives an ideal to strive toward. I am really a romantic at heart, but I also desire cold, hard facts, and I have yet to find any to fully support the fact that this idealized society ever actually existed. Sadly, I discount Merlin Stone’s book When God Was a Woman, and arguments about cave paintings, ancient Wiccan rites, and the “Green Man” in English churches (a similar figure can be found there, but it’s purpose is different) just don’t stand up under scrutiny. So it is a bit of myth that adds some colour to Wicca’s background, but nothing more.

I also find it exceptionally hard to believe that prehistoric people, centred mainly in Africa, would use Celtic words and celebrate the Sabbats. Especially since there would not have been four distinct seasons there.

I do recognize the influence of secret societies on Wicca. The initiation rite of Masons, as presented in Ronald Hutton’s The Triumph of the Moon, is very similar to the first degree initiation rite of Gardnerian Wicca. There is also an obvious influence of ritual magic, Aleister Crowley and Dion Fortune, among others, in many early Wiccan works. I see this as being most obvious in the ritual tools, which share many similarities to the tools used by a ritual magician. I find it unlikely that if peasants in a poor rural areas where practising Wicca, they would be able to afford and hide such fancy tools, or make use of often complicated correspondences. I believe Gerald Gardner was familiar with ritual magic and societies like the Golden Dawn and the O.T.O, and made use of their teachings and structure in creating, or perhaps modernizing, a small older faith which was practised by the New Forest coven. These similarities in ritual form and tools also occur because Wicca, like these other paths, are part of the Western Mystery tradition. Since they developed in the same atmosphere, so to speak, it isn’t surprising that they have some similar elements.

In The Triumph of the Moon, Mr. Hutton presents an excellent argument for the collective creation of a Mother Goddess and a Father God, as well as a synthesis of “high” magic and “low” magic. These together, he argues, lead to the creation of Wicca, along with other factors, of course. While I don’t necessarily agree with all his points, I do agree that Wicca is a modern religion based on older faiths and ideals. These older faiths, and their practises, provide a strong base to Wicca to build upon, allowing it to be a modern religion suited to modern people, but with a strong respect for the past.

It seems to me that for many people it is important for their religion to have long and established history. Perhaps this is why some Wiccans insist that Wicca has existed since prehistoric times. To me, a person who loves to study ancient history, having a long history for my religion isn’t as important. Many religions, from Christianity to Shinto, have histories that include horrific acts against practitioners and non-practitioners alike. While recognizing this is important, and noting that it does not make the good acts any less significant, it does show that having a history doesn’t make something better. I feel the tenants of a religion are what matters. It is important for me to have deities that I can understand and relate to, as well as values and a structure that I can believe in. And while Wicca may have a short history of approximately 50 years, or longer depending on your view of its history, it is a religion that meets my spiritual needs.

1. Lawrence Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley, pg. 409

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about magic and writing about how I thought magic works and also about how I saw the Wiccan perception of magic change through the years.

A fellow Wiccan told me that she felt Wiccan religion could not be separated from magic, even if that is the way the trend seems to be going. (Heavy paraphrasing here.) I said that I felt that magic is now more associated with spells and less associated with rituals. To the majority of Wiccans Circle casting and interaction with the divine is magic, but to the lay person it probably isn’t. That’s why I say I don’t work magic–I don’t cast spells or perform any Ceremonial Magic. I do, however, perform religious rituals, which, to me, are magical.

So, is Wicca magical or not? Yes, I believe it is. Do I perform magic? Everyday of my life, even though I never cast spells. If you have the right outlook, being alive is magic, being in love is magic, and doing what you Will is magic.

Miss Jade

jade rachel. 37. october 29 1978. scorpio. snake. welsh. lives in london. black hair. green eyes. tattooed. pierced. mother. daughter. sister. aunt. fiance. widow. lesbian. wiccan. hippy. geek. goth. ravenclaw

loves life, sex, bdsm, green day, enigma, enya, photography, cross-stitch, crafting, drawing, reading, fantasy, horror, sci-fi, tarot, astrology, egyptology, animals, starbucks, subway More?