Monday, February 2, 2009

Wicca 101

I've been meaning to write this post for quite a long time. Most of the people whose blogs I read are Christian or atheist. Many people when I first meet them (upon finding out my religion) think I must be a devil worshipper or a crazy person who thinks she can turn people into frogs. I'd like to allay these myths today. So I've come up with a FAQ. I must tell you that I am explaining my belief system, and that I know most people don't understand it, and that is okay, I'm hoping this will help clear things up. I don't have anything against any other religion, I just know that this is the one that feels right for me. So please don't try to convert me. I'm happy for you for having something you can believe in and feel secure in, but this is what works for me. So here without further delay:

1. What is Wicca?

Wicca is an earth based religion. Wiccans are people who believe in nature, and sometimes a God/Goddess or Divine Spirit. The god/goddess and divine spirit are ways of saying that we believe in masculine and feminine aspects in everything that occurs in nature. The Divine Spirit is both masculine and feminine, because life could not be created without both. (Personally I must say that it confuses me how people can worship a single God as a male entity when life shows us that we need both male and female to carry on our species, to reproduce. That there is masculine and feminine energies in just about everything, the two should be equal in my opinion. Which is obviously part of the reason why I am Wiccan). There is one "rule" that Wiccans hold themselves to. It's within a script called the Wiccan Rede, and it's quite long, so to prevent myself from boring you to death I will give you the last and most important part.

With these eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill
An it harm none, do what ye will

2. Do you believe in Magick?

Yes in a way. But probably not the way you think. It's not about levitating pencils or casting love spells or turning people into frogs. Anyone who claims they can do this is likely disillusioned from watching too much Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and has no clue what it means to actually be Wiccan. Believing in magick means seeing extraordinary in the ordinary. It's about realizing that every flower that blooms, every tree that grows, every body of water that flows, every mundane thing that happens in every day life is a form of magick. Do you remember being a child? When everything was so new and wonderful, and anything seemed possible. It's about remembering that feeling. Being truly grateful for the amazing things in life that we take for granted every day. When you stop to think about it, doesn't it seem magical that the earth and the sun nourish seeds and help plants to grow. I think that concieving a child is a very magical thing. I found myself in complete awe and wonder that my body could do this wonderful thing. Most of all I felt amazingly empowered as a woman. The reason we spell magick with a k is to tell it apart from other uses of the word such as magic tricks, which are not the same.

4. Do You Cast Spells?

Yes I do, but it's about the equivalent of someone of another religion saying a prayer. Sure I may light my incense and some candles to do it, but you can't tell me that other religions don't light candles. The difference between my spells and another person's prayers is that I look within myself to find the things I need to achieve what I want. In other words I do not ask that god do something for me. I look to myself to find the strength I need or the courage or creativity or whatever it is, to achieve my goals on my own. I think a large part of my belief is that we hold our own responsibility for our actions, and that nature controls many things that we cannot, and it does not help to blame an unseen being for things that are simply out of our control. For instance I would not say that "God took Sophie, because it was her time, heaven needed it's angel back" or something like that. I have no doubt that those are comforting things to some people. But for me it would just infuriate me. It's easier for me to believe that some things happen in nature, and there is nothing I can do about it, it's nothing I caused but there is no one to take responsibility for it either.

And I do believe in the power of prayer, from any religion, because to me it is all positive energy and there is nothing wrong with lots of positive energy.

5. Do You Sacrifice Animals or Worship the Devil?

No and no. Wiccans love nature and this includes animals. In fact many Wiccans are vegetarians because they don't like the thought of harming animals. However some of us (including myself) believe in the cycle of life, and that in nature animals eat other animals in order to survive. Having said that I don't think it's right to hunt for sport ever. Why kill an animal if you do not need to? Also most Wiccans have what we call familiars, which is an animal that is very loved and well taken care of. Familiars are like our connection to the spirit world. Animals have heightened senses and can alert us to things we wouldn't notice on our own. A familiar can be a dog, a cat, a bird, anything you feel a strong connection to. Though I don't know of many Wiccans who have a pet lion or zebra or anything like that.

And as for worshipping the devil, we do not believe that such a thing exists. Satan (or the devil) is a christian concept. I don't believe that the evil in the world is caused by an unseen evil thing, just as I don't believe the good is caused by an unseen good thing. People choose their own actions for the most part (barring insanity, which is a thing that occurs randomly in nature, not a blight inflicted by the devil imo). They do and they are. Saying that the devil made someone do it, is to take away the person's responsibilities for their actions.

And as for the pentacle, it is a symbol of protection, and has been used throughout the ages as such. The one that cults and satanists use is turned upside down. Just as the cross is turned upside down to be used as an evil symbol. I personally wear three pentacles, because three in Wicca is a very important number.

6. How Do You Make Sure Wiccans Do Good?

Well we don't. We are only in control of ourselves. There is no threat of eternal damnation if you don't follow the rules exactly. We do believe in karma though, and that if you commit bad deeds they will come back to you times three. I suppose that would be a deterrent. But other than that, it is up to each individual person to "police" themselves. We have to make our own judgements on what is right and what is wrong. And there is lots of debate about the "harm none do what ye will" rule. Some would consider certain actions as harm that others would not. It is up to each person's discretion. As a Wiccan one must take the responsibility and the consequences of their actions. The Law of 3 goes like this:

Mind the threefold law ye should,
three times bad and three times good

Anyway I must stress that this is just my opinion, just my belief system. I can cast no judgements upon others for their beliefs. I only know that mine hold true to who I am, and I ask only that others try to respect that, and try to respect that each person is an individual and what works for one may not work for another.


Ya Chun said...

A very nice explanation of the tenets of Wicca.

I agree that we don't need a power outside of nature to explain the world and our place in it. I am amazed by the sheer luck and random chance that has brought this planet to this place within this universe, this close to this sun, with all the elements to coalesce into a planet that can support life such as ourselves. I find that this line of thinking also leads to an idea to protect the earth and nature, instead of an idea that nature is here to provide for *us*.

Thanks for writing this.

CLC said...

Interesting. Thanks for the lesson. I knew nothing about Wicca before today, mostly because I have never encountered anyone that I know to be Wiccan.

Never Clever said...

Very well said. Thank you for taking the time to share that with us all.

Becky said...

Great post! Thank you for sharing. Religion, or even lack thereof, is something that I've always been very interested in and I enjoy learning about other belief systems.

May I ask, did you grow up Wiccan?