Wicca: FAQ

I’ve been studying Wicca for a couple of years now, and have considered myself to be a Wytch (so spelled for the purposes of clarification) for about a year. Now, I’m not shy about my religion, and when the topic arises I am more than happy to talk about it. However, what I’ve discovered is that, especially in the South, people do not have a knowledge base line for what Wicca is, and as a result are often left feeling confused or antagonized when it is discussed. With that in mind, I’ve decided to put together a list of questions I often get asked, in an effort to help explain to others what Wicca is, what it isn’t, and what it means to me. Now, I am by no means an expert on this religion, and my experiences and understandings will not necessarily be the same as another person’s, so what follows should not be considered definitive. Rather, think of it as introduction to an incredibly complex and incredibly beautiful religion that makes life long students out of its practitioners.

So, what exactly is Wicca?

Wicca is a Neopagan religion developed in the UK in the early 1900s. It incorporates elements of the pagan rituals of old and the worship of ancient gods and goddesses (think Roman, Greek, Scandinavian, Egyptian, etc). It can also include elements of Earth and Spirit Worship.

 

What do Wiccans believe?

Wiccans (or Wytches, either is fine) have varying beliefs depending on the particular tradition they follow. That said, most Wytches believe that the Divine is comprised of two energies: the masculine (The Lord) and the feminine (The Lady). The Universe and everything in it are made up of these two energies. Some Wytches believe that The Lord and The Lady are just two in a seemingly never-ending pantheon of gods. Others (myself included) believe that all  gods and goddesses are manifestations of The Lord and The Lady. Simply put, all God is God and all Goddess is Goddess.

 

Are you, like, a devil worshiper?

No, at least, not in the way you mean. Satanism is another religion entirely, with its own merits and pitfalls. It’s in no way related to Wicca. That said, most Wiccans worship pagan gods, so it is possible that a Wiccan would worship someone (Pan, for instance) that another religion might consider to be a “devil”.

 

How do you worship these gods?

Worship is very personal and will vary from person to person, not only in the manner in which they worship, but in who they are worshiping. For example, I have an alter to the goddess Hecate in my room, and I regularly will light a candle and pray to her. I’m a Dianic Wytch, so I pray exclusively to the feminine aspect of the Divine. My alter is important to me because it helps me get into a worshipping headspace, but there are many people who do not feel they require such a thing and simply pray whenever and wherever they feel so inclined.

 

What are the fundamental rules of Wicca?

The Wiccan Rede is spoken thusly: An it harm none, do what ye will. Essentially, a Wytch can do whatever s/he wishes, so long as it doesn’t harm any individual (themselves included) in a physical, spiritual, or emotional way.

 

So do you cast spells and do magic?

There are two main components to Wicca: worship and ritual. Both are equally important, and you can’t be successful in one without the other. These rituals do include spell casting. At it’s core, spell casting is just energy manipulation, compelling the energies of the Universe to do your will, and that of the Divine. The ability to perform Magick (spelled thusly to differentiate between magic tricks and energy manipulation) is a skill that all people possess, but like anything you must practice to become good at it. What’s more, a Wytch must come to view spell casting as an extension of Divine providence, not as a method of getting what s/he wants.

 

Are sacrifices required for your rituals?

None of a physical nature. The most I ever have to sacrifice is my time (it can take a while to gather everything needed for any given ritual). There are some Hoodoo practitioners who sacrifice goats or chickens for their rituals, but if a Wytch were to do this, it would be considered Black Magick.

 

What is “Black Magick”?

Any Magick designed to harm another person, or to manipulate a person’s will, is considered to be Black Magick. It is taboo amongst Wiccans. This is due to the rule of three: anything you put out into the Universe will return to you three times over. Some Wytches go so far as to say that any Magick performed with the intention of personal gain is Black Magick.

 

Can men be Wytches?

Of course, anyone can be a Wytch. That said, there are some traditions that only accept women,

 

How does one become a Wytch?

That depends. Most covens (a congregation of Wytches following the same tradition) will require you to undergo a period of study followed by a formal declaration ceremony. Solitary Wytches (such as myself) may or may not choose to do the same. The dedication ceremony is generally very involved, but you are essentially saying that you will follow the practices and teachings of Wicca for one year and one day, at which point you can decide to pursue another religious path, or rededicate.

 

I would like to learn more about Wicca. How do I go about doing that?

Two books that I would recommend to anyone interested in the Craft are Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham and Solitary Witch by Silver RavenWolf. While by no means exhaustive these are two relatively modern texts that will give you a good basic understanding of the Craft. Or, if you’re more interested in a social experience, reach out to local Covens, and see if they wouldn’t like to talk to you more about it. Finally, your more than welcome to ask me. Like I said before, I’m still learning but I’m happy to be of whatever help I can.

 

Final thoughts?

Wicca isn’t a fad. It is a true religion, with a tradition and a history. Yes, there are people who treat it like it’s a counter-cultural badge of honor, but for millions of people it is simply a way of life. We aren’t trying to make a statement, we’re just trying to live and worship the Divine in the best ways we know how. So if you do happen to come across a Wytch, don’t worry. We aren’t going to turn you into a toad, or steal your firstborn. We’ll probably just smile and be on our way.