Wicca is a modern religion that has a basis in Witchcraft traditions of long ago, going back to traditions starting in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales before the establishment of Christianity. Although many thought of themselves as Wiccan practitioners, there was no set belief system until 1974, when people representing many different Wiccan traditions came together. This group, the Council of American Witches, collected information about the many beliefs Wiccans had and decided to publish a general list written by the group’s chairman and publisher Carl Llewellyn Weschcke and entitled ,” The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief.” Although the Council eventually disbanded, these principles continue with most American witches following it.
To summarize, most Wiccans have a strong belief in their individual responsibility to the environment. A Wiccan attempts to live in harmony with the natural world. Rites are practiced to attune the Wiccan follower with the “natural rhythm of life forces” which are indicated by the phases of the moon and the movements of the four seasons.
There is a strong acknowledgment of the supernatural or spiritual world as well as the outer and inner world; the inner world is sometimes called a psychological or spiritual world; these two dimension are what magical exercises are based on.
Creative Power is also a basic tenet of Wiccans, who believe that this power has both feminine and masculine aspects and that both aspects are equal. Sex is viewed as a representation of life and is often used as an energy source in the practice of magic and Wiccan worship.
Religion, knowledge (or wisdom), and magic (sometimes referred to as “magick”) are seen as intertwined in a Wiccan’s world view or philosophy as life, usually referred to as Witchcraft or the Wiccan Way.
In Wicca, there is no hierarchy of authority, but those who hold wisdom and share it in their teachings are honored by the Wiccan community as are those who accept positions of leadership.
Most American Wiccans are forward-looking; instead of arguing about the history of witchcraft and the origins of different ideas, they tend to focus on the present and the future of the practice.
A witch is not a hereditary position or gained by degrees, titles or initiations. A Wiccan is one who lives in wisdom, in harmony with nature, and without doing harm to others. Wiccans also believe that they should pursue only those things that are beneficial to maintaining good health and well-being.
Wiccans do not worship Satan or “the Devil” found in the Christian religion; they reject the idea of absolute evil and do not try to gain power through harm to or suffering of others. Although Wiccans do not follow many Christian traditions, they are tolerant of other religions as long as these religions do not try to restrict freedom of individuals or attempt to deny other religious traditions and beliefs.
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