Asking yourself ‘What is Wicca?’ In this blog you’ll find out what modern witchcraft is all about and what real Wiccans use to do their magic!
Wicca is a modern pagan religion that believes in the power and harmony of nature. Followers call themselves Wiccans or witches and they usually are very knowledgeable about:
- Natural Elements
- Gods and Goddesses
- The Law of Three
- The Book Of Shadows
- Symbols, Proverbs and Rituals
- Magic Tools
Keep reading to find out what Wicca actually is and what a real witch does!
In the 1940s and 1950s, interest in witchcraft rekindled and through the British writer Gerald Gardner’s book Witchcraft Today, people had access to the mysterious practice. In his book, Gardner attempted to describe the history of nature magic and how contemporary pagans performed their rituals. Several years later, along with his fellow Brit Doreen Valiente, he charted the principles of modern magic as its popularity grew. Practitioners eventually started calling their craft “Wicca”, although no one knows exactly why… When it comes to magic, a little mystery is only fitting of course!
Wicca is a religion or philosophy that has different branches. For example, feminist witches mainly worship the Goddess and focus their magic on her, and yet there are Wiccans who don’t even do magic. Within Wicca there are also groups or covens, but on the other hand, many witches practice solo magic. Perhaps that has something to do with the emphasis placed on natural strength. Magic for Wiccans is working with everything that is available to them, including the strength that a witch finds within themselves. Since no two people are the same in this world, you get a lot of unique witches and witchcraft!
The Book of Shadows is a personal log in which witches keep track of their development. Gerald Gardner came up with this concept and urged Wiccans to write down their work. However, practitioners of witchcraft probably have been doing so for much longer because knowledge is power for Wiccans. According to Wiccans, every witch has his or her own gifts. One has more skill for herbal magic and the other likes to work with divination. To find out which tools suit you and what effect Wicca spells have, such a Book of Shadows can be a useful tool.
An important guideline for Wiccans is the Law of Three. This belief is somewhat reminiscent of the concept of Karma, as it deals with the consequences of your actions. According to this law, anything you do as a witch comes back to you in triplicate. For example, if you use magic to help people, animals, and other living things, you will receive good energy in return. If your intentions are not so pure, you will be served a triple portion of that later. Many witches believe that this is a law of nature, and understanding the consequences and rewards of their magical practice helps them to consciously and responsibly use their special powers.
Most Wiccans believe that five forces come together to make the cosmos. The first four important elements, earth, water, air, and fire, are visible in nature. Most witches call the fifth element the Ghost or spirit. This primal force connects the other four and is said to be present everywhere. Spirits of consciousness therefore always get a central place in a witch’s practice, whether that is on an altar or while performing spells!
For Wiccans, the goddess and the god are a representation of natural balance. Witches believe that the world revolves around the alternation of female and male power. For example, the sun would rise by divine energy and the moon would shine with the help of the goddess. Both have their role in nature, just like Yin Yang. Yet it differs per witch which figures they worship. For example, some Wiccans work with the Horned God and Mother Earth, while others put Greek and Egyptian deities on their altars. Because so many deities are welcomed from old Pegan religions in Wicca, for beginners it can sometimes be tricky to know who or what to incorporate into their practice. It’s fine to take some time finding out which one feels like a natural fit to you! Remember, it’s all about natural power, even the power within you.
Because witches revere the power of nature, rituals are on the calendar all year round. Wiccans harness the energy of every moment through these celebrations. Celebrations and festivals fall into two major categories:
- Solar Celebrations
- Lunar Rituals
By alternating solar and lunar festivities, the God and Goddess receive equal attention – balance is very important for a witch!
Solar celebrations are also known as Sabbaths and mark the end of a season. The most important seasonal parties are :
- Yule (Mid Winter)
- Ostara (Spring Equinox)
- Litha (Summer Solstice)
- Mabon (Autumn Equinox)
Sabbaths are moments for Wiccans to come together and reflect on the growth of nature and themselves. Solar Celebrations are therefore suitable for formulating intentions and reinforcing them.
Moon rituals, or Esbats, usually take place under the Full Moon. For many witches, they are a time to relax and recharge. That would also apply to their favorite instruments: gems and crystals. Gemstone cleansing is usually done on the night of an Esbat! You can read more about Cleansing Your Gemstones Here.
When most people think of witchcraft, they think of the Pentagram, a five-pointed star with a circle around it. For many Wiccans, this is an important symbol, as it represents the elements of nature. Celtic or Northern European symbols such as the Triquetra are also common in Wicca, as are the Tree of Life and the Runic script. With those old letters, witches also practice divining the future. You could therefore compare Runes with a kind of Tarot.
Chants are rhythmic phrases that witches repeat to give strength to their intentions, just as mantras do for Buddhists. Some are meant to evoke energy, others express important Wiccan principles such as “Blessed Be” or “As Above, So Below, As Within, So Without.” There are prescribed spells, but as you would expect, Wiccans are also free to make their own. It’s about the power you can put into words!
To do spells and other magic, Wiccans use magical tools. At first glance, these tools don’t seem that special, but that is because they only start working as soon as someone gives them energy. Here are some things you’ll usually find in a Wiccians house:
- Spell Candles
- Glass Balls
- Crystal Skulls and other Gemstones
- Essential Oil and Herbs
Those elements are usually located on a special Wiccan Altar, the place where most witches perform their rituals.
You can buy tools and attributes for your magical rituals at a Wicca store or get creative yourself. For example, most spiritual herbs simply grow in your garden or in the forest. Ideal to make, for example, an aromatic Smudge Stick (Read More About Smudging Here) for your cleansing ritual or a Scented Candle with divine aroma for strength and protection. You might come across a nice branch for a dowsing rod, or a stone to use as a pendulum during such a refreshing walk (Read More About Dowsing Here), who knows!
Have fun and Blessed Be!