Questions of Faith, Part VII

For the Sunday Sermon this week, we will hear from another Earth-honoring tradition. The Pink Princess, Mandy, gives us a brief overview of Wicca. As usual, feel free to comment!

Wiccan ritual implements

What faith?
This response took much longer than I thought. I found myself trying to cover both Wicca in general and my own beliefs. While extremely similar, I don’t feel right just giving my beliefs and letting you (as readers) think that what I say goes for the majority of the Wiccan community. It doesn’t. There are just too many ways of personalizing this religion to give you everything you will need.

If I must choose a title for my religion, I will go with Wicca, as most of my beliefs find their roots in Wiccan teachings. Why? I have done a lot of searching when it comes to religions and have taken to heart the parts that affected me. No matter what religion they came from they became part of mine. My personal beliefs include the notion that all things have a spirit. My path has space for Goddess and God, as well as a myriad of other spirits/minor deities. Other paths choose their own combination, select few, or single deity that suits them.

Who is the founder?
The founder of my faith is hard to point to as Wicca, like many earth religions, was part of the daily lives of many people long ago. My personal beliefs are gathered from Celtic and Viking influences.

The Neo-Pagan or New Wiccan movements that most people are aware of are quite recent. The religions were re-found by several different people including Gerald Gardner, Alexander Saunders, and Alistair Crowley. These traditions all formed sometime between the 1940’s and the 1960’s.

What are the sacred texts?
Most Wiccans will keep a “Book of Shadows”. This is a spooky, mysterious name for a book that is very similar to a journal. Recipes, journal entries, dreams, anything deemed important can be put in.

The Rede and the Three-fold Law also qualify as sacred texts.

Central Teaching?
No matter which tradition or branch a Wiccan follows, the central teachings are generally the same. Most traditions will include some form of the Rede and the Three-fold Law.

Travis, in his earlier response, included the whole of the Rede, but just as a reminder – “If it harms none-Do what you will.”

The three-fold law is exactly what it sounds like. Ever hear the phrase “Good (bad) things come in threes”? This is where it came from. Any energy you send/give out will come back to you three-fold. Basically, it is a reminder to treat others as you want to be treated.

This is where it gets tricky. The actual concept of sin does not exist in this religion. There are, however, things you just shouldn’t do. How do you know what these are? Look to the three-fold law and Rede. If you are doing something that will hurt someone or yourself, intentionally or not, this is not a good plan. The Powers that Be will see that the negative energy and pain will be returned to you (3 times).

Some paths include the idea of a Summerland which is very much like a Utopia or Heaven concept. Your spirit will get there when it is time for it to get there. It may take many lifetimes or just one. This leads to the question of reincarnation. Yes, many Wiccans, including me, believe in reincarnation. But unlike that of other religions starting another life may have nothing to do with unfinished tasks and/ or karmic deeds. In some cases it may not be your spirits time, you may have learned what you need to learn in this life, you may not have learned what you needed to in the last life… there are hundreds of reasons why a spirit will/ can come back. The death of a person is not neglected however. Death is part of the life cycle, all things in nature die. The person is mourned, remembered and celebrated.

Depending on your tradition there are opportunities for daily, weekly, and holiday specific rituals. Holidays are centered on the seasons, moon phases, and equinoxes.

Personally, daily (if not then weekly), I find time to sit and meditate, dream journey, and work with anything else I need to.

As I practice mostly by myself there really is not hierarchy. Many who practice in groups do have some form of structure. Usually these groups are called Covens, and there tends to be at least one High Priestess leading the group. There is the possibility for Priests, (regular) Priestess, and any other forms of division deemed necessary.

Regular services?
Yes there are. As a solitary practitioner opportunities always present themselves. For others….there are gatherings on a weekly basis, as well as on the holidays, for anyone who wants to join. Being respectful of the various earth religions is the only requirement.

What do I want others to know?
Just to dispel some myths and stereotypes I have encountered.

- Please don’t ask if I am a good witch or a bad witch. Not only do I not identify myself as a witch…but that is like asking “Are you a good Methodist or a bad Methodist?” There are good people and bad people in every society and in every religion. (It is a funny question though, if you get the reference.)
- I don’t worship Satan. I believe each person is responsible for his or her own actions. Satan is a Christian angel. So, in a sense all Satanists are Christian.
- The Pentagram is not a Satanic symbol. The symbol has a long history of being used to mean many good things such as health (Pythagoras and his followers wore it for this reason), and protection (in Medieval time Christian knights would wear it on their shields). The five points represent the four elements- air, fire, water, earth – and the top point is spirit.
- I do NOT do blood sacrifices! I believe in the sanctity of all living creatures. This is also the thoughts of most other traditions.
- Spells, at their most basic, are nothing more than wishes, hopes, and prayers. At times special herbs or other ingredients will be added as a “sacrifice” or offering to help the spell manifest. I will not cast a spell on anyone or for anyone. I won’t hex anyone; I don’t want the three fold law to bite me.
- Ritual Orgies? For this I will take an answer from a Wiccan website that answers it better than I can. “Orgies? These are rumors come from our lack of taboos regarding sex. We have no rules which prohibit homosexuality, nudity or pre-marital sex. Sex as the generative force in nature is seen by most pagans as something utterly sacred. We feel that the physical act of love is to be approached with great respect and responsibility.”
- Not all Wiccans wear black. I have an affinity for being as brightly colored as I can be. Black rarely enters my clothing except to bring out a different color, or for dress-up/club type clothes. I don’t even own any pentagram jewelry or a pentagram at all for that matter.
- Men, women, and children can all be witches, Wiccans, Pagans. There is no sex based distinction. The term Warlock, generally used for males, is a derogatory term, a religious slur. Warlock is an old Scottish word meaning traitor or oath-breaker.
- I (we) don’t convert new Wiccans/Pagans. To do so would be a form of bigotry. It would value one religion over another. Trying to convert someone is assuming that the person’s beliefs are not as valid as your own.


If you have a personal question for Mandy, feel free to send it to the Email address in my profile, and I'll forward it along to her.


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