Wicca is a tradition that I had seen a lot about, but didn't really
know that much about it. While working on Vinegar Tom, I saw a story
about the persecution of witches. I have seen similar ideas in movies.
In recent years movies seem to be more accepting of the tradition, but
still present it as a supernatural magic.
The fact that the books I read (along with many more) are available indicates that Wicca is becoming an accepted tradition. The superstitions of witches and the fears associated with magic or witchcraft are vanishing. The practitioners that have stayed hidden for so long, fearing prosecution, are finally coming forward and presenting their version of Wicca.
Wicca is a very personal tradition. Each practitioner has their own version of it. They find, or create the rituals and spells that work for them. The books that are available usually are general guides to the tradition, providing the spiritual framework for moving on. The books that do provide a set of rituals, are only providing the spring board for coming up with your own rituals. Each Wicca is encouraged to have a "Book of Shadows". That is their own personal "bible" of rituals and spells, that they have created, or taken from elsewhere.
Wicca is monotheistic, its followers believing in one supreme divine power. However this supreme power is beyond the scope of human understanding and is divided up into several deities. While it may appear Wicca may worship a multitude of gods, they all lead to the same supreme divine power. The deities themselves are deeply rooted in nature. The sun and moon are especially important as many rituals are based on the seasons and the phases of the moon.
One of the most appealing aspects of Wicca is the prospect of performing magic. One of the reasons I was initially attracted to studying Wicca was the common knowledge that Wicca is a religion filled with magic. However, as opposed to what is common knowledge, Wicca magic is not supernatural. It relies on your own personal energy. Just as by focussing your own physical energy you can do great things, but focussing your spiritual energy and channeling them through the supreme being, you can do things spiritually. This idea reminds of a great deal of the Catholic Eucharist. Bread and Wine are transformed, as if by magic, into the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
Wicca has some interesting thoughts on which religion is the "true" religion. A belief in Wicca does not necessarily mean you have to give up your previous beliefs. Since they believe in one supreme power, but claim there is no way for humans to know what that power is, any monotheistic religion can fit in with Wicca. Even polytheistic traditions can fit in since one could consider all of their deities to all point towards the one supreme power.
I found Wicca to be a very relaxing experience. As part of my study I followed along with a few lessons on relaxation, meditation, and raising energy. I did not attempt to perform any rituals or spells without being more familiar with Wicca rituals. With even just those basic lessons, I felt more relaxed, energized, and clear.