Jeff Weston - PHL 160 - 4th Hour Web Site

Wicca - Description

The books I read cover many facets of Wicca. They introduce you to Wicca through its history and the spiritual basics of the tradition. Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft is arranged like a textbook, while Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner is a lot more casual about how the material is presented.

Wicca acknowledges a supreme divine power, a supreme being. However, the concept of this power is beyond our comprehension. Wiccans link with this force through deities. As such, the supreme power was personified into two basic beings: The Goddess, and the God.

Wiccans venerate these two deities because of their links with nature. In the past, these two deities were as real to Wiccans as the sun and the moon. Their rites of worship were built around the course of the sun (the seasons), as well as the monthly waxing and waning of the moon. Even today, similar rites are observed by the Wicca. Their worship is closely tied in with nature.

Magic is defined by Scott Cunningham as "the projection of natural energies to produce needed effects" (p. 19). It's common knowledge that Witches practice magic. Wicca is the religion of Witches, so Wicca deals with magic. Magic has been embraced as one of its basic concepts. Wiccans turn to the deities to bless their magic. They direct their own personal power to the deities so that their specific need may be met. Wicca magic is not supernatural, it simply uses forces that science hasn't yet discovered or labeled. Cunningham states that "even scientists don't claim to know everything about our universe" (p. 20).

Both books include a chapter, or part of a lesson on reincarnation. Wiccans believe that a soul has many lessons to learn, and all of those lessons can not be learned in one lifetime. A soul is reincarnated as many times as it takes to learn those lessons. They additionally believe that each specific creature will always come back as that same creature. A dog will always come back as a dog, a human will always come back as a human. Wiccans use reincarnation to explain why people are born into so many different environments, such as being poor or being rich. Since a soul has so many lessons to learn, different types of life need to experienced to learn them all.

Wicca makes use of a number of tools to facilitate its rituals. Cunningham provides a list of tools and their uses in his book. The Broom: Used to clear out the ritual area of spiritual negativity or debris. The Wand: Used to direct energy. The Censer: Used to burn incense and, to some of the Wicca, represents the element of Air. The Cauldron: It is the container in which magical transformations occur. Magic Knife: Used to direct energy raised during the rituals or spells. White-Handled Knife: A practical working knife, as opposed to the ritualistic magic knife. The list goes on. Wicca ceremonies rely heavily on these tools and rituals.

The most important idea I pulled out of the books is that Wicca is a personal religion. The ceremonies and rituals don't have to be performed in a group. The specific rituals given in the books are only examples. Each Wicca practitioner is invited to come up with their own rituals that work for them. You can pull from the books the things that work for you, and invent the rest of it to suit your needs.