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Wiccan Beliefs

Their beliefs include:

* Wiccan Deities: Most Wiccans believe that a creative force exists in
the universe, which is sometimes called "The One" or " The All". Little
can be known of this force. They regard the Goddess and the God as
representing the female and male aspects of the All. Most regard
various pagan Gods and Goddesses (Pan, Athena, Diana, Brigit, Zeus,
Odin, etc) as representing various aspects of the God and Goddess.
* Respect for Nature: Wicca is a natural religion, grounded in the earth.
All living things (including stars, planets, humans, animals, plants,
rocks) are regarded as having spirit.
* Gender Equality: Wiccans celebrate the sexual polarity of nature: the
fertilizing rain is one manifestation of the male principle; the
nurturing earth symbolizes the female. Females are respected as equal
(and sometimes at a slightly higher rank) to males. They aim for a
female-male balance in most of their covens (groups), although men are
typically in the minority. Sexuality is valued, and regarded as a gift
of the Goddess and God, to be engaged in with joy and responsibility.
* Three-fold Law The law states that:

All good that a person does returns three fold
in this life; harm is also returned three fold.

* The Wiccan Rede: This is the main rule of behaviour:

An' it harm none, do what thou wilt

This means that a person should feel free to do what ever they want to,
as long as it does not harm themselves or anyone else. This and the
three-fold law obviously prevent a Witch/Wiccan from doing harm to
themselves or to others, or attempting to manipulate others, or taking
illegal drugs, etc.



Wiccan Practices

Their practices include:

* Organizational Structure:Wicca is one denomination (the largest) within
Neo-paganism. Other Neo-pagan groups include individuals and groups who
are reconstructing Druidic, wiccan, Greek, Roman and other ancient
religious traditions.

Many, perhaps most, Witches are solitary practitioners; they perform
their rites alone. Others form covens which are informal groups of
Wiccans. There is no hierarchy beyond the coven; no provincial or
national organization. Those covens which have a High Priestess and/or
Priest elect one of themselves to that office.
* Rituals: Wiccans try to meet out of doors where possible. North
American climate and concern for personal safety usually forces them
indoors. They gather in a circle, which is often 9 feet in diameter.
Candles on the circumference are oriented to the four cardinal
directions. An altar is at the centre or at the northern candle. Rites
begin with a casting of the circle, in which the circle is outlined and
purified, and the candles lit. A space is thus created within the
circle; this is sometimes visualized as a sphere, or as a cylinder or
cone. The purpose of this space is to confine healing energy until it
is released.

The central portion of each meeting may celebrate the full moon, a new
moon, a sabbath or a special Wiccan ceremony. It might include healing,
divination (scrying, Tarot cards, Runes, etc), teaching, consecration
of tools, discussion, or other life-affirming, nature based activities.
After the major work is completed, food (perhaps cakes and wine) is
eaten, and the circle is banished. Because of the increasing concern
over addictions to alcohol and other drugs, many covens have replaced
wine with juice, water etc.
* Wiccan Sabbats: (Seasonal days of Celebration) There are eight Wiccan
Sabbats, spaced about 45 days apart during the year. Four of these are
minor Sabbats: the two equinoxes of March 21 and September 21st when
the daytime and nighttime are each 12 hours long. The Saxons added the
two solstices of December 21, (the longest night of the year) and June
21 (the shortest night of the year). Actually, the exact date of these
Sabbats vary from year to year and may occur from the 20th to 23rd of
the month. The major Sabbats are also four in number. They occur
roughly between the minor Sabbats, typically at the end of a month.
Different Wiccan traditions assign various names and dates to these
festivals. Perhaps the most common names are Celtic: Samhain (Oct. 31),
Imbolc (Feb. 2), Beltane (May 1), and Lammas (Aug. 1). Dates are
approximate. Their origins are believed to be related to hunting,
farming, and animal fertility.
* Rites of passage: These include:
o Dedication, where a person confirms an interest in the craft,
o Initiation, when a person symbolically dies and is reborn as a
Wiccan; a new name is adopted
o Handfasting, which was originally a marriage for a one year
period. Most Wiccans now regard it as creating a permanent
o Parting of the Ways, which recognizes the end of a marriage
o Wiccaning, which welcomes a baby into the craft, but does not
obligate the child in any way
o Funeral Ceremony, for a Wiccan who has died
* Wiccan tools: Hardware which are used to perform Witchcraft rites often
look like common household items. The following are typical:
o Athame (double sided ritual knife) used for many purposes, but
never for cutting
o A bowl of salt representing the element earth
o Incense representing the element air
o Two candles representing the Goddess and God
o A bowl of water representing the element water
o A bell which is rung to delineate sections of the rite
o A wand to cast the circle
o A goblet and perhaps a libation bowl to hold a drink
o A circle, typically 9 feet in diameter, formed from a rope or row
of small rocks, markings on the ground or floor, etc
o Four candles just outside the circle, at the four cardinal


Prejudice Against Wiccans

Wiccans suffer from one of the highest levels of unwarranted discrimination
of any religious group in North America. This is caused by:

* Popular confusion between two essentially unrelated religions: Satanism
and Wicca
* 500 years of negative and false beliefs about Wiccans which had their
origin in the Witch burning times of the 15th to 18th Centuries.
* Present day religious hatred and misinformation, spread primarily by
conservative Christians

The Green Egg quarterly magazine has a column called Jane's Tidings which
collects Pagan and Wiccan related news. In the 1995-Summer edition she
documents the following acts of discrimination:

* Providence RI: Rhode Island Child Protective Services made their first
unannounced visit to a foster home in history. They removed three
foster children. This occurred four days after the foster mother was
identified in a positive local newspaper article as a Wiccan.
* Palm Bay FL: The city prohibited the Church of Iron Oak from holding
meetings at the home of one of their members. This is a Wiccan group.
* Knoxville TN: A Wiccan group had been meeting in a room at the World's
Fair site. They were booted out after an individual became upset at the
sight of some robed Wiccans.

References - Thanks to The Ontario Centre for Religious Tolerance for use of this information

1 Introductions

1.1 What is this group for?

1.2 What is Wicca and how is it related to Paganism?

2 Basic Orientation

2.1 What are some common, basic beliefs in Wicca?

2.2 What god(desse)s do Wiccans worship?

2.3 What tools and rituals do you use?

2.4 Is there a set liturgy or liturgical calendar?

2.5 What is basic Wiccan thealogy? Are you satanists?

2.6 What are Wiccan ethics, the "Wiccan Rede" and "three-fold law?"

2.7 What is the difference between a white witch and a black witch? And white, grey and black magic?

3 Wiccan Beliefs and Practices

3.1 Can I be a Christian/ Jew/ Muslim/ Buddhist/ Taoist/ Astrologer/
Druid/ Shaman/ omnivore/ whatever and a Wiccan?

3.2 Why can't I be a satanist and a Wiccan at the same time?

3.3 Do I have to wear a pentagram and black clothes to be Wiccan?

3.4 What are "dedication" and "initiation" in Wicca?

3.5 Do all Wiccans practice magic/k?

3.6 Is Wicca the same thing as witchcraft?

3.7 What were "the Burning Times?"

3.8 What are the origins of Wicca?

3.9 What are the major traditions in Wicca?

3.10 What is the "Book of Shadows?" Where do I get one?

3.11 What is a coven and how do I join one?

3.12 How do I witness about Jesus Christ to a Wiccan?

3.13 How do I learn more about Wicca?

4 Resources

4.1 Introductory books on Wicca

4.2 Other Internet Newsgroups

4.3 Wiccan Organizations

4.3 Wiccan Periodicals

4.4 Respected authors

4.5 Other Internet Resources

5 Copyright and Distribution Notice

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