What is Wicca?

“We should educate people that ‘Witch’ is not evil but ancient and positive. The first time I called myself a ‘Witch’ was the most magical moment of my life.”  –Margot Adler, Wiccan Priestess

Wicca, loosely defined, is a nature-based polytheistic faith that focuses on worship of a goddess figure. Wicca is an approach to life that focuses on harmony with others and the natural world, balance and oneness with self, all of the world and the divine. It is the appreciation of a sunrise, the nurturing of a tree, the kindness we show to others. Wicca is the attitude with which we approach situations and the respect we have for the forces of nature. It is a way of life.

I say loosely defined because there are literally thousands of ways to define Wicca. Each Wiccan defines the faith in terms of herself, so one person’s definition might differ from another’s. Neither is wrong, either. In addition to each self-identifying Wiccan’s description, there are more “standard” definitions, not all of which are accurate.

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines Wicca as follows:

n. the religious cult of modern witchcraft, esp. an initiatory tradition founded in England in the mid 20th century and claiming its origins in pre-Christian pagan religions.

This definition is inaccurate for a couple of reasons. One, Wicca is not a cult. It is a faith the same way Christianity or Islam is a way to believe. Second, Wicca and witchcraft are different. The two words are often considered interchangeable, but the truth is that they are two different practices that just happen to often be intertwined.

Dictionary.com’s definition:

–noun (sometimes initial capital letter) witchcraft, especially benevolent, nature-oriented practices derived from pre-Christian religions.

Again, this reflects a lack of understanding that witchcraft and Wicca are different, though at least we have acknowledged a few of the core values associated with Wicca.

What it comes down to, is that Wicca is what you need it to be, within certain parameters. Wiccans acknowledge the Rede (to be looked at in depth at a later date) as the main guide in practicing, and generally accept the three-fold law of karma (also to be looked at later.)

Next post: What Wicca isn’t.


About Ayslyn'sCorner

I am an eclectic Pagan bordering on atheist who has made her way through a number of different spiritual spaces. You might wonder what a person self-identifying as an atheist has to discuss in a religion/spiritual context – and, well, so do I. That’s one of the things I aim to explore on Ayslyn's Corner. Check out Ayslyn's Corner at http://www.ayslynscorner.wordpress.com Check out Invisible Ink Blog at http://www.whitneycarter.wordpress.com Check out wombs in rebellion at http://wombsinrebellion.wordpress.com/
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3 Responses to What is Wicca?

  1. lucifervulus says:

    Good job,
    I liked reading this 🙂 informative but not rambling! If I knew how to rate i would give you a 9/10 ^_^
    Can’t wait to read more of what you have to say

  2. Thanks for reading! 🙂 If you have any suggestions for posts or anything let me know.

  3. lifexistence says:

    Well, I completely agree with Margot Adler’s statement. It was a magical moment for me too! I also like your corrections on the – indeed – wrong definition of Wicca, according to ‘The New Oxford American Dictionary’.
    Unfortunately, Wicca is still a misunderstood concept these days. I still don’t feel comfortable telling random people about my religion. I agree with Lucifervulus. Indeed informative but not rambling!

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