Presentation on theme: "Session 2 - Wicca In 2008 there were approximately 700,000 admitting Wiccans in America. The religion of Wicca is one of the fastest growing religions."— Presentation transcript:
Session 2 - Wicca In 2008 there were approximately 700,000 admitting Wiccans in America. The religion of Wicca is one of the fastest growing religions in America.
The religion of Wicca is one focused on nature worship (worshipping the creation). It involves both gods and goddesses, and things like spells are practiced by its followers. The idea of mother earth and spiritual environmentalism are present in Wicca.
Wicca and Reincarnation Wiccans believe in (and heavily emphasize) reincarnation and Karma. Karma is a term we have all heard and needs no explanation. Reincarnation (according to Wicca) helps us learn and progress through the stages of life.
“This process of reincarnation is repeated for numerous lifetimes until a development of the Spirit is reached where the Spirit can truly merge with the male and female balanced creator / creatrix entity. We are returned to the God and to the Goddess.” Reincarnation is (sadly) believed by billions of people worldwide today (form Hindus to Buddhists to Wiccans to New Agers etc.)
Wicca does not claim to be the only way but says that all spiritual traditions and paths are valid to those who practice them (universalism). It accepts "the fact that all life is sacred, including plant, animal, and human.” Shouldn’t they have rights, too? Despite popular belief, Wiccans do not believe in (or worship) the devil/Satan. Wicca and Satanism are different.
They do not practice spells with the intention to harm people. Clearing some misconceptions Wiccans (generally): Do not have orgies or public displays of sexuality in their rituals (though some traditions do this privately) They do not practice bestiality They do not make blood sacrifices
They deny that there are moral absolutes (as we can gather from their belief that many paths can be true). They believe that nature is divine, and seek to be in harmony with the earth/nature.
In Wicca, there is an ultimate life force called "The One“, or "The All“, from which the male and female aspects of life emerged, i.e., the god and goddess. The Divine, god or goddess (varies person to person), can have different names. And many of these names will be taken from worldviews and cultures like Hinduism, Egyptian mythology, Buddhism, Greek mythology, Christianity, etc.
One Wiccan might consider God to be self- aware, another may not. It all depends on the angle that an individual Wiccan takes in his or her theological construction of what best works. It is a religion of self-design. In Wiccan theology, because god can show different characteristics in different ways to different people, Wiccans can have different and even contradictory conceptions of God.
The following list of affirmations and denials are held by most Wiccans. Keep in mind, because there are differences among Wiccan traditions, not every wiccan will affirm or deny every statement listed here. Nevertheless, the list is accepted by almost all Wiccans:
Wicca denies the following things: (among others) The Concept of Heaven and Hell Matthew 25:46 “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
The existence of the devil and the worship of the devil, Lucifer, etc. (Matt. 4:1ff). Matthew 4:1: “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 also speak of him.
More Denials The inspiration and authority of the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16). A need for salvation (Rom. 3:23). The concept that humanity is to subdue the earth (Gen. 1:28). A religious authoritative hierarchy (Eph. 4:11; Eph. 5).
Affirms The existence of a supreme divine power known as "The One”, or "The All”. "The All" is not separate from the universe, but part of it. That from "The All" came the god and goddess. That the god and goddess are manifested in various forms in the universe.
Biological evolution. Nature worship and, therefore, environmental concerns are high. Divinity is within. That all creatures have a life force, a soul. The male and female principles are in balance throughout the universe.
The equality of the sexes. That each person has male and female aspects that need to be balanced. The practice of rituals designed to attune Wiccans to the natural life forces. That upon death a person is released back to a place called Summerland. And, finally, personal responsibility for one’s actions.
Wiccan Rede - "An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will" This means that as long as you don't harm anyone, you are free to do what you want in Wicca, including casting spells. Summerland - A place of peace and paradise where all spirits go after death, where they are rejuvenated and reflect upon their previous life, before proceeding on to another incarnation. Some terms that are good to know
Underworld - the spirit realm of the dead. Threefold Law - All the good you do will return to you threefold in this life. Likewise, all the harm you do will return to you threefold, also. Scry - to look upon an object intensely as in a meditative state, and opening oneself up to visions.
Runes - sticklike figures such as symbols that were once carved into rocks, clay, and candles, which are supposed to have energies that can be used during magick. Paganing - a ceremony where an infant is presented to the circle and to the God and Goddess. Spell - a ritual designed to bring about a certain effect.
Magick - a term first used by Aleister Crowley (a Satanist). It refers to any ritual or spell that is designed to bring about a change in a person or the environment. Magick allegedly works within natural laws and cannot violate them. High Priest/Priestess - a witch who is the leader of a coven, sometimes a person who has received the third-degree initiation. Handfasting - a wedding.
Evocation - calling up spirits and/or other non-physical entities. Coven - a group of Wiccans. A group of witches, usually numbering 13. Between the worlds - the concept that a Wiccan Circle, when properly performed, exists between the physical and spiritual dimensions where people may contact other spirits.
Chanting- the use of repetitious words and or rhymes designed to induce an altered state of consciousness. Channeling - the practice of allowing another spirit to speak through you. Book of Shadows - a book of rituals and spells. There is no single, official Book of Shadows. Each Book of Shadows is relevant to the person who uses it and develops a set of spells and rituals used by them.
History of Wicca Wicca is mainly a 20th century manifestation of ancient nature worship systems based out of northern Europe that existed thousands of years ago. Wicca originated among the Celts and other peoples who lived in the area now known as Great Britain. Wiccans celebrate the Earth and believe all living things have a spirit.
“ It is a religion of nature worship and the subsequent interaction with nature that is dissented from that practice by the Celtic clans of Western Europe and the indigenous peoples of the British Isles, the builders of such monuments as Stonehenge.” Cantrell, Gary, Wiccan Beliefs and Practices, St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2004, p
These pagan-oriented nature worship systems filtered down through history in countless ways, but were mainly practiced in secret (and still are today). The secrecy was especially necessary during the European dominance of the Roman Catholic Church (and how they would treat witches if they were identified).
At first, there were a great number of cultures located all over the ancient European landscape. Since Europe is a large area, and since weather patterns; terrain; water supplies; temperature variations; animal types; etc. varied in those areas, the development of nature worship (Druids, Celts,) also took on aspects that reflected those variables. Therefore, the ancient systems could be polytheistic, monotheistic, feminine focused, masculine focused, ritualistic, calendar based, hunter based, etc.
Because of the multifaceted background, there is not one single Wiccan or Pagan tradition that people follow. The Burning Times is roughly from the year 1000 to around the 1700s. At this point many, many witches (and some who were not, but were accused of being so) were burnt at the stake (due to misapplication of Scripture by the Roman Catholic Church).
Wiccans today often identify themselves with the time of the witch burnings and judge Christianity based upon the atrocities committed by the Roman Catholic Church. Unfortunately, many Wiccans did not realize that the Roman Catholic Church also persecuted Christians, torturing many of them for not submitting to the authority and rule of Rome (we are not defending the Roman Catholic Church).
Aleister Crowley, an evil man heavily involved in the occult, claimed to have channeled a book called “The Book of the Law”. It focused on a new era of spirituality governed by the Egyptian god, Horus. From this work, Crowley established the first group of modern witches.
It wasn't until recently that Wicca took formation as a loosely based system, mainly from the works of Gerald Gardner, who formed the Wiccan tradition known as Gardnerian Wicca. Through Gardner the idea of the God and Goddess were "solidified“, and Wicca became a religious movement.
Different Forms of Wicca Do Exist Dianic Wicca, sometimes called Feminist Wicca, was begun by Zsuzsanna Budapest in California, and is named after the Roman goddess of the hunt, Diana. Dianic Wicca This form of Wicca is very feminist and often times excludes the existence of male deities (and often doesn’t allow male members).
Most Wiccans acknowledge this type to be the beginning of the modern Wicca Movement. Started by Gerald Gardner, Gardnerian Wicca “Book of Shadows” is heavily used by this tradition. They focus on the God and Goddess who are equally balanced, reincarnation, nudity during circle rituals, celebration of the eight Sabbats, etc.
Celtic Wicca Connected to Gavin and Yvonne Frost, Celtic Wicca focuses on Celtic traditions and ancient Celtic beliefs (plus some modern). Celtic Wiccans seek to be closely attuned to nature (Gaia). They use herbalism and divination, revere women, seek a connection with the ancestors and land spirits. Originally was focused on male deity.
The word "eclectic" means to select from a variety of sources. This is basically the drive- through Wicca tradition where you get to pick what you like. Eclectic Wicca Other forms of Wicca such as Alexandrian, and 1734 (among others) are out there, too. This means that they can adopt any deity they want…Jesus, Zeus, Athena, Horus, Quetzalcoatl, Brahman, Krishna, etc.
Major Holidays (Sabbats) Imbolc, Feb. 2 nd. Imbolc (imbolg), which means "in milk", is a celebration of fertility and designates the middle of winter. Milk was traditionally poured out upon the ground as a type of offering. Associated with this are the colors white, pink, and red, the amethyst, turquoise, dill, Dragon's blood, frankincense, rosemary, and wildflowers. It is also known as Groundhog's Day, Candlemas, Blessing of the Plow, Disting, Feast of the Virgin, Festival of Milk, (CARM)
Beltane, April 30 or May 1. Beltane is the first holiday of summer and signifies the approach of summer and the death of winter. This is an ancient celebration of the return of fertility to the world after it passes through winter. It divides the Celtic year into winter and summer. It stresses human fertility. Associated with this festival is Bloodstone, sapphire, frankincense, honeysuckle, Jasmine, St. John's Wort, rosemary, green, yellow, and red. It is also known as Beltaine, May Day, Roodmass, and Walpurgis. (CARM)
Lughnasadh, Aug 1. This festival marks the beginning of the harvest season and the middle of summer. The word probably derives from the god Lugh, the Celtic lord of light. Associated with Lughnasadh is Crabapple, ginseng, grapes, potato, berries, green, orange, yellow, and red. It is also known as Ceresalia, First Harvest, Lad Day, and Lammas. (CARM)
Samhain, Oct 31. Samhain means "summer's end" and marks the beginning of winter. For most Wiccans, this is the new year, a time of reflection, where the old is let go and the new is anticipated. From ancient times it designates the end of the harvest season. Associated with the festival are the colors black and orange, obsidian, Onyx, apples, catnip, corn, pears, squash, wormwood. It is also known as Halloween, All Hallows Eve, Blood feast, Celtic New Year, Day of the Dead, Last Harvest, Winters Eve, etc. (CARM)
Minor Holidays (Sabbats) Yule, Dec. 21 (Winter Solstice). This is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. The festival associated with it celebrates the birth of the new solar year. The solstice is linked to the rebirth and renewal of the sun god, the lord. Associated with Yule is holly, pine, evergreen, tree (Christmas tree), the gods Odin and Pan, Cedar, cinnamon, ginger, lemon, orange, sage, rosemary, Gold, green, yellow, white, red. The Yule is also known as Day of Children, Midwinter, Mother's Night, Saturnalia, and Christmas. (CARM)
Ostara (Spring Equinox), Mar 21. The day and night are of equal length. Ostara is name of the Scandinavian Goddess of spring and the festival deals with fertility, mainly of the animal kingdom and plants. It celebrates the dead of winter and the beginning of the cycle of rebirth. During this festival, it was customary to exchange colored eggs. Associated with this festival is Moonstone, rose quartz, daffodils, ginger, frankincense, Jasmine, nutmeg, sandalwood, rose, blue, pink, and red. It is also known as Alban Eilir, Easter, Lady Day, and Waxing Equinox. (CARM)
Midsummer Eve (Summer Solstice), June 21st or 22 nd. The longest day of the year, and also designates a festival of thankfulness. It celebrates the dissent of the sun because too much sun can harm crops. Associated with it are the emerald, Jade, Tiger's eye, Apple, Daisy, fern, frankincense, Lily, oak, orange, thyme, green, yellow, and white. It is also known as Litha, Vestalia, and Whitsuntide. (CARM)
Mabon (Autumn Equinox), Sept 21. The day and night are of equal length. This is a festival that designates the beginning of fall. It marks the dissent of the Goddess into the underworld. Associated with it are amethyst, Topaz, acorns, corn, frankincense, great, oak, wheat, brown, and orange. It is also known as Mabon, Alban Elfer, Harcest, Second, Harvest, and Wine Harvest (CARM). It’s a heavy debate who started celebrating which holidays first.
The Pentagram Symbols in Wicca
There are other signs too, but this is a good selection of ones you might see
Some symbols are very connected with Wicca and should be avoided, others, though, are generic and cannot be fully avoided. Many Wiccans may not even know what branch of Wicca they belong to (because they are not very serious about it). A lot of people who claim to be Wiccan are not serious about it, though many are.
Memory Verse Matthew 25:46 “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”