|Trae's Overly Simple Wicca FAQ
This is the FAQ for this section, and mostly is here to get definitions out of the way. This really, in my mind, should be titled "That Page of Information Every Site About Wicca Has."
That title just gets too long though.
Q. What is Paganism/Neo-Paganism?
A. Paganism and Neo-Paganism are terms used to apply to a large number of nature based religions and spiritual systems in the world, most based on an attempt to revive western mysticism. Wicca is the largest of these.
Q. What is Wicca?
A. Wicca is a religion founded to revive the spirit of western mysticism. Not every Wiccan believes exactly the same thing, but most see divinity divided into a feminine (The Goddess) and masculine (The God) form. The Goddess is represented by the moon, and given the domain of plant life and the Earth. Her elements are earth and water. The God is represented by the sun, and is given the domain of animal life and the sky. His elements are fire and air. I've found that many Wiccans (including myself) don't view the God and Goddess as literal beings, but faces given to a universal divine being that we, as humans, are too small to fully comprehend. The God is honored on Eight Sabbats, and the Goddess on thirteen Esbats (the 13 full moons of the year). Most Wiccans follow some form of the Wiccan Rede, which is usually written as "An it harm none, do as ye will." Many also believe in the "Threefold Rule" or "Rule of Three" which states that whatever energy you send out comes back to you threefold... for better or for worse.
Q. What does "An it harm none, do as ye will" mean?
A. The rede is broken down quite simply. For those less versed in Old and Middle English (which I assume is... 99% of the people reading this page) "An" in this case effectively means "If" and "ye" means "your." So, really, the phrase means "Go ahead and do your thing as long as you don't hurt anyone." It should be noted, that although the Rede uses a few archaic words, it is very much a modern creation.
Q. Is that like Devil Worship or Satanism?
A. The figure of Satan or the Devil is a Christian and Muslim idea, and has no place in Wicca or Neo-Paganism. It would be like asking a Presbyterian if they worshiped Vishnu.
Q. But you have that Pentagram thingie!
A. First off, that wasn't a Question. Secondly, the Pentagram has been the symbol of many religions over the centuries -- including Christianity. In Wicca, it represents the five elements of nature, and is a symbol of protection. The Five Points, In clockwise form from the top:
You will note that Spirit is at the top.
- Top: Spirit
- Top Right: Water
- Bottom Right: Fire
- Bottom Left: Earth
- Top Left: Wind
Just a side note, for those who get confused by terminology, the Pentagram is the symbol and the Pentacle is the Object.
Q. Are Wicca and Witchcraft the same thing?
A. Most Wiccans call themselves Witches, but not all people who call themselves Witches are Wiccan. Try saying that ten times fast.
In my essays I will often refer to "The Craft" or "Witches." While these terms can be applied to groups other than Wicca, for simplicity's sake, I am only talking about Wicca when I use them most of the time.
Q. Do Witches Cast Spells?
A. Magick is an important part of Wicca -- and yes, most Wiccans spell it with a "k" at the end. We say it's to differentiate it from parlor tricks, but really I sometimes suspect it's so we can be a little pretentious. I still use the "k" though, so what does that say about me?
Anyways, Magick and spells aren't the exploding doors or flying around movies make it look like. Think of it as using your personal energy to influence the universe. Nothing all that flashy is going to happen. Really, you should think of it like Prayer -- which is itself a form of Magick. The faith and energy you put into it is what makes it work.
Q. So, you're a man -- does that make you a Warlock?
A. Ummm... no. It makes me a Witch. I will tell you, that many get offended by the term Warlock, as it means literally "Oath Breaker." I don't so much, but if you want to coin a new term, I prefer "Manwitch."
Q. What is the Wiccan view on an afterlife?
A. We don't believe in Heaven and Hell if that's what you're asking. Some believe in reincarnation, some believe in an idea of "summerland"... and some of us have no idea what happens. Personally, I don't know. I've never been dead before that I can recall. Wicca is not a religion that focuses on death so much as life.
Q. Are you a good witch or a bad witch?
A. Are you a good Presbyterian or a bad Presbyterian?