NOTE TO PARENTS AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES: If you are concerned that your child or friend may be getting involved in some type of "cult," please take this test. I've also written my comments on Satanism on that page. Please be assured that I do not promote the control of any individual's free will, and any group that does, is not practicing Wiccan spirituality. Feel free to e-mail me if you have more questions about this.
THE DEFINITION OF WICCA: The word "Wicca" comes from a Gaelic root, "wic" meaning to shape or to bend. Thus, Wicca is a method/belief that one can shape or bend reality to the needed form.
Does this mean I can make a million dollars if I want to? In the potential world, yes. Would I? Probably not. Why not? First of all, because magick itself does not "give" you something. If you want a million dollars, you do have to do things in the physical/Earth realm to make that happen. For example: I can perform a spell to get myself a better-paying job that is more rewarding; however, it's not going to find me. I have to go out and look for the job. The spell takes effect when I find the job that will offer me those things. THEN it will help me to gain that job--IF I recognize that opportunity.
Wicca is a neo-pagan religion/form of spirituality brought forth again in the 20th century. It celebrates a pantheon of Goddesses and Gods, recognizing the value, beauty and power of both male AND female forms of deity. Does this mean I "worship" the Goddess/God? No. Why not? Because to "worship" something means to acknowledge that it has power over you. I believe that the love and power of the Goddess/God resides in each individual, in the form of soul. That which makes us unique as people. I prefer the idea that I "celebrate" the Goddess and God, rather than "worship" them. So, does THAT mean that I think I'm a Goddess/God? Not in the way most people see it. My goal is NOT to make myself a Goddess, but rather to recognize the power and love of the "Goddess" within myself. I do not believe that there is some big woman in the sky watching my every move instead of a man.
Then what IS the Goddess? My personal belief is that the "Goddess" is actually the Universal Consciousness. The spiderweb of energy that connects every living being. That collective energy is what I believe the Goddess to be. Calling it "Goddess" or "God" simply gives me, as a human, the ability to form a connection with the energy on a level my human mind can understand and therefore, celebrate.
Do I perform spells? Yes. Do I ever sacrifice living things? No. Why not? Because I do not believe that I need to harm another living thing in order to develop my own "self" or spirituality. Are there those who DO sacrifice animals, etc.? Yes. An old African/Haitian religion called Santeria uses animals in sacrifice to their gods on a regular basis. In this case, it is for a purpose (e.g. to heal the sick, or celebrate the birth of a child) and the purpose is not to cause pain in order to gain power...it's actually a meaningful thing, and (unless the animal is used to "soak up" negative energy) the animal is often used as a meal as well...so there is a reason, and a sacredness/sanctity in the sacrifice itself. Now, there are also those who go by other terms, such as "Satanists," who have claimed to sacrifice things in order to increase their "power." Do I think this is right? No. Why? Because if you can only gain power through the pain of another, then it is not truly power from within. Once again, you are looking to outside sources for your power--and a source that harms. This clashes with the Wiccan belief: Do as ye will, an it HARM NONE.
Surprisingly, I've met several Wiccans lately who have never held a "formal" ritual. Now, formal, to me, isn't necessarily what it may mean to others. For example: I don't believe that if you "mess up" the words, that something awful will happen. It is the nature of being human, and part of the unique-ness of individuals is style--that includes mistakes. :) I practice what might be called "Kitchen-Witchery." That is, I don't believe that a Witch must have fancy, expensive tools to perform magick. Nor must one wear/own robes that rival a Catholic priest's. I've gone skyclad (nude), worn my robe, and also worn sweats and a tie-dyed T-shirt. Energy flows better when you're comfortable. So, wear those sweatpants! Go skyclad! Do whatever feels best! Ahem. I got off the subject there: formal ritual. Formal ritual can constitute any specific, planned out effort to perform magick. This can include "praying" with a candle, or going the whole nine yards and casting a circle, calling the elements, etc. To me, "formal ritual" consists of the whole nine yards. But, that's just my opinion. :)
In regard to tools/ritual items: Tools are focus items. I do not believe that tools have "inherent power," rather, that they are simply physical items which allow us to more easily focus our energy and visualize what we need (as in drawing pentagrams of fire at each of the four corners). I'm a Libra, and I like pretty things as much as the next guy...but, as most people must live within their means, it's not always wise to go purchase a $500 ivory-handled, silver-bladed, hand-forged athame (pronounced a-thuh-may or uh-tha-may); when a simple butter knife will have the same effect. For Wiccans, it's not so much the tool as it is the intent.What are Wiccan "tools?" Well, they consist of these: the pentacle (symbol of north/earth, five elements, five points of the body, etc.); a Wand (symbol of east/air, used for casting circle, invoking and such); a cup or Chalice (symbol of the Goddess and the west/water element, used for celebration); a Bell (another symbol of east/air, not necessary, but a very nice touch for ritual); a Bowl (not everyone has one, but they're good for scrying, and since I keep my chalice on the altar, I often place the bowl in the west and fill it with water); a Cauldron (symbol of south/fire, used for both scrying and burning items in ritual occasionally [incense and such]. You can find cast iron ones at a pretty reasonable cost at antique malls); an Athame (pronounced a-thuh-may, used for casting circle, invoking, opening and closing circle, cutting items such as ribbon/fruit in ritual, symbol of the God and of south/fire [forged in fire, see?]); a Sword (see athame--and not everyone has one, because they're darned expensive!)
Okay, I've heard that "Witches/Wiccans" perform "spells and use magick." What is it and how is it done? Whew. Big question. Yes, Witches/Wiccans use magick to perform spells or as it's called by many: spellwork or craftwork. A friend introduced me to what he calls the "four elements of magick." I think that would be a good place to start. To perform magick, one should keep these factors in mind:
1. Condition of the Performer: robed/skyclad/with tools, etc.
2. Prescribed Ceremony: A "structure" of sorts; plan for what you'd like to do.
3. Presence of Symbols: For Wiccans, this would particularly include the pentagram/pentacle-- which is NOT a Satanist symbol. The five-pointed star, shown above, represents the five elements: air, fire, water, earth, and spirit; or, in some cases, the five points of a human body: head, hands and feet. Some "Satanists" have taken this symbol and reversed it, to warp its beauty and positive meaning.
4. Language: The words you use, whether your own, or from a book, to create the sacred space and perform magick.
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