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Wiccan Denominations

Like most religions, Wicca has many different denominations. Though they each follow pretty much the same code of morals, there are a few differences. We're going to take a look at a few denominations right now....

Alexandrian Wicca: A tradition founded in England by Alex Sanders. Basically uses Gardnerian ritual, although they have been modified with many Judeo-Christian and Ceremonial Magick elements. Covens work skyclad (without robes or other clothing). All Sabbats are observed and both God and Goddess are honored.

American Celtic Wicca: "The American Order of the Brotherhood of the Wicca" covens stem from Jessica Bell ("Lady Sheba"), a self-styled Witch Queen. Again, rituals are basically Gardnarian. Covens work robed. They say "Cerimonial magick is primary work of the American Celtic tradition and it is concieved as being the most powerful and ancient means of psychological and occult therapt by which normal, healthy people can undertake a program of initiation and development." Hey, folks, I just type it.

Australian Wicca: The Craft does exist in Australia, as it does in in virtually every country in the world, but I couldn't find much info on it. You an interested Aussie? Or just interested anyway? Contact Catherine-Clair, P.O. Box 80, Lane Cove, NSW 2066, Australia.

Church of Y Tywlth Teg: Their stated purpose is "to seek that which is of the most worth in the exalt the dignity of every person, the human side of our daily activities and the maximum service to aid humanities' search in the Great Spirit's Universe for identity, for development and for re-link humanity itself and Nature." Organized in 1979 in Washington D.C. by Bill Wheeler as "The Gentle People". Teaches a balance of nature, folklore, mythology and the mysteries and was incorporated as a non-profit (religious) organization in the state of Georgia in 1977. The Church has an "Outer Circle" of students, who may learn through correspondence, together with its inner core. It is found in many areas of the United States. For further info, contact Y Tywyth Teg, P.O. Box 674884, GA 300067.

Church of the Crescent Moon: "The Church of the Crescent Moon is a cohesive, small group of individuals...Each Priestess and Priest maintains services to the Goddess or God the she or he serves, and the Goddesses and Gods in general. Therefore the Church offers many paths to the ultimate 'oneness' with the absolute." They do not call themselves Wiccans and their purposes include perpetuating "the uncorrupted religion of ancient Ireland" and providing "information and instruction about the Goddesses and Gods in general, Irish culture, and many occult subjects." For information contact: The Director, Church of the Crescent Moon, P.O. Box 652, Camarillo, CA 93011-0652.

Circle Wicca:Begun in 1974 by Selena Fox and Jim Alan. Incorporated as a non-profit spiritual center, it is recognized as a legal Wiccan Church by state and federal governments. Differs from many Wiccan traditions- aligned morec with Shamanism and Amerindian ways than with the Wicca of Western Europe. Publishes an annual source; Circle Guide to Pagan Resources and a quarterly newspaper; Circle Network News. Want more info? Write Circle, P.O. Box 219, Mt. Horeb, WI 53572.

Coven of the Forest, Far and Forever: Fairly new, formed by a Priest and Priestess with collective experiences in Dianic, hereditary Spanish, Egyptian and Gardnerian Wicca, plus Qabbalism (I don't know what that is, someone who knows, please tell me!). Good balance between male and female aspects, worship skyclad and without the use of drugs.Esbats held at each moon, emphasizes a handwritten Book of Shadows. Stated purpose is "to make ourselves more fit as vehicles for [the God and Goddess], by invoking them to, in turn, balance and develop our own natures and grow closer to the Universe." Info: Elivri and Giselda, P.O. Box 13804, University Station, Gainesville, FL 32604

Deboran Witchdom: They say: "The Deboran branch is eclectic. We make little ritual use of nudity. We work with balanced polarities (Goddess-God; positive-negative). What we are aiming for is a reconstruction of the craft as it would be if the Burning Times had never happened- as if Wiccedom had continued without interference to this day. We use research, logical deduction, and divination in this quest." Sabbats are open to guests but Esbats are closed. Coven leaders are called Robin and Marion, and seconds in command are called the Maiden and the Green Man. Instead of the terms First, Second, and Third Degree Witch, they use "Apprentices, 'sealed and sworn', Witches and Elders." Info: Erinna Northwind, Eregion Grove, P.O. Box 114, Naphant, MA 01908.

Dianic Feminist Wicce: Started by Ann Forfreedom, this denomination is both religious and practices magick. Includes both male and female practitioners, solo practitioners, mixed covens, and all female covens. "Dianic Feminist Wicce encourages female leadership, insists that a priestess must be present for Circle ritual to be held and involves its practitoners in feminist and humanist issues." Groups work either skyclad or robed. Info: Goddess Rising, 2441 Cordova street, Oakland, CA 94602

Frosts' Wicca: Welsh based tradition. Founded by Gavin and Yvonne Frost in the early 1970's. As "The Church and School of Wicca" the material is presented to students by correspondence, though the course is virtually the same as the material presented in their book The Witches' Bible. Info: The School of Wicca, P.O. Box 1502, New Bern, NC 28560.

Gardnerian Wicca: The first Wiccan denomination to make itself known publicly (1950s, England). Founded by Gerald Gardner. Emphasis on Goddess over God, female over male. Does not allow self initiation. Covens work skyclad and aim for "perfect couples"- equal numbers of male and female, paired. Theoretically, covens are autonomous. Info: Joyce Rasmussen, 383 Harrison Street, Council Bluffs, IA 51501.

Georgian Wicca: Founded by George E. Patterson in 1970. "The Geogians are eclectic, much based on Gardnerian-Alexandrian plus some English traditionalist and some original...God-Goddess oriented but lean more towards Goddess." Generally work skyclad, but idividual people or groups are free to do as they wish. Both religious and magickal, celebrate eight Sabbats. Members encouraged to write rituals and learn from all available sources. Info: The Georgian Church, 1908 Verde Street, Bakersfield, CA 93304.

Maidenhill Wicca: A "traditional" Wiccan group established in 1979 and having strong ties with The Coven of Rhiannon in Manchester, England. They say "Our main focus is the worship of the great Goddess and her Consort, the Horned God...Our coven does not limit worship to one particular cultural-ethnic 'tradition'. Rather, a thourough training in basic Gardnerian Wica is taught and members are urged, after mastering these basics, to find that particular myth cycle or path consistent with their beliefs." Info: Deidre, Maidenhill, P.O. Box 29166, Philadelphia, PA 19127.

Northern Way: A non-initiatory tradition, works robed. They say: "We try to emulate as authentic and traditional re-creation as possible of old Norse garb...Our God-names are all Old Norse, not Teutonic. We do cast a Circle; we do not 'call Quarters'...Our tradition is Norse...the group, however, is not hereditory in that members need not be of any particular family or ethnic group." They observe the four Solar Fire Festivals as well as those indigenous to the Norse religion. Info: Northern Way, Inc., Nova Coven, 45 S. LaVergne Ave, Northlake, IL 60164, (312) 562-0802

Nova Wicca: Eclectic. Works robed as Esbats and Sabbats, and skyclad at initiations. Gardnerian deity names are used, though "working pairs may use others if they wish." Nova has a degree system, which is very finely tuned, and an in-depth training, some classes being open to newcomers. Grand Sabbats are also open to interested persons, at the coven's discretion. Classifies itself as "a Mixed Traditional, Teaching/Training Coven." Info: Nimue and Duncan, 6030 W. Roosevelt Road, Oak Park, IL 60304.

Peti-Wita: Scottish Solitary tradition passed on by Aidan Breac, who personally teaches students in his home at Castle Carnacae, in Scotland. The tradition is attuned to the solar and lunar changes, with a balance between the God and Goddess. Meditation and divination play a large part in the tradition and it also teaches several variations on on solitary working of magick. Information is not generally available.

Seax-Wica: Founded by Raymond Buckland in 1973. A new denomination but has a Saxon basis. Coven or Solitary practice is accepted, as is Self-Initiation. Covens are led by a Priest and/or Priestess and work either skyclad or robed. Book: The Tree by Raymond Buckland.