An Introduction to... the Wiccan Religion
Wicca is a nature-oriented (not nature-worshipping), initiatory pagan mystery religion based on the traditions and beliefs of tribal Europe, with significant influence from Western magical traditions and a ritual structure based on the writings and practices of Gerald Gardner and the New Forest area covens. There are many 'traditions' (or denominations) in Wicca.
In British Traditional Wicca (or BTW), there is a clear lineage (line of teaching passed on by initiated Traditional priests and priestesses) directly back to Gardner and the New Forest region. From the New Forest origins came various traditions such as Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Central Valley Wicca, Mohsian, Blue Star, Proteus Wicca, and many others.
All forms of Traditional Wicca are varients of a single 'mystery' religion - one that requires initiation by someone who has been initiated in that particular Tradition. Traditional Wicca has a "degree system" or different levels based upon a system of training and the readiness of the initiate to accept the duties and responsibilities of that degree or level. Traditional Wiccan covens have a core of inner knowledge that is shared only with those initiated in that Tradition.
Other forms of Wicca
There are other forms of Wicca that have developed in the last few decades. Some of these are traditions that trace their origins back to British Traditional Wicca but have changed their form of practice in such a way that they do not conform to particular criteria necessary to be considered Traditional Wicca. Others are combinations of Traditional teachings and historical practices, publicly available practices and sources, and/or personal gnosis.
Those following these forms of practice may form groups or not, may or may not follow a degree system, and may or may not have a formal outline of their practices and structure.
Specific beliefs vary among the Traditions and practitioners, but there are some generalities that can be made. Some of the defining beliefs are:
What ALL Wiccans believe:
What MOST Wiccans believe:
By Sana Karine (Zanetta Wilson), with some source material from Cunina; copyright by Home Circle. This piece may be copied for educational use so long as it is not altered, it is distributed without charge, and this notice is included in its entirity. The most current version of this document is available online at www.homecircle.info/SRwiccanbeliefs.htm.