Wiccan’s are witches but not all witches are Wiccans! Wiccans practice witchcraft and honour nature. They have one main rule which is to harm no one and some worship the horned god and goddess and other deities. It can get very complicated so I will do my best to keep things simple and explain things as I myself see them.
Wiccan’s are not
Wiccan’s are not evil devil worshipers or suffering from any kind of mental deluded psychosis. In fact, Wiccan’s do not even believe in the devil or Satan. Wiccans do not kill animals for spells or eat babies. Wiccans do not ride broomsticks or cast spells which make items fly around the room.
As silly or offensive as the above statements may sound, they are all things that some people associate with Wicca or witchcraft. Assigning mental illness to someone who identifies as Wiccan is what I have personally heard most from people in my own life and I find it extremely offensive and ignorant.
So what is Wicca?
Wicca is a form of Paganism that dates back long before the appearance of Christian beliefs. In fact, the Christian church has based a lot of its celebrations on Pagan and Celtic celebrations. For example; Ostara celebrates the emergence of spring, fertility, and balance. Ostara is also known as the spring equinox and it celebrates renewal and new possibilities. Symbols associated with Ostara are eggs, daffodils, and the hare.
You may be thinking that eggs, hares, and daffodils seem familiar to you. Think of the Christians Easter and these three images are likely to spring to mind! Due to Christianity taking over much of Europe, to be Christian is considered ‘normal’ in modern society. However, Wiccan or Pagan is considered ‘strange’.
The Wiccan Rede
One of the things that I love about Wicca is how freeing it is. There are no lists of rules which govern what you can eat or who you can love. Wicca does not try and control you. You are free to choose your own path. This is what makes it hard to explain as there are so many variants! However, there is one rule which is considered as the core of Wicca and that is the Wiccan Rede.
Simply put it means that you can do as you wish as long as you cause no harm to anyone else. I think that this is a good rule to go by whether you are Wiccan or not.
It also mentions the rule of three. The rule of three is the belief that whatever you put out into the world will come back to you times three. So, if you put love and positivity out into the world, you will receive three times as much love and positivity back. However, if you put pain and negativity out into the world then you will receive three times as much back.
Connecting to nature
Wicca is also about re-tuning oneself into the Earth’s natural rhythms. Noticing the changing seasons, the hours of sunlight, and the phases of the moon. Respecting nature and all that is pure and beautiful which the planet provides. Celebrating the eight sabbaths in the wheel of the year is a great way to help aid your connection to nature.
What about magick?
When talking about magic in the sense of witchcraft, it is usual to add a k to the end of the word. Therefore, from now on I shall do the same. It is to show that we are talking about something different from stage magic and illusions. Spells and magick in witchcraft are based on everything being made of energy (as proven by scientists) and the ability to influence those energies for specific outcomes.
Therefore, the intent is one of the biggest parts of magick. Setting your intentions and then using items such as candles, herbs, and incantations to add force behind your intent. It draws on ideas similar to the law of attraction which is something I have also been drawn to in the past.
This is a huge topic that could go on forever. So, instead, I will give you some brief descriptions of other things that tie into Wicca as a starting point.
Witches can be solitary or they may be initiated into a coven. A coven is a group of witches who have a shared book or shadows and meet at agreed times each week/month.
This is typically a book but it can be any form that is personal to you of rituals, spells, and correspondence. Correspondence means notes on things that are important to remember such as herbs and their uses or information about sabbaths.
Herbs and incense
Fresh or dried herbs can be used in spells and rituals and incense are useful for those purposes too. Different herbs and incense have different meanings for different spell work.
As with herbs, different crystals have different uses in magick depending on the subject of the work.
Candles are often used in spells and coloured candles can add to the power of the spell. If you only have white candles do not worry, you can also use them and tie a ribbon of the colour you need around the candle. Again, different colours represent different topics for use in spellwork.
Divination is any work which you do which involves seeking guidance and/or communicating with spirits. Popular choices for this include; pendulum dowsing, tarot cards, talking boards and fire scrying.
Tarot cards and oracle cards are used for gaining insight into all aspects of one’s life. There are different spreads which you can do where you ask different questions and they can help you gain valuable insight into your situations.
Cauldrons are perhaps one of the few things that are actually used from the stereotypical witch. Cauldrons are mainly used for burning things in as cast iron will not ignite!
Mortar and pestle
These are often used in modern cooking having made a come back a few years ago. In witchcraft, they can be useful for grinding herbs together, much like in cooking!
Your altar can be unique to you. Some people have portable ones that can be kept hidden and brought out when needed. Others have ones that take pride and place in their home. The choice is yours. It is about having a sacred space to do your magick and honour deities if you so wish.
A besom is another word for a broom. Brooms can be used to symbolically sweep away negative energies and cleanse your space.
Pentagrams are often mistaken as being something demonic. They are the complete opposite as they in fact symbolise protection. The five points represent earth, air, fire, water, and spirit.
Using a pendulum you can ask questions with yes or no answers and depending on the way that the pendulum swings you can be answered. There are also maps and boards which can be used with a pendulum for greater insight.
Often referred to as ouija boards in the past, these can be used to communicate with spirits.
This is where you stare into a fire pit or a candle flame and meditate until you see shapes and images which can be interpreted as messages.
This list is not exhaustive and as a Wiccan, you do not have to use all of these tools. It is your journey and you decide what is right for you in your craft.
I hope that I have given you some insight and a better understanding of what it means to be Wiccan. It is a complex area and some people may not agree with how I have explained things but I have tried to keep it simple so as not to overwhelm anyone who is just starting their journey.