Portal:Wicca
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Portal:Wicca

The Wicca portal

Pendant and bracelet with pentacle, a circled pentagram. Pentagrams are used by many adherents of Wicca.

Wicca , also termed Pagan Witchcraft, is a contemporary Pagan new religious movement. It was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant. Wicca draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan and 20th-century hermetic motifs for its theological structure and ritual practices.

Wicca has no central authority. Its traditional core beliefs, principles and practices were originally outlined in the 1940s and 1950s by Gardner and Doreen Valiente, both in published books as well as in secret written and oral teachings passed along to their initiates. There are many variations on the core structure, and the religion grows and evolves over time. It is divided into a number of diverse lineages, sects and denominations, referred to as traditions, each with its own organisational structure and level of centralisation. Due to its decentralized nature, there is some disagreement over what actually constitutes Wicca. Some traditions, collectively referred to as British Traditional Wicca, strictly follow the initiatory lineage of Gardner and consider the term Wicca to apply only to similar traditions, but not to newer, eclectic traditions.

Wicca is typically duotheistic, worshipping a Goddess and a God. These are traditionally viewed as the Moon Goddess and the Horned God, respectively. These deities may be regarded in a henotheistic way, as having many different divine aspects which can in turn be identified with many diverse pagan deities from different historical pantheons. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as the "Great Goddess" and the "Great Horned God", with the adjective "great" connoting a deity that contains many other deities within their own nature. These two deities are sometimes viewed as facets of a greater pantheistic divinity, which is regarded as an impersonal force or process rather than a personal deity. While duotheism or bitheism is traditional in Wicca, broader Wiccan beliefs range from polytheism to pantheism or monism, even to Goddess monotheism.

Wiccan celebrations encompass both the cycles of the Moon, known as Esbats and commonly associated with the Goddess (female deity), and the cycles of the Sun, seasonally based festivals known as Sabbats and commonly associated with the Horned God (male deity). An unattributed statement known as the Wiccan Rede is a popular expression of Wiccan morality, although it is not universally accepted by Wiccans. Wicca often involves the ritual practice of magic, though it is not always necessary.

Selected article

Title page of the original 1899 edition
Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches is a book composed by the American folklorist Charles Leland that was published in 1899. It contains what he believed was the religious text of a group of pagan witches in Tuscany, Italy that documented their beliefs and rituals, although various historians and folklorists have disputed the existence of such a group. In the 20th century, the book was very influential in the development of the contemporary Pagan religion of Wicca.

Leland's work remained obscure until the 1950s, when other theories about, and claims of, "pagan witchcraft" survivals began to be widely discussed. Aradia began to be examined within the wider context of such claims. Scholars are divided, with some dismissing Leland's assertion regarding the origins of the manuscript, and others arguing for its authenticity as a unique documentation of folk beliefs. Along with increased scholarly attention, Aradia came to play a special role in the history of Gardnerian Wicca and its offshoots, being used as evidence that pagan witchcraft survivals existed in Europe, and because a passage from the book's first chapter was used as a part of the religion's liturgy. After the increase in interest in the text, it became widely available through numerous reprints from a variety of publishers, including a 1999 critical edition with a new translation by Mario and Dina Pazzaglini.

Selected biography

Selena Fox October 08.jpg
Selena Fox (born 20 October 1949 in Arlington, Virginia) is a Wiccan priestess and activist, psychotherapist, self-published author and lecturer in the fields of Neopaganism, Wicca, New Age and comparative religion.

Rev. Fox is the founder of the "Circle Craft" tradition of the Wiccan religion.

Selena, along with others, founded Circle Sanctuary in 1974, which is one of America's oldest Pagan centers and Wiccan churches. Circle Sanctuary is headquartered on its 200-acre (0.81 km2) Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve, founded in 1983. Circle Sanctuary's quarterly journal CIRCLE Magazine (formerly, Circle Network News) was first published in 1978 as a newsletter, then as a newspaper in 1980, and in magazine format in 1997. Fox also is the founder of the Pagan Spirit Gathering, one of the oldest Nature Spirituality festivals in the United States.

Selected holy day

Lughnasadh is one of the four principal festivals of the Irish calendar and one of the eight Wicca sabbats, and was also celebrated by many other peoples, including the Scots and the Gaelic people. Also known as Lugh or, most commonly, Lammas, it is primarily dedicated to the god Lugh.

It is most commonly celebrated on August 1st (February 1st in the southern hemisphere), as a symbol of harvest and life. Lugh, to which Lughnasadh is primarily dedicated, is the god of the harvest and life. There are many different tellings of the mythology surrounding Lughnasadh. One of the primary Wiccan tellings is that it is the second harvest festival (preceded by Midsummer, and followed by Mabon), in which the Horned God gives his life away, for the grain and people.

Lughnasadh was often celebrated by the druid, Gauls, pagan, and other cultures, and known as Lùnastal in modern Scottish Gaelic, Calan Awst in Welsh, Lugunassatis to the Gauls, Lughnasa, Lughnasad or Lughnassadh in Old Irish, and Lá Lúnasa in modern Irish.

Did you know...

...that because Wicca is a season based religion, many people in the Southern Hemisphere celebrate holidays in opposing times of the year, compared with the Northern Hemisphere?
...that Wiccans often identify as witches, but Wicca and Witchcraft are not necessarily the same thing?
...that Gerald Gardner is credited with re-introducing the word 'Wicca' into the English Language?
...that Wicca was previously an Old English word (pronounced: 'wee-cha'), meaning a male sage or shaman and 'wicce' was the female form?
...that Wiccans observe eight seasonal Sabbats of the year and 12-13 Esbats each year?

WikiProjects

Project Neopaganism
Defining Neo/Paganism at WikiPedia
When should like2do.com resource use the term "paganism" as opposed to "neopaganism"? Should these terms be capitalized? Discuss at the project NeoPaganism talk page.

Selected image

The pentacle and the five elements of the cosmos
Credit: Nyo

The five elements are seen as symbolic as opposed to literal; that is, they are representations of the phases of matter. They are invoked during many magical rituals, notably when consecrating a magic circle. The five elements are Air, Fire, Water and Earth, plus Aether (or Spirit), which unites the other four.

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Selected quote

Call upon the Goddess and God to protect you and teach you the secrets of magic. Ask stones and plants to reveal their powers - and listen.

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  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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