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.
Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism
(also Celtic Reconstructionism
) is a polytheistic
movement. It is an effort to reconstruct and revive, in a modern Celtic
cultural context, pre-Christian Celtic religions
Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism originated in discussions among amateur scholars and Neopagans in the mid 1980s, and evolved into an independent tradition by the early 1990s. Celtic Reconstructionism represents a polytheistic reconstructionist approach to Celtic Neopaganism, emphasising historical accuracy over eclecticism such as is found in many forms of Neo-druidism. Currently, "Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism" (CR) is an umbrella term, with a number of recognized sub-traditions or denominations.
Christopher Penczak (born 1973) is an author in the fields of paganism and magic.
In 2000, he was ordained as a minister by the Universal Brotherhood Movement, Inc. He is a part time faculty member at the North Eastern Institute of Whole Health and a founding member of the Gifts of Grace Foundation, a non-profit organization in New Hampshire made up of individuals from diverse spiritual backgrounds dedicated to joyful service to the local communities.
Penczak has penned a number of acclaimed titles on witchcraft and healing. In 2002, City Magick won Best Magic Book from the Coalition of Visionary Retailers. In 2003, he won the same award for The Inner Temple of Witchcraft. In 2004, Penczak received multiple awards from the Coalition of Visionary Retailers, including a tie for Best Book of the Year for The Outer Temple of Witchcraft.
He continues to write books and articles. He maintains a teaching and healing practice in New Hampshire, where he lives in a polyamorous relationship with his partners, roleplaying game designer and developer Steve Kenson and Reiki master Adam Sartwell.
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...
Handfasting is the commonly used term for Wiccan weddings. Some Wiccans observe the practice of a trial marriage for a year and a day, which some traditions hold should be contracted on the Sabbat of Lughnasadh, as this was the traditional time for trial, "Telltown marriages" among the Irish. A common marriage vow in Wicca is "for as long as love lasts" instead of the traditional Christian "till death do us part". The first ever known Wiccan wedding ceremony took part in 1960 amongst the Bricket Wood coven, between Frederic Lamond and his first wife, Gillian.
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