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Untitled Wiccan FAQ
Author: Scarlet

Topics Covered:
1. Tell me about Wicca. What is it?
2. But Wicca is OLDE! My family has been Wiccan for 10 generations!
3. I think I'm Wiccan. How do I tell? What does that mean?
4. What's a Fluffy Bunny?
5. But wait, I thought Wicca was all Good and there was no Evil in it!
6. Good resources and advice from Andy


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1. Tell me about Wicca. What is it? -

*There are two major types and countless variations, but in general it is a nature-religion that recognizes the cycle of the year, celebrates eight agricultural sabbats as well as the full moons, worships a dualistic Godhood: a female deity (who appears as the moon and has a trinity aspect, appearing as maiden, mother and crone and is considered to be the ultimate creatrix) and a male deity (who appears as the sun among other things and often doesn't get the same kind of focused attention as the Goddess). Wiccans teach and abide by The Wiccan Rede, "An it harm none, do as thou wilt"*


2. But Wicca is OLDE! My family has been Wiccan for 10 generations!

*I doubt your family was Wiccan for that long. Pagan maybe, practiced witchcraft, probably, but not Wiccan. Wicca, as a religion, was established by Gerald Gardner in his writings and coven in the early 1950s. He put several books out and founded the original Wiccan coven. Several covens hived off and then hived off of those covens, often forming new traditions. These lineages are around today and make up British Traditional Wicca (BTW). There is much speculation abut where Gardner got his ideas, but it's generally observed that the ideas within his Wicca were clearly influenced by other authors of the day like Aleister Crowley. My belief (and I'm not alone here) is that Gardner was trained in a coven that had drawn its style and influence from a sparse scattering of remembered traditions and held together with ideas from contemporary authors. These early Wiccans felt it necessary to validate their new religion by insisting that it was, in fact, an ancient tradition. The fact that is its NOT ancient does not take from its validity, rather supports it in that such a new idea could hold so strongly and stand on its own without the historical drama. Wicca, as we know it, was not practiced prior to Gardner. Even if something like Wicca was practiced, it certainly was not called Wicca, nor was it practiced in precisely Gardner's way. Gardner's generation was the beginning of the Neo-Pagan movement that gained a foothold in the 60s and 70s.*


3. I think I'm Wiccan. How do I tell? What does that mean?

*Traditionalists insist that you must be initiated into a BTW coven to call yourself Wiccan. It's a priesthood, a title earned through being educated by your coven and finally the secrets of the mysteries and the names of the deities will be revealed to you, making you Wiccan at initiation. Up until that point, you're a dedicant of Wicca. Since Gardnerís works have come out there has been quite a lot of publishing of the "outer court material" of traditional covens. These materials have morphed and formed into a new religion that is NOT mystery-based and initiatory. This Neo-Wicca carries a completely different flavor and is fundamentally different than traditional Wicca. While traditional Wicca relies on secrets and being taught by priests and covens, Neo-Wicca relies heavily on books and personal affiliations. It's probably one of the most popular neo-pagan religions today. Scott Cunningham is one of the most trusted and beloved (rest in peace) author in Neo-Wicca. He's the first name usually mentioned when someone asks about books on Wicca (Raymond Buckland is often the second as he is seen as having carried traditional Wicca to the US. Both authors are excellent for beginners in Neo-Wicca.) Neo-Wicca is also called Eclectic Wicca and stresses personal choices and affinities, if it feels right for YOU, then do it. I also sometimes call it "Radical" Wicca since it demands to be recognized outside the Wiccan "church" so to speak.
It's important to understand the difference between them because they are so essentially different as to be completely different religions.... Think of Traditional Wicca like Judaism and Neo-Wicca like Christianity, in a sense. One begat the other and they share similarities and myths, but they are quit different at the core. To be Neo-Wiccan, one only need to think it, decide to follow that faith. Usually people go through a self-dedication or are initiated by a non-lineaged coven. One cannot "initiate oneself"! That's not logistically possible. Initiation means that another person has accepted you and proclaimed you as such, you can't "accept" yourself into someoneís coven, that's ridiculous. You CAN self-dedicate yourself to any faith, including Neo-Wicca and no one can take that away from you.*


4. But what's wrong with Silver Ravenwolf and what's a fluffy-bunny? -

*A Fluffy-Bunny is... Hm... How to put this... I understand the term to have originated to describe new and learning Wiccans who were under the impression that Wicca was all goodness and light, and that there was no dark or negative aspects to their religion. Fluffy bunnies just needed education and would soon grow out of that phase. The way I see it used NOW is to describe anyone who is willfully ignorant and is only interested in paganism to gain personal power... To impress people with their "wisdom" and "power" and to rebel against their Christian families. Usually people who have watched too much "Charmed" or "Buffy" and think those things are real and that they can learn effortless telekinesis through Wicca or Satanism or by buying special mystical treasures. These ones refuse to be taught that this isn't what the religion is about and continuously claim that their erroneous facts are their "opinions" and shouldn't be questioned. They want the magic spell incantation to open the jelly jar from across the room and they wish to summon creatures found only in video games to destroy the earth. I, personally, think people use that phrase a little too often and a little too lightly. I try not to use it because it belittles someoneís spiritual quest, no matter how obnoxious, irritating, ignorant and insincere they are. I have other terms for THAT.


5. But wait, I thought Wicca was all Good and there was no Evil in it!
*Most experienced Wiccans... in fact, most Pagans... will argue that there is no such thing as "Good" or "Evil," there is no sin, that everything is relative. They might refer to things as constructive or destructive, as light or dark, but they accept that both are needed for the universe to function... one cannot create without something being destroyed. It's a common maxim that if one cannot hex, one cannot heal. That doesn't mean one MUST do negative or destructive work in order to acheive the positive outcome, but that understanding the polarities of energy and how things work gives the practitioner the knowledge to repair what may have been broken. For Wiccans who have gone through the traditional initiation process, part of their training includes understanding these darker aspects and many eclectics also find value in knowing both sides of the energies.


6. Good resources and advice from Andy-

"I would reccomend the books 'Witchcraft for Tomorrow' by Doreen Valiente and 'If you want to be a witch' by Edain McCoy. And as Scarlet already mentioned, Cunningham and Buckland are great. Specifically the books 'Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner' by Cunningham and 'Wicca for One' by Buckland. 'Wild Witchcraft' by Marian Green is also a great starting book, as is 'The Spiral Dance' by Starhawk. There's so many good books on Wicca and Witchcraft out there (but there's also many bad ones). I'd suggest going to the 'reccomended reading' thread on this group.

Some tips:
-Always be critical when reading books. No author has the ultimate truth. If you aren't sure of something, double check it. This applies especially to history.
-Be patient. Don't rush your Craft. The more effort you put into Wicca, the more rewards you get out of it.
-Meditate often. If you really need help with something, meditate or pray to the Goddess and/or God.
-Get out in nature (after all, Wicca is a nature religion). Go for a hike in the valley or start growing a garden. Talk to trees and plants and see what they have to teach you. I'd suggest finding a nice, private spot in nature for you to go to regularly and sit down, clear your mind, and just observe. Do this every day for about a week; you'll be surprised at how much more aware of your natural surroundings you'll be.
-You'll hear this one from many people: Read anything you can get your hands on. At this stage, you want to learn everything you can about Wicca. Practice as often as possible, as well.
-Don't worry about messing up in ritual. As long as your intent is sincere and you are focused on the task at hand, you really can't make a mistake. Wicca is not a religon of faith. It's not a matter of believing the Gods exist, it's about knowing Them. A Wiccan or witch forms their beliefs through experience, not just through faith.
-Celebrate the Sabbats (equinoxes/ cross quarter days between...you probably already know that) and the Esbats (full moons) as best you can. There is no need for an elaborate ritual at this stage. Do a small devotion to the Gods in celebration of the day. Scott Cunningham's book 'Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner' is highly reccomended for Sabbat ideas and simple solitary Sabbat rituals. For the Esbats, I would reccomend taking some time at night to connect with the moon. Say an invocation or the Charge of the Goddess. -Start monitoring your Craft progress by starting your own Book of Shadows. I would start by taking notes from books you read and going from there. -Listen to your intuition. If it's telling you something might not be right for you, it probably isn't. You will never regret following your instincts. Trust me on this one.

I'd suggest going to www.oldways.com and going through each lesson.

Brightest Blessings,
Andy"




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Author: Scarlet (with contributions)