Wicca is a belief and lifestyle based upon the reforming of the pre-Christian traditions originating in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.Wicca is a duotheistic religion,which is known as Witchcraft or the Craft and its followers are called Wiccans,Witches or Crafters.In the early 20th century,Wicca was developed in England and gained popularity in the 1950s and early 1960s.
The High Priest ,Gerald Gardner was the one,who developed the religion in England.The religion was called by various names,however,from the 1960s onwards, the name "Wicca" was maximum used.As per the available records,there are about one million Wiccans in the world.
Wicca is basically an initiatory mystery religion.The members initiated into a legitimate Wiccan Coven can only fully practise the ritualsThe Gardnerian Wicca,Alexandrian Wicca and many others follow this doctrine.However,in the general Pagan community,there are people who practise Wicca without being formally or traditionally initiated,who are called 'Neo-Wiccans'.
Their religionis called 'Neo-Wicca'.The varying traditions of Wicca have different requirements for attaining the level of priest and priestess.Another characteristic of the Wicca is the celebration of seasonally-based festivals, known as Sabbats, of which there are usually eight in number annually.
God & Goddess
Wicca is a duotheistic religion,worshipping a God and a Goddess,those are the complementary polarities in the universe,which balance each another.These two deities are often compared with the concept of Ying and Yang in Taoism.
Some Wiccans believe that they are simply symbolic of polarities,while the others believe that the God and the Goddess genuinely exist independently.They are also said to represent the Sun and the Moon.
It is also stated that the Wicca is based on harmony with nature and all aspects of the God and Goddess divinity.Wiccan practice involves the manipulation of natural forces,by various rituals,to gain power, love,or as per the Wiccan's desire.Wicca does not have congregations or clergies,but it definitely has priests and priestesses,who are in leadership positions within covens those have witches.
As per the tradition the God is viewed as the Horned God,who has been traditionally called by various names such as- Pan,Atho,Kamayna and Cemunnos.As per the European art and architecture,the God is also termed as a Green Man,who is linked with the natural world and also called the Sun God.
The Goddess has the name,'Diana',derived from the ancient roman deity.She,also depicted as the Moon Goddess,who is viewed as the Tripple Deity,a combination of Maiden,Mother and Crone Goddess and they are associated respectively with virginity,fertility and wisdom.
There are many rituals within Wicca,which are performed during the Sabbats,worshipping the deities and working magic.Rituals are usually fixed up on 'Esbat' ie the full moon, or a new moon.During the rites, the coven or solitary assembles inside a ritually cast and purified magic circle.Casting the circle may involve the invocation of the 'Guardians' of the cardinal points, alongside their respective classical element - Air,Water,Fire and Earth.
Once the circle is made,a seasonal ritual may be performed by praying to the God and Goddess.These rites involvea special magic kit with the tools,which usually include a knife called an 'Athame', a wand, a pentacle and a chalice, but other tools include a broomstick known as a 'Besom',a cauldron,candles, incense and a curved blade known as 'Aboline'.
An altar is usually present in the circle,on which ritual tools are placed and representations of the God and the Goddess may be displayed.Before entering the circle, some traditions are observed like - fast for the day, and a ritual bath.After performing the rituals,thanks are offered to the God,Goddess and Guardians and the circle is closed.
A thrilling and a traditional way of Wicca,particularly in the Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca,is the practice of working in the nude condition,which is called as skyclad.Other traditions involve robes with cords tied around the waist or even normal street clothes.
In certain traditions,ritualised sex magic is performed in the form of the Great Rite,whereby a High Priest and High Priestess invoke the God and Goddess to possess them before performing sexual intercourse to raise magical energy for use in spellwork.In some cases it is otherwise performed by using the athame to symbolise the penis and the chalice to symbolise the vagina.