Wicca \Wic"ca\ (w[i^]k"k[.a]), prop. n. [OE. wicche wizard, AS.
wicce, fem., wicca, masc.; see also witch and wicked
1. A religion derived from pre-Christian times, also called
, which practices a benevolent reverence
for nature, and recognizes two deities, variously viewed
as Mother & Father, Goddess & God, Female & Male, etc.;
its practitioners are called Wiccans, Wiccas, or witches.
Since there is no central authority to propagate dogma,
the beliefs and practices of Wiccans vary significantly.
Encouraged by court rulings recognizing witchcraft
as a legal religion, an increasing number of books
related to the subject, and the continuing cultural
concern for the environment, Wicca -- as
contemporary witchcraft is often called -- has been
growing in the United States and abroad. It is a
major element in the expanding "neo-pagan" movement
whose members regard nature itself as charged with
Niebuhr (N. Y.
31, 1999, p.
"I don't worship Satan, who I don't think exists,
but I do pray to the Goddess of Creation." said
Margot S. Adler, a New York correspondent for
National Public Radio and a Wiccan practitioner.
"Wicca is not anti-Christian or pro-Christian, it's
Ramirez (N. Y.
Times Aug. 22,
1999, p. wk 2)
Note: Wicca is a ditheistic religion, also called Witchcraft,
founded on the beliefs and doctrines of pre-Roman
Celts, including the reverence for nature and the
belief in a universal balance. Though frequently
practiced in covens, solitary practitioners do exist.
The modern form of the religion was popularized in 1954
by Gerald Gardener's Witchcraft Today. It is viewed as
a form of neo-paganism.
Wicca recognizes two deities, visualized as Mother &
Father, Goddess & God, Female & Male, etc. These
dieties are nameless, but many Wiccans adopt a name
with which they refer to the two: Diana is a popular
name for the Goddess to take, among others such as
Artemis, Isis, Morrigan, etc. Some of her symbols are:
the moon; the ocean; a cauldron; and the labrys
(two-headed axe), among others. The God is of equal
power to the Goddess, and takes on names such as
Apollo, Odin, Lugh, etc. A small number of his symbols
are: the sun; the sky; a horn (or two horns); and
Witchcraft is not a Christian denomination; there is no
devil in its mythos, thus the devil cannot be
worshiped, and the medieval view of Witches as
Satan-worshipers is erroneous. Satanists are not
Witches and Witches are not Satanists. Both have a
tendency to be offended when the two are confused.
In the Wiccan religion male Witches are not "Warlocks".
The term Warlock comes from Scottish, meaning
'oathbreaker', 'traitor', or 'devil'. Its application
to male witches is of uncertain origin.
The Wiccan Rede, "An it harm none, do what thou wilt"
comes in many variations. All of them say the same
thing, "Do as you wish, just don't do anything to harm
anyone." It is implied that 'anyone' includes one's
Witches practice in groups called Covens or as solitary
practitioners, and some practice "magic", which is to
say, they pray. Since the one rule that Witches have
requires that they can not do harm, harmful magic does
not exist in Wicca. In Wicca, "magic" is simply subtly
altering small things, to gain a desired effect.
Wicca, sometimes called Neo-Witchcraft, was revived in
the 1950s, when the last laws against Witchcraft were
repealed. Gerald Gardner founded Gardnerian Wicca
sometime after his book, Witchcraft Today, was
published in 1954. Raymond Buckland, in America, did
much the same that Gardner did in Europe -- stood up to
the misconceptions about Witchcraft.
Two other books describing the modern practice of Wicca
Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, by Scott
Cunningham, Llewellyn Publications, 1988.
Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft, by Raymond
Buckland, Llewellyn Publications, 1975.
A Web site devoted to elucidation of modern witchcraft
[a href="http:]/www.witchvox.com">Witchvox --Cody Scott
2. A practitioner of Wicca, also commonly called a Wiccan
, or witch .
For at least one person who has seen "The Blair
Witch Project", the surprise hit movie of the summer
did not so much terrify as infuriate. One long slur
against witches, said Selena Fox, a witch, or Wicca,
as male and female American witches prefer to call
Ramirez (N. Y.
22, 1999, p.