Lesson Six: The Basic Beliefs and Practices of Wicca
The largest lesson so far and possibly in the whole series. You’ve stuck it out through the misconceptions, the terms, the history, the types, and the laws and you’ve finally reached the beliefs and practices.
I. Some Beliefs of Wicca
Wiccans worship the God and Goddess. The God has two forms: the Horned God and the Sun Child. The Goddess has three forms: the Maid, the Mother, and the Crone. Each of these aspects plays into the Wheel of the Year.
II. The Wheel of the Year
The cycle of spring, summer, autumn and winter is called The Wheel of the Year. The eight holidays are derived from Creation myths, like the one I’ve included below.
In the beginning there was She. She was All and All was She. She was our creator. She was alone and wanted to be so no longer. She, the Mother of All, created life out of herself. She created Him.
He was born to Her and grew strong. She, the Creator, recovered easily from the birth and also grew strong.
He who came from the Mother of All was maturing.
He who was Her Son became her Lover and Consort. She became with child.
He who was Her Consort reached the peak of his power.
He who was Her Lover grew older.
His time was over and He who was Her Son and Consort died.
She who was the Creator was again alone. But She was with Child and He who was Her Son would be born again.
And the circle continues…
This never ending circle marks the changing of the seasons and the travels of the sun.
These Craft holidays are associated with a sun deity and are called Sabbats. Sabbats are the eight standard holidays during the year.
Yule or Yuletide: Winter Solstice, December 20 or 21 – A celebration of the return of the journey of the sun. It represents the birth of the Sun God. It is celebrated with the Yule Log, Bayberry candles, and the colors red and green.
Imbolc or Candlemas: February 1 – This Sabbat marks the time to welcome the coming Spring. The Sun Child is growing older while the Goddess grows younger. Lavender or white candles can be burnt and this is a good time to spring clean.
Ostara: March 20 – A celebration of balance and fertility. The Sun Child is now an adolescent and conceives a child with the younger Goddess which will be born next Winter Solstice. The colors are light green, lemon yellow, and pale pink.
Beltane: April 30 – A time for love and union. The colors are bright blue, warm pink, lemon yellow, red and white. This is a time when people, animals, and plants are preparing for the coming warm months.
Litha or Summer Solstice: June 21 – The longest day of the year with the Sun God in all his glory. A celebration of passion and success. This is a good time for magick that needs male energy. Colors are red and gold and it is believed that whatever is dreamed on this night will come true.
Lammas or Lughnassad: August 1 – First of the three harvest Sabbats. The altar is decorated with the first fruits of garden labor. This is a good day to collect herbs for magickal use.
Mabon or Autumn Equinox: September 23 – The second harvest celebration. Colors of brown, red, gold, and orange are good choices. This is when the Horned God dies.
Samhain: October 31 – This is considered the Witches’ New Year, representing one full turn of the seasonal year and is the last harvest celebration. It is said that the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest on this night. Black candles are burned to warn off negativity. Divination is best this night. The Sun God grows strong and awaits his rebirth at Yule.
III. The Altar
Your altar is a personal space to work your magick. You can put whatever you like on it and use your own ideas for your tools. This is a guideline as to some things it’s useful to have on an altar.
IV. Tools of the Craft
12. Book of Shadows (BoS)- A Witch's book of rituals, spells, and magickal lore. In days of past, it was required that it be hand copied upon Initiation into a Coven; however, the BoS is now photocopied or typed in most Covens
Websites to Visit:
Welsh Witchcraft: Wheel of the Year
Wheel of the Year
Poetry for the Wheel of the Year
About.Com - Setting Up An Altar
Quicksilver's Book of Magic: Setting Up an Altar
Summerland Grove Pagan Church: Tools of the Craft
Tools of the Craft
Sacred Text: Beliefs of Wicca
Lady Bridget: Common Wiccan Beliefs
Starfire Circle: Beliefs of Wicca