Wicca: A modern Pagan religion with spiritual
roots in the earliest expressions of reverence for nature. Some major
identifying motifs are: reverence for both the Goddess and God; acceptance of
reincarnation and magick; ritual observance of astronomical and agricultural
phenomena; and the use of magickal circles for ritual purposes.
Wicce: Synonymous with Wicca. In some circles, Wicce is used for women and Wicca is used for men.
Witch: A practitioner of folk magick, particularly that kind relating to herbs, stones, colors, wells, rivers, etc. It is used by some Wiccans to describe themselves. This term has nothing to do with Satanism.
Witchcraft: The craft of the witch - magick, especially magick utilizing personal power in conjunction with the energies within stones, herbs, colors, and other natural objects. This belief system also has nothing to do with Satanism.
Pagan/Neo-Pagan/Paganism: General term for followers of Wicca and other magickal, shamanistic, and polytheistic Earth-based religions. Also used to refer to pre-Christian religious and Spiritual belief systems.
Unlike the arid theologies of the single male god at the top of a hierarchy, generated in the deserts of the middle east and carried worldwide by the european empire builders, pantheistic earth-based religions have always cast their deities in both genders. Mark Twain said it: "God created man in his own image and man, being a gentleman, returned the favor." Since we cannot really imagine the infinite, we turn to what we know for an understanding. We turn to humans. All myths, all legends, have their roots in fact. The personalities these gods and near-gods (heros) exhibit are based on real people who at some point in history exhibited this personality. Humans still do today.
What Wicca offers is sacredness for both genders. There is a sacred masculine and a sacred feminine. Because they are both sacred, sexuality between them cannot be anything but sacred. It is the joining of these two energies which creates life. That's what we all worship: the creative force.
Of course, both genders also have a profane side, a destructive side. In myth and legend we have the stories of how this side has been expressed. When one gender demonizes the other they provide the perfect smokescreen for evil. Since they are good and the other bad, all their acts are "good" or justified. Thus real evil comes to be called by the name of good. A perfect example is the incredibly destructive things done by parents to children and lovers to each other in the name of love. As Luke Skywalker had to struggle with the dark side of the force, so must we all.
Inherent in the spiritual foundation of wicca is an equality between the genders. This is what has made it so attractive to feminists and those influenced by them. Unfortunately, there has been a tendency to follow the trends set by worshippers of dead jews and elevate the sacred feminine above the sacred masculine or forget about the sacred masculine altogether.
Wicca is also known as the way of the wise. It is in this sense that I use it here. In that light there is no difference from the way of zen, which you will find elsewhere on these pages.
There is an old zen koan about the teacher who points to the stars and the student fixes on the finger. The teacher slaps him.
Often ritual, which is designed as grand theatre for the subconscious and intended to facilitate a spiritual experience, becomes bogged down in details and loses its meaning in the trappings. The colors of the altar candles become more important than the acts of the particpants before or after.
Let us focus back on the stars. Let us change our sense of time so that we begin thinking in terms of "deadlines" of a year and a day. Let us see the year as we now see 2 weeks and see that it certainly looks like "magic".
Let us all reclaim the sacredness of ourselves and all others.