Gerald Gardner, a former civil servant from Europe, first made the Wiccan religion, which is sometimes referred to as the Old Religion or benevolent witchcraft, known to the public in 1954. Gardner claimed that he was initiated into the religion through the New Forest Coven. He wrote the Book of Shadows, an important part of the Wiccan religion, which contains spells, chants and other witchcraft practices of the religion. Although it became a common religion in the 20th century, the religion can be traced back to Babylonian times. The beliefs of the religion have been greatly influenced by Neo-Paganism. Over the years, the religion has diversified and like other religions has broken into various denominations, but with the same beliefs. Some of the groups that have been brought about by the religion include:
Strongly inclined to rituals that are performed while naked. It is the most influential form of the Wiccan religion.
They involved some Judeo-Christian practices and ceremonial magic in addition to the Gardnerian Wicca.
Do not believe in the traditions of Wicca like the initiation. They are more modern with less observation of the traditional practices. They can work in covens or solitary, and hardly practice magic or witchcraft. This form has become the most widely spread form of Wicca to date.
They reserve their rituals until they are isolated. They come up with their spells and chants.
Named after the goddess Diana; they mostly promote women’s affairs in witchcraft.
They follow the Gardnerian doctrine, though mostly on nature and its healing abilities and the spirits.
An amalgamation of the Gardnerian and Alexandrian doctrines.
These factions are all of the Wiccan religion, but they are distinguished by unique symbols, structures and some beliefs. However, a pentagram is a common symbol for all factions of the Wiccan religion.
The Wiccan religion has unique beliefs that are not limited to other common religions. Among the most popular beliefs of the followers of the Wiccan religion include:
- The Wiccan religion does not believe in a central power.
- The Wiccan faithfuls believe in several deities who are in charge of different natural forms of life.
- Wiccan religion is known to appreciate the gender equality of the faithfuls.
- The faithfuls of the religion believe in life after death in the form of reincarnation.
- They believe in magic as an art and a science of causing a change to happen because of the conformity of will.
- The Wiccan religion believes in the existence of the human as we see him and as a spirit.
In common with every religion, Wicca also has festivals in their religious calendars. Just like the other religions, they also have the ‘Sabbat,’ which to them is the appreciation of the rotation of the earth around the sun. They believe that this act brings forth hope to the faithfuls. Some of the important festivals of Wicca are:
Celebrate the renewal of hope. It occurs during the seasons when the days are short and the nights are long.
Celebrate a good season of crop growth and a good harvest, through the union of the god and the goddess.
They take steps towards protecting themselves and their homes, by concentrating on their abilities.
Commemoration of ancestors and celebration of a good year's harvest.
Time when day and night are equal in length. It is also a time of poor harvest and thanksgiving.
Time of preparation for spring and a time for preparing the mind and heart for the forthcoming season of growth.
Time with the longest days and short nights. It is a joyous season of abundance.
Time for fertility, birth and renewal.
On these festivals, the Wiccan faithfuls perform practices such as sorcery, mediation between the living and the spirits, healing with the use of herbs, rites of passage, casting out spells and the purification of the members that are present.
The religion is known to believe in multiple gods for the provision of a lot of needs in their lives. They acknowledge different gods for different aspects.
- Horned god: mostly referring to the god of animals and
- Lover god: the god with consort aspect to the goddess.
- Sacrificial gods: gods whose ritual sacrifices give life to their
- Triple gods: refer to the trinity
- Sun gods: gods of
- Green gods: earth
- Child gods: gods in the infant
The Wiccan religion is a unique religion as depicted by their beliefs, practices and festivals.