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Wicca and Witchcraft F.A.Q.

Welcome to Everything Under the Moon's Wicca FAQ page. When you're done here, please visit the links at the top and bottom of the page to see the Book of Shadows (free spells pages) and other sections.

Wicca and witchcraft have rapidly grown in popularity in the last decade. Movies such as Harry Potter, Practical Magic, and The Craft, as well as TV shows like Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and True Blood have drawn a large amount of attention to the occult, magick, and Wicca. Many seekers have gotten the impression that vampires are somehow related to Wicca, which isn't true, but there are a large number of witches who are infatuated with vampire culture.

Here are a few frequently asked questions about Wicca.

Can witches really fly on brooms?

No, witches or Wiccans do not fly around on brooms. Some witches, like myself, are able to separate their spirit from their physical body and fly around, which is known as astral projection or an out-of-body experience (OBE). But being able to astral project doesn't make one a witch. Most witches don't astral project. Since it's a personal interest of mine and it's related to the occult, I do have a section here on Everything Under the Moon about astral projection.

Do witches cast spells?

Yes, the definition of a witch is someone who casts spells. Most Wiccans do participate in spell-casting and magick rituals. Casting harmful magick is considered taboo among Wiccans, although there are other kinds of witches who may think it's acceptable. Wiccans believe in a three-fold law of return: Whatever you do will come back to you three times over. Some of us simply believe in karma, which is the same basic idea. We choose not to harm others with magick because we know that we will be harming ourselves through the law of attraction or karma. All living creatures are connected in Spirit. Think of this way... if you pollute the Earth, you aren't only hurting other people - you're also hurting yourself and your family since you live on this Earth too. Sending negative energy out into the world has the same results. You will attract negativity to yourself. Learning about the law of attraction is a good way to really understand this concept.

Is Witchcraft / Wicca Satanic?

Wicca and witchcraft aren't Satanic. Satanism is a Judeo-Christian concept. Wiccans practice a nature religion that doesn't include an evil demon-god called Satan or the Devil. So no, Wiccans do not worship Satan.

It's believed that Christians based their character of Satan on the ancient pagan horned gods. (Most Christian concepts are borrowed from pagan religions and deities.) The Horned God, known as "Cernunnos" to Wiccans and pagans, has antlers on his head. He reflects the seasons of the year in the annual cycle of life, death and rebirth. Because he is most often associated with animals, Cernunnos is known as the "Lord of the Animals" or the "Lord of Wild Things". Because Christians have a strong belief in good vs. evil, they had a tendency to blaspheme pagan deities and turn them into something evil.

Can a Christian be a witch?

Yes, there are many Christian witches. It would be more difficult to be a Wiccan Christian, since Wicca and Christianity are two separate religions. But there are plenty of people who combine the two religions and practices. If someone cast spells, but worshipped Jesus and called to him as their deity, they would be considered a Christian witch. While many pagans seem to have a problem with others combining the two things, they are looking at it from a Neo-pagan perspective, and not from a traditional perspective. In places like Mexico and Africa, most people are Christian or Catholic, but they often still practice the folk magick of their ancestors. And in the United States and other Western countries, most people are raised as Christians. When they discover witchcraft, they may have difficulty giving up their Christian beliefs for an entirely new religion, so instead they simply combine the two. It doesn't seem strange to me, but you could get some weird looks from pagans if you tell them you're a Christian witch.

What is a pagan?

A pagan or Neo-pagan is someone who has a nature-based religion or belief system. Instead of seeing God as "above us", and Satan as "below us", we view all of Nature as sacred. We revere the earth, sun, moon, stars, plants, and animals, and believe that the Spirit of the Great Mother Goddess is present in all living things. Depending on the pantheon, the Earth Mother may be referred to as Isis, Ishtar, Demeter, Astarte, or Gaia/Gaea. For many people, it's easy to develop a stronger connection with the Goddess than with a male God. Gay males seem to be especially drawn to nature religions such as Wicca. They aren't rejected by the pagan belief system like they may be in a Christian church.

Wicca is considered a Neo-pagan religion. ("Neo-pagan" refers specifically to the modern revival of ancient pagan belief systems. Many of us just call them "pagan".) Not all pagans are Wiccan though. Many pagans don't practice magick at all, or they simply don't feel the need for a structured religion such as Wicca. There are also many different pagan religions such as Druidry, that they may prefer to follow. You can be a pagan or a witch and not follow any particular religion. Many consider themselves to be eclectic witches or Wiccans. It can all seem a bit confusing at first, but the more you talk to pagans and witches, the more you'll understand that what most of us are doing is taking beliefs and practices that make sense to us and turning that into our own personal religion or belief system. Finding a name for that can sometimes be difficult, so many witches choose to call themselves "eclectic solitary witches".

Do I have to join a coven?

No, as mentioned above, most witches are solitary, meaning they practice alone. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to find a coven in rural areas. Even if you do find a coven, you might discover that the coven members aren't people that you have much in common with. Many covens fall apart due to infighting between members. For most us, it's simpler and more peaceful to just practice in the privacy of our own homes.

Although this next question isn't related to Wicca, I'll post it here anyway since I hear it so often.

Are vampires real?

Vampires, in the fictional sense (like Dracula or Edward Cullen) are not real. No one is born a vampire and has to suck blood to survive. If a person has to stay out of the sun, it's because they have a real disease or sun allergy, not because they're a vampire.

That being said, there are people who identify as vampires. They dress like vampires, have their canine teeth sharpened (or wear false fangs), and they go to vampire clubs where everyone else has the same obsession with vampires. These people may even participate in drinking blood, either their own or a partner's blood, but this isn't out of necessity (though some have convinced themselves and others that it is). It's more of a fetish-type of behavior (sorry vampires, but that is what it looks like.) The media has been interweaving vampires with sexuality for a very long time, and this has obviously had a huge impact on people who are attracted to that sort of thing. There seems to be an association between goth culture and vampire culture, but not all goths consider themselves vampires.

The Wiccan Rede

Below is the Wiccan Rede. The Rede was first publicly recorded in a 1964 speech by Doreen Valiente. It has been rewritten several times since then, so there are many versions of it floating around. The most popular line from the Rede is "An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will". This is similar to the Christian ideal, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It basically means that you can do what pleases you (magically and otherwise) as long as you don't cause harm to others. It's often shortened to simply say "Harm none," and you'll often hear this phrase spoken among Wiccans. Because of this "live and let live" attitude among Wiccans, we are usually very happy to accept gay people into our groups.

Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust.
Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give.

For tread the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out.
To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme.

Light of eye and soft of touch, speak you little, listen much.
Honor the Old Ones in deed and name,
let love and light be our guides again.

Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the joyful tune.
Widdershins go when the moon doth wane, and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane.

When the Lady's moon is new, kiss the hand to Her times two.
When the moon rides at Her peak then your heart's desire seek.

Heed the North winds mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.
When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.

When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth.
When the wind whispers from the West, all hearts will find peace and rest.

Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows.

Oak in the forest towers with might, in the fire it brings the God's
insight. Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower.

Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye.

Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning adds its strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility.

Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen.

Elder is the Lady's tree burn it not or cursed you'll be.
Four times the Major Sabbats mark in the light and in the dark.

As the old year starts to wane the new begins, it's now Samhain.
When the time for Imbolc shows watch for flowers through the snows.

When the wheel begins to turn soon the Beltane fires will burn.
As the wheel turns to Lamas night power is brought to magick rite.

Four times the Minor Sabbats fall use the Sun to mark them all.
When the wheel has turned to Yule light the log the Horned One rules.

In the spring, when night equals day time for Ostara to come our way.
When the Sun has reached it's height time for Oak and Holly to fight.

Harvesting comes to one and all when the Autumn Equinox does fall.
Heed the flower, bush, and tree by the Lady blessed you'll be.

Where the rippling waters go cast a stone, the truth you'll know.
When you have and hold a need, harken not to others greed.

With a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend.
Merry Meet and Merry Part bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

Mind the Three-fold Laws you should three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is now wear the star upon your brow.

Be true in love this you must do unless your love is false to you.
These Eight words the Rede fulfill: "An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will"

Doreen Valiente, 1964

 

 

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