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• What is Wicca?

Wicca, sometimes called “The Craft” or “The Craft of the Wise” is one of many earth-based religion. The religion, which is closest to Wicca in America, is probably Native American spirituality. Gerald Gardner, a British civil servant, who wrote a series of books on the religion in the 1940’s, founded the Guardian tradition of Wicca. It contains references to Celtic deities, symbols, seasonal days of celebration, etc. Added to this were components of ceremonial magic and practices of the Masonic Order. A more recent form is eclectic Wicca, which involves a combination of Wiccan beliefs and practices, combined with other Pagan and non-Pagan elements. The various traditions of Wicca are part of the Pagan or Neopagan group of earth-based religions.

Is Wicca a form of Paganism?

“Pagan” is one of those religious terms, which has so many conflicting definitions that the word is too broad to describe just one believe system. “Neopaganism” is a better term. It refers to a group of many religious belief systems that are reconstruction’s of (or patterned after) ancient Pagan religions. Wicca is one Neopagan religion, as are Asatru (Norse Neopaganism), Druidism, Shamanism, and ancient Egyptian, Roman, Greek and other religions.

Is Wicca a form of Satanism?

In short, the answer is “No” however;

To some conservative Christians, all religions other than their own are forms of Satanism in which followers worship Satan or one of his demons. So, they view Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Wicca, and dozens of other religions as varieties of Satanism.

However, most people recognize that there are several dozens of different religions in the world, with different beliefs about deity, humanity, and the rest of the universe. One of these is Wicca. Another is Satanism. These two religions have entirely different beliefs about deity, different rules for ethical behavior, different expectations from their membership, different views of the universe, different seasonal days of celebration, etc. Wiccans do not recognize an all-evil deity like Satan; he belongs to Christianity and Islam.

Wicca and Satanism are not at all similar religions. However, the Christian church linked them in the past — particularly during the Witch burning times of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. They regarded Witches as Satan worshipers. Some Christian denominations have not been particularly thorough in correcting mistakes of the past. So, Wicca and Satanism continue to be linked in many people’s minds.

Satanism, as viewed by Satanists, etc.:

Satanism consists of many religious traditions, comprising two main faith groups and many smaller religious groups:

  • The Church of Satan is the largest organization of religious Satanists. They regard Satan as a pre-Christian concept, representing pleasure, virility, and strength; he is not viewed as a living entity. Their prime symbol is the Sigl of Baphomet. This is a goat’s head, drawn within an inverted pentagram (5-pointed star with one point downward and two up). It is surrounded by a circle. Satanists conduct rituals by themselves, and/or meet together in grottos.
  • The Temple of Set worships Satan in the form of a pre-Christian deity — the Egyptian god Set. Their prime symbol is a simple inverted pentagram in a circle. They meet in temples.
  • The behavioral code followed by almost all Satanists is a misinterpretion of writings by Aleister Crowley: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” It permits Satanists great freedom of action. Some engage in black magic rituals with the goal of harming those who have hurt them. Turning the other cheek is not their style.

Wicca, as viewed by Neopagans, etc.:

Wicca is unrelated to Satanism. It is a group of religious traditions: some are highly structured, while most are eclectic. Many, perhaps most, Wiccans are solitary practitioners. They are, in many ways, directly opposite to Satanists:

  • Wiccans worship a Goddess and her consort, a God.
  • They do not recognize Satan or any other all-evil supernatural entity.
  • Their prime symbol is the exact opposite to the symbol used by Satanists. It is the upright pentagram — a 5-pointed star with two points downward and one up. Sometimes it is enclosed by a circle to form a pentacle.
  • Their groups are called covens, not grottos or temples.

Their rule of behavior is called the Wiccan Rede: “An it harm none, do what thou wilt.” i.e. do whatever you wish, as long as it harms no one, including yourself. Unlike Satanists, Wiccans are not allowed do dominate, manipulate, control, or harm others.

They believe that they worship neither the Christian God nor the Christian devil. They worship a Goddess and a God. Neither is at all similar to Satan. Wicca, and other forms of Neopaganism, are as different from Satanism as Hinduism is from Christianity.

Contributing factors to the confusion of Wiccans & Satanists:

There are several additional reasons, which add to the misunderstanding:

  • One factor is the legacy of the Burning Times. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Europe and America, Witchcraft and Satan worship were considered as a single, evil practice. Hundreds of thousands of victims of civil and religious courts were charged with signing over their souls to the devil and worshiping him. Three centuries of burning some persons accused of Witchcraft at the stake, and hanging others, imbedded the concept of the Satan worshipping Witch in the public’s mind. This image has been perpetuated through nursery rhymes, horror movies to present day television shows.
  • There is much confusion over religious terms. Many have multiple definitions. For example, we have identified 17 unique meaning to the term “Witchcraft” of which many are mutually exclusive. Similarly, there are at least five unrelated meanings to the term “Paganism.” Sometimes, Witchcraft is simply defined as being part of Satanism, just as Pentecostalism is part of Protestantism.
  • Both Wiccans and Satanists have referred to themselves as Witches. Some Wiccans and other Neopagans prefer the term “Witch.” Satanists less commonly use it. Anton Szandor LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, titled one of his books “The Satanic Witch.”
  • The Wiccan community frequently adopts ambiguous terms to describe themselves and their faith. As mentioned above, terms “Witch,” “Witchcraft,” and “Paganism” have many different and often unrelated meanings. Many in the Neopagan community prefer the term “Pagan” (which is ambiguous) over the term “Neopagan” which has a generally accepted, unique definition. They also frequently use the terms “Witch” and “Witchcraft” (which are ambiguous) in place of “Wiccan” (which is well defined). There are good reasons why “Witch” is preserved. Many Wiccans feel that to abandon the term would be to also ignore the memories of those who were unjustly executed in past centuries. It would diminish the tremendous injustice inflicted upon them.

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