Wicca is an Old English word that means “The Wise Ones” or “Keepers of Knowledge”. Wicca is one of the most ancient followings. Wicca is a Neo-Pagan following with many traditions that date to pre-Christian times. It is based on a deep respect for nature and the knowledge that we should not exploit it for our own gain. Wicca is not recognized as a religion by anyone other than its followers. Wicca is not a cult. Many Wiccans are independent and worship on their own or with a group of Wiccans, but they do not follow any one person. There are many types of Wicca, as many as 13 different traditions have been founded.
One of the oldest unchanged traditions is the Strega Witchcraft. A witch named Aradia founded this tradition about 1353 CE. Two other large traditions include Gardnerian and Celtic forms. The Gardnerian tradition is based on the works of Dr. Gerald Brosseau Gardner. He researched much of the history of witchcraft and wrote The Book of Shadows with that knowledge. The Book of Shadows is used as the basis for ritual practice in the Gardnerian tradition. The Celtic Wicca is also a very old form. It is based on Celtic/Druidic practices and uses many of the Celtic deities, elements, and nature.
Wiccans believe that both animate and inanimate objects possess a spirit, which forms part of the Whole, or “The Cosmic Web”. The term spirit does not mean ghost, it means that which links something to nature so that it is recognized as an inalienable part of the universe. Wicca usually involves the practice of magick (spelled that way to differentiate from illusionists). Magick is defined as the process of causing change through focusing natural powers. Wiccans believe in the principle of “what you put into something you get out of it”. This simply means that the bigger the desired change, the more power a Wiccan must put into it.
Wiccan magick is purely natural; there is nothing supernatural about it. They use tools such as spells, chants, candles, amulets, and meditation to perform this magick, but the magick doesn’t come from the tools, it comes from within. Wiccans also believe in reincarnation. They believe in the idea that their spirit is on an evolutionary journey that takes many lifetimes to complete. Wiccans are not Satan Worshippers. They do not communicate with the devil. The devil is a Christian belief and is in no way connected to Wicca as is believed by many non-Wiccans. Wiccans also do not fly on broomsticks.
They do have many rituals that involve broomsticks though. The broom is seen to have very protective powers and therefore is used a lot in Wicca. A male witch is a witch, not a Warlock. Warlock is a Celtic word that means traitor. It was used to describe the men who sought out witches during the Middle Ages to be burned. Wiccans also do not use magick for their own personal gain. They believe they have the power to, but they do not use it for personal gain as stated in the Wiccan rede. The Wiccan rede is a list of thirteen statements that describe what a Wiccan is and is not.
It is basically a code of practice for Wicca. Some Wiccans believe in the use of familiars. Familiars are usually animals. They are not demons sent by Satan to assist Wiccans. Rather, they are that which the Wiccans believe that their psychic attunement makes them ideal partners in magickal workings. They also believe that their familiars Wiccans typically believe in one Goddess and her consort, the God. In some traditions, that is how they are referred to. In other they have names. In some traditions they even have minor gods and goddesses.
They do not worship these gods and goddesses, but they respect that they have the power to control nature. Nature is the biggest part of Wicca. Another often mistaken symbol of the Wiccans is the pentagram (pentacle). The pentagram is the five-sided star. It represents different parts of nature. As mentioned earlier, Wiccans believe mainly in the “three-fold law of return”. In other words, what you do, say, and think, you will get back three-fold. This is a chance for Wiccans to do good deeds because they believe they will receive three times what they give. If they do bad, they will receive three times that bad deed.