Wicca is one fastest growing religions in U.S. Is projected to be the 3 rd largest religion, by 2012 in U.S. http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2005/4/emw231351.htm
Wicca is a Neopagan religion that can be found in many English-speaking countries. Originally founded by Gerald Gardner a British civil servant, in the 1940s, and openly revealed in 1954. Since its founding, various related Wiccan traditions have evolved, the original being Gardnerian Wicca.
A religion derived from pre-Christian times (Celtic), which practices a benevolent reverence for nature, and recognizes two deities, variously viewed as Mother; Father, Goddess; God, Female; Male, etc.; its practitioners are called Wiccans, Wiccas, or witches. Since there is no central authority to propagate dogma, the beliefs and practices of Wiccans vary significantly.
Though sometimes used interchangeably, “Wicca” and “Witchcraft” are not the same thing. The confusion comes because both practitioners of Wicca and practitioners of witchcraft are often called witches.
To add to the confusion the term witchcraft in popular older usage, or in a modern historical or anthropological context, means the use of black or evil magic, not something Wicca encourages at all.
Wicca with spiritual roots in Shamanism and the earliest expressions of reverence of nature. Among its major motifs are: reverence for the Goddess and the God; reincarnation; magic; ritual observances of the Full Moon, astronomical and agricultural phenomena; spheroid temples, created with Personal Power, in which rituals occur. They believe in Karma, what you give is what you get!, multiplied by three in reincarnation.
Wicca refers to the religion. The initiates are assigned a degree and generally work in covens (A coven is, in summary, a gathering or association of witches. The number of persons involved may vary, although while thirteen has been suggested any number above three can be a coven).
The Book of Shadows , the grimoire that contained the Gardnerian rituals, was a secret that could only be obtained from a coven of proper lineage.
Wiccans celebrate eight main holidays (or Sabbats ):
Four cross-quarter days (having Celtic origins) and four others marking important point on the solar calendar. The cycle is called: The wheel of the year.
The festivities start at sunset and end at the sunset of the next day.
- IMBOLC (February 1/2).
- OSTARA (March 20/21); Spring equinox.
- BELTANE (April 30/May1).
- LITHA (June 21/22); Summer solstice.
- LAMMAS (August 1/2).
- MABON (September 20/21); Autumn equinox.
- SAMHAIM (October 31/ November 1); Winter.
- YULE (December 20/21); Winter solstice
They also hold Esbats , which are rituals held at the full and new moon. Magical work and especial rituals are hold during Esbats. The full moon believed to have a strong influence on the magical work.
Wiccans use a special set of altar tools in their rituals:
- Broom (besom),
- Chalice (goblet),
- Book of Shadows,
- Altar cloth,
- Athame (personal knife),
- Altar knife,
- Candles, and/or incense.
- Representations of the God/Goddess are often also used, which may be direct, representative, or abstract.
It is considered rude to touch another’s tools without permission.
There are different thoughts in Wicca regarding the Elements.
Some hold to the earlier Greek conception of the classical elements (air, fire, water, earth).
While others recognize five elements: earth, air, water, fire, and spirit (akasha). It is believed that the points of worn pentagram symbol, the five pointed star, symbolise five elements.