I refrain from talking about my particular spiritual path too often. One of the first things I learned when I started my journey on it was that we don’t proselytize. There are many paths back to the Godhead (by whatever name you choose to refer to Him/Her/It) and that as long as someone is headed in the right direction, that’s all that matters.
It is getting to be that time of year that others refer to as “The Season of the Witch” and it makes me want to share some of what it’s all about. I can only speak from my perspective and that perspective goes back some 46 years. Still, a lot has changed with the coming of the internet. I can’t say that I agree with it all having been traveling this path for so many years.
The Wicca I learned is both a spiritual and a magickal path. I always tell people that the spiritual comes first and the “magick” is a perk of the progress made from learning about the spiritual. In this day and age, many would not agree with me. So let’s start there…why they would disagree.
In 1974, when I found and began my journey on the path of Wicca, there were some basic precepts I learned like, “Every Witch is a Pagan, but not every Pagan is a Witch.” That was because, at the time, Paganism was viewed as any spiritual path or religion that was nature-based. Some, who call themselves witches today, will tell you that they aren’t Pagan. How that can be, I don’t know, but there it is.
It was also a “truth” back then that Wiccans/Witches were followers of the Old Religion – a form of spirituality whose roots predate that of Christianity. True Wicca (also spelled Wicce, the feminine form) is from the British Isles and has different traditions such as Celtic, Gardnarian, Alexandrian, Welsh, etc. Many of these traditions were often Family traditions as the whole family were followers and practitioners. Because of the persecutions that took place, especially during the Inquisitions or “Burning Times” as they are referred to by Witches, a good amount of knowledge of the traditions and practices of the Old Religion were lost since it was primarily an oral tradition of teaching and learning. There is no direct line connecting the Old Religion of antiquity and modern-day Wiccans, especially here in the United States. And, by the way, this is another point of disagreement, as some who call themselves witches will tell you they follow no spiritual path – they only practice magick.
In the United States, the Church of Satan, established and run, at the time, by Anton Szandor LaVey, began to refer to its practitioners as “witches,” Wiccans decided it would be best to stop publicly referring to themselves as Witches and instead use the terms Wicca and Wiccan. I can’t tell you how many Jehovah’s Witnesses and I had conversations about that when they would show up at my door!
Wicca doesn’t have a bible Rather, we have one Law, “And ye harm none, do what ye will.” Pretty straightforward and, in reality, encompasses the Ten Commandments and more. You see, we also view that as meaning self-harm as well. Some traditions, mine being one of them, also follow seven tenets:
The Tenet of the Balanced Life; the Tenet of Harmony; the Tenet of Trust; the Tenet of Humility; the Tenet of Tolerance; the Tenet of Learning; and the Tenet of Reincarnation.
These are principles that we strive to live by to make Life easier and more peaceful for ourselves.
That One Law, we believe, has a statement of karma attached to it. We call it the Rule of Three. In it is stated that what we send out, whether good or ill, will return to us threefold. There is a poem, called the Wiccan Rede, that goes:
Bide the Wiccan Rede ye must,
In perfect love and perfect trust,
Eight words of Wiccan Rede fulfill,
“And ye harm none, do what ye will.”
Lest in thy self-defense it be,
Ever mind the Rule of Three.
Follow this with mind and heart
We merry meet and merry part.