Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.

Friday, May 13, 2011

An Introduction to Wicca: Wiccan Beliefs and Practices

Wicca is a spiritual path that combines an attunement to the divine with the practice of magick. Many factors make Wicca so appealing: its ancient roots, acceptance of magick, and mysterious nature all draw many seekers. However, it’s probably Wicca's versatility that is responsible for its popularity.

Basic Beliefs of Wicca

Wicca is a contemporary, Earth-based spiritual path, acknowledging both a Goddess and God. The divine is usually seen as both within and around all living things. In Wicca, it is believed that the divine is present in every living thing, and so all life is perceived as sacred and interconnected, and leads to a reverence for nature. Wiccans don’t treat the earth as an object to be used for gain alone. Rather, nature is seen as sacred, and Wiccans treat the earth accordingly.

Wiccans acknowledge that the divine is feminine as well as masculine, and the Goddess is essential to Wiccan worship. The power of the Goddess is also seen in many aspects of nature, such as the moon, and the very earth itself. The honoring of the feminine divine is one of the reasons for the very rapid growth in the popularity of Wicca.

Wicca combines ancient beliefs with modern practices which are designed to help its practitioners to attune to the natural rhythms of the universe. This connection to nature is personal, and leads to an equally personal relationship with the divine. This relationship is not facilitated by another, but is instead unique and sacred to the individual. Wiccans honor nature as a great spiritual teacher, and many devote themselves to the study of the power inherent in the natural cycles of the universe. These include, but are not limited to, the cycles of the seasons and the moon.

Ethics in Wicca

Wiccans have no central doctrine, however, there is one fundamental principle: 'An ye harm none, do as ye will.' This means that a Wiccan can do as he or she pleases, provided it does no harm to themselves or others. This honors the freedom of individual, while stressing the responsibility for choices and actions made willingly. Being individuals, each Wiccan decides for him or herself what exactly 'harm' means. As a consequence, Wiccans have very different opinions when it comes to many issues, including abortion, war, vegetarianism, and capital punishment.

Wicca is an ever-changing, completely accessible system of teachings, which allows each individual to form a relationship with the divine. Most Wiccans, though certainly not all, view their learning process as a priesthood, taking years of training and involving several initiations.

Spiritual Practices of Wicca

Wiccan spiritual practices are a combination of ancient and modern techniques for shifting states of consciousness at will in order to achieve many different ends. Sometimes these techniques are used for purposes such as divination, blessing, healing, and other uses that involve the raising of energy. The specific techniques are many and varied, including dancing, chanting, meditation, ritual, song, and prayer. To properly execute these techniques requires much practice, study, patience, and faith. Wiccans may perform spiritual work for others, such as healing or divination, but only with their expressed and informed consent.

Ultimately, Wicca's greatest strength, in the past, present, and future, is its diversity, its adaptability, and its vitality. While its core beliefs, spiritual practices, philosophy, and ethics may remain the same, there is much room for interpretation and individuality. This encouragement of individual expression continues to attract many new seekers.

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