Witches have been victims of religious intolerance over the course of centuries. There is an incredible amount of ignorance when it comes to the practice of Witchcraft and Wicca. I can start by saying what Wicca is not. Wicca and Witchcraft are not satan worship. We do not perform sacrifices on babies or anyone else for that matter. We neither proselytize nor make attempts to alter a person’s mind from Christianity or any other religion. It is not a cult. We do not believe in sin, heaven or hell. We do not believe the Pentagram, a common Wiccan symbol, is evil and used to conjur up the devil.
So what are Wicca and Witchcraft? Witchcraft is the craft of the Witch, the craft of folk magic. Some Wiccans extend this to include the religious rituals of Wicca. Folk Magicians rarely refer to themselves as Wiccan, but Wiccans often call themselves Witches. Wicca is a religion that is many centuries old. Wicca is a natural based religion that is still being practiced today by thousands of people in the United States. It is rooted in a reverence for the God and the Goddess through nature. We practice a form of folk magic, believing that there is power in the Universe. This power is present in all things. It’s within humans, plants, stones, colors, shapes and sounds and it can be concentrated . It can be awakened and moved through dance and movement, through music and chanting, and through manipulation of objects and concentration and visualization. Hence the use of candles, stones and crystals, runes, colors, herbs, roots and oils, just to name a few.
Folk Magic is used for protection, prosperity, peace, love, happiness, fidelity and employment among many other purposes. It is never used to “get even” or put “evil spells” on anyone. In fact, Wiccans live by a strict code of ethics that recognizes that every bit of energy we put out will come back on us threefold. Life is respected, Mother Earth is respected and Power is respected. We live according to The Wiccan Rede, which states “An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will” ( an is not used as a substitute for and, but as an archaic use of the word if). Here is the Wiccan Rede in its entirety:
Bide the Wiccan laws ye must,
in perfect love and perfect trust.Live and let live –
fairly take and fairly give.Cast the Circle thrice about
to keep all evil spirits out.
let the spell be spake in rhyme.
Soft of eye and light of touch –
speak ye little, listen much.
Deosil go by the waxing Moon –
sing and dance the Wiccan Rune.
Widdershins go when the Moon doth wane,
and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane.
When the Lady’s Moon is new,
kiss the hand to Her times two.
When the Moon rides at Her peak,
then your heart’s desire seek.
Heed the North wind’s mighty gale –
lock the door and drop the sail.
When the wind comes from the South,
love will kiss thee on the mouth.
When the wind blows from the East,
expect the new and set the feast.
When the West wind blows o’er thee,
departed spirits restless be.
*Nine woods in the Cauldron go –
burn them quick and burn them slow.
Elder be ye Lady’s tree –
burn it not or cursed ye’ll be.
When the Wheel begins to turn,
let the Beltane fires burn.
When the Wheel has turned a Yule,
lighty the Log and let Pan rule.
Heed ye flower, bush and tree –
by the Lady blessed be.
Where the rippling waters go,
cast a stone and truth ye’ll know.
When ye are in dire need,
hearken not to others’ greed.
With the fool no season spend,
or be counted as his friend.
Merry meet and merry part –
bright the cheeks and warm the heart.
When misfortune is enow,
wear the blue star on thy brow.
True in love ever be,
unless thy lover’s false to thee.
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill –
an ye harm none, do what ye will.