Introduction to Wicca
Wicca is the native British spiritual tradition, the word Wicca dates back to at least 890 and the Laws of Alfred, though it is probably considerably older. Some believe the words Witch and Witchcraft are extensions of the word Wicca, however, in modern terms Witch and Witchcraft have become more generic covering all native traditions such as the Native American traditions, Shinto, Hula and many others.
The central purpose of Wicca is to strengthen the will of the individual without harming nature. The heart of the tradition is that it’s practitioners decide what they want to do and help its achievement. The methods used to achieve the will of the individual or the group (Coven) are a central feature of the Wiccan tradition. In general they are based on forming a circle and carrying out practices within that framework with other Wiccans.
Wiccan beliefs and practices vary between regions, Covens, individuals and even between families. The main similarities is that the tradition is polytheistic (has many Gods) with locus dei (local spirits) linked to rivers, mountains and other natural features. There is also an overriding deity, Mother Earth. The protection of the natural world is very important to Wicca. Wicca has an afterlife concept, Avalon or Mid Summer, to which everyone is admitted, good or bad, from whatever tradition. There is no concept of evangelism in Wicca, as Wiccans have no wish to exclude anyone from the tradition.
When Wiccans meet they almost always cast circles as the circle, where all are equal, is sacred to the tradition. When the circle is cast Gods and Goddesses are invoked, generally by calling the four quarters or Watchtowers (invoking the gods of north, south, east, and west). Then various activities take place focusing on strengthening the will of the participants or celebrating native British (or other) traditions.
Wiccans believe in the individual creating their own strong will to carry out what they need to do, and the purpose of the tradition is to strengthen the will of the individual without harming the natural world. Wiccans also have a taboo against harming others with the motto ‘An it harm none do thy will’ being widely accepted and known as the “Wiccan Rede“.
There is a lot of crossover between Wiccan groups or Covens, and relations between all Wiccans and Covens are good.