Wicca is a religion influenced by pre-Christian beliefs and practices of Western Europe that affirms the existence of supernatural power magick and of both male and female deities who inhere in nature, and that emphasizes ritual observance of seasonal and life cycles.
The word ‘Wicca’ has been derived from the Anglo-Saxon word wicce, which means to have wisdom, so as to bend or shape, like a wicker for a basket. Wicca stands for a male witch, while a female witch is called ‘wicce’. With the passage of time wicca has gained currency for both male and female witches.
Initially the word wicca evoked sinister associations as it followers were considered to be evil-natured Satan worshipers.
But these misconceptions and prejudices are gradually vanishing as more and more people are trying to return to the natural laws of simple living. Gerald Gardner, a British Civil Servant, is associated with reviving this religious belief in 1950s after the British Government repealed the anti-witchcraft laws. Since then the Wicca has become a popular religious movement and is gaining strength by day. The believers in Wicca run into millions and are found in almost all the English speaking countries. United States constitution recognizes Wicca as a full-fledged religion and its believers have all the rights and freedom that are enjoyed by the followers of other religions.
Wicca is Neo-Pagan religion that is centered around the love of nature and its elements primarily earth, air, fire, water, sun, moon and so on. It does not worship nature, but loves it, reveres it and is, therefore, nature oriented. The love of nature and paganism was an important part of Romantic Movement in English literature. Wicca finds inspiration in brooks and sermons in stones. He worshipa God in its female form, or mother Goddess, for she is considered to be much closer to Mother Nature. Mother Goddess, for a Wicca, is an all-pervasive and powerful force. A Wicca believes himself to be an indivisible part of the nature.
The fundamental tenet of Wicca is the Wiccan Rede, “As it harm none, do as thou wilt.” It essentially means that you are free to do anything so long as you do not impose your will upon anyone or harm anyone or anything including your own self and the nature and its components. In this context, Wicca is closer to the law of Karma and its consequences. If you harm nature, the nature will harm you. If you do good to nature, it will promote your well being and happiness. A true witch would never do anything to use his or her magic or spell to the detriment of any animate or inanimate being as its retribution will be much out of proportion to the sin committed. In fact, witches believe strictly in the Law of the Three, which means that whatever we do or send out, whether good or bad, will return to us threefold.
Ordinarily you cannot tell whether the woman next door is a witch, but some witches do wear a pentagram or Pentacle, a five-pointed star which is just a symbol of five elements of nature, earth, water, air, fire and spirit. The symbol should never be considered as something symbolizing anything sinister or diabolic.
Wicca is perhaps the most democratic religion of the world that represents the true spirit of independence of a modern man. It is a religion of a common man allowing him freest will to act or worship, as he likes so long as his action does not infringe upon the comfort of anyone else. There is no regimentation, no hierarchy, and no diktats from above, or a fear regime prompting punishments in this or the other world. This religion was not developed by priests, prophets or saints, but by the poets, philosophers and artists-- the fierce protagonists of freedom of human spirit. Therefore there is no Bible, no ten commandments, no dogma and no prohibitive creed
Witches worship, usually in small groups called covens or singly, also known as a solo witch. They celebrate eight solar festival holidays during the year known as sabbats. These are the solstices, the equinoxes and four more days. Besides these, there are 13 lunar festivals called esbats observed on full moon nights. These twenty-one festivities are also called circles. Here again, there is no fixation or dogma.