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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wicca 101 - What are we?

Sunday, February 6, 2011
The first thing to do in teaching anyone about Wicca/Paganism is to explain to them what exactly Wicca is. In the class for adults that I teach, I share with them the Thirteen Principles of Wiccan Belief. This was put together by the Council of American Witches in 1974. Now this is far from a perfect list, I have found that this describes most Pagans today. But it serves the purpose of illustrating to the Student what it is that we as Wiccans/Pagans do.

1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal Quarters and Cross Quarters.

If you have been following this blog then your kids should be familiar with the Esbats and the Sabbats. 

2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility towards our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.

The Earth is a symbol of the Goddess and if we want to honor and show Her respect then we should work to keep the Earth clean and not litter. 

3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that is apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called "supernatural", but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.

Now this is one that you will have to choose whether your child is ready to understand. Personally I have not talked to my youngest daughter about this. I think she is to young to understand the concepts of magick.

4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity-as masculine and feminine-and that this same Creative Power lies in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship. 

The same goes for the last line of this one. If you haven't talked about the 'birds and the bees' then leave it out. But they do need to understand that Deity is expressed in the Wiccan faith as Goddess and God or by whatever names you understand them by. (More on deity is coming  during this series)

5. We recognize both outer and inner, or psychological, worlds -- sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, Inner Planes, etc. -- and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.

To explain this one I have asked them if they can see the Goddess and God the same as she does my wife or myself. Of course her answer was no. Then I told her that this is because the Gods live on a different plane or in a different world. That sometimes if we think about or pray to them then we can hear them and feel them. 

6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.

Of the six posted today this is one of the hardest to explain. My daughter knows about other religions, so it is easy to show her the Pope and explain the power of the Catholic Church and then show that we don't have a Pope. I also in rituals allow her a little spontaneity so that she can understand that their is no 'Right Way'. 

7. We see religion, magick and wisdom-in-living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it -- a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft, the Wiccan Way.

Wicca is not about just celebrating the Sabbats and the Esbats. Rather it is how we live our lives everyday. We see the Goddess and God in all things. Whether it is a thunderstorm or a sunrise. 

8. Calling oneself "Witch" does not make a Witch -- but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well without harm to others and in harmony with Nature.

We must live a good life and be a good example to the world around us. Just like the last one this is not just about celebrating it is about Living It.

9. We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness, that gives meaning to the Universe we know, and our personal role within it.

We believe that all things change. Some good and some bad but that is how we learn.

10. Our only animosity towards Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be "the only way," and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.

I think that this is pretty self-explanatory. We do not have any thing against other religions as long as we can practice our own.

11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the origins of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future.

While we are not an 'old' faith we know that what we do works. And rather than focus on what came before we are focused on now and what is coming. 

12. We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as "Satan" or "the Devil", as defined by Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor do we accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.

This reflects well the concept of the Wiccan Rede; 'If it harm none do as you will'. 

13. We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.

I know that many of us use herbal teas at the very least. That may be a beginning to a way to explain this to our kids. Explain that many of our medicines come from the natural world, they have just been copied in a lab.

Let me know what you think so far. Anything I should include, or is the whole setup just wrong?

Blessed Be!

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