Wicca is a pagan religion constructed in the 1940s or 1950s based on elements of pre-Christian religions.
Due to its pre-Christian base it is often mistaken as a pre-Christian religion. Wicca has some considerable updates from its pre-Christian basis.

Most Wiccans adhere strongly to some moral code however this code is not strictly defined.
It is usually based on the persons own version of the "harm none" rule. Some times this includes not eating meat some times this is more loosely defined as "Do no damage to others if you can help it".

Often called "Witchcraft", however this is probably not a useful term in describing Wicca.

Wicca was made popular by a member of the golden dawn and documented by two disagreeing members of same however it existed (posably in a less formal form) prior to that.
About 99.44% of what is Wicca today comes from the golden dawn members.

The dark side of Wicca comes from "Fluffy bunny Wiccans" a kind of extreme politically correct type that is as obnoxious as the Christian Coalition, As loud as they are they no more represent Wicca than the Christian Coalition represent Christianity
A popular form of Wicca comes from a Scott Cunningham called solitary Wiccan. This allows a Wiccan to function seperated from extreme Wiccan groups and hidden from such extreme groups as the Christian Coalition.
In the 1930's, the Englishman Gerald Gardner, borrowing from Jewish mysticism, ceremonial magic, folklore and history as well as a great deal of his own inventiveness, created what is now called Wicca. While many of the roots of this new faith were certainly ancient (stemming mainly from Pre-Christian Celtic and Teutonic belief systems), Wicca was largely Gardner's creation, and has gained widespread popularity in the ensuing decades. Wicca has a few basic teachings, though modern practioners have added to and integrated other beliefs into Wicca, these principles have remained the same.
  • There is no separation between the Creator and Creation - Thou art God.
  • All things are inextricably connected to one another - we each affect our Universe through our actions.
  • Sexuality and our bodies are sacred - unlike the dogma that some religions teach, sex is not negative or dirty, but rather quite beautiful and something to be embraced.
  • We are each connected to Deity (whichever you choose to acknowledge) - life force is life force is You is God.
  • Nature gives religious inspiration, thus Wicca is a Nature religion, one that accepts both the growths and deaths during the endless cycle of life. There is power in this understanding.
  • Every Wiccan is considered to be clergy - no middlemen here!
  • Magic is real, and we can all harness it. We are each magical beings.
  • Any action you commit, comes back to you threefold, both the good and the bad. We are each responsible for ourselves.


And Wicca is a lot more, especially since so much information is available to today's initiates. If You would choose to learn more, there are a number of valuable sites on the web, such as:
  • Witch, Wiccan and Pagan Webring - http://www.witchvox.net/links/webusa_a.html
  • Avatar Search, a great search engine of the purely metaphysical sort - http://www.avatarsearch.com


This is just a taste, maybe it's been informative.
Note to Wiccans: Wicca isn't my path. I wrote this node based on my researches as a seeker. If you can write something I think is better, I will happily bow to your knowledge.

Wicca is the general term for Pagan religious groups descended from Gerald Gardner's original version of a modern witchcraft created in the 1940s and 1950s. Supposedly, Gardner was initiated into a family tradition (famtrad) by "Old Dorothy Clutterbuck". He found the rituals fragmentary and used his O.T.O. knowledge to flesh them out. The resulting rituals have a strong ceremonial magic feel, with obvious ties to The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. It is considered quite likely that the true source of the rituals is mostly Gardner, creating a syncretic religion all his own. Wicca in general is duotheistic (God and Goddess, who contain within them all other gods and goddesses), nature-oriented, sex-positive, magic-using, and focused on a mystery religion-type initiation. Each Wiccan is clergy, meaning that each member deals directly with deity (relating back to the initiatory route). Diety is considered immanent in the universe. Of course, some of these are pushed and bent within different groups detailed under Traditions below.

Some History and Myths
Gardner claimed that his tradition was an unbroken line, going all the way back to Margaret Murray's Goddess worship in paleolithic times. These claims have since been disproven, and are generally considered to be more of a myth (if not useless) within most covens. Historically, Wicca required initiation by an initiated witch (leading to the question "Who initiated the first witch?") and was heterosexist. These factors are not as common today, but are still present in the attitudes of some Wiccans. It is commonly thought that Wiccan means wise one in Old English or Latin; it appears that, in general, a stronger claim is made for it meaning "one that bends things to one's will." The equivalent for "wise one" appears to be wysard, which comes to us as wizard today.

Ethical Guidelines
Wicca's morals are usually encapsulated by a statement referred to as the Wiccan Rede -- "Do as you will, An' it harm none." This statement should not be confused with Aleister Crowley's famous statement. The Threefold Law, that what you do will return to you three times, adds a karmic touch. Wicca doesn't have large sets of rules, which makes many people think that it's a "do what you want" philosophy. However, the importance is on the practicioner's thinking about their actions, not whether or not they're covered by a given rule. Parallels can be drawn, naturally, between the Rede and the Golden Rule.

Traditions
Wicca tends towards being an inclusive religion. However, within this inclusiveness there are many different Traditions, roughly analogous to Protestant Denominations. Some of these traditions are:

Resources
The Witches' Voice, at http://www.witchvox.com/, is an excellent resource.
Wicca: A guide for the Solitary Practicioner, by Scott Cunningham, is considered one of the best introductions to Wicca.
Drawing Down the Moon, by Margot Adler, has a good overview of some of the different traditions of Wicca and Wicca's upsurge within the Pagan movement.

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