One of the most common questions....what is Witchcraft? I shall answer that at the end of this piece because I am sure if you read on you will understand the answer a bit better!
Wicca and Witchcraft are as complicated or as easy as you choose to follow it, learn it and believe it. Having said that there are certain things that maybe should be learnt as they are the foundation upon which Wicca is built and followed. While I could go on to list them all I will stick to the basics which are, as far as I am concerned, The Rule Of Three, The Wiccan Rede, The Wiccan Calender and some important symbols.
The Rule of Three
The rule of three is one of the basics of Wiccan belief. The Rule of Three, sometimes called The Three Fold Law, is a rule that states whatever energy you put out into the world will be returned to that person three times, be it positive or negative. The Rule of Three is something that cannot be side stepped no matter what....It is the very fabric of the universe!
The rule is not just a Wicca one but a more spiritual principle, and one belief held by many people of different backgrounds. It is very simple, what you give out you get back, so for example, smiles, love, kindness, honesty etc etc....Like a witchy karma. There is cosmic force here so the motto be careful what you wish for applies!
This is also a good thing to point out to people still fearful, and condemning of witches.
We cannot and do not want to do bad things as we know it bounces back....so all magick should be positive and for good. You simply cannot call yourself wicca and deliberately harm others! This is why the Three Fold Law is there. Followers of Wicca want to bring peace and love into the world. We are constantly reminded that there are consequences to our actions by following this simple rule.
The above are just two of the symbols connected to the Rule Of Three, the Triskele and Triquentra.
The Wiccan Rede
The wiccan rede is a statement that provides the key system in a Wicca lifestyle. The word 'Rede' means 'advice' and derives from middle English. A common form of Rede is this short one:
'An' meaning 'If' and 'Ye' meaning 'You'.
There are lots of variants of the Wiccan Rede including this one:
The Long Rede
Personally speaking I love this version! Yes it is harder to remember but just read the words. It is beautiful, and for me sums up Wicca & Witchcraft.
In 1974 a complete 26 line poem entitled 'The Wiccan Rede' was published. Some disputed the poem as incorrect but I don't really understand why as the rules of wicca are personal to you and this is by far my favourite!
Whatever you believe, follow or trust really is up to you. As long as your magick is for good then you cannot really go wrong.
History has long ridiculed, accused and generally spread fear about witches. Hopefully, as you can see, we are happy and loving, peaceful people who only want to spread the good out to the world.
Signs & Symbols
If you are just learning about Wicca & Witchcraft you will likely come across various symbols (there are many!).
The most common ones are the pentagram, the goddess, the triple moon, star, triquetra...the list is endless.
The God & Goddesses are usually represented by the sun & moon. This is not to say that if you are a witch you believe in God. In fact I very much don't. Most followers see these archetypes as thoughts within the higher consciousness.
The goddess is often shown as a triple moon or some other triple aspect, that of the maiden, mother and crone. The God (male aspect) is often shown as the horned God of the woods. This is something that is also misunderstood as evil and bad when in truth it is simply a representation of the male aspect of our world.
The pentagram is probably one of the most commonly associated symbols of wicca. A five pointed star sometimes depicted within a circle and usually shown with a single point upwards. The five points represent Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. Nothing evil about that is there?! In fact in geometry the pentagram is an expression of 'the golden ratio phi' which is connected with 'ideal beauty' and was considered, by the Pythagoreans, to express truths about the hidden nature of existence. What a lovely thought!
The Wiccan Calendar
Wicca, just as with many other religions/belief systems, have dates throughout the year that are important ones. The calendar is usually represented by an eight spoke wheel and is based on the Celtic 'wheel of the year'.
The celebrations of these dates are referred to as Sabbats 'witches celebrations'
By far the most imortant one is Sahmain, or halloween (31st October). This is because it is the end of one year and the beginning of the next one, just like christmas and new year to others.
The word Samhain is believed to be Celtic and loosely translates to 'Summers End'
Yule is the winter solstice - that being the day which has the shortest hours and the night the longest hours. This is usually around December 22nd.
Imbolc is midway between Yule, the winter solstice, and Ostara, the spring equinox. For wicca it is a festival of light and is also know as Candlemass.
Ostara - the spring equinox, when days and nights are equal again. A time of rebirth, when nature literally springs into life (March 21st)
Beltane like Sahmain, is one of the greater dates (sabbats), and is about honouring life. Beltane is celebrated April 30th-May 1st.
Litha celebrates the midsummer solstices, when the sun God has reached his strongest moment. He is also Lord of the Forests and this is considered a good time for magick and divination. In many wiccan celebrations this is when the Oak King (the waxing year), is triumphed over by the Holly King (the waning year). Celebrated on or around June 21st.
Lammas/Lughnassadh like Beltane is one of the greater sabbats. It is one of the four main festivals of the Celtic religion.
Mabon, around 21st September, is the Autumn equinox, when days and nights are equal in length once again. For wicca and pagan followers it is a time of reflection, efforts made and for thanking Mother Nature for her gifts.
So as you can see, no dancing with the devil or sacrifices made!
Wicca is peaceful and if it makes you happy to be part of such a loving group of people then Blessed be!