Home Discussion Forum Beyond spell and ritual, what is the deeper religiosity in Wicca?

Beyond spell and ritual, what is the deeper religiosity in Wicca?

Most books I have read about Witchcraft/Wicca have said somewhere in the introduction something along the lines of “Wicca is not just about casting spells, it is a religion. If you just want spells, look elsewhere.” But then, the majority of most of these books then go on to describe spellwork and ritual without ever really discussing the deeper religiosity to which is alluded. Where can a discussion of the religiosity of Wicca, which is a little deeper than a 5-10 page gloss-over, be found?

13 COMMENTS

  1. It’s a very individual thing. It’s about connection to deity through nature, at least that’s how I approach it. Then again, I’m merely pagan, not wiccan.

  2. You’re right, Wicca is not all about spells. Some wiccans don’t even cast spells. What wicca is really about is honouring the God and Goddess. I have read a book called ‘The Wicca Bible’ by Ann-Marie Gallagher that writes about what it means to be wiccan and who the God and Goddess are with only a couple of pages about spells. You could also have a look at the paganism & Wicca section on the website about.com which I have found to be very good.

  3. I don’t know of any online sources but here are a few books I have found (but haven’t read yet, hope to get these for Yule)
    Wicca 334: Further Advanced Topics in Wiccan Belief http://www.amazon.com/Wicca-334-Further-Advanced-Topics/dp/0615175368/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=IGMDP0ZUW72SX&colid=YS8Q8VEKN2F7
    Wicca 333: Advanced Topics in Wiccan Belief http://www.amazon.com/Wicca-333-Advanced-Topics-Wiccan/dp/061517535X/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I1KQLGI1HCM49K&colid=YS8Q8VEKN2F7
    Wicca 404: Advanced Goddess Thealogy http://www.amazon.com/Wicca-404-Advanced-Goddess-Thealogy/dp/1430317728/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I35R2JYQNX313M&colid=YS8Q8VEKN2F7
    I agree that too many of the books we find are more about what to do then how we beleive. I wish I had more references!

  4. Alot of world religions including wiccanry are heavily into nature worship. In other words, the reason why there is something wrong with you, is because you aren’t “in touch” with nature. Wicca is just one example. This is one reason why Al Gore is so well received by people all over the world in regards to his issue.

  5. Greetings!
    The “Wica” as Gardner found them, were a survival of the Native Religions of the British Isles.
    Neo-Wiccan Authors have done what the Christian Church did…invent Dogma and off-the-cuff explanations of what they think “Wicca” should be. “Witch-Kings and Queens, Lord and Lady so-and-so” ………all hooey!
    Read Gardner if you want to know about the Roots of The Old Religion……….which others called “Wicca”.
    Read the thousands of newer Books on the subject, if you wish to become confused.
    Simply put, Gardner found a survival of Celtic, Anglo, and Roman Belief…….all mixed together, with a bit of Isis and Mithra to spice things up. He refused to tell the details of what he had learned from the “Wica” but did write several Books on what he thought the “Old Religion” should contain.
    In the Old Days, each Tribe had it`s own Rites and Ritual, Spells and Gods. Read the Books, but it is an Inner Journey…………….have fun!
    /!\
    by-the-by, I`m an Initiated High Priest in Wicca, and have a Library of over 3000 Occult Books. Most of the Neo-Wiccan Authors are in it for the money, ego, and power-trip. Most Neo-Wiccans have NEVER read Gardner. Neo-Wicca is NOT Wicca, and the Neo-Wiccans are childish, and easily disturbed, as you can tell.

  6. The deeper mysteries of Wicca — and it IS a mystery religion — are not suitable for being communicated in words, at least not to those who haven’t done the work necessary to experience them.
    “Wicca for Beginners” by Thea Sabin actually provides a decent explanation of the theoretical underpinning of Wicca. However, the sort of thing you’re looking for is only attainable through personal experience achieved through hard work, attunement with the Divine, and purification of the self. If you wish to learn these things, seek out a lineaged coven. They can be achieved in solitary practice, but it’s a lot harder.

  7. Samantha,
    I would recommend, first off, reading Starhawk’s Spiral Dance. I’m not completely supportive of Starhawk’s rather anti-male stance, nor the greater emphasis she places upon the Goddess, but it’s a fine primer (other than those issues) on Wiccan spirituality.
    For my own part, my concept of my faith has developed slowly from the interplay between my experiences, my intellect, my broader world view and the reading of dozens of books on Wicca, as well as some on other Pagan or even just Non-Abrahamic paths.
    Broadly, the deeper religiosity you mention for me is the product of interacting with the Gods and applying those lessons to every day life. Balance is taught us by the Gods, as an example. Balance between the fierce and the nurturing, the male and the female, between hard work and play, between family, career and community. The Navajo people have a phrase for this (although their faith is considerably different than Wicca. They talk about “walking in beauty.” It combines the need for balance with the desire to achieve harmony through balance. As another example, because of the structure and nature of Wicca, it is a faith which requires us to accept personal responsibility. We don’t confess our “sins” to a preist and ask him to ask God to forgive us. We are required to try to right the wrongs we have done, and to do so out of the understanding that we create the world we live in.
    I could go on, and on, no doubt, but I hope you get the point. The philosophy and structure of Wicca strongly inform the deeper religious sensabilities involved.
    Let me know if I can be of any further help.

  8. The important thing to remember is that there is a huge difference between spirituality and religiosity. The word religion is from the Latin “religio” and refers not to the spiritual connection with ones Gods but to scrupulous observance of the forms and rituals of devotion to Them. The Spiritual connection is what the forms are intended to help you achieve, but many people fail to realize that religion is a means to an end, the end being spirituality, rather than being the end in itself. The best First Book on Wicca of which I know is “Wicca, a Guide for the Solitary Practitioner” which covers all aspects as well as can expected in a book. True spiritual development is a matter of personal growth, development, and experience, and those cannot be given to you by another, only found for yourself. The religion is solely for the purpose of providing you the tools and a man for the journey, the journey itself to a spiritual connection with such Gods as you may recognize is something that only you can make. Rather than looking for the answers in the writings of people you should be opening up to the Gods and allowing them to help you find the answers for yourself, after all, if it’s not a connection with the Gods that is your ultimate goal why bother with religion of any kind in the first place?

  9. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft by Ronald Hutton
    Book of Shadows: A Modern Woman’s Journey into the Wisdom of Witchcraft and the Magic of the Goddess by Phyllis Curott

  10. The problem is “spellbooks,” specially ones with the word “Wicca” slapped on them, tend to sell better than books actually about the religion of Wicca. Publishers print what will make them money.
    Thea Sabin and Scott Cunningham are good places to start to get a good overview of Wicca as a religion. More suggestions:
    http://wicca.timerift.net/books.shtml

  11. These books are right, it’s not just about spells. It’s about spells, rituals and a whole lot of other ways in which to make a deeper connection the divine *and* discover your True Will.
    I like the definition that Wicca is made up of three things; Magick, Mysticism and Religion. Obviously the mysticism aspect is going to have the greatest connection to religious experience but spells and rituals are are the tools used to have these mystical experiences.
    During spells and rituals, people can experience altered states such as trance or possession by a deity. These are things which will only be taught to you in the confines of a coven, and you will have to work hard in order to experience these aspects. It’s definitely not something for everybody and knowledge of these things is restricted by making initiates swear an oath. This both protects others and respects the sacredness of what is a very deep personal experience.
    Most of the people writing these books are not initiated and therefore have no knowledge of the deeper aspects. Be very wary of what you read as there are many authors out there today who are still making it up as they go along.
    My book recommendations:
    The Witches Bible by Janet and Stewart Farrar – This book caused quite a stir because they are both initiates and some oathbound information showed up in the book.
    Triumph of the Moon by Ronald Hutton is great but quite a heavy read. It has a wealth of great information but may be a little too much on the historical side for most people.
    Towards the Wiccan Circle by Sorita D’Este is a good beginners book. It’s available on Amazon or through the publisher – http://www.avaloniabooks.co.uk
    They also have a wealth of other great books that would take you further, like Hekate: Keys to the Crossroads.

  12. Well, there is a very good reason for that– spells sell books. Simple as that. More people probably pick up books on Wicca because they are interested in the idea of casting spells, not because they are interested in religiosity.
    On the other hand you have to keep in mind that originally Wicca was never intended to be separated from Witchcraft. Wicca is a pretty new religion, but the concept of being Wiccan without practicing Witchcraft is even newer, so I think most books that are more than 10 years old are going to combine the practice of Witchcraft, some pretty heavily.
    wicca.timerift.net will provide you with some good info and a great recommended reading list.

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