why do people think that Wicca is a modern religion?

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No one has anything to prove or disprove the theory of ancient Magick? I am Wiccan and I’ve been studying almost all my life. I have only found opinions of whether or not Wicca existed before a certain time. I’m curious to know opinions on this subject because I have asked my coven the same thing.

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Because it is. It was founded in 1953 by Gardner as a matter of historical fact.
While it may have drawn on earlier traditions, it is itself a new creation, only 56 years old (give or take).

Arthur Again

It is, it was Gardner in the 1950’s that started it.


Because it was started by Gerald Gardner in the 20th century, and there is absolutely no evidence of a religion called Wicca before then.
Sure, Gardner may have borrowed certain elements found in older pagan religions, but there was no ancient practice called “Wicca”, no religion that involved the God & Goddess and circle casting, etc. The notion of “witches” and “witchcraft” has certainly been around throughout history, but Wicca does not and never has had a monopoly on the concept of witchcraft.
A better question is why some Wiccans still delude themselves into thinking it was an ANCIENT religion. There’s nothing wrong with practicing a religion that’s less than 100 years old. But don’t let your PR efforts distort history.

XxSweet DreamsxX

Modern wicca is but it dates back to medieval times.


Magick existed long before wicca, and wicca resembles several old religions, so that is where you get the idea that it’s old.
Hope it helped

Obey me or go to hell. Love, god

If you’re asking whether or not “magick” is real, the answer is of course not. It’s just as ignorant a superstition as any believed by the major religions.


it ia mdern religion based on earlier traditions


Merry Meet Kitty,
Welcome to the wide world of aggravated debate. You have just asked a question on a subject that most won’t even look past Gerald Gardner. If you’re after the age of the word Wicca, then I suggest that you research the word itself, its origins as well as its meanings. Then you will find some interesting as well as useful information.
Blessed Be

StarDanser [Santa's baby]

It’s not opinion, it’s fact. Wicca as its own religion was started by Gerald Gardner in 1953, after Britain’s anti-witchcraft laws were repealed. There may have been older practices in Europe that were similar, but the Wicca we know today is very modern.


Wicca, my dear, was the creation of Gerald B. Gardner around 1930-1950’s and brought into the light shortly after the last Witchcraft laws were repealed. He BASED it off ancient Witchcraft practices, and spliced into it various other traditions including European Witchcraft, Celtic practices, Native Shamanism, etc. Wicca is NOT an ancient religion. Magic is not solely reserved for Wiccans, so Wicca and Magic are not the same thing. You seem to be confused. The act of Magic is incorporated into the Wiccan practices, Wicca is not Magic. It would appear you haven’t studied the basics of the religion. I’d go back research the history of your own religion.

Nightwind: Mwa ha ha!

Because they know the difference between a fact and an opinion and wishful thinking.
Wicca is not about magic. It’s a religion, and that religion did not exist before Gardner. There’s lots of people who practice magic who are not Wiccans.
If you were interested in the history of Wicca, you should check out Triumph of the Moon by Ronald Hutton. He’s both a historian and a Wiccan, and his work is very detailed about the development of Wicca. It’s not an issue of opinion. It’s an issue of there being no evidence that Wicca existed before Gardner (although he can trace all sorts of different influences which are, of course, older than Gardner).

Mad Hatter

Because that is what evidence points to. No matter how much some people claim that Wicca has existed since time immemorial, the fact remains that there is not one single shred of evidence to support this. Meanwhile, there are heaps of evidence that back up the fact that the religion was formed in the 20th century by Gerald Gardner.
As far as ancient magic goes: yes, there were practices that could be described as magic, but at most they served as inspiration. They were not, by any stretch of the imagination, older forms of Wicca.

bad tim, PWO

ancient magic was common. romans had all kinds of spells and incantations, and the egyptians before them.
wicca, however, is not magic, it’s a ceremonial religion many of whose practitioners also practice magic. the relationship is between the two is strong, but they are not the same.
saying that wicca is about magic is like saying judaism is about kabalah.

Prospero Reincarnate

I think it is modern, and I was Wiccan for a number of years.


Because Wicca is a modern religion that can be traced no further back than the 1940s and Gerald Gardner.
Gardner claims to have been initiated into a coven of Witches (which, I believe, is a true claim), but there is absolutely no evidence that this coven has unbroken lines to ancient times.
Gardner himself admits that information was fragmentary and that he pieced together information from various sources, which is why Wicca was heavily influenced by 19th century ceremonial magic, Freemasonry, and what Gardner knew about Witchcraft (much of which came from studying Margaret Murray, whose work and theories have since been largely debunked) and Northern European Pagan religions (combining different ones as though they were all unified– they weren’t, of course).
Gardner and Doreen Valiente also freely admitted they had to improvise some things.
It’s a patchwork– a reconstruction/reinvention– which is why some elements can be traced back to antiquity, some can only be traced back to 19th century fiction works and some are fairly modern notions.
Witches in ancient cultures were not likely anything like modern Wiccans.
They probably wouldn’t have identified as a Witch. Every culture had it’s own term for “Witches.” They worshipped their indigenous Gods, they didn’t have the luxury of choosing their religion– that’s a relatively new concept that came with more readily available info about other cultures/religions in the 20th century. So for most European magical folk for the last thousand or so years, their practice would have been combined with their Christian faith if they lived in a Christian villiage, but probably would have carried some echoes of the past.
They were most often just people who learned folk magic through their family line, or sometimes were trained by someone else. Their work would have revolved heavily around healings, protection from evil spirits, promoting good crops, cursing and hexing. These were most often passed down through oral tradition, or lost through broken lines.
They were not a unified group, there were no large or widespread organized covens that existed and survived through the ages in an unbroken line– at least, not one shred of credible evidence has been produced to date to support this.
But just because Wicca incorporates a few things that we believe are ancient beliefs/practices doesn’t mean that the ancients practiced anything that even resembles Wicca.
FTR, I (obviously) don’t think Wicca, or any religion, being new or modern detracts from it in any way. I see religion largely as a means of expression, and I believe religions are largely a cultural movement. They will continue to grow, change and adapt as society and their practitioners do. New ones will start, and obsolete ones will die off.


Because it is. If your coven or teacher said otherwise I’d advocate running in the opposite direction.


Don’t you just love the way people are so certain it was completely created by Gardner in the 50’s? I wonder how many of them have done more than just read a book that said that?
This is just when he supposedly revealed it to the world. He had already published High Magic’s Aid in 1948 so we could assume that the form he revealed in that book was something he had known before this time.
Obviously it’s insane to think that Wicca as we practice it today was exactly the same as it was 100 years ago. That’s the same for any religion – they grow and evolve over time. The fact that it was something people practiced very secretively would also make it even harder to assume that there was strong similarities between groups.
I think the only truth is that we’ll never know for sure. 🙂
You should try and get a copy of the following book if you want the most recent investigation of the roots and connections to antiquity Wicca may have – WICCA Magickal Beginnings – http://www.amazon.com/WICCA-MAGICKAL-BEGINNINGS-Practices-Witchcraft/dp/1905297157


Wicca is a modern religion, it was revolutionized in the early 1950’s by a retired British civil servant by the name of Gerald Gardner.
Magic, Paganism, and Witchcraft, however, did exist prior to this time. Wicca does contain core elements of shamanism and other nature-based spiritual techniques and influences, including ceremonalist and renments of old mystery traditions honoring the Goddess.
So yes, there certainly were magical practices before Gardner and before Wicca as we know it today, but Wicca as a modern religion just began in the 1950’s.
I suggest you read up on Craft history and theories.

Trudy Last

Wicca was around in the 19th century IN AMERICA before Gerald Gardner, and was practiced as a self-conscious religion. It had a Masonic and secret society pattern, worshiped a unified Goddess and Horned God, employed religious use of the athame, casted circles, and revered “wise women.” All this is historically documented in a book written and published by my great-grandmother in 1894 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was a Faery. Her book circulates in numerous libraries throughout the United States. See “Remembering a Faery Tradition: A Case of Wicca in Nineteenth-Century America,” by myself, to learn about her book. My book is at Amazon. There is no other book like mine out there. Her book is somewhat cryptic (at first), until you realize what you are reading, so you will probably need my book for guidance–or you could just have fun with it all by yourself. It took me decades to figure out everything that was going on–and I have uncovered more things since publishing my own book. For instance, Nathanial “Mace” is a reference to the Masonic aspects of Wicca. “Dr. Sears” is a reference to the Roebuck, as in “Sears-Roebuck.” Nevertheless, it is fun to look for all the clues–some “may” jump out at first, although you probably won’t find them all. The reason you won’t find them is because they are so “obvious”–therefore it is also ironic. One other piece of helpful advice is to look for what appear as “mistakes.” Over the next year I am going to try and make a power-point presentation and put it on the web. I will post it here perhaps. For all the skeptics, all I can say is, Give It a Chance. Be open-minded.

Trudy Last

I’m sorry. I forgot to give he title of my great-grandmother’s book. It is called “The Veteran’s Bride and Other Poems: Stories of the Late War,” P.D. Farrell and Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1894.


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