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(part 1 of 2) What is Wicca?

The word wicca comes from the Saxon root wicce, loosely translated as “wise” or “to bend or shape the unseen forces.” Wicca is the largest of the Neopagan[1] religions which are reconstructions of ancient abandoned pagan belief systems, including Celtic, Egyptian, Greek, Norse, Roman, and other traditions. Thus as an earth-centered religion, Wicca’s origins predate Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Wicca could be termed one of the oldest religions in the world; on the other hand it could be called one of the newest since Wicca, as we know it today, is a recently created, earth-centered, Neopagan religion that can be traced back to Gardnerian Witchcraft which was founded in the United Kingdom during the late 1940s. A good general rule is that most Wiccans are Neopagans but not all Neopagans are Wiccans.

Some Wiccans recognize a single supreme being sometimes referred to as “The One” or “The All“, who has female and male aspects referred to as the ‘Goddess and God’. Others practice Wicca by recognising the existence of many ancient gods and goddesses, including but certainly not limited to: Aphrodite, Artemis, Briget, Diana, Dionysius, Fergus, Hecate, Isis, Pan, Thor, etc. Wicca has also been called atheistic (no belief in a deity or deities). Some Wiccans view the Goddess and God as symbols, not as living entities. Thus many Wiccan might be considered Atheists. Because Wiccans worship nature and nature goddesses and gods, they could also be called pantheists.

According to the reputable Canadian website Religious Tolerance some Wiccans consider Wicca and Witchcraft to be synonymous, however many others differentiate between the two, Wicca being the religion and witchcraft being the practice of magic. Under this definition, Witchcraft is not a religion and thus there are many people who consider that witchcraft can be practised by members of any religion.

Many, perhaps most, Wiccans are solitary practitioners; they perform their rites alone. Others form covens or groves which are informal groups of Wiccans. There is often no coordinating group above the coven level; no state, or national organizations – thus there are no reliable statistics. Some unverifiable estimates state that there are up to 750,000 Wiccans in the United States making Wicca the 5th largest organized religion in the United States. However all estimates are nothing more than estimates with no concrete facts on which to base firm conclusions.

Wicca is sometimes known as witchcraft or the craft because of its association with spells and charms. Magic spells can be designed to attempt to either harm or help others, however Wiccans are prohibited by their belief system from engaging in spells or any activities that harm others. The main rules of behaviour are the Wiccan Rede: “Do whatever you wish as long as it harms no one”, which forbids harming people, including themselves, except in some cases of self-defence, and the Three-fold Law: “All good that a person does to another returns three-fold in this life; harm is also returned three-fold.”

According to Mnemosyne’s Realm[2], “Spells are not about turning people into frogs or granting wishes. A spell is a set of actions and prayers that you do and say in order to ask for divine help with some particular aspect of your life.” Wiccans believe that the energies that we create influence what happens to us thus negative magic rebounds on the perpetuator, as in the three-fold law. Other important ethical teachings include living in harmony with others and treating the environment with respect. There are eight Wiccan days of celebration that follow the phases of the moon and the seasons and are called Sabbats. The Sabbats are believed to have originated in the cycles associated with hunting, farming, and animal fertility.

The pentacle and pentagram are the main symbols used by Wiccans and many other neo-Pagans. Some ritual items are common to almost every Wiccan tradition, such as the athame (ritual knife) and chalice (ritual cup). Others may be used by some traditions but not others: bells, brooms, candles, cauldrons, cords, drums, incense, jewellery, special plates, scourges, statues, swords, staves and wands. The meaning of these items, their use and manufacture will differ among traditions and individuals. Usually a Wiccan ritual will involve some sort of creation of sacred space (casting a circle), invocation of divine power, sharing of dance/song/food or wine and a thankful farewell and ceremonial closing. Rituals may be held at Wiccan “sabbats” or to mark life transitions such as births, coming-of-age, marriages/handfastings, housewarmings, healings, deaths or other rites of passage.[3]

Wiccans do not worship Satan. They do not even acknowledge his existence. Although their belief system often contains a pantheon of gods and goddesses, none of them is an all-evil deity even remotely like the Satan found in Christianity. As mentioned in the articles on this web site about Satanism, in the 15th and 16th centuries the Catholic Church theorized that Satan worship and malevolent witchcraft existed and were massive threats. This gave rise to the Witch burnings that have come to be termed the burning times or alternatively the female holocaust. Up to 50,000 people were tried for heresy and tens of thousands were executed. Many people now associate present-day Wiccans with fictional stories about these witches from the Middle Ages, some conservative denominations still teach this fiction as fact.

In part 2 we will compare Wicca to Islam and ask the question, could a religion that does not believe in Satan truly be free from Satanic influences?

Footnotes:
[1] Neopagan means new pagan. Pagan – derived from the Latin paganus meaning country dweller.
[2] “What is Wicca,” Mnemosyne’s Realm, at: (http://www.io.com/~be_think/wicca.htm)
[3] From The Wicca Cook Book by Jamie Wood and Tara Seefeldt

 

(part 2 of 2): Evil by Default

When a person establishes that Wicca and Satanism are poles apart it is easy to think that Wicca is a harmless religion. It may even appear that Wicca in the 21st century is little more than harmonious hippy sentiments and ancient nature based religions converted into a form of environmentalism. However this is not the reality. Dealing with witchcraft in seriousness, or in fun, is a dangerous pastime. Letting the lines blur between whom or what controls the destinies of mankind is risky, even perilous. Although it seems clear that the vast majority of Wiccans neither believe in nor knowingly work with Satan, the Islamic opinion is that Wiccan religion is heavily influenced by Satan, whether the practitioners intend it to be so or not.

First let us examine one of the most basic principles of Islam. As one of the pillars of faith a Muslim believes in Qadr, or divine destiny. Whatever happens in our lives, both the good, and what we perceive as bad, is part of what God decreed long before we even came into existence. Nothing happens without the permission of God, not even a leaf falling from a tree or a raindrop falling on your window pane. Therefore, to imagine that someone or some magic words are able to change good into bad or bring about desirable outcomes is really quite absurd. To put our faith in something else other than God Himself is useless, but not only that, for a Muslim it is dangerous.

Believing that God has partners or that there are people who have more access to God then others is a major sin, and Satan wants nothing more than to lead people away from God and onto a path of destruction. Therein lays the danger in Wicca. Those who consider Wicca as a religion say that casting spells is little more than asking for divine help. However God because of his love for His creation has given us the Quran and the authentic Sunnah (teachings of Prophet Muhammad) from which we learn the correct way to ask for divine help. Divine help is not found with the aid of bells, candles, brooms, caldrons, wands or other Wiccan paraphernalia. A person should put his trust in God and ask help from Him alone. God alone is the one who bestows blessings or removes harm and relives distress.

“None in the heavens and the earth knows the Unseen except God, nor can they perceive when they shall be resurrected.”(Quran 27: 65)

Witchcraft, fortune telling and psychic predictions are no more than tricks from Satan designed to lead human beings to their doom. Having said that however, the existence of magic is confirmed by the Quran and traditions of Prophet Muhammad. It is a reality and a truth. The trick lies in making people believe that playing with forces of evil is harmless. Even if the matter at hand is benign, magic in all its forms turns a person’s face away from God. Magic is an art that requires skill and proficiency, and it is a type of knowledge that has a foundation, methodology and principles. Learning it is not permissible in Islam. The craft and its close relatives such as Tarot cards, reading tea leaves and horoscopes are forbidden to Muslims.
“Whoever goes to a fortune teller and asks him about anything, his prayers will not be accepted for forty days.”[1]

This speaks volumes about the gravity of the situation and in some countries even fooling with magic and magic implements is punishable by law.

Recently two men were arrested at a United Arab Emirates airport. In their luggage was found 1200 objects classified illegal in 28 categories, these included texts containing magic spells and rituals, talismans, animal hides and bones, containers holding blood and other liquids, strings and strange rings. The director of customs there mentioned that people’s credulity was often repaid with fraud. This is another reason why Wicca is not accepted by Islam, whether it is practiced as a religion or not.

People who claim to be able to tell you what will happen in the future are for the most part making false predictions based on their knowledge of personalities, body language etc. However there are another category of people who really do deal with Satan and his minions both from the jinn and from mankind. These people are enveloped in evil whether they realise it or not and sadly a great deal of harm can be done by people who think they are doing good or indulging in a harmless pastime.

There is a kind of magic that is aimed at creating hatred or love. It is done by tying knots and blowing on them, and using potions. This magic is capable of making a man love or hate his wife, or a woman love or hate her husband. It may also affect a person’s relationship with people other than his or her spouse. Hence God has commanded us to seek refuge with Him from the evil of those who blow onto knots, and to seek refuge with Him from every evil.

Say: “I seek refuge with God, the Lord of the daybreak, From the evil of what He has created, And from the evil of the darkening (night) as it comes with its darkness; (or the moon as it sets or goes away), And from the evil of those who practise witchcraft when they blow in the knots, And from the evil of the envier when he envies.” (Quran 113)

In conclusion ancient pagan belief systems are just that, ancient pagan belief systems. There is no need to reinvent beliefs thousands of years old. God has given us a religion (i.e. Islam) worthy of humankind and it truly does hold all the answers. Wicca may seem like a peaceful oasis to many but true peace lies in obeying the commandments of God and living the life predetermined for you by God.

Footnotes:
[1] Saheeh Muslim