Wicca FAQs

Commonly Asked Questions about Wicca, The Old Religion

Q: Do Wiccans believe in God?

A: Not only do we believe in and worship the God, we honor the Divine as the Goddess. Worship is a very personal thing among Wiccans. Wicca is nondogmatic, subscribing to no one official creed or belief. Some Wiccans view Deity as a single force or energy; others are polytheistic, worshiping many Gods and Goddesses, and honoring the Ancient Ones of many cultures. We honor our Deities and our spiritual and familial Ancestors on holy days, called Sabbats and Esbats. In general, Sabbat Festivals mark the changes in season and are primarily solar-based. There is an emphasis on the God as he changes through the cycle of the year from a God of Vegetation and Grain to a God of the Harvest and the Hunt. Esbat rituals are attuned to the changing lunar phases as we honor the Goddess in her Triple Aspects of Maiden, Mother and Crone.

Q: Where does Jesus fit in?

A: Jesus is a Christian deity. Wicca is not anti-Christian, but it is non-Christian. Many Wiccans acknowledge Jesus as a prophet or Enlightened Being. These individuals honor Jesus as they would any of the other great spiritual prophets, including, but not limited to: Mohammed, Moses, Krishna, and Buddha. It might be that some Wiccans honor Jesus and Mary as patron Deities, their personal image of the Lord and Lady, but it would be a very rare practice.

Q:Can a person be both Wiccan and Christian, (or Jewish, etc.)? 

A: No. Wicca is a religion just like any other, and a choice to follow Wicca leads to a leaving of other religions. This is the same as asking if a person can be an Islamic Hindi, or a Jewish Buddhist. They simply do not mix in that way. It is true that most followers of Wicca hold that all positive and life-affirming traditions and religious practices are valid, and that there is more than one true way to enlightenment. This is why Wiccans do not practice a 'renouncing' or 'dishonoring' of previous religious or spritiual paths. Many faiths such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Bahai also follow this philosophy. It must be kept in mind, however, that Christianity, Judaism and Islam specifically prohibit the following of any other faith or the recognition of other Gods.

Q: Are you Satanists?

A: NO. Wiccans do not believe in a personification of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as Satan or the Devil as defined by Christian Tradition. Wiccans do worship the God as the Horned One, the Consort of the Goddess, and a living symbol of fertility, joy and love. During the times of the Inquisition, the Christian Church declared that the ancient Horned God of the Pagans was actually the Devil. They extracted signed confessions, acknowledging the devil as the leader of the witches, by subjecting thousands of innocent people, mostly women, to horrific torture, imprisonment and death. There is a religious movement called Satanism, which began during the Middle Ages as a political-religious protest to the control exerted over the masses by the Church. Satanism continues to this day under a variety of names. Satanism has nothing to do with Wicca.

Q: A Witch and a Wiccan are the same thing, right?

A: No (see the FAQ about Witchcraft). Anyone can practice witchcraft, meaning simple folk magick, and call themselves witches regardless of ethics, beliefs, or philosophy. Wicca is nondogmatic, with no centralized book of teachings. However, all Wiccans follow a basic ethical and moral code, which includes dedication to a spiritual path, worship of the Goddess and/or God, adherence to the Wiccan Rede, and belief in the Three-Fold Law. Many Wiccans are reclaiming the word 'witch' as a word of power, believing that this word has been unfairly maligned. There are people who use the term 'witch' who follow a spiritual/religious/ethical path, but who are not specifically Wiccan.

Q: What is the Wiccan Rede?

A: Wiccan philosophy and ethics can be summed up in the following 'traditional' poem, which, for all intent, is a Wiccan Code of Conduct: Bide the Wiccan Law ye must, In perfect love and perfect trust Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill; An ye harm none, do what ye will. What ye send forth comes back to thee, So ever mind the Rule of Three. Follow this with mind and heart, And Merry Meet and Merry Part! An' is an archaic form of the word if, and harm none refers to life on all levels - physical, spiritual, magickal, mental, emotional, etc. And it doesn't mean just other beings, but applies to the self as well. The Wiccan Rede is a reminder to live consciously and responsibly.

Q: Do Wiccans cast spells?

A: Yes. Most Wiccans practice magick (spelled with a 'k' to distinguish it from stage illusion). The Wiccan Rede dictates that no spell or work of magick be directed at anyone with an intent to cause harm. Even spells for healing and assistance should be undertaken only with express consent or a request from the individual for whom the work is done.

Q: What does the pentagram mean?

A: The Pentagram, or five-pointed star, is a general symbol of Witchcraft. It symbolizes Humankind reaching outward and inward from our environment (the circle). The five points may symbolize the head (intellect or Air) arms (activity or Fire) legs (Physical Form or Earth) and emotions (Water). The central enclosed area is the Divine or Spirit. This is only one of a variety of spiritual and magickal meanings associated with this ancient symbol. The Pentagram is worn as magickal amulet for protection and luck, and as a symbol of our faith. Modern day Witches also wear jewelry containing many other mystic symbols such as the Egyptian Ankh; the Equal-Armed Cross (Solar or Brigit's Cross); stars containing a variety of points from five to nine, depending on personal symbolism and tradition; astrological and planetary symbols; symbols representing personal animal totems; and folk-lore symbolism associated with the Craft such as four-leaf clovers, frogs, dragons, brooms, cauldrons, crystals and stones. This list could go on endlessly.

Q: Do Witches really dance around naked or wear long, black robes?

A: The art of magickal garb, or dress, is an ancient and well-honored tradition. Many people who are disturbed at the thought of people wearing long robes to religious rituals seem to forget that this custom is common among the clergy of most religions, from the vestments of the Pope, to the habits of nuns, to the saffron robes of Buddhist monks. Not all Wiccans choose to wear the color black, but many do. To us, black is a color of power, a color strongly associated with the Goddess. We do not associate black with negativity and death (and it should be noted that to many cultures, black is the color of marriage, and white is the color for funerals). At any given Festival, one is likely to see robes of all colors and designs. Sometimes the color represents a particular aspect of the season (such as green or white at Ostara, the Spring Equinox); but most often the color is personal choice. There are Wiccans, associated with specific Wiccan Traditions such as Gardnerian Wicca, who practice ritual 'sky-clad' (naked - clad only by the sky). One reason (there are several) is the belief that magick (and the flow of energy) is best worked when the body is as close to its natural state as possible. This work is taken very seriously; anyone who tries to join a sky-clad working group for the wrong reasons (believing sex to be an end result, for example) will find themselves disappointed and, probably, out on their ear very quickly!.

Q: Do Witches really use ritual daggers, brooms, cauldrons, etc?

A: Yes, but not for the reasons some would believe. Here is a very brief list of Traditional Craft Tools, and their general uses:

  • The Athame: or ritual dagger, represents the Element of Air, and is used for projecting energy, especially for constructing a ritual circle. The Athame is NEVER used to cut anything, and certainly is not used for activities such as as drawing blood.
  • The Broom: used for psychically clearing the ritual area, and is often used in fertility magick. One example is the tradition of jumping over the broom at Handfastings, a Wiccan ritual of marriage.
  • The Cauldron: An ancient symbol of the Goddess and of the cycle of death, rebirth and life. Often used in circle to represent the Element of Water or Spirit. Water is also represented by the Chalice.
  • The Wand: represents the Element of Fire. The wand is sometimes used in place of the Athame, and is used to project energy. There are different types of wands, each charged with a specific purpose. Many wands of the crystal type are used in healing.
  • The Pentacle: A flat, round disc of wood or metal onto which a five-pointed star is drawn. This is the symbol for the Element of Earth. Earth is often represented through the use of salt.

Other items on a Wiccan altar may include: an incense burner; stones, feathers; candles; offerings to the Goddess, such as flowers, shells, or holed stones; offerings to the God such as antlers, crystal pyramids or obelisks; a scrying mirror; a bowl of water; and food sacraments of wine or juice and cookies or bread.

© Coven of the Rowan Star 2016