Magickal History

Wicca is a Neo-Pagan religion that was inspired by the many pre-Christian religions
throughout the world. Its name derived from an old  European language meaning Wise
(root word
wit). Witches, Midwives and Healers are considered Wise ones for they were
the healers to go to during pregnancy, for family issues, when someone was ill, or for life
coaching. Wise women and Wise men, in those days, were the family doctors,
psychologists and family counselors. They prepared herbal brews for healing and made
people feel a comfort just knowing that they were there if ever needed. These women
gained a great amount of respect in their communities. During the times of the
European
Inquisition,
when Wise Women began to threaten affluent males in the community or
towns' folks
Wise women were executed burned at the stake, stoned or drowned. Their
primary accusation was that they were instruments of the devil, witches or non-christian
believers.  Hundreds of thousands of women died this way between Europe and the New
World (North America) between the 13th century and the 17th centuries. This time of
atrocity is called the
Burning Times. It was a mass genocide that managed to escape the
history books. Most of the murders were directed under the authority of churches. They
believed themselves bestowed by God to do so.

Although Witchcraft has never truly faded from use Wicca came into true popularity, onto
the American shores, from Europe, in the 1950's and 1960's during the
Renaissance of the
Feminine
(the women's movement) During that time women felt that the God inside of
them was not addressed, and they needed to fill the void for their own spirituality, and
recognize the spirit of Goddess.


African American Magickal History

In the college text book, “From Slavery to Freedom” the late John Hope Franklin,  wrote
about archaeological areas excavated in Africa. He said that they found the religion of
many African communities combined animism (the belief that all things imbue a spirit)
with the belief in ..."whole pantheons of deities and venerations of ancestors." He went on
to say “Africans believed that the spirits of their ancestors had great powers over their
lives.”  Franklin also mentions that these observed sites, to which Africans practiced their
spirituality, contained holy objects and icons like pieces of wood, bones of the deceased,
rocks, bits of metal, bells and rattles. These tools were used to invoke the spirits and their
patron gods. Needless to say Africans were not Christians when they were brought to the
Americas. Before they were brought to the New World the  Africans were shamanistic
and practiced the religions of magick or the metaphysical.  

Blacks used the services of Wise Africans  between the times of the
antebellum period and
the times after reconstruction. They did not have access to the medical establishment, or
they did not have the money for them. Blacks also felt the oppression of powerlessness
and they came to Wise ones to learn how to gain power. Wise people, who were African
Americans were called "Mama...," "Aunt..." "Papa..." or "Uncle..." and they practiced with
the teachings that were passed down from parent to child, or mentor or apprentice. Many
practitioner practiced Hoodoo, or with the practices past down to them from their
Ancestors.. Many of the practitioners were so gifted that their clients (including people
who were not of African American decent) came to seek their services, even if they had
means and access to a medical doctor or community midwifery.


During the women's movement in the 1950's and 1960's  Some liberated African American
women turned to religions like Santeria, Voodun, Lucumi or other African diaspora to seek
out the Goddess, while European American women found mentors like Gerald Gardner
who is said to have fathered modern Witchcraft in both Europe and in America.


So What is Wicca?

Wicca is the belief that the human spirit can achieve happiness, accomplishment and
balance through spiritual thought, determination and the alignment of the mind, body and
siprit, while connecting to the Divine Source. Many Wiccans believe that this Divine
Source or Divine Spirit is
Goddess. Some believe it is God. Most believe it is a combination
of both Goddess and God-
two parts equaling one Divine Whole. This Divine Spirit is
understood to have many
aspects to petition. The practitioner's choice of deity is based on
their desires and their connection to that deity. These aspects are considered
lower gods.
Petitioning these deities while aligning one's own spirit is what Wiccans and Witches call
Magick.

Magick is the medium in which Witches\Wiccans stake out intentions, expand their human
abilities,  seek universal truths, and immerse themselves in the ecological beauty they call
Creation, Nature, Earth and the overall Universe. Wiccan Magick is performed by casting
spells and preforming rituals. Rituals are actions or rites. Wiccans preform rites to carry
out their intentions. Magick and rituals are often performed during the
Pagan Sabbats and
Esabats, which are the pre-Christian and aged old holidays (holy days). These holy days
were established  in the ancient times of Europe.  We now think of them as the Pagan and
or Witch calender. This calendar year is called the "Wheel of the Year".    

Wicca is an Earth-based spirituality. Wiccans believe that the Earth and all of the known
Universe is
God/dess creation - so it is sacred. Wiccans also believe in the unknown
Universes (time and space yet to be discovered). We believe we draw our powers through
the Universe(s).  Most Wiccans and Pagans believe that the Earth is a living breathing, self-
regenerating  and self-renewing entity with elements known and unknown. Wiccans
believe that all these primal elements are Magickal.  Wiccan philosophy is that these
elements are spiritual forces that are more than willing to work with the human energy to
bring about continuity, changes and newness. It is believed that the human energy and the
elemental forces are attracted to each other, and, like different parts of an atom, they
come together to create energy, matter and evolution. Wiccans believe that this energy can
be used to create
magickal workings.


The Three Folds Law
Wiccans believe in preforming Magick, but they also believe in harming no one when
doing so. Wiccans believe in a
three folds law that states doing harm to others, either in
Magick or without, comes back to the person preforming the action three times. Because
Wicca is considered the religion of the Wise we know that using Magick against others,
the earth and all living things is not prudent.

In a word-Wicca is also synonymous with harmony, and harmony is the Wiccan's quest.
We seek balance and harmony in all thing of Nature, ourselves and the Universe. We
desire to learn the ancient Magickal mysteries of the
"All" regardless if it is Eastern,
Western or any philosophy in between.  We do not fear searching for truth in other  
philosophies or in other books, because we know that it is natural to find truth in all
places, and not just one source. That is why some of us are also Buddhist, African rooted
religion, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and yes Christian. Wicca inspires learning and truth and
encourages the seeker to seek, because after all the word does mean
Wise.

Question: What is the difference between Witches and Wiccans?

Believe it or not even some Witches are often confused about this. The answer is not cut
and dry, and many Wiccans and Witches debate the answers. The basic fact is that
Wiccans are Witches, but not all Witches are Wiccan. It is like Presbyterians are
Christians, but not all Christians are Presbyterians. Wiccans practice Witchcraft and
follow the
Wiccan Rede. The Rede is a list of core principles or standards. This makes
Wicca a type of religion for Witches. Other Witches may respect the Rede but feel they do
not need any restraint or dogmatic restrictions.
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