The Wiccan religion originated in the first half of the 20th century, and continues to grow in popularity as many people expand their spiritual horizons. As it encourages individuality, Wiccans have varying beliefs and ways of practising. There are many solitary practitioners as well as small groups, called covens or groves. Even though Wicca is also called Pagan Witchcraft, its practitioners don not always worship multiple deities. Their beliefs about gods are as varied as the practice and include:
Monotheism – These Wiccans believe in a single creative force in the Universe, normally referred to as ‘The One,’ ‘The All,’ or ‘The Goddess.’
Duotheism – ‘The God’ and ‘The Goddess’ are believed to represent the male and female aspects of ‘The All’ respectively. The polarity of the divine is acknowledged and is believed to be present in all beings.
Polytheism – The majority of Wiccans believe in and worship a combination of gods, and goddesses, which have been serving various cultures since civilisation began. Each one represents a different aspect of the divine. Celtic spiritual beliefs are common among Wiccan followers, who also practise their religious celebrations. Other cultures which have influenced the Wiccan deities include: Ancient Greeks, Ancient Egyptians, The Sumerians, and aboriginal cultures such as the Native Americans.
Though not as numerous, there are Wiccans that have agnostic or atheist beliefs and either cannot relate to, or do not acknowledge, the presence of a god force. Some of the other Wiccan beliefs include:
The Wiccan Rede – This is the main ethical teaching of the religion, and states ‘as it harms none, do what thou wilt.’ For each action they take, a Wiccan practitioner must first decide if it will not harm anyone else, including future generations and the environment..
Harmony With Nature – Wicca is a natural religion and Wiccans place significant importance on the environment and its components. Some Wiccans believe that all living things have a spirit within them, including animals, plants, the planets and other heavenly bodies. Many of their rituals are focused on harmonising themselves with nature.
Gender Equality – Their bond with nature and understanding of its sexual polarity, such as the masculine element of rain and the feminine nurturing ability of the earth, has resulted in practitioners celebrating both sexes equally. Females are recognised as the nurturers of humanity and the bringers of life unto the earth. Many covens have a female high priestess, and do their best to have an equal number of members of each gender.
Sexual Sacredness – Human sexuality is viewed as a beautiful, powerful and pleasurable experience among Wiccans. They believe that there should never be manipulation or coercion to perform sexual acts, and many of them perform rituals which harness the power of sexual energy. They also believe in three different, and unchosen, sexual orientations: heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality.
Three- Fold Law – Wiccans believe that each action they commit, either good or bad, is returned to them three-fold during this lifetime. This concept of karma ensures that they do not willingly manipulate, dominate or cause harm to others.