Wicca is a pagan religion, this means that its adherents worship pre-Christian Gods and Goddesses of the land and includes the practice of Witchcraft. This reference for ancient deities may at first seem strange, but the message of balance in nature and between the sexes is very relevant and modern. The old Gods and Goddesses have it appears been merely snoozing the centuries away, awaiting the time when they could return to their people at their time of need.
The view that life, fun, love and enjoyment of almost every kind are sacred and the divine gift of the Gods and Goddesses is one that Christianity would find hard to accept. In most world religions including Islam, Christianity, and Judaism there is a predominant view that the ultimate spiritual goal is beyond this earth and all pleasures of this world are attempts to corrupt your true purpose. In Wicca the divine is seen in all the fun and pleasures of this life, the old Gods were not in the least staid or boring.
Humanity has made many mistakes regarding the environment, poisoned landscapes and long lists of recently extinct species bear silent witness to this fact. Many Wiccans believe that the loss of respect for the natural world is a direct consequence of the patriarchal religions that have dominated history for the last thousand years. This may be true, the facts certainly support the theory, but it is undeniable that Wiccan philosophy could not allow many of the historic environmental mistakes to have occurred.
If you accept that Witches still exist, what sort of people are they and why haven’t you heard very much about them?
The popular image of the Witch is of an old bent woman with a hooked nose wearing a tall pointed black hat and a long black cape riding a broomstick in the company of a black cat. This is a stereotype that has been perpetuated and popularised by such diverse media as fairy tales, cartoons, fantasy fiction, TV, horror and comedy films. Examples of a Witch portrayed in a good light in the media are unfortunately rare, however there are a few examples, such as Samantha in the old American TV series “Bewitched”. Today with the exception of the of Halloween night you are unlikely to see many Witches that conform to this popular stereotype.
Most modern witches are perfectly ordinary looking people, who you may well meet in your everyday life and not notice anything strange about them. A few have occupations such as Tarot reading, Astrology, or spiritual healing where it can be an advantage to dress in an outlandish style, but this is definitely a minority. They work in a wide variety of occupations and may be either old or young. Both men and women can be witches as they were in medieval times, it is often forgotten that in some countries more men were executed for witchcraft than women.
Witches as a group of people do tend to have some similarities. There is a deep regard for nature in all its forms in the religion so many are members of a wide range of ecological and environmental groups. The respect for nature and animals also means many are vegetarians. They are people who believe that more exists in this world and beyond than can be easily explained by science alone. This means they have a spiritual aspect to them that is often missing in modern western society. Wicca has both male and female deities and has a special respect for females. This female bias has resulted in many crossovers with feminist organisations.