What you are about to read is an excerpt from The Truth About Witchcraft by Scott Cunningham. I believe that his writings tell a easily understood story of the truth about witchcraft. Read on if you wish to understand.
Wicca is a contemporary religion. Its practitioners revere the Goddess and God as the creators of the universe - as tangible, conscious beings.
Though in general Wiccans don't subscribe to one specific form, they accept reincarnation and magick, revere the Earth as a manifestation of the Goddess and God, and meet for religious ceremony at times appointed by the Moon and Sun.
Wicca isn't an organized religion in the sense that Christianity is organized, but national groups do exist within the U.S. for the purpose pf protecting Wiccans from legal, literary, and physical abuse.
Wiccans are women and men of every profession, cultural background, and religious upbringing. For many of them Wicca is the only religion they've found that encourages love for the Earth and it's inhabitants...
(human, animal, and vegatable), and that promotes the practice of folk magick to transform their lives into positive experiences.
Women, especially are drawn to it because of its acceptance of the feminine aspect of Divinity - the Goddess.
Wiccans aren't organizing to rule the world or to overthrow Christianity, despite the frnzied lies that are daily broadcased be televangelists. Its ashererents aren't out on the streets or on the phones ready to accept converts.
Indeed, most Wiccans are intelligent enough to realize that their religion isn't the only path th Deity - a trait shared with few members of other religions.
But for them, it's the right path.
Witchcraft: The *craft* of the Witch - Magick, especially magick utilizing *personal energy* in conjunction with energies within stones, herbs, colors, and other natural objects. (See folk magick.)
By using this defination, Witchcraft isn't a religion. However, some followers of Wicca use this word to denote their religion
Yes, this is a bit confusing.
Witch: In ancient times, a practitioner of the remants of pre-Christian folk magick, particularly that kind relating to herbs, stones, wells and rivers.
One who practiced *Witchcraft*. Later, this term's meaning was deliberatly altered to denote a demented, dangerous, supernatural being who practiced destructive magick - a threat to Christianity.
This change in meaning was a political, monetary, and sexist move on the part of organized religion - not a change in the practices of Witches.
This later, erroneous meaning is still accepted by many non-Witches. It is also used by some members of Wicca to describe themselves.
Wicca: A contemporary *Pagan* religion with spiritual roots in the earliest expressions of reverence of nature.
Some of its major identifying motifs are: reverence for the Goddess and God; acceptance of reincarnation of some kind; acceptance of magick; and ritual observance of astronomical and agricultural phenomena.
Pagan: From the Latin *paganus*, meaning country dweller. Today it is sedas a general term for the followers of Wicca and other magical and polytheistic religions.
It is also used to refer to pre-Christian religious and magickal systems.
Pentacle: A ritual object (usually a circular piece of wood, metal, clay, etc.) upon which a five-pointed star (Pentagram) is inscribed, painted, or engraved.
It represents the Element Earth. The words "pentagram" and "pentacle" are not interchangeable.
Pantagram: The basic interlaced five-pointed star, visualized with one point upward.
The pentagram represents the five senses, the Elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Akasha), the hand, and the human body.
it is a protective symbol known to have been in use since the days of ols Babylon. Today it is frequently associated with Wicca. A symbol of power (energy).
Magick: The projection of natural energies (such as Personal energy) to create needed change. energy exists within all things: ourselves, plants, stones, colors, sounds, movements.
magick is the process of rousing this energy, giving it purpose, and releasing it.
Magick is a natural, not supernatural, practice, but is little understood.
Personal energy:That energy which sustains our bodies. It originatesnwithin the Goddess and God.
First we absorb it from out biological mother within the womb, and later from food, water, the Moon and Sun, and other nautral objects.
We release it during movement, exercise, sex, conception, and childbirth.
magick is a movement of personal energy for a specific goal.
Akasha: The fifth element - the omnipresent spiritual power theat permeates the universe. It is the energy out of which the Elements are formed.
These are some definations which may or may not be useful to you in getting a better understanding of Wicca and Witchcraft.
The next two sections in this "story" are to deal with Folk Magick and the Goddess and God. Read on if you are still interested.
I must stop here for now... more on Folk magick later!