I don’t have a strong religious background. My Sunday school education ended at age twelve. Neither my parents nor any of my grandparents went to church. Lately, though, I’ve become interested in reading about all types of religious beliefs.
In particular, I’ve been reading about Wicca, primarily because it’s at the core of an urban fantasy I’m writing. I also took an introductory course on the topic last year. That six-evening session was so interesting that it inspired further reading. Our instructor recommended books by Scott Cunningham, so I picked up a couple. Here’s a snippet of notes I made from his work:
. Wicca is a loosely organized pagan religion centering toward reverence for the creative forces of nature, usually symbolized by a Goddess and a God.
. Wiccan’s spiritual roots accepts magic. Wicca doesn’t solicit members because it doesn’t claim to be the one try way to deity. (I like that part.)
. Wicca is a joyous religion that stems from a kinship with nature. It is a merging with the goddesses and gods, the universal energies that created all in existence. It is a personal, positive celebration of life.
. Wicca arose from shamanic beginnings, which the author says was the first, original religion. (I know plenty of Christians who would disagree, but there you go, diversity of opinion, right?)
. The Wiccan rule of morality: do what you want, as long as you harm none. Also, do nothing that will harm yourself. Concern and love for the planet is at the heart of Wicca.
Wicca has gained a lot of popularity over the last twenty years. You could say that it’s been making a slow but steady comeback. As hard as some people tried in earlier centuries, this earth-based religion never really died. If practitioners are true Wiccans, they use magic solely to make the world a better place, to heal and to help.
As with most fantasy novels, authors who write about witches are actually writing about Wiccans gone wrong. It’s where a writer’s imagination takes off, and why I love this genre as a reader and a writer.