Spirituality happens to be one of my most favorite subjects. The history of our Craft is an important subject to help build on the foundation of our current practices. Whether it is to remember something, so as not to repeat it, or if we need to keep it close to keep it safe, it is important to take the time to remember. I thought we would start with some popular if not controversial topics, such as when did the actual Wicca religion start?
The first real question is define Wicca. Wicca is first, an earth based religion. The US Supreme Court has never actually ruled in a Wiccan case, but many use the case of The Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Ics (Santeria), and Ernesto Pichardo against The City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520 (1993) Mr. Pichardo used animal sacrifice which is not practiced in Wicca, to define what can be considered a religion, as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Many people believe that Wicca was started by Gerald Gardner who wrote a series of books on it as a British Civil Servant, in the 1940’s. Others believe it is an extension of “The Craft” also known as “Craft of the Wise” dating back before Christ. These books reference the different practices of a Wiccan which include but are not limited to, Celtic Deities, symbols used, The Wheel of the Year and its celebrations, as well as ceremonial magic adopted from the Masons.
It is the opinion of this author, that Wicca started as a religion, when it was recognized as such with the help of the Civil Rights act. A religion in general, is an organized approach to human spirituality based on documents or writings, symbols, and practices that give meaning to the person’s life through reference to a higher power or truth. Whether or not you practice Dianic Wicca, Gardnerian Wicca, or an eclectic mix, you are a Wiccan. It is also the opinion of this author, that the Craft, and its traditions and practices existed long before anyone ever wrote about it.
Before there were even courts to consider such things, back when the only church around was a Christian one, and even before the time of church buildings to go to, people who were close to the earth, itself, were considered to be a part of The Craft simply because, they were close to the patterns of the earth. In order to survive, you needed food and water. People planted crops, harvested, and distributed that harvest, according to when it was ready to be gathered. Farmers would plant their crops according to the patterns of the seasons, so their food would grow. This promoted a recognition of The Wheel of the Year, because it was necessary to be able to eat during the winter. People needed to pay attention to when that was coming, and celebrate each change. It simply made sense, and was completely dependent on the earth. Hence, Earth Based religion.
Not all farmers were or are Wiccan, and not all Wiccans are farmers. No matter whether you are, or participate in another form of spirituality doesn’t really matter; whether you consider yourself part of a modern form of Wicca, or part of something less organized but practicing similar traditions, just doesn’t matter. What does matter, is that you practice a form of spirituality which works for you.
If you would like to comment on anything I’ve written, or would like more information in general, please feel free to email me at [email protected]