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First Lesson in Wicca: What Wicca Is, and What Wicca Isn't

Updated on August 11, 2016
WiccanSage profile image

A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.

Welcome, Seekers!

If you have found your way to my Hubs, you are probably looking for information about Wicca. Perhaps you are curious, perhaps interested, perhaps trying to learn... allow me to try to clarify so you can begin to understand.

Sometimes the very beginning is the hardest place to begin. Whenever someone asks me what Wicca is, I find that it's a little like being in a Robert Frost poem-- I begin explaining and way leads onto way. It seems every answer brings about another series of questions.

This only proves the point that it's hard to put an entire theology into a nutshell! Wicca is as complex as every other religion you may have heard of (and maybe more, in a lot of ways).

There seems to be so much information out there about Wicca that is just plain wrong; many people already have preconceived notions that are totally off base, so I would like to try to meet you at your current position. Let's see if we can figure out what you know about Wicca so far...

Wicca for Beginners

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If you're looking for a great first read, I recommend:

Wicca for Beginners: Fundamentals of Philosophy & Practice
Wicca for Beginners: Fundamentals of Philosophy & Practice

To date, probably the most friendly, clear, concise introduction to Wicca on the market. Simple and well-explained, this book does not muddy the waters by delving into all things occult, but gives a straight and detailed answer to the question, "What is Wicca?"

 

Wiccan Sources-- Hit or Miss

So, how did you do? Maybe you were shocked that you did better than you thought-- or maybe you were flabbergasted to find you didn't do as well as you expected. Either way, it's a good way to assess whether or not any information you've been exposed to so far has been good or bad.

If you didn't do very well, don't blame yourself. Wiccan sources can really be hit or miss. Some people are much more interested in making money by selling books or generating traffic to their site than they are about getting the record straight about Wicca. And some people mean very well-- they love Wicca and want to share what they've learned with the world-- but they have learned from those bad sources.

It is hard to know straight away when you're new if a source is going to be good or bad. I'll do my best to lead you to reputable, accurate information.

Not Everything is Accurately Labeled "Wicca"

A religion by definition cannot be 'anything'; and 'anything' cannot by definition be a religion.
A religion by definition cannot be 'anything'; and 'anything' cannot by definition be a religion.

What Wicca Isn't

Sometimes it's easier to push aside the misconceptions about Wicca before getting to what it actually is. So lets begin correcting some of the worst information. I promise to get much deeper into explanations about what Wicca is and isn't as we go along learning in additional hubs; but for now, allow me to briefly touch on what Wicca is not:

Wicca is not an ancient religion. It was once believed to be, and that myth has unfortunately lingered and is still claimed by a lot of popular authors. But we know that Wicca is a thoroughly modern invention.

Wicca and Witchcraft are not the same thing. Back to when Wicca was being founded, again, it was believed to be the ancient religion of Witches. Once again, reputable historians and sociologists have debunked this claim. One can still be a Wiccan Witch, and traditionally Wiccans do practice The Craft (myself included). But it's no longer a given.

Wiccans don't worship the Earth. We revere it, but we worship our Gods. Wicca is a theistic religion.

Wicca is not every New Age or Occult practice you can name. Certainly Wiccans are free to pursue the Tarot, astrology, crystals, herbalism, runes, I-Ching, phrenology, spirit animals, spiritualism, etc. etc... there are a number of different spiritual practices that go hand-in-hand nicely with Wicca. But that doesn't make them Wicca.

It is important to realize that none of these things are required. And learning these things does not necessarily mean you are Wiccan, or learning Wicca. Think of Wicca as a pizza; these other things are just optional toppings.

Wicca is not "anything you want it to be". Wicca is a specific religion with a specific framework. Granted, there are a lot of beliefs in Wicca that are flexible. But that doesn't mean anything you want to believe, or anything you want to do, can be defined as Wicca. To say Wicca is everything, you may as well say Wicca is nothing... nothing but a catch-all phrase tacked on for "cool points".

Wicca isn't evil or Satanic. We don't actually believe in Satan, and while morals are always something you can debate, Wicca does not condone acts that could be described as "evil". If someone thinks our religion is wrong, or untrue, they have a right to their opinion. But to call us something we are not is ignorance.



Learn More About Wicca

Wicca is a religion.
Wicca is a religion.

More recommended reading matter...

The Heart of Wicca: Wise Words from a Crone on the Path
The Heart of Wicca: Wise Words from a Crone on the Path

This book gets down to the nitty-gritty of living your faith as a Wiccan. It shows Wicca is more than just an expensive hobby in which you have to collect lots of witchy tools, herbs and silver jewelery; it's more than dancing around bonfires once or twice a year. It's a lifestyle.

 

What Wicca Is

Now we get to the meat (or, for you vegetarians, the tofu) of the article. Mind you, it's not easy to do justice to any system of beliefs in a few short paragraphs, but I will attempt to bullet point it:

Wicca is a religion. First and foremost, Wicca is focused on a relationship with deity, how to live your life by certain principles, tenets, ethics, rites, holy days, etc.

Wicca is a Pagan fertility religion. More specifically than just being a religion, Wicca is a Pagan religion. Worship generally revolves around at least one male and at least one female deity. How Wiccans may view the nature of deity can vary, but generally we are polytheistic Pagans worshiping the Gods and Goddess of many different Pagan pantheons.

Wicca is a modern religion. Gerald Gardner pieced Wicca together through the 1940s. He thought he stumbled on an ancient Pagan Witch cult that had gone underground to escape Christian persecution. Gardner admitted his info was fragmentary. He was well traveled and well learned in various occult and esoteric studies; he worked with Doreen Valiente-- a writer, poet, and fellow student of the occult -- to draw from various complementary sources to piece together a workable system. The ancient underground Pagan Witch cult turned out to be a myth-- yet Gardner had found something that worked: a modern religion, for a modern age, that reconstructed/reinvented ancient beliefs and practices.

Wicca is an experiential religion. Most religions we're used to today are revealed religions, such as Christianity and Judaism-- religions in which people believe a God 'revealed' what he wanted us to know through scripture. Wicca has no scripture, and we do not believe any Gods revealed anything. Rather than specific instructions of what to do and not to do, Wicca provides a framework for tenets and practices through which the Wiccan can learn through personal study, observation and experiences.

So what is this framework? Wiccan tenets? Ethics? Philosophy? Well, that's another article. Several. We'll get there. Be patient.


What do you want to learn?

What kinds of things do you want to know most about Wicca?

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What complementary practices do you want to learn to use in conjunction with Wicca?

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Want to Learn Wicca?

Check out my hub directory with instructional materials and resources:

Wicca for Beginners: Free Online Wicca Lessons


Images: All symbols used here are Public Domain.

© 2012 Mackenzie Sage Wright

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    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

      Wow, I have to say this is quite an impressive hub...and amazingly put together for your first hub. Well, for any hub for that matter. It appears that you are a very talented and intelligent writer and Wiccan. Merry Meet and many blessings, friend!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Well put, and well said. I am a seeker, still a newbie exploring the various pagan options. At this stage in my life, I do not believe in any dieties, but I do believe in great respect for Mother Earth, and wise husbandry of her resources. I'm studying Tarot; but know nothing of herbalism, crystals, etc.

      I have heard it said, that most pagan philosophies (modern ones, anyway--not ascribed just to Wicca) center around the concept of, "Do as ye will; nay harm ye none."

      Thank you for a very well put introduction. Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Thank you, Kitty. I'm flattered as I have been exploring your hubs and thoroughly loving them, so thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I do like to write and create so Hub pages looked like a great thing to try. I will always fondly remember you as my first comment!

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Thank you so much MsLizzy. I totally agree, many Pagan philosophies share more thinking in common or not. I suppose that's why for people who come from religions with such diverse backgrounds and practices we are able to get along so well and respect each other.

    • karthikkash profile image

      Karthik Kashyap 4 years ago from India

      nice hub. I have been interested in Wiccan rituals and practices (though I don't follow a religion) for some time now. It will be great to know more about from your hubs :)

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi WiccanSage. This is a very interesting hub and I look forward to reading more from you. :)

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 4 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      A nice start for your first post. Welcome to the site and especially welcome to the informal Pagan community here.

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Great hub! I learned a lot. You are a wonderful writer. Looking forward to more!

    • Adrian Lavelle profile image

      Adrian Lavelle 4 years ago from Galway, Ireland

      Awesome Hub...there is something so poignant reading this hub on Christmas night....amazing stuff

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      This is great! Welcome to Hubpages, I can't wait to read more, nell

    • Sonia Perozzi profile image

      Sonia Perozzi 4 years ago from California

      This is a wonderful read and filled with great information. It is perfect for all of those whom you pointed out in the beginning of the article - "Perhaps you are curious, perhaps interested, perhaps trying to learn..." - spot on!

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Thank you so much, Karthikkash. I will probably be working on articles during the week and publishing batches every weekend, so I hope you will find what you are looking for. Appreciate your comments!

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Thank you bac2basics. I appreciate the complement, especially after reviewing some of your great hubs your opinion is valued.

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Thank you That Grrl, that is very kind of you. You make me feel so welcome.

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Thanks CR Rookwood, I have been enjoying your hubs as well.

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Adrian Lavelle, thank you so much for stopping by. I appreciate your comment. I'm so glad you found it useful.

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Thanks Nell Rose! So glad you stopped by, I appreciate the comment and the encouragement.

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Thanks Sonia Perozzi! I know how confusing it can be for beginners. I can't work as hands-on in the community anymore due to other life responsibilities but I'm hoping Hubs will be a way I can give back by helping others understand Wicca, and a way to express my love for this religion. Thanks again.

    • Chleo Splendora profile image

      Chleo Splendora 4 years ago from Miami, Florida

      I really enjoyed reading this! Great job on organizing the information, really enjoyed reading this! Keep writing, you have an amazing talent :)

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      I am flattered; thank you so much, I'm glad you enjoyed it and appreciate your comments.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have preached for some time now on HP to find a niche and pound it for all you are worth; you obviously understand this principle. It took me a year to figure out what mine was. :)

      My son has studied Wicca....I honestly don't know if he still practices it or not but I suspect he does. Thanks for the information, Sage. I hope you have a glorious weekend.

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thank you billybuc; I actually started doing Hubs because I wanted to write more on my religion. Mainly I ghost write for clients in other areas, for once I just wanted to express my own thoughts instead of what I'm told to say. I appreciate your comments, and I hope you have a great weekend as well this beautiful time of year.

    • profile image

      OllieTrolley 2 years ago

      On the last poll I clicked "Other". By that, I meant "All of the above".

    • jlpark profile image

      Jacqui 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for this hub. I'm setting myself a goal (kind of) to learn about any religion that interests me - not to convert or change - but to learn, and better myself as a person who understand more about the beliefs of others. This hub, and many of your other will be very useful!

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Hi, Ollie Trolley dear, so good to see you. I am still scrambling to try and get back into my normal routine and one of these days I actually plan to check my email and start catching up on my hub readings. Thanks for letting me know about the poll. Take care~

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Hi jlpark; that's great. I like to learn about different religions too, I always find something inspiring and it helps me understand where others are coming from. Glad you're enjoying my hubs, much appreciated!

    • bensen32 profile image

      Thomas Bensen 2 years ago from Round Lake Park

      Another good one, looking forward to reading more soon.

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Thanks bensen, good to see you again, thanks for your comment!

    • profile image

      Violet Cole 2 years ago

      I Enjoyed every thing I read I just wished I had a work book

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Hi Violet Cole, thanks for your comment. If you're learning about Wicca, you can always make your own 'work book' of sorts by printing out good articles and putting in some loose leaf paper for comments, questions and note taking. This can be a great organized way to study.

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      OdinsRaven 2 years ago from Nova Scotia

      Very informative and well laid out article. It's hard to add anything positive that hasn't already been said. Keep up the good work.

    • erorantes profile image

      Ana Maria Orantes 2 years ago from Miami Florida

      I like your article. Indirectly, we at least a few times in our lives practice Wicca. In a bad storm, some people light candles an pray to God before the electricity goes out. Herbs are great on food. When we cook. The numbers are important every day in our lives. We can not make mistakes with the numbers because it comes back to us if we make an error. There are other things that you wrote. I was fascinated. You are great. http://hubpages.com/feed/bhttp://hubpages.com/feed...

    • profile image

      Rebecca baby wiccan 2 years ago

      i found this article very informative and I don't know how I would be able to do it is it in Colorado Springs and I need help so I can start my year and a day training

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Great introduction to Wicca of which, I must frankly admit, had no idea at all. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Thank you Ranjan. I appreciate your comment and glad you found something new to learn here.

    • Molly Layton profile image

      Molly Layton 2 years ago from Alberta

      "What kinds of things do you want to know most about Wicca?" All of the above, please!

      This is a wonderful introduction to Wicca.

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Thank you Molly, glad you like it!

    • profile image

      Shamika Rowe 23 months ago

      A few years ago I found a dragon tarot deck in the middle of a blackberry forest, literally in the middle. It was like a magical cavern these grape vines had made. The was a tree in the middle with a stream. Ever since I took the dragons home, I thought I was instantly a witch for finding them. I tried spells from the internet, with no knowledge of what I was doing. It wasn't until a year ago I found someone who practices under the Goddesses. She did an Oracle reading on me and then everything felt so real. Now I am using my dragons and I feel so connected to them. I am trying to start my journey as a Wiccan Witch and I have no idea where to start or how to. Your articles are really helping me find my way in this. I thank you for creating it. Without out it, I would probably be lost.

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 23 months ago

      Thanks Shamika, I'm so glad to hear that my articles are helping you understand. Yes, there is a lot that goes by intuition and instincts, but as you can see there is also a lot to learn, so may you find your way to what you need. Blessings~ Sage

    • profile image

      SOD123 23 months ago

      Hi, I thought your article was very interesting. Seeing as I am being raised by a Wiccan mom I'm trying to get more information on Wicca. My mother says I'm a witch even though I'm a male... Does that mean the definition of a witch is a magick practitioner?

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 23 months ago

      Hi SOD. A Witch is someone who practices 'low magic' (as opposed to High Magic, or Ceremonial magic). Male or female, still are called a Witch. It's a gender-neutral term.

      The key word there being practice; if you practice Witchcraft, you are a Witch. Just being raised in a Wiccan household doesn't make you a Witch, or even a Wiccan for that matter. I have 3 kids and only one of them actually chose to practice Wicca & Witchcraft (so far). The other two are teens and are just along for the ride, they celebrate the sabbats and such with me or go to Pagan festivals but not much beyond that.

      When you start actually studying and practicing Witchcraft on your own, you're a Witch; when you start practicing the Wiccan religion on your own, you're a Wiccan. Though as my daughter (who is now 25 and dedicated herself to Wicca at 14) will tell you, it helps being raised with a parent in the Craft.

    • profile image

      Kaitlyn 21 months ago

      Much of this I already understood, in regards to what Wicca is and is not. I am a seeker, and extremely lost in a world full of religions that I cannot make myself believe in, no matter hard I tried. Wicca appears to have promise for me, although I cant help but feel skeptically about the existence of these deities that a Wiccan would be invoking. Ive always been hopeful that there are "supernatural" things in this world, including magic, so I am more than willing to delve into this lifestyle if I find it genuine.

      I suppose every Wiccan or witch has their own proccess of learning, and Im wondering what aspect I should begin with. Should I be reading about tenets, traditions and holidays, or should I be delving straight into learning about rituals? How do you choose a deity to worship/revere? Do any of them have specific aspects to take into consideration? I realize that I should buy some books and do my homework, but theres just so many questions...I am shamefully confused and lost as to what I believe, and what I really want out of this exploration of spirituality.

      Also how to I apply for this online class? Is there a program I need to download?

    • profile image

      Marylou 21 months ago

      Thank you for putting this together so beautifully....

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 20 months ago

      Hi Kaitlyn, thanks for your comment and questions. Sorry to say, the application for the Wiccan Way Grove is closed for this year.

      At this point in your journey, I think your best bet is to start with research. I wouldn't worry about getting into formal rituals at this point. Understanding what Wicca is about and the tenets, and beginning to consider your relationship with deity, is a good way to start. Meditation, some simple prayers and devotionals, etc. are also a good way to start, but I'd give it time before jumping into full-blown formal rituals.

      A good book to start with is Wicca for Beginners by Thea Sabin.

      I'm also going to be publishing an ebook shortly to help guide beginners through their first year of Wicca, so please keep on the look out for that.

      Thanks, and please feel free to ask any other questions!

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 20 months ago

      Thank you for your comment, Marylou, I appreciate it.

    • profile image

      Jennifer 20 months ago

      I dint see the quiz

    • profile image

      Taylor brady 19 months ago

      I was unable to find the quiz and the video did not work. I voted other and the reason I voted other is because I want to work with magick and crystals

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 19 months ago

      Hi Jennifer; it's there. Maybe computer glitchiness is going in?

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 19 months ago

      Hi Taylor; I don't know what was going on with the quiz, but I can see it. I'll check into the video, they change sometimes. Thanks for letting me know. As for magic and crystals, well anyone of any religion can do that if it interests you-- there's a lot of great articles on hubpages about those topics, some I wrote and some by others. It's a great resource to raid. Thanks for commenting!

    • profile image

      Holly 18 months ago

      I just stumbled on your page and I am really looking forward to reading your articles regarding Wicca. I am hitting my 2 months mark with studying about Wicca and I find that finding reliable sources on the internet is quite hard. So I am very glad I found yours. Thanks :D

    • profile image

      ParkerF 12 months ago

      This is great! I'm really interested in Wicca and I actually just completed my first successful spell a few hours ago. This is really helpful and I look forward to everything else you have to write :)

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 10 months ago

      Hi Holly, thanks a lot! I appreciate it and I'm glad you['re finding my articles useful! I've been on a long hiatus from Hubpages but plan to get back to publishing regularly now that my book is finished.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 10 months ago

      Hi Parker; hey, congrats on that first spell! Welcome to the Wiccan path, may you have a magical life!

      I'm glead you're finding my articles useful here at hubpages. I have been on a hiatus but now that my book is done I've been getting my website in order and have been reorganizing my hubs, but I intend to get back to publishing soon.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 9 months ago from London England

      One of the most fascinating women i've known along the journey has been Ishbel, clairvoyant, poetess and cat lover. Ishbel a girl's name of Scottish origin meaning 'oath of God'. Unfortunately i lost contact with Ishbel many years ago however i'm certain i've seen her in other incantations. Real name Olga Dorne (Olga is a Norse name meaning Holy) she managed to link up with Shirley Maclaine who i put in her age group, the 80's. Ishbel inherited her clairvoyance from her maternal side who had inherited that from her mother and mother's mother going back in time.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 9 months ago from London England

      Ishbel's inner circle at the time of my interest was entirely male with her officiating in the robes of her grading. I only know this from a photo i saw of the group after their ritual. Beginners were referred to as Neophytes and not told any thing specific regarding the craft. Ishbel however had a confidante who was younger and also clairvoyant. The advice i was given by her was that she could see my karma from a past life and that it would be better i not make a spiritual journey as many malign entities but to continue in this plane of existence and added that it was a pity i didn't have a girlfriend or feminine company. I asked her if i would ever go to prison and she saw nothing in that aspect but you'll experience a lot of misfortune along the way. And the finale moral was not to get involved in anything i don't understand as i don't have the psychic self defence.

    • profile image

      Henry 7 months ago

      Good job this was a lot of help thanks!

    • profile image

      doris oxendine 2 months ago

      wat do you do to learn magic

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 2 months ago from London England

      Merrie we meet.

      Another thing i should have mentioned

      is the high regard for women that we

      have in our Order and in particular when

      the 'feminine aspect' has control. Most of

      the affiliations i am in contact with, their

      leader is a woman.

      Bless.

      the Limpet.

    • profile image

      midnight cavuse 7 weeks ago

      im intrested in controlling this demon that i fill inside whats left of my soul sometimes i fill normal next i am reabering things iv never did smetimes ill fall asleep but i see everything outside my body it screars me more and more iv had to change my music stle just so i can keep it at bay its harddder than you may think please help

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 7 weeks ago

      Hi... this sounds a bit confusing here, maybe you can contact me through my website with more information.

      I have to be up front, I don't believe in 'demons', not in the Christian concept anyway (yes, there are all kinds of spirits, good and bad and everything in between, human and non-human alike, but I don't believe the whole Biblical fallen angel thing). So if you're looking for help along those lines, you'd probably do better to find someone more in line with your views.

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