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What exactly is Wicca, the Goddess, Witchcraft, and why is it so frowned upon in today's society?

Updated on October 10, 2008
 

Theology

The Greco-Roman goddess Selene, one of many goddesses equated with the Wiccan Goddess.

Although Wiccan views on theology vary, the vast majority of Wiccans venerate a Goddess and a God. These are variously understood through the frameworks of pantheism (as being dual aspects of a single godhead), duotheism or polytheism. In some pantheistic and duotheistic conceptions, deities from diverse cultures may be seen as aspects of the Goddess or God.

The God and the Goddess

For most Wiccans, Wicca is a duotheistic religion worshipping both a God and a Goddess, who are seen as complementary polarities (akin to the Taoist philosophy of yin and yang), and "embodiments of a life-force manifest in nature." The God is sometimes symbolised as the sun, and the Goddess as the moon.

The God

Traditionally the God is viewed as a Horned God of nature. He is often seen as a god of woodlands, sexuality, and hunting. In this form he is equated with the ancient pagan deities such as the Celtic god Cernunnos and Greek god Pan. At other times the God is viewed as the Green Man, a traditional figure in art and architecture of Europe, or as a sun god.

The Goddess

The Goddess is usually portayed as a Triple Goddess with aspects of "Maiden", "Mother" and "Crone". Some Wiccans see the Goddess as pre-eminent, since she contains and conceives all; the God is the spark of life and inspiration within her, simultaneously her lover and her child. This is reflected in the traditional structure of the coven. In some traditions, notably feminist Dianic Wicca, the Goddess is seen as complete unto herself, and the God is not worshipped at all, though this is a controversial belief.

The antlered god from the Gundestrup cauldron, often identified with Cernunnos and the Horned God of Wicca.

Gardner's beliefs

According to Gerald Gardner, the gods of Wicca are prehistoric gods of the British Isles: a Horned God and a Great Mother goddess. Little evidence, however, has been produced for this.

Polytheism

The duotheism of the God and the Goddess is often extended into a kind of polytheism by the belief that the gods and goddesses of all cultures are aspects of this pair (or of the Goddess alone). For instance, a Wiccan may believe that the Germanic goddess Eostre, Hindu goddess Kali, and Christian Virgin Mary are all manifestations of the Goddess.

Others hold the various gods and goddesses to be separate and distinct. Still others do not believe in the gods as real personalities, but see them as archetypes or thoughtforms.

Wiccan writers Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone have observed that Wicca is becoming more polytheistic as it matures, and embracing a more traditional pagan world-view.

Godhead

Gardner stated that a being higher than the God and the Goddess was recognised by the witches as the Prime Mover, but remains unknowable. Patricia Crowther has called this supreme godhead Dryghten, and Scott Cunningham called it "The One". This pantheistic or panentheistic view of God shares similarities with beliefs such as the Hindu Brahman.

Animism

Wicca is essentially an immanent religion, and for some Wiccans, this idea also involves elements of animism. A key belief in Wicca is that the Goddess and the God (or the goddesses and gods) are able to manifest in personal form, most importantly through the bodies of Priestesses and Priests via the rituals of Drawing down the Moon or Drawing down the Sun.

Afterlife

Beliefs in the afterlife vary among Wiccans, although reincarnation is a traditional Wiccan teaching. Raymond Buckland holds that a soul reincarnates into the same species over many lives in order to learn and advance one's soul, but this belief is not universal

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    • Kika Rose profile image

      Kika Rose 9 years ago from Minnesota

      lol Thanks for answering my request with two very informative hubs! I'd meant to make it for a specific person, but I guess I hit the wrong button(?). Thought I did it right... Ah well! Great information and lots of links with even more info! Thank you! ^_^

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