92094789(1)Witches, black cats and ghosts! Oh my!

Come Halloween, witches, wands, cauldrons and pentagrams seem to pop up everywhere. Shop windows, ads on the internet and the candy aisle of the grocery store all become inundated with pictures of ghoulish fiends, monsters and every other sort of strange and haunted thing.

For students who practice Wicca or paganism, wands, pentagrams and magic aren’t just meant for Halloween, they’re a lifestyle.

For Austin Toney, a senior working towards a Bachelors of Arts in Music, Wicca helps him live a thoughtful and peaceful lifestyle.

“Wicca is an Earth-based religion,” Toney said. “When we say we’re Earth based, we believe that the Earth in and of itself carries an energy. We seek to practice rites and rituals that attune ourselves to the energies of nature.”

Toney also explained that Wicca is a polytheistic religion, meaning Wiccans believe in and worship more than one deity. Wiccans believe in two gods, the Goddess and the God. Unlike Christianity, Wicca is a matriarchal religion.

“We focus more on the sacred feminine than we do on the sacred masculine,” Toney said. “In a matriarchal religion, the religious responsibilities are passed down female to female.”

Toney stressed that while much of popular culture has emphasized some of the darker parts of witchcraft and associated it with Wicca, Wiccans don’t believe or condone doing harm to another person, especially in the name of religion. Not only that, Wiccans believe that individuals who send out negative energy or thoughts will feel their negativity return back to them.

“We have that karmic thinking going on,” Toney said. “We call it the three-fold law. We believe that whatever you put out there, it will not only come back to you physical, it will come back mentally, emotionally and spiritually.”

Toney explained that while popular media makes Wicca and witchcraft seem like they go hand in hand, they don’t at all. Many people in his coven, a Wiccan administrative unit similar to a congregation, practice Wicca but don’t practice witchcraft. He also said the reverse is true as well.

“At any given point, you can ask Wiccans what they believe and it all boils do to the Wiccan rede,” Toney said. “This basically says ‘Abide within the law you must, perfect love and perfect trust, harm not and do what thou wilt.’ That basically means do whatever you want, as long as it’s not harming yourself or others.”

Cecilia Delgado, owner of As Above, So Below, a pagan and Wiccan store in Roy, said that she belivees that one of the biggest misconceptions about Wiccans is that they are evil, devil-worshipers.

“People assume that because we wear a pentagram that we believe in Satan and that’s not true,” Delgado said. “We use the pentagram as protection. It symbolizes fire, earth, air, water and spirit. People are under the impression that we worship Satan but we do not. We don’t even believe in him.”

Delgado said that while she is Wiccan and her store provides herbs and stones used in Wiccan rituals, she said anyone can come in and use the herbs, oils and other products from her store. Delgado encouraged students who enjoy essential oils, incenses, loose leaf teas and homemade bath salts and lotions to come into her store.

Delgado also encouraged students that have questions to come in and ask them, not just to assume that because TV and popular culture has painted one image or another about Wicca that that image is reality.

“We teach people to heal themselves,” Delgado said. “It’s mostly healing and believing in yourself. Everything is spiritual here.”

Kirsten “Fluffy” Blake, event production manager for the Val A. Browning Center for the Performing Arts, practices paganism with Wiccan influences. For Blake, she said she was attracted to paganism and Wicca after attending a spiritual gathering with a friend in college.

Blake said that while paganism is mostly solitary practitioners, she is amazed by the sense of community that she feels from fellow pagans and Wiccans.

“I think we’re all basically drawn towards very similar things,” Blake said. “Being good to each other, having hope and faith in something that’s bigger than ourselves. Within that, knowing that we aren’t alone, we can be with each other and find comfort in the world that we’re living in.”

Delgado encouraged students interested in learning more about Wicca and paganism to join them for their Samhain ceremony. The celebration will be begin at 8:30 p.m. on Halloween night at As Above, So Below at 5978 S. 1900 W., Roy, UT.

 

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11 Comments

  1. so if you believe that you can do anything you wish aslong as it doesnot hurt anyone or anything that makes you wiccan or pagan? im asking because i know what i believe but i dont know what religion i belong to.

  2. Being Wiccan/Pagan does not automatically give you the right to do anything you wish. It means that you believe in yourself more than people usually do and you harness the energies of nature to bring to you, what it is you seek for your life; Peace and Harmony, without causing harm to others (human or animal). It is a spiritual and nature based belief system, not a religion. Wiccans and Pagans are not classed as ‘religious’ people. We do not go to church, nor do we worship ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’ or any other biblical personage. The best way to find your faith, is to do lots and lots of research in to all of the many different religions and faiths out there and chose which feels right for you. Then, devote yourself to it. A lot of Wiccans and Pagans follow clean eating practices and use biodegradable products, hemp & cotton clothing, all natural items, bringing nature in to their lives as much as possible. There are numerous websites and books available, read, as much as possible and your true feelings will reveal themselves to you soon enough.

  3. Pheonix, how can i learn more about wiccans and all that? I meant, out of the internet, like, is there any book you recomend me or something

  4. First off, I’d like to say this is an awesome article! I enjoyed very much reading it! 🙂

    Etymologically speaking, Wicca comes from the root word Wicc, which means to bend or turn. Wicca (pronounced Wich-uh) means Wise man or Sage, even Wizard. Wicce or Wich-eh, denotes a Wise woman. Hence, the Old English Wiccaecraft means Wise Man and Wise Woman of a craft (or Crafts), such as healing with herbs (leechcraft) and a knowledge of the use of herbs (wortcunning).
    Even being an advisor or prophet.

    In another sense, Wicca is also a Pagan religion that celebrates the turning of the seasons (the eight Sabbats: Yule, Imbolg, Ostara, Bealtaine, Litha, Lughnasadh/Lammas, Mabon, and Samhain), and the 13 Esbats (Full Moons).

    The most important deities, the Lord and Lady are honored amongst other deities. Traditionally, Wicca is polytheistic, but in many Circles, is duotheistic…honoring the Lord and Lady as two god heads that has many divine aspects, faces.

    As well, the Lady is the Triple Goddess, who is presented as Maiden, Mother and Crone, which is represented in the monthly cycles of the moon’s waxing, full, and waning phases. The Lord is often called the Horned One, a deity of the woodlands, the sun, and the one who fertilizes the womb of the living earth. They are both the twin powers of Creation. Some Wiccans call the Grand Quintessence of Their Union as Dryghton.

    Many Wiccans honor the Divine Force in Creation and in all life, and celebrate the cycles of the seasons as a connection to the ebb and flow of life, death and rebirth. Each season has its own themes of celebration; the Birth of the Child of Light at Yule for instance–the Oak King. Women hold great importance in the Wiccan Path, and can be High Priestesses, but also honors the masculine. Men can become the High Priest of a coven. Life is a sacred force to be honored and celebrated with joy, awe, and reverence. The Goddess, God (Gods) are seen to be manifest in every life…hence the saying: “Thou Art God/Though Art Goddess.” And the ideals of Perfect Love & Perfect Trust, and Harm None is what many Wiccans strive to manifest magically in their lives. So much more, but I hope some of the information on Wiccan praxis, generally speaking, helps! 🙂 Oh, many Wiccans believe in an afterlife called the Summerlands, which is highlighted on Samhain, when honoring ancestors, etc.

    Some good books are: Wicca A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, by Scott Cunningham. He has a second guidebook, too. I love books by Doreen Valiente (Witchcraft A Tradition Renewed, and Natural Magic), Gerald Gardner (The Meaning of Witchcraft & Witchcraft Today), Gerina Dunwich, and there’s a lovely book called “Wiccan Wisdom Keepers.” Lots of lovely interviews, lots of pictures! 🙂

    Blessed Be!
    Iolairmara

    PS. A Happy Samhain/Hallowmas to the Wiccans and Pagans of Weber! 🙂

  5. I tried to raise my 4 children with the values and respect for nature as the Native Americans lived. Years later my eldest daughter told me she was wiccan. I asked her what that was and she replied (it is living the way you raised me) little did I know.

  6. Following a religion that views women as superior to men only makes that religion as bad or as good as the religion that says men are superior. Men and women are equals and Nature doesn’t favor one over the other. The teachings of Nature are the final word. As far as “Do what thou wilt” goes, it’s far deeper than simply “do whatever you want” so long as you don’t hurt anyone. People who view the statement as such need to dig a little deeper because they are missing the real fulfilling beauty of it. Sad thing about “paganism” to include wicca is that the people who claim it haven’t a clue what ot is that they are claiming and the idea that we should study all of the religions and pick and choose the bits and pieces that we like from each as though in some spiritual Chinese lunchtime buffet is absolutely ludicrous. A “spirituality” created from such a “throw it all against the wall and see what sticks” attitude will only create a spiritual salad that is bland as cardboard and has no nutrition for one’s growth. Earth based spirituality is far more fulfilling, far more nurturing and far more delicious to the whole being than what has been described by some here. If anyone would have questions you can pm me here:
    Marz93@gmail.com
    May the Gods bless your hearts and hearths.
    Lux Terrea

  7. I live alpt of the wiccan values in my everyday tasks of life. My beliefs are trie and firm. But lately I have had a very hard time connecting with my inner self…does anyone have any suggestions plz that would help? Feel free to email or chat me on Facebook (Kelli Jarvis) thank you…and bleesed be a great day to everyone.

  8. Nice post Lux! Indeed, Thou and Wilt go far deeper than many think. Which delves into power within and power with in terms of both, and never power over when you honor the Sacred Circularity of Life.

    Just some more general tidbits; Traditional Wicca (Wica) is an oath-bound, Mystery Religion that serves to train initiates to become priests and priestesses of the Gods of the Wica (referred to sometimes as British Traditional Wica), and the main focus is the self development of natural gifts to grow in wisdom, experientially, in order to honor those deities. Moreso, the names of those deities (Grain God/John Barlycorn, Oak & Holly Kings, Moon Goddess, Earth Mother, the Horned God, etc.) are kept secret by those within the Initiatory lineages via the Gardnerian & Alexandrian Traditions…who are the first Wicans (spelled with one c to make a hard k sound instead of the “ch” in order to sound more benign since “Witchcraft doesn’t pay for broken windows”).

    And, traditionally speaking, there is more emphasis on the Divine Feminine since “in the days of old, woman’s body was the altar” of the sacred, since all things are born from the Lady and return to Her in order to be reborn. The Womb is the Tomb is the Womb is one of the great central Mysteries (the Legend of the Descent of the Goddess). However, polarity is important, too, and many of covens have equal numbers of male and female members…not in all cases, though. I, however, do not hold either as superior, but in equal balance in my own practice of Witchery.

    Gabriel: I am glad that the previous post provided some clarity for you. 🙂 If you have any questions, let me know, or Luxs’ email above, and the recommended books should be of great help as well! You have fb?

    Blessed Be!
    Iolairmara

    PS. Also I highly recommend anyone interested in learning about Wicca or any other Pagan Path read up on “Paganism and the Seeker’s Bill of Rights,” when considering learning from individuals. Always be safe and take care of your own well-being.

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