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What do Wiccans believe?

Contemporary Wiccans worship the Great Mother Goddess and her partner the Horned God (Pan), but these and a host of other pagan deities are said to represent various aspects of an impersonal creative force called "The One" or "The All"—reflecting the current influence of Eastern monism popularized in New Age thought. Wiccans regard all aspects of nature—plants, rocks, planets—as having spirit.

Who is the Great Mother Goddess?

She is the female aspect of The All and has many names, including Diana, Isis, and Demeter. She is usually seen in threefold form as maiden (Kore), Mother (Diana), and crone (Hecate), representing the fundamental life stages.

Do Wiccan witches cast spells?

Spells are one of many ritual activities Wiccans engage in, although unlike Satanist witchcraft, Wicca forbids harmful or manipulative spells. Wiccan witches practice two kinds of magic. Low magic is invoked to improve everyday life, such as a job or a relationship, while high magic aims to transform the individual personally. Witches convene to worship deities and invoke magic, but pronouncing curses is forbidden: Wiccans believe that curses rebound threefold back onto the one working them.

How does a local Wicca group work?

Autonomous groups of four to 26 people (the ideal is 13) form covens that meet semi-monthly at the new and full moons, as well as at eight major solar festivals. Wiccans can attain up to three "degrees" of involvement in the coven—full membership after initiation, accomplished witchhood after reaching a certain knowledge level, and priesthood, which usually requires the "Great Rite" of ritual sexual intercourse. The Great Rite, however, is usually performed symbolically by the thrust of a ritual knife into a ...

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A Wicca Primer
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In the Magazine

October 23, 2000

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