wicca - By Paige Lysaght Religion 100 "When one...

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By Paige Lysaght Religion 100
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" When one defines oneself as Pagan, it means she or he follows an earth or nature religion, one that sees the divine manifest in all creation. The cycles of nature are our holy days, the earth is our temple, its plants and creatures our partners and teachers. We worship a deity that is both male and female, a mother Goddess and father God, who together created all that is, was, or will be. We respect life, cherish the free will of sentient beings, and accept the sacredness of all creation. " -Edain McCoy
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The Basics
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Origins The modern form of Wicca was founded in 1954 by Gerald B. Gardner, a British civil servant who published a number of books on the subject. Though it is still considered a new religion, many of its traditions and practices are drawn from the Old Religion (pre-Christianity paganism). Additionally, Wicca falls under the umbrella category of Neo-Paganism, which includes a number of other recent religious movements.
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Demographics It is difficult to determine how many Wiccan followers there are, as many practice in private or do not draw attention to their beliefs. It is estimated that there are 1-3 million followers, with the highest concentrations in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.
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Organizational Structure Wicca is not a particularly structured religion. Many Wiccans, known as “solitaries,” practice alone, and thus are in complete control of the way they practice and do much of their learning through personal research. Although they may do the majority of their work alone, they may still become involved in community events. Other Wiccans are members of “covens.” They interact directly with other members of The Craft, and thus are able to learn on a one-on-one basis. Regardless of which method is selected, it tends to be fairly informal.
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Beliefs
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There is no distinct set of beliefs in the Wiccan religion. It is frequently adapted to suit personal ideals and lifestyles, and there is no single official doctrine that dictates how one should behave. However, certain aspects are consistently practiced and can generally be attributed to Wicca.
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Nature Wiccans act with appreciation and reverence towards nature, searching for the divinity in all things. Wiccans learn from nature, and honor the different cycles of the sun, moon, and seasons.
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The Wiccan Rede Wiccans follow the Wiccan Rede, which states “An ye harm none, do what ye will.” It is a strong guidepost for daily life, rituals, and spellcasting.
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The Threefold Law Some Wiccans acknowledge the “Threefold Law,” which states that a person’s deeds will return to him or her three times over.
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Reincarnation Though this isn’t always the case, many Wiccans believe in reincarnation. They do not accept the heaven/hell theory. Instead, some believe that souls are only
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wicca - By Paige Lysaght Religion 100 "When one...

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