Religion refers to the belief in a god or gods and worship of such god or gods. There are many aspects of Religion such as beliefs and practices that shape the life experiences of those who practice them. One’s religion is identifiable by the type of prayers conducted by the individual, rituals done, music and art among other things. In the world there are many religions which groups people depending on what they belief in and their practices. The main world religion as includes Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Wicca and Hinduism, among others. Each of these religions has its own beliefs, code of values that guide the followers. In this paper I am going to discuss Wicca as one of the World religions, explore its ritual, mythological, doctrinal, ethical, social, and experiential dimensions. Lastly, I will describe the core values of my belief then compare and contrast them with those of Wicca.
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What is Wicca?
Wicca is one of Neopagan and contemporary spiritual religion that is based on revival of the pagan religions that were there long before Christianity (Hutton 7).Wiccans believes that the source of everything is a divine force or power. As a result they consider all the aspects within the world sacred in particular nature and life are sacred. They give a lot of reference to the Earth, their Goddess and the horned God( the consort of their Goddess).Wiccan Rede is their main rule of behavior which prevent them from harming other people and themselves unless when defending themselves. Many of them are solitary practitioners but others form small groups of believers.
Ritual of Wicca
A ritual refers to a set of actions that are done in accordance with the prescription of the religion or by the traditions of a community due to their symbolic value. Rituals are performed on certain specific occasions or under individuals or communities discretion by a single person, a group or the whole community. Rituals can be done anywhere or in specific places reserved for them either publicly or in private. Most of the rituals of Wicca are performed in full moon but sometimes also during the new moon. Their rituals involve prayers, meditation, and altar work but they depend on traditions (Brooks and Russell, p. 172).
There are many rituals in Wicca religion. Firstly is awakening of the spirits. In performing this ritual, the wiccans use instruments such as drums or harps and give different gifts like seeds and fertilizer among others. This ritual is performed at daytime where the wiccans walk around the area beating the drum and calling upon their Lord. The ritual involves four steps where at first they call upon the mother of the earth and make a prayer. Secondly, they awaken the spirits as they stand at the centre of the area.Thirdly, they give gifts and pour water and at this point they are able to see the spirit and feel strengthened and respond to the call. They end up by giving thanks.
Among wiccans, self blessing is a powerful ritual that should only be used when there is a necessity. It brings one closer to the Godhead. The solitary witch uses it to dedicate himself to the God. Any person can perform this ritual upon him/herself at a quiet place that is void of distractions. In performing this ritual a person is first required to meditate prior to performing the ritual and after becoming ready the person sprinkle the salt on the floor and stand on it. At this juncture, the person light the candle and then mix water and wine as they continue meditating as to why they need the self blessing. The lit candle produces energy and warmth that are absorbed by the performer of the ritual. The performer then read the prescription written down about self blessing and does as instructed. The instructions involve anointing some parts of their body (For example, eyes, nose, mouth, breast, loin, and feet). There are also rituals that are performed as one passes through the different stages of life such birth, puberty, marriage, menopause among others (Brooks andRussell, p. 172).In addition there are also rituals like baptism and communion where one interacts with the God or Goddess. Other rituals include food magic, newborn’s blessing, self dedication, solitary ritual and samhain ritual. Each of this ritual involves following different steps as shown in the rituals discussed above and when performing them one has to carry some things.
Mythological dimensions of Wicca
There are many myths held by people about wiccans.For example some people say that they worship devil, practice sorcery and offer animals during rituals.However,this is not true as Wiccans do not even believe there is a devil and not all of them practice magic. In addition, Wiccans pays little attention to mythological stories. However, they take sun and moon to be male and female deities respectively.
Doctrinal dimensions of Wicca religion
For wiccans, their main principle is that one can do whatever they wish as long as it does not harm anybody. However, in doing whatever they wish they are informed to be careful as whatever they do shall return to them in three folds or seven folds be it good or ill. However, some of them believe that as long as one is ready to suffer the consequences of the harm they cause, they can go on and harm others (Mac Morgan, p. 23). In addition, wiccans believe that physical death is not the end of life but that one enters into a spiritual world mainly referred to them as Summerland where souls rest as they await their birth into physical world. Moreover; wiccans believe that human nature is divine and thus there is no difference between human and the God and hence no need to fear God. They also believe in the art of magic due to the fact that human beings have some intrinsic connections to the deity and to the super orders.Wicccans main belief is in the God though some also believe in the Goddess who is present in everything. They do not have any Holy book.
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Ethical dimension of Wicca religion
Ethics are set standards in a society and they include the norms of that society.Wiccans ethical behaviors are guided by Wiccan rede (commandment) which states that “do as you will but do not harm anybody including, yourself.” The rede is presented as a faith. In addition, wiccans ethics are also guided by the law of return which dictates that whatever you give shall return to you whether it is good or wrong. (Mac Morgan, p. 23).
Social dimensions of wiccans
Wiccans are organized into small groups called covens and have either priests or priestesses or both of them. They worship both Masculine and Feminine Divines (Brooks and Russell, p. 172). In addition, there is also the male centric bisexual Minoan Brotherhood. Their behaviors are guided by Rede (a commandment for ethical behaviors).The Wiccans are able to live together due to application of Law of Return which help them to lead careful lives as they interact with others.
Experiential dimension of wiccans
This refers to the way Wiccans relates with the God and Goddess. Since their religion is based on equality and balance, they worship both the God and Goddess and to them none of these is inferior or superior to the other.Wiccans believe that both the God and Goddess are different faces of the source of life as there is only one source of life. Moreover, they dedicate their lives, thoughts and consciousness to the Divine as this is the only true path to happiness.
In conclusion, as a person I have been oriented religiously to believe in the Holy trinity(that is in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy spirit).I also believe in the Holy book the Bible and everything written in it including life after death and judgments.. I also believe that everything be it in heaven or earth was created by God and that I was created in God’s image. In addition, each and everyday I seek to ensure that my relationship with my Creator is good as with this I will have a joyous life in addition to living in unity with all people. Moreover, my morals have been shaped so much and always try to do that which is good as written in the Bible and according to my conscience.
I am a Christian and our core values include: Believing that we all have a sinful nature and that Jesus was sent by God to redeem us from sin. Secondly, our savior Jesus lived a life free of sin and died on the cross and rose after three days to clear the debts of sin for those who choose him as their savior. Thirdly, Jesus came to reconcile us back to God and believing in him gives us a relationship with God that will enable us to live with him eternally. We also believe in equality of God and Jesus. Lastly, Jesus will come for all the believers and we will then all face the final judgment.
Wiccans believe that there is an energy and that if it overcome you, you can do something wrong. To them you can do anything as long as you do not harm anybody (Mac Morgan 23).Wiccans believe on God and Goddess who and to them there is no big difference between them and the Deities and hence the God/Goddess can also be overcomed by the energy.Wiccans believe that they have to put some effort so as to have good relationship with the God and /or Goddess. Lastly, wiccans believe that after death they shall be reincarnated and everybody will live happily in summer land.
- Brooks, Alexander and Russell, Jeffrey. A New History of Witchcraft. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2007. Print.
- Hutton, Ronald. The Triumph of the Moon — A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft, Preface. In the only religion that England has ever given the world. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Print.
- Mac Morgan. Kaatryn. Advanced Topic in Wichcraft. New York: Larry M. Smith, 2004. Print.