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11 years ago  ::  Oct 25, 2007 - 11:27AM #1
Posts: 1,076
Creaky has suggested some threads to move over to the boards and, since she has been tied up of late, I figured I'd take a stab at it...

Originally posted by me, innerpoint, on 2/9/2004:    (Link to original thread)

There have been several posts discussing the Core Beliefs of Wicca. I would like to post the following and invite discussion of what each means to others, and whether these are recognized by the majority as constituting what is considered to be “Core” for you.

Personal Views on Core Beliefs, based on the way I was taught:

Core Beliefs:
.....The Rede
......Law of Balance, or Return
..........Law of Return
..........Three-fold Law
..........Any similar concept of action/reaction
.....Belief in at least one of the following:
..............More than one divine form
..............Divinity in all things
..............All things have ‘life’ energy
.....Sabbats, or ritual recognition of the seasons – Wheel of the Year
.....Belief in Deity – generally both God and Goddess – masculine and feminine energies
..........Belief in the existence of magic/witchcraft, whether practiced or not
.....Realization that Wicca is not taught – it is experienced
.....The Sacred Marriage
..........Great Rite
..........Creative energies
.....Individual connection with divinity
.....Taking responsibility for your actions
.....Constant improvement - study - practice

There are more – usually Trad specific or individual specific. I feel that these are the universal basis of what Wicca is, or should be, to everybody. These are the points that I refer to when somebody approaches me and claims to be “Wiccan.” Comments?

As Kat states in one of her writings, “I acknowledge that I may be wrong, and I have found comfort in the fact that I may be right.” I love this sentence!

<10/25/2007 - Please click the link above to access the full discussion; there are many more relevant additions added by the members through point and counterpoint>
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11 years ago  ::  Oct 25, 2007 - 11:43AM #2
Posts: 1,076
Originally posted by me, innerpoint, on  2/12/2005: (   Link to original thread.)

I started a thread on the Learn about Wicca board a while back that I have since found was actually posted in the wrong place. My assumption… you know what is said about assuming . I’m going to try to repost the basics of the thread here and go a little further into what I consider the limits of each point within the core to be. As so many are fond of saying, “Your mileage may vary,” but you will have the standpoint, for reference, of my view of Wiccan practice.

The first point was the Wiccan Rede. Though this is a very touching piece, and speaks to many points of Wiccan practice, it does not include all practices that make up the whole and is not a core part of all Wiccan practices. It takes several parts of the original points of practice and makes a ‘pretty’ article, the whole point being the last eight words – “an it harm none, do as ye will.” The Rede, in its entirety, is not a core Wiccan concept. The only things in it that directly address Wiccan practice are the title and the last eight words. I’m not advocating throwing it out – just read it for what it is. It’s a very basic guideline. My biggest peeve regarding the Rede is at the people who will take ‘harm none’ as the all of the Rede. This is not Wiccan. This isn’t even possible. There have been some that have added a codicil afterwards, “an it harm some, do as ye must.” I have no problem with that. This addition, actually, is really an implied statement that should naturally follow the train of thought. Logic. Wiccan belief does not hinge on the Rede.

The second point was the Law of Return, or the Law of Balance. All Wiccan practices should include something that addresses this. Be it balance, two-fold, three-fold, or ten-fold return, the concept of “you get what you send” is a necessary inclusion. Using the word ‘karma’ in a western philosophical sense is more in keeping with this idea. Exclusion of this point goes to losing one of the principle parts of Wicca.

The third point was Belief in at least one of the following. This point was ineptly worded. It should have read Belief in Polytheism, with the possible inclusion of pantheism and/or animism. A belief in polytheism is tantamount. Whether it’s a belief in each and every individual god and goddess, or just recognizing that Wiccan deities are necessarily male and female, two separate and distinct individuals/entities, polytheism is a must. Monotheism is not a Wiccan practice, nor is the incorporating of all deities into one mass androgynous blob, a Wiccan concept.
The fourth point was celebrating the Sabbats. The names don’t matter. There are four main Sabbats. Some use eight. A celebration/observation of the four main Sabbats are a requirement for Wiccan practice. Some say that the original thought of the Sabbats was that we had to help the wheel turn, attributing this thinking to Gardner. It’s a false statement. Gardner did raise this issue and also declared it untrue. It’s in his writings. All you have to do is read them. In relation to the Sabbats are the esbats. If you are going to follow the ways of Wicca, the esbats are one of the core principles. In the Charge of the Goddess they are specifically mentioned – “once in the month and better it be if the moon is full…” There are some groups that use these times for general meetings, others for office/clerical work, some for teaching, some for workings, some just for communion with the Goddess. I’m not the one to state if any use of the esbat is any more mete than another… I just propose that some form of observation of the esbat is a must. Exclusion of either of these, Sabbats or esbats, loses the practice of Wicca.

The fifth point addressed was Belief in Deity. This is a no-brainer. It’s rather hard to have a religion without the inclusion of worship and belief of Deity. As stated in the point of polytheism, Wicca uses the male and female concept of deity. Two. Not one seen as two, or two different aspects of one. Two. Distinct. Individual. Separate. A belief in Deity is a necessity for Wiccan practice.
The sixth point deals with Witchcraft. A touchy subject for some, but still one of the underlying principles of Wicca. Wicca, in it’s original state, began as a religion of Witchcraft. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. I feel, and this is personal opinion only because many have stated otherwise, pro and con, that acknowledging where Wicca has its roots is enough of a concession to still be included as a Wiccan practitioner. I am a Witch, and embrace the thoughts and workings of the whole into my practice of Wicca. I do understand the ones that do not use Witchcraft and have nothing against their choice not to. I do have a problem with the ones that totally refute Witchcraft as being any part of Wicca or its beginning. This is either faulty study or a case of being deliberately blind. The only onus regarding Witchcraft in Wicca is that of the ones that are not prepared enough to deal with the ignorance of others, and other’s ignorance is not our concern. Hence the acknowledgement, at a minimum, of Witchcraft’s ties with Wicca are a necessity.

The seventh point was the Realization that Wicca is not taught. This often raises eyebrows, but the idea behind it is simple enough. Wicca is a Mystery religion. The basics can be taught, be it through printed lessons or oral. Wicca must be experienced to be learned. Some solitaries are going to be looking, questioning, at this statement, but it is the truth. There are many Mysteries that the solitary practitioner will be able to pick up through time and interaction with deity, so don’t feel left out. Yet there are things that only a group, or another person, one on one, face to face, will be able to help you attain. While these Mysteries do include the all of Wiccan practice, they are not considered an absolute necessity for practicing Wicca. Also, unless you are just bound and set that you are only going to practice as a solitary, sooner or later the odds are that you will find someone to practice with, be it either group or another solitary. The Mysteries will come. The Realization that all of Wicca is not taught and that some parts of it have to be experienced is another pivotal point that denotes Wiccan practice.
The eighth point is The Sacred Marriage, or the Great Rite. Whether practiced symbolically or in actuality, this is another core concept of Wicca. Circumstances and personal preference will dictate how this rite is approached. It is the joining of the God and the Goddess, death from life, and life from death. This rite is not to be confused with two people having sex. The ritual of Drawing Down the Moon as an invocatory proceeding is also a necessary part of the complete understanding of this ritual. At certain times, the Descent of the Goddess is often played out here, too. If you don’t believe invocations are possible, there can be no Wiccan practice of the Great Rite. If you think that the HP and HPS are just going through the motions, there can be no Great Rite. If there is no Great Rite, you really need to ask, is this, really, a Wiccan practice. No.

The ninth point that I had brought out was Individual Connection with Deity. Some people will wait for years before coming to this connection. We can only search, learn, and be open to recognize what They are trying to tell us. Given time, it will come. Some are very lucky in the fact that they have experienced this connection before ever coming to Wicca. Some will have the connection established within a very short time of learning about the deities. Others will wait years for this connection – don’t be discouraged. This is not necessarily a hinge point of Wicca, though it does help in other areas.

The tenth item that I listed was Taking Responsibility for your Actions. This, in part, ties in with the Law of Return, but it goes a little further. You have to realize that what you do is your responsibility, and yours only. No one else is responsible for what you do other than you. There is no laying it off on, “the Devil made me do it.” Nope. Won’t wash. Whatever you decide to do is your choice, as are your words. Wicca stresses personal responsibility. If you think that this does not apply to you, you might want to take another look at your faith.

The last issue that I mentioned was Constant Improvement. This applies to learning, studies, practices, yourself (both mentally and physically), your outlook, your faith, your understanding… the list goes on. If you have ever reached a stage that you think is absolute perfection, you have quit learning and growing. You have either gave up, died, or are no longer Wiccan.

Some things were mentioned in the old thread beyond what I had listed. I am not going to reprint them here because they were not my additions. If the authors want to list them here, or any other response similar, please, go right ahead. This is nothing more than a very basic, extremely bare-boned list of the basics of Wicca. All Wiccans are encouraged to participate.

<Again, please reference the above link for this continued discussion, in its entirety, with all replies and further points brought out by other members>
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11 years ago  ::  Oct 25, 2007 - 1:56PM #3
Posts: 30
I think you pretty much nailed them all. The only thing that I would add is the acceptance of death and rebirth. Not just in relation to mankind but all things, even the Earth and the Universe.
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11 years ago  ::  Oct 26, 2007 - 1:59PM #4
Posts: 191
My husband, years ago, did a survey on various forums and came up with this list of common points that both eclectic and traditional Wiccans seemed to agree on.  He went for specifics, and used "traditional" in the context of agreed-upon elements.  Here's the link and the explanation:

Here's the list:

1. Recognition of the Divine as both masculine and feminine.

2. Creation of a sacred space for ritual, by casting a circle.

3. Use of four sacramental tools, which are (a) a knife, dagger or sword (b) a vessel (c) a wand, staff or cane (d) a disk, amulet, pantacle, shield or stone. Each of these are associated with an element and cardinal direction, in any combination.

4. Performance of a ritualized consecration and ingestion of food and drink.

5. Recognition of the 'Sacrament of Initiation' whether within the context of a coven or by a qualified initiator.

6. Recognition of a sacred calendar which is cyclical and has eight major holy days, although some may not be formally celebrated, on or near the following days: February First, the Spring Equinox, May First, the Summer Solstice, August First, the Autumnal Equinox, November First, the Winter Solstice.

7. Use one of several versions of the Wiccan Rede.

8. Belief in the natural law of cause and effect, which has been variously called 'the Law of Return' and 'the Threefold Law' among other appellations.
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11 years ago  ::  Oct 26, 2007 - 2:03PM #5
Posts: 9,496
How is Boniface?  He needs to stop in here more often!  :)
Dark Energy. It can be found in the observable Universe. Found in ratios of 75% more than any other substance. Dark Energy. It can be found in religious extremists, in cheerleaders. To come to the conclusion that Dark signifies mean and malevolent would define 75% of the Universe as an evil force. Alternatively, to think that some cheerleaders don't have razors in their snatch is to be foolishly unarmed.

-- Tori Amos
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11 years ago  ::  Oct 29, 2007 - 9:59AM #6
Posts: 191
[QUOTE=sacrificialgoddess;24722]How is Boniface?  He needs to stop in here more often!  :)[/QUOTE]

I'll let him know his name has been mentioned.  ;)  You can find his Bnet profile on my Friends section.
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11 years ago  ::  Nov 06, 2007 - 10:34PM #7
Posts: 6
Have you seen the 13 Prnciples of Wicca?
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11 years ago  ::  Nov 07, 2007 - 8:11AM #8
Posts: 1,244
which may or may not be Wiccan.

As the site points out, ...The thirteen statements are necessarily vague. They do not precisely and completely match any one Witchcraft tradition. But they do provide an introduction to the full range of belief systems found within "Wicca."...

The Religion of Wicca is not a 'range of belief systems', it is a specific religion that incorporates a (not vague) definition of witchcraft (Gardner's re-definition of the term). It can be defined and recognized by core beliefs. So the last two sentences above simply are misleading and no doubt positioning these principles like this has added to the confusion between what is labeled as Wicca and what is recognizable as Wicca.

From that re-definition of witchcraft and in part from the Religion of Wicca, many subsequent Pagan Witchcraft Traditions were come into being over the past 70 years.

These principles were kept deliberately vague because even then the Council were attempting to address this broader more diverse range of definitions of Pagan Witchcraft and bring some unity to them. However as all Traditions of the Craft (modern Pagan Witchcraft) are autonomous, these principles were not and are not binding and remain a personal choice. They have also been reworked and adapted down through the decades through that spectrum of Traditions because the concerns that the original creators dealt with do not always apply today.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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11 years ago  ::  Nov 07, 2007 - 11:20AM #9
Posts: 191
[QUOTE=TheBlueFireWitch;50220]Have you seen the 13 Prnciples of Wicca?[/QUOTE]

They're a nice idea, and many fit.  But as previously stated, they're vague.  Also, I can't say I have a lot of faith in a group that came together, put together the Principles and then disbanded.  It's a hit/run list, in essence, which doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in me.
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11 years ago  ::  Nov 09, 2007 - 3:00PM #10
Posts: 222
[QUOTE=Aint_seen_nothin_like_me_yet;22199]I think you pretty much nailed them all. The only thing that I would add is the acceptance of death and rebirth. Not just in relation to mankind but all things, even the Earth and the Universe.[/QUOTE]

This is not a Core belief.  The question of what individuals may believe about Death and Rebirth is completely their business, and not a question that the religion dictates.
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