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Hi, so I just recently discovered Wicca and almost fell in love with it from what I have read from various websites and memoirs. However, before I get to jumping into things, I want to be sure Wicca is for me.

Are there any suggestions for learning the way of Wicca? I know the Rede as well as how whatever one does will be done back to them threefold. Aside from these things, how can I practice in my own solitude? The different traditions, how do I find one that suits me? I would like as must detail if possible.

Any guides maybe? I've been directed to a bunch of other readings as well. Thanks a bunch!

When it comes down to it, I just need some Wiccan friends D':

Blessed be :)

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Replies to This Discussion

Have you check out the post for new seekers?  http://www.wiccantogether.com/group/wiccanteachers/forum/topics/que...

Witchvox is also a good resource.

Best,

---Vinnie

Hello,

I'm a Traditional Wiccan High Priestess who teaches and leads a coven in Minnesota.  I'd like to offer some suggestions for the very new.  First, it is common for new seekers to dutifully copy down the Rede and what many books and websites call "the three-fold law."  I'd like to save you some time and angst with this.  First, the Rede is not "gospel," and is just a saying from a longer poem that originated in the 1940's to 1950's, either with Adriana Porter or Gwen Thompson, her granddaughter.  Gwen Thompson was the originator of a Tradition of Witchcraft on the East Coast and claimed, early on in Wicca's transfer to the US from Britain, that she was the recipient of a "famtrad" of witchcraft from her grandmother, Adriana, whose writings ostensibly contained a version of what we now call "The Rede of the Wiccae," a horribly composed poem of dubious origin which has been linguistically shown to have at least two authors.  The Rede is just "advice" and is in no way binding in real Wicca.  However, it's a "respected writing" and it's very important that people not just run around quoting it without knowing its origins.  I strongly suggest reading, "The Rede of the Wiccae:  Adriana Porter, Gwen Thompson, and the Birth of a Tradition of Witchcraft," by Theitic and Mathiesen.  

Also, because our intrepid Scott Cunningham, dear writer from the 80's before the internet was born, chose to write about the Craft as a first degree student in a 3 degree system, he completely and totally jacked up two entire generations of solitaries by getting the Three-Fold Return utterly wrong.  So now a bunch of solitaries run around "correcting" initiates who have taken all three degrees that somehow "It's a Known Part of Wicca" that "everything that you do comes back to you three times."  Except that is not, and has NEVER BEEN WHAT THE THREE-FOLD RETURN IS.  The Three-Fold Return is a contract that is entered into in the 2nd degree Craft elevation in which the Initiate AGREES to "give and receive three-fold, for GOOD OR FOR ILL."  The Three-Fold Return does NOT ACTIVATE AND DOES NOT EXIST UNLESS AND UNTIL you take the 2nd degree elevation in Traditional Wicca.  It is the CONTRACT that activates the agreement with the universe that we will amplify our deeds three times.  It's a magical tool, and it also flies in the face of the other completely incorrect idea that many solitaries have that there is a rule in Wicca that states we must "Harm None."  Nope.  There is no such rule in Traditional Wicca.  We agree that we will AVOID unnecessary harm, as in the Rede:  "An it Harm None, Do as You Will."  "An" means "if."  The Rede gives no advice for times when harm is necessary.  Further, we cannot "never harm."  We kill millions of micro-organisms every time we breathe.  We step on ants.  We choose one life form over another when we choose to give a healing tea to someone with a cold, deciding that the bacteria that is infecting the person is less deserving of life than the patient.  We can NEVER cease to do all harm.

The 2nd degree Initiate agrees to return three times FOR GOOD OR FOR ILL, so believe me, there is not "pacifism" in Traditional Wicca.  This is uniform throughout all legitimately derived Traditions, as are the liturgical bare bones of the 3 degree elevation rituals and teachings that go along with them.  This doesn't mean that a solitary can't make their own rules of course.  Heck, by choosing not to study in a coven, they're breaking the first and most important rule in Traditional Wicca, so why should any of the other rules apply to them either, right?  Right.  That said, solitaries have the right to create their own Craft.  What I don't like to see is running around quoting Scott Cunningham and Silver Ravenwolf as though they are authorities.  They are nothing of the sort.  3rd degree Initiates are authorities in Traditional Craft, but if you don't care for such things (any of you, not just the questioner), then that's the business of each witch.

Finding a Trad that suits you is a matter of trial and error. If you are interested in finding a Trad and a teaching coven, then may I suggest looking at the Traditions Page on Witchvox.com.  It is the best on-line resource, although even that doesn't begin to cover the hundreds of legit Traditions that exist.  Blessings, and if you want to talk more, my e-mail is kristinbarton2003@yahoo.com.  I'm a 3rd degree in the Blue Star Tradition, leader of Spiral Tor Coven, and a 2nd degree in Lady Sheba's Tradition as well.

It is clear you took to type this all out and I truly appreciate it, thank you. From what I had read, it seemed all was tied back to the Rede; it is nice to understand the origins of it. I think I may have found my path, and once I figure out Witchvox, I'll be on my way to understanding my place in it all.


Kristin Barton said:

Hello,

I'm a Traditional Wiccan High Priestess who teaches and leads a coven in Minnesota.  I'd like to offer some suggestions for the very new.  First, it is common for new seekers to dutifully copy down the Rede and what many books and websites call "the three-fold law."  I'd like to save you some time and angst with this.  First, the Rede is not "gospel," and is just a saying from a longer poem that originated in the 1940's to 1950's, either with Adriana Porter or Gwen Thompson, her granddaughter.  Gwen Thompson was the originator of a Tradition of Witchcraft on the East Coast and claimed, early on in Wicca's transfer to the US from Britain, that she was the recipient of a "famtrad" of witchcraft from her grandmother, Adriana, whose writings ostensibly contained a version of what we now call "The Rede of the Wiccae," a horribly composed poem of dubious origin which has been linguistically shown to have at least two authors.  The Rede is just "advice" and is in no way binding in real Wicca.  However, it's a "respected writing" and it's very important that people not just run around quoting it without knowing its origins.  I strongly suggest reading, "The Rede of the Wiccae:  Adriana Porter, Gwen Thompson, and the Birth of a Tradition of Witchcraft," by Theitic and Mathiesen.  

Also, because our intrepid Scott Cunningham, dear writer from the 80's before the internet was born, chose to write about the Craft as a first degree student in a 3 degree system, he completely and totally jacked up two entire generations of solitaries by getting the Three-Fold Return utterly wrong.  So now a bunch of solitaries run around "correcting" initiates who have taken all three degrees that somehow "It's a Known Part of Wicca" that "everything that you do comes back to you three times."  Except that is not, and has NEVER BEEN WHAT THE THREE-FOLD RETURN IS.  The Three-Fold Return is a contract that is entered into in the 2nd degree Craft elevation in which the Initiate AGREES to "give and receive three-fold, for GOOD OR FOR ILL."  The Three-Fold Return does NOT ACTIVATE AND DOES NOT EXIST UNLESS AND UNTIL you take the 2nd degree elevation in Traditional Wicca.  It is the CONTRACT that activates the agreement with the universe that we will amplify our deeds three times.  It's a magical tool, and it also flies in the face of the other completely incorrect idea that many solitaries have that there is a rule in Wicca that states we must "Harm None."  Nope.  There is no such rule in Traditional Wicca.  We agree that we will AVOID unnecessary harm, as in the Rede:  "An it Harm None, Do as You Will."  "An" means "if."  The Rede gives no advice for times when harm is necessary.  Further, we cannot "never harm."  We kill millions of micro-organisms every time we breathe.  We step on ants.  We choose one life form over another when we choose to give a healing tea to someone with a cold, deciding that the bacteria that is infecting the person is less deserving of life than the patient.  We can NEVER cease to do all harm.

The 2nd degree Initiate agrees to return three times FOR GOOD OR FOR ILL, so believe me, there is not "pacifism" in Traditional Wicca.  This is uniform throughout all legitimately derived Traditions, as are the liturgical bare bones of the 3 degree elevation rituals and teachings that go along with them.  This doesn't mean that a solitary can't make their own rules of course.  Heck, by choosing not to study in a coven, they're breaking the first and most important rule in Traditional Wicca, so why should any of the other rules apply to them either, right?  Right.  That said, solitaries have the right to create their own Craft.  What I don't like to see is running around quoting Scott Cunningham and Silver Ravenwolf as though they are authorities.  They are nothing of the sort.  3rd degree Initiates are authorities in Traditional Craft, but if you don't care for such things (any of you, not just the questioner), then that's the business of each witch.

Finding a Trad that suits you is a matter of trial and error. If you are interested in finding a Trad and a teaching coven, then may I suggest looking at the Traditions Page on Witchvox.com.  It is the best on-line resource, although even that doesn't begin to cover the hundreds of legit Traditions that exist.  Blessings, and if you want to talk more, my e-mail is kristinbarton2003@yahoo.com.  I'm a 3rd degree in the Blue Star Tradition, leader of Spiral Tor Coven, and a 2nd degree in Lady Sheba's Tradition as well.

Wow Kristin, we have a very different view on the 3 fold law!

I've never heard:

"The Three-Fold Return is a contract that is entered into in the 2nd degree Craft elevation in which the Initiate AGREES to "give and receive three-fold, for GOOD OR FOR ILL."  The Three-Fold Return does NOT ACTIVATE AND DOES NOT EXIST UNLESS AND UNTIL you take the 2nd degree elevation in Traditional Wicca. "

I was always taught that at the most basic level, the 3-fold law was simply cause and effect.  Like life, it's rarely direct.  For instance, if you go to a social event and slap someone across the face, you might not get slapped back 3 times. However, it's possible that the person who is hiring you for a new job was there and now thinks that you are too volatile so they don't hire you.  In other words, actions (or lack thereof) have consequences and being "of the wica" means knowing that and taking that into account.

As for whether or not anything happens at 2nd degree (or any other degree), I am prevented by my oaths from discussing that publicly.  However, if you contact me back channel, I'll give you my phone number (we're kinda related via Rill).

BB,

---Vinnie

3rd Alexandrian/3rd Chthonioi-Alexandrian

Blue Star Dedicant (via Rill in MA)

P.S. I'll send you a friend request on FB!

Ashana,

Remember to take your time.  :-)  There is no rush so feel free to explore and ask questions.  

BB,

---Vinnie



Ashana said:

It is clear you took to type this all out and I truly appreciate it, thank you. From what I had read, it seemed all was tied back to the Rede; it is nice to understand the origins of it. I think I may have found my path, and once I figure out Witchvox, I'll be on my way to understanding my place in it all.

Here's a great post on the 3 fold law in Wicca. It's a bit lippy and irreverent but that just adds to the explanation.  :-)

https://gardnerians.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/there-is-no-universal-...

BB,

---Vinnie

There has been a lot of public discussion about the three fold law. Doreen Valentine says Gardner made it up on the spot she assumes to settle a dispute within his coven. It was never mentioned in his early writings.

I don't remember all the sources I've read this in but I know Doreen Valentine (Garner's HPS) has talked about it and pretty much says the same thing Kristin did.

It was never meant to cover anything beyond Wiccan witch on Wiccan witch interactions which, as Doreen Valentine said, seems pretty silly that there would be a special karmic rule for them and no one else. It is not believed by everyone outside of BTW regardless.

A quick google search brings this up
http://waningmoon.com/ethics/3fl-3.shtml

Right,  what people tend to forget is that the "Wiccan Rede" is advice, not law and that the 3-fold law mentioned in the Rede is often viewed as a metaphoric teaching tool that applies to those "of the Wica". :-)



Tom said:

There has been a lot of public discussion about the three fold law. Doreen Valentine says Gardner made it up on the spot she assumes to settle a dispute within his coven. It was never mentioned in his early writings.

I don't remember all the sources I've read this in but I know Doreen Valentine (Garner's HPS) has talked about it and pretty much says the same thing Kristin did.

It was never meant to cover anything beyond Wiccan witch on Wiccan witch interactions which, as Doreen Valentine said, seems pretty silly that there would be a special karmic rule for them and no one else. It is not believed by everyone outside of BTW regardless.

A quick google search brings this up
http://waningmoon.com/ethics/3fl-3.shtml
Vinnie, so I am getting the vibe that the 3-fold rule is a misinterpretation, no? I'm trying to clear things up now.


Arsenic & Old Lace-Vinnie Russo said:

Here's a great post on the 3 fold law in Wicca. It's a bit lippy and irreverent but that just adds to the explanation.  :-)

https://gardnerians.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/there-is-no-universal-...

BB,

---Vinnie

Well, ask 10 witches a question and you'll get 12 answers.  There is no one definitive version or interpretation precisely because Paganism is not a centralized religion.  Wicca (BTW) is not centralized either but is fairly well defined based on practice (orthopraxis vs dogmatic). So, the Rede may be stated without imposing what you should believe it means on others. Hope that makes sense.  With my students, I'll tell them my interpretation and why I interpret it the way I do.   Then I'll ask them to think on it. After a bit, I'll ask them to interpret it for themselves using real life examples.  Then I'll ask them "why" in relation to their answer. It leads to some interesting discussion.

So, if you noticed, Kristin and I differ as to what the 3-Fold Law/Rede means. I stated that I had not heard her take on it before and then offered my take on it for comparison. I did NOT tell her she was wrong for differing from me and she did NOT tell me that I was wrong for differing from her.  Different trads (as well as individual Witches) come to some vastly different conclusions.  

Basically, I can offer MY opinion. That is that I think the "average" person who has heard of the 3-Fold Law/Wiccan Rede has misinterpreted the original meaning/intent because they don't know the history/origins of it. They've come up with their own interpretation based on their own circumstances without regard for the intent of the creators within the original context (specifically Wicca). From one point of view, they've misinterpreted it. From another point of view, they've come up with their own meaning that works for them. The important thing is that no one claims that "this is the one true way" and be honest about their lore.  Just my 2 cents.  :-)

BB,

---Vinnie



Ashana said:

Vinnie, so I am getting the vibe that the 3-fold rule is a misinterpretation, no? I'm trying to clear things up now.


Arsenic & Old Lace-Vinnie Russo said:

Here's a great post on the 3 fold law in Wicca. It's a bit lippy and irreverent but that just adds to the explanation.  :-)

https://gardnerians.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/there-is-no-universal-...

BB,

---Vinnie

Something that I think is very important though is that while Vinnie and Kristin may have differing viewpoints on what the rede means both are aware of it's origins and are not trying to claim it is thousands of years old passed down from the builders of Stonehenge.

Acknowledging the true history allows the wisdom behind the teaching to be internalized by a seeker and applied to their own understanding which is one of the most beautiful parts of neopaganism, encouraging introspection and self awareness which leads to self emplwerment. Frequently the same people who make up faux history preach the rede as dogma to be followed by blind faith, a practice most of us have rejected. These Faux historians are also most likely to scream that they are being persecuted for their beliefs and "all paths are equally valid" when others try to educate them on well known facts and ground truths. You'll see this played out frequently on the boards when self appointed "High Priess" try to attract paying students.

A seeker armed with the real history of their path can more easily avoid the pitfalls and rampaging fluffy bunnies they will encounter.

Let me start out, since you are new, with discussing what Wicca is and is not as that is often misunderstood.  Hopefully this will help you at least a bit.

Let's start with what Wicca is:

  • Wicca is a polytheistic religion focusing upon dedication to the Divine manifested as both God and Goddess. These two Deities are viewed as a Moon Goddess and a Horned God.
  • Wiccans believe that the world was created and is maintained by the joining together of the God and the Goddess in the Sacred Marriage (also called The Great Rite).
  • Wicca is a modern religion influenced by a variety of pre-Christian beliefs. Some of the sources drawn upon to create Wicca were British folk magic, ceremonial lodges like The Golden Dawn, and Masonic rituals. The religion was created by Gerald Gardner in Britain in the 1940's and made public in 1951. The Wicca devised by Gardner was coven-based, oath-bound, and initiatory. Newer versions of Wicca (generally referred to as Neo-Wicca) accommodate those who practice as solitaries.
  • Wicca views the spiritual and material worlds as overlapping: the Gods are not distant beings but entities whose presence we can experience. Wiccans believe that Divinity is immanent within the world, and therefore all that is is in some part Divine.
  • Wicca stresses personal experience with divinity and developing greater harmony with the larger world.
  • Wiccans believe that each person is able to experience direct contact with the Divine without a need for an intermediary.
  • Wicca teaches that we all are ultimately responsible for our own actions. The ethics and behavior of Wiccans are guided by the Wiccan Rede. Wiccans believe that the world will return to them the same sorts of energies they send out into the world.
  • Wiccans tend to believe in reincarnation, the soul is reborn into this world many times.
  • All Wiccans are Witches, but not all Witches are Wiccan. Because Wiccans perform magic as part of their rituals they are considered Witches. A person who claims to be Wiccan but who does not do any magic is in error. While spellcasting is not necessary in Wicca, the use of magic to cast a circle, etc. is a vital part of Wicca. If you do no magic you aren't Wiccan.

Now let's consider what Wicca isn't:

  • Wicca is not Satanic. The concept of an evil entity called Satan is a Christian concept and has nothing whatsoever to do with Wicca.
  • Wicca is not all about spells and magic. While it is certainly true that Wiccans believe in magic and that they perform magic whenever they cast a circle, consecrate a tool, Draw Down the Moon and other rituals these are not the same as spellcasting. In fact many Wiccans seldom, if ever, cast a spell. So if you're thinking you have to be Wiccan in order to cast a spell you are mistaken. Don't try to be Wiccan unless it's the religion that draws you, not spells.
  • Wicca is not a nature religion. Wiccans have a deep respect for nature since we believe that all of nature partakes of the Divine, Wiccans do not worship nature or go around hugging trees.
  • Wicca is not " whatever you want it to be ". Some people, generally teenagers and the religiously immature, describe Wicca as whatever you want it to be. Sometimes it comes from a misunderstanding of Wiccas religiously tolerant teachings, confusing tolerance with belief. Other times it comes from laziness or wishful thinking: the person has latched onto some notion of Wicca, often because it has become popular among his peers, but he has no interest in actually learning about it, preferring to just make up something appealing and call it Wicca.

I will be loading some other information about Wicca and becoming Wiccan in the next few days.  Check out my Profile if you'd like to see if I have answered some of your other questions.  And feel free to message me if I can help with specific questions.

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