Wicca Denominations and Witchcraft Traditions

Today, traditional witchcraft is usually referring to a particular sect or tradition of witchcraft of European origin. There are many different traditions of witchcraft that are not Wicca and there are even many different traditions or denominations of Wicca. They all have similar core beliefs, but can be very different. There are many more denominations than what is written below, but here are some popular denominations of Wicca and a few witchcraft traditions:

Alexandrian Wicca – Founded by Alex Sanders and his wife Maxine, Alexandrian Wicca became a popular tradition during the resurgence of modern Paganism. Heavily influenced by Gardner and his tradition, Alexandrian Wicca uses a degree system and has ties to ceremonial magic systems.

Celtic Wicca – Based upon old Celtic and Druidic practices, and ritual Gardnerian design. The emphasis is placed heavily upon Celtic deities, the elements, nature and the magic of trees.

Dianic Tradition- Feminist based craft movement that itself has different variations and traditions. Named after Diana, virgin goddess of the hunt; a stem of the Old Religion which has all-female members.

Eclectic Wicca- Basically a loosely based tradition which uses any practices of other paths and incorporates them into their own.

Gardnerian Wica– Named after Dr. Gerald Gardner its founder and is one of the first traditions to make itself known to the public in the mid 1950’s in England. Gardner was an initiate of a Celtic coven. Raymond Buckland and his wife started it in the United States.

Norse Tradition-Has roots to northern Europe and Germany. Deities are from the Norse Pantheon the Vanir and Aesir which include Odin, Freya, Thor, Tyr and many more.

PectiWita – Developed in Scotland and is attuned to nature and solar and lunar changes

Seax – Wica Founded in 1973 by Raymond Buckland, this tradition incorporates Saxon lore.

Strega Tradition– Stregheria is the old Italian word for Witchcraft and has roots in ancient Etruscan religion

Witches Rune or Wiccan Chant

The Wiccan Chant is often called the Witches’ Rune and has many different versions. Its primary purpose was to aid a group or a solitary witch in raising power. Sometime covens use it as a chant for the Ring Dance around the altar. Some covens who set the altar up towards the north would chant it for a type of cord magick when coveners would loop their cords together forming something like spokes of a wheel.

Here are some common versions:

Version 1:

Darksome night and shining moon
Hearken to the Witches Rune.
East then South , West then North
Hear! Come! I call thee forth!
By all the powers of land and sea
Be obedient unto me.
Wand, pentacle, and the sword
Hearken ye unto my word.
Cords and censor, scourge and knife
Waken all ye into life.
Powers of the witches blade
Come ye as the charge is made.
Queen of heaven, queen of hell
Send your aid into the spell.
Horned Hunter of the night
Work my will by magick right.
By the powers of land and sea
As I do say, “So mote it be!”
By all the might of moon and sun
As I do will, it shall be done!

Version 2:

“Eko, Eko, Azarak,
Eko, Eko, Zamilak,
Eko, Eko, Cernunnos,
Eko, Eko, Aradia!

Darksome night and shining moon,
East, then South, then West, then North;
Hearken to the Witches’ Rune
Here we come to call ye forth!

Earth and Water, Air and Fire,
Wand and Pentacle and Sword,
Work ye unto our desire,
Hearken ye unto our word!

Cords and censer, scrounge and knife,
Powers of the Witch’s blade
Waken ye unto life,
Come ye as the charm is made!

Queen of heaven, Queen of hell,
Horned Hunter of the night
Lend your power unto the spell,
And work our will by magic rite!

By all the power of land and sea,
By all the might of moon and sun
As we do will, so mote it be;
Chant the spell, and be it done!

Version 3:

Darksome night and shining moon
Hearken to the Witches Rune.
East then South , West then North
Hear! Come! I call thee forth!
By all the powers of land and sea
Be obedient unto me.
Wand, pentacle, and the sword
Hearken ye unto my word.
Cords and censor, scourge and knife
Waken all ye into life.
Powers of the witches blade
Come ye as the charge is made.
Queen of heaven, queen of hell
Send your aid into the spell.
Horned Hunter of the night
Work my will by magick right.
By the powers of land and sea
As I do say, “So mote it be!”
By all the might of moon and sun
As I do will, it shall be done!
Eko Eko, Azarak
Eko Eko, Zomilarak
Eko Eko, Cernunnos
Eko Eko, Aradia. 

 

Moon Phases

Moon Phases

The lunar phase is important and helps in determining the best time for magic. There are basically two lunar phases: waxing moon (ideal time for constructive magic) and waning moon (ideal time for banishing and destructive magic, study, and meditation). In between you’ll have the dark moon (the time of greatest power for banishing and negative magic) and the full moon (the time of greatest power for positive magic).
Basically, as the moon grows, so grows the opportunity or desire for which you are working. As the moon gets smaller, so does the habit or thing you are trying to overcome or push away from you. Most witches of The Craft and pagans work around these lunar phases.

WAXING MOON -When the moon is growing in size (right hand crescent in Northern hemisphere)

Time: From New Moon to Full Moon (Approx 14 days)
Goddess Aspect: Maiden.
Magical Attributes: Invoking beginnings, New projects, Ideas, Inspirations, Energy, Vitality, Freedom.
General workings on this day are for: “Constructive” magic, (love, wealth, success, courage, friendship, luck or health. Time for casting spells concerning attraction and growth and putting plans into action. )
FULL MOON

Time: Approx 14 days after New Moon (Energy lasts from 3 days before Full Moon to 3 days after actual Full Moon) Midnight is the best hour to work the magic.
Goddess Aspect: Mother.
Magical Attributes: Manifesting goals, Nurturing, Passion, Healing, Strength, Power.
Workings on this day are for: Protection, Divination, “Extra Power”, Job hunting, healing serious conditions. Also love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money and dreams, artistic endeavors, beauty, health, and fitness, change and decisions, children, competition, dreams, families, health and healing, knowledge, legal undertakings, love and romance, money, motivation, psych-ism, self-improvement.

WANING MOON – When the moon is decreasing in size (left handed crescent in Northern hemisphere)

Time: From Full Moon to Dark Moon (Approx 14 days)
Goddess Aspect: Crone
Magical Attributes: BANISHING Releasing the Old, Removing Unwanted Negative Energies, Wisdom, Psychic Abilities, Scrying, Reversing Circumstances.
General workings on this day are for: Banishing Magic, ridding of addictions, illness or negativity, physical and psychic cleanisings.Time for casting spells to release and diminish.

NEW MOON

Time: From Dark Moon to Waxing Moon (depends).
New moon – The magic should be performed between dawn and sunset for the best use of this magic.
Goddess Aspect: Maiden
Magical Attributes: Banishing, Releasing the Old, Removing Unwanted Negative Energies, Wisdom, Psychic Abilities, Scrying, Reversing Circumstances.New beginnings Weight loss, Goal setting, Planning, Cleaning, Personal Cleansing, General beginnings and considerations.
Workings on this day are for: Starting new ventures, new beginnings, love, romance, health, or job hunting.
New moon – beauty, health, and self-improvement; farms and gardens; job hunting; love and romance; networking.
Dark moon – addictions, change, divorce, enemies, justice, obstacles, quarrels, removal, separation, stopping stalkers and theft.

Lunar Eclipses
Eclipses represent the perfect union of sun and moon. Any type of magic is acceptable.

Blue Moon
The “blue” one is always the 2nd full moon in the same month. Historically the Blue Moon was considered unlucky and a real nuisance when it occurred at various times of the year and upset scheduling of church festivals. In love songs the Blue Moon is often a symbol of sadness and loneliness.

New moon, Dark moon.
Dark moon occurs either side of the new moon. The new moon is between the last of the waning moon and the beginning of the waxing moon. The new moon has the power of in-between, a time which is not a time, similar to midday, midnight etc.

Wicca Religion

Wicca religion, also known as “The Craft” or “The Old Religion,” Wicca is a neo-pagan, earth-centered religion that has its modern origins in the teaching and practice of the original English Wiccan, Gerald Gardner (1884-1964).  While stereotypes of Wiccans as Satanists or sinister spell-casting witches are ignorant, the worldviews of Christianity and Wicca are nonetheless worlds apart.The term “witch” means wise one. Wiccans do not believe in Satan and therefor do not worship him! That is a Christian concept and not Wiccan.

Most Wiccans believe in the aspect of one universal entity or God that have aspects of a male god and goddess and that they exist in all things.   In the trees, rain, flowers, the sea, in each other and all of natures creatures.   This means that Wiccans must treat “all things” of the Earth as aspects of the divine.   Wiccans attempt to honor and respect life in all its many manifestations both seen and unseen. The aspects most often celebrated in the Craft, however, are the Triple Goddess of the Moon (Who is Maiden, Mother, and Crone) and the Horned God of the wilds. Wiccan beliefs vary markedly between different traditions. However, various commonalities exist between these disparate groups, which usually include views on theology, the afterlife, magic and morality.

To the witch, there is no sin therefore no need for forgiveness.  There is no need for salvation, as there is nothing to be saved from.  The main tenet of Wicca is the “Wiccan Rede” which states “And it harm none, do as ye will”.  Basically, as long as you don’t hurt anyone, anything goes.  Of course, views of what actually causes harm vary from person to person.  Most also believe that whatever you do will come back to you three-fold, so it pays to be careful.  Some, however, believe that it is sometimes acceptable to cause harm as long as you are willing to accept the karmic consequence.

Here are the 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief :

1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the moon and the seasonal quarters and cross quarters.

2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with nature and ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.

3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called supernatural but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.

4. We conceive of the creative power in the universe as manifesting through polarity as masculine and feminine, and that this same creative power lies in all people and functions through the interaction of the masculine and the feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of each other. We value sexuality as pleasure as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energy used in magical practice and religious worship.

5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological worlds sometimes known as the spiritual world, the collective unconsciousness, the inner planes etc., and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and Magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.

6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.

7. We see religion, Magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it, a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft, the Wiccan way.

8. Calling oneself Witch does not make a Witch, but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and without harm to others and in harmony with Nature.

9. We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the universe we know and to our personal role within it.

10. Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be the only true way and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.

11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, or the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future

12. We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as Satan or the devil as defined by Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can only be derived by denial to another.

13. We seek within nature that which is contributory to our health and well being.

 The pentagram or pentacle is an important symbol in Wicca. It is a circle surrounding a five pointed star. The five points showing the different elements of nature important to the Wiccans. Those elements are earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. Each element has associations with compass direction as well. Earth is north, air is east, fire is south, water is west and spirit is center.

“Blessed Be”