What is Wicca?
Wicca is a life-affirming, nature-oriented religion that sees life as sacred and interconnected, and the natural world as an embodiment of divinity, immanent as well as transcendent, and experiences the divine as feminine and masculine. Wiccan spiritual practices are intended to attune us to the natural rhythms of the universe. Celebrations and holidays coincide with the phases of the moon, the change of the seasons, and the solstices and equinoxes. The Wiccan calendar is referred to as the Wheel of the Year. Wiccans hold rituals in a ritual space marked by a circle. We do not build church buildings to create this sacred, ritual space -- all Earth is sacred and in touch with the Goddess and so any place, indoors or out, may be consecrated for ritual use. Most Wiccans consider their practice akin to the mystery schools of the ancients, involving years of training and passage through life-transforming initiatory rituals. Most Wiccans agree on an ethical code known as the Wiccan Rede, "An it harm none, do what ye will." This Rede honors the freedom of each individual to do what she or he believes is right; while simultaneously recognizing the profound responsibility that none may be harmed by one's actions.
Keep in mind that our religion is not a series of precepts. Rather we believe that, in ourselves, we have the capacity to reach out and experience the mystery -- that feeling of ineffable oneness with all Life. Those who wish to experience this transcendence must work, create, and participate of their own free will. For this reason, our congregations, called covens, are small. This allows for each individual to contribute to the efforts of the group by self- knowledge and creative experimentation within the agreed-upon group structure. There are many traditions within the Craft. Each groups takes its inspiration from either an ancient pantheon or ethnic groups from mythology and history (e.g. Celtic, Greek, Egyptian, Norse, Finno-Ugric); or from the liturgical works of modern Witch poets or scholars; or from self-seeking and soul inspiration. There are many paths to spiritual growth. Wicca is a participatory revelation, a celebratory action leading to greater understanding of oneself and the universe. We believe there is much to learn by studying our past, through myth, through ritual drama, through poetry and music, through love and through living in harmony with the Earth.
Although the religion formed into a cohesive entity in the 1950s, the roots of the religion are very old, coming down to us through a variety of channels worldwide. The religion was a great puzzle being assembled from the surviving practices and beliefs of the ancient traditions, the oral traditions of pagan cultures, archaeological and anthropological studies of the religious practices of non-Christian cultures, the works of the 19th and 20th century metaphysical orders, and the liberalization of anti-Witchcraft laws. Since the resurrection of the Old Ways and the creation of the New Religion, Wicca has become a growing spiritual practice that is gaining popularity as well as acceptance worldwide. (adapted from COG.com)