Activity time: 10 minutes
Description of Activity
Share background about the Wiccan religion, in these words or your own:
Gerald Gardner, an Englishman, is often credited as the father of the modern Wiccan religion. Throughout its history, England has had laws against witchcraft, the last of which was repealed in 1951. In 1959, Gardner published The Meaning of Witchcraft, giving Wicca a public face. Gardner used the term "Wica" as a name for his religion; it is now commonly spelled "Wicca." Wicca is recognized as a religion in the U.S.
Remnants of ancient religions have always survived. Secret societies have explored witchcraft and the occult.
Some Wiccans use the term "witch;" others do not. By "witch" Wiccans do not mean the cartoonish version we often see. Magic as practiced by modern day Wiccans involves the use of rituals to achieve balance and harmony in the universe. Wiccans do not worship Satan; most do not even believe in a devil.
What do they believe?
That there is a divine power that is the universe. That power has energy, a force that can be drawn on and re-directed.
Some Wiccans cast spells to draw psychic energy from the earth or other elements toward a specific end, usually in situations where things are seen to be off balance. They may seek help from spirits or "elementals," representations of the elements. Wiccans believe any energy you send out, positive or negative, comes back to you threefold, so they are wary of sending out negative energy.
Wiccans believed in protecting the environment long before greenhouse effects were discovered.
They believe the sexes are equal. They are also very accepting of different paths of spirituality and do not believe in or practice religious oppression.
Many other beliefs vary. Some Wiccans worship deities. Some do not.
- What are some Wiccan beliefs that are counter-cultural, that is, not the beliefs of mainstream America?
- Would you characterize those beliefs as "bad?"
- What characteristics do Wiccans share with any of the other religions we have discussed?
- Why do you think people are uncomfortable with or afraid of Wiccans?
- How would you react to finding out someone in your congregation identifies as a UU Wiccan? What about a friend or family member?