The word “Witchcraft” dates back many hundreds of years and means literally “The craft of the wise”. This is because the Witches of the old were the wise ones of their village, knowledgeable in the art of healing, legal matters and spiritual fulfillment.
A Witch had to not only is a religious leader, but also the doctor, lawyer, and psychologist of the village. Today, people have reclaimed this word in their pursuit of Wiccan religion. A With is an initiate of Wicca, one who has earned the right to call themselves Priest, or Priestess, through study, self evaluation, and spiritual living. Wicca itself, is an attempt to re-create European (mostly) Shamansistic Nature Religion, adapting it to fit our modern lives. Witches are worshippers of the Earth and it’ many cycles.
We believe that deity is found not only outside to our realm, or plane of existence, but that is found within every living thing and all that support it. Therefore, we attempt to live in harmony with the Earth and each of its creatures. Wiccan tends to involve themselves with ecological pursuits. Wicca observes the holidays of Pagan Europe; Eight festivals spaced evenly about the wheel of the year, at the quarters (equinox’s and solstices) and the cross-quarters (midpoints between the equinox’s and solstices). They are called: Yule (Dec 21) Tmbolc (Feb2), Lady Day (March 21), Beltaine (May 1), Midsummer (June 21), Lugnassed (Aug 1), Mabon (Sept 21), and Samhain (Oct 31). Actual dates vary slightly from year to year, as they are based upon actual celestial events. Many Wiccans also celebrate the Full Moon, of which we have 13 per year.
The basis for Wiccans moral conduct is found in the statement “An Ye Harm None, Do What Thou Wilt.” This is a mock archaic phrase, suggesting that any behavior that harms none, is morally acceptable. Harm is defined by anything that takes away, or works against an individual’s free will. It is, of course, impossible to exist, or even cease to exist, without causing harm, so Wiccans look to fulfill this as closely as possible. A Wiccan attempts to make choices based on what will cause the least harm, and promote the greatest overall positive effect. Wicca teaches self discipline, personal responsibility kinship with our plant and its creatures, open-mindedness and the virtues of diversity. Wiccans do not proselytize, as we believe that each must find the path that is right for them, and that all religions are different paths to the same truths.
We draw our beliefs and practices from our own experiences, and that of others, understanding that age does not makes a religion any more valid, not does political support, numbers of followers or material holdings of its temple. Religion is a very personal thing, one which can only be validated by the experience of the individual. Wicca provides a link for those who follow similar paths to share their experiences.