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Wicca: What Makes It A Religion?

Oct 25, 2007
The exact nature of religion has long been debated by philosophers, theologians and laymen alike. Creating either a precise or an all-inclusive definition cannot really be achieved. For this reason, a general and generic definition such as the one offered by Encarta, is probably the best to work with when deciding whether Wicca can be classified as a religion or not: people's beliefs and opinions concerning the existence, nature, and worship of a deity or deities, and divine involvement in the universe and human life.

The perhaps, it would be appropriate to include the definition of Wicca according to the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: polytheistic Neo-Pagan nature religion inspired by various pre-Christian western European beliefs, whose central deity is a mother goddess and which includes the use of herbal magic and benign witchcraft.

That Wicca is a religion, given the definitions available today, cannot be disputed. Let us glance at the elements of Wiccan philosophy and practices that supports its "religionship"

1. Wiccans acknowledge the existence of Deity

All religions have doctrines. Those of Wicca are very explicit: Deity is omnipresent and inspiring; all beings possess a spirit and all spirits are interconnected; all of creation is a manifestation of the Divine. The Goddess and God are acknowledged as aspects of a Deity, humankind cannot comprehend.

2. Wiccans views Deity as creating the Universe

As is the case in all religion, there are creation myths in Wicca too. Whilst not all Wiccans share a single creation myth, the underlying theme throughout is that the Universe and all it contains were created by the Divine.

A very good article, that offers and overview of all the various creation myths across the globe, can be found on Wikipedia.

3. Wiccans interacts with Deity through ritual, thereby acknowledging divine involvement.

Wiccans celebrate the eight Sabbats on the Wheel of the Year and the thirteen Esbats which coincide with the full moon in honor of Deity and in tribute to nature. On each of Sabbats and Esbats rituals are performed in worship. Some Wiccans added celebrations at the dark moon and also at first and last quarter of the Moon.

In addition to celebrating the sacred Sabbats and Esbats, Wiccans also do daily devotionals and prayers to their Deities.

4. Wiccans believe in life after death.

Wiccans believe that all of nature (and that includes humans), is infused by a Divine spark or soul. After death, the soul returns to the spirit world to rest and recover before returning to earth in a new incarnation. In Wicca, - unlike many other religions -, there is neither a hell, nor a Satan-like figure.
About the Author
Rose Ariadne has been practicing ancient forms of Witchcraft for over 25 years. Get more info about Wiccan religion here: http://www.askroseariadne.com/editorials/wicca-what-makes-it-a-religion.html
...and ask her any question here: http://www.askroseariadne.com
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