WICCA OF THE PAST…
- Polytheism -
Greeks and Roman cultures were abound with gods and goddesses of all pantheons.
Sacrificial Rites were undertaken to keep the gods contented.
These early Polytheistic religions were the starting point for Wicca (as we know it today).
- Witch Trials -
During the 16th and 17th centuries witch hunt took place across Europe and in America.
Somewhere between 40,000 and 100,000 individuals were exterminated under this banner.
There ‘so called’ crime was worship of ‘the Devil’.
Most modern scholars agree that these were the victims of hysteria in remote communities…
…and that there were no religion being practiced by witches.
- Persecution -
In 1320, Pope John XII authorised persecutions of ‘sorcerers’.
The Roman Catholic Inquisition backed witch-hunts from the 14th Century – after the persecution of the Cathars and the Knights Templar.
By 1484 Pope Innocent VIII issued a Papal bull authorising Inquisitors to systemize persecution of witches.
The notorious Malleus Maleficarum (Latin for "Hammer of the Witches") was created for the explicit task of undermining any notion that witchcraft was ‘superstitious nonsense or that witchcraft did not exist.
It was around this point that the Inquisition deemed witchcraft Satanic rituals.
Witchcraft was also classed as heresy; as the breaking of the first Commandment (‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me’).
By 1645-46 the witch-hunting even reached the Americas.
It wasn’t until 1692-93 that the famous Salem witch trials took place.
- Paganism -
The Wiccans of the early 20th Century were under the impression that their religion was simply a continuation of Pagan Witch-Cults from before Christianity.
Since the ‘80s and ‘90s this view has been moderated to the status of ‘creation myth’ instead of historical fact.
- Wicca -
Doreen Valiente, co-founder with Gerald Gardner, admitted that Wicca got some of its stimulus from the notable of the day Aleister Crowley.
So the format, and rituals within Wicca displays inspirations from Victorian Occultism and old Pagan Faiths (with Buddhism and Hindu influences).
The veneration of historical pagan deities also ranks highly in the Wiccan pantheon.
Gardner never used the term ‘Wicca’, but called the religion ‘Witchcraft’ and ‘the Wica’.
The term ‘Wicca’ was originally termed by Charles Cardel when referring to all followers of the Witch-Cult religion.
By the 60’s this British based religion had been accepted by most English-speaking nations … including:
- and the United States.
- Dainic Wicca -
Zsuzsanna Budapest, a Hungarian-American, combined Wicca practises with feminist politics to form a new hybrid – Dianic Witchcraft.
Which later became known as Dianic Wicca.
She formed a coven in L.A. names the Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One…
Whereas, in most covens (back then) there was the duality of Goddess and Horned God, the focus in ‘Dianic’ Wicca, is on the Goddess almost exclusively…
Due to this, these covens became women-only (and some even specifically lesbian orientated).
Dianic Wicca has been criticised for its virtually monotheistic theological viewpoint – in contract to Wicca’s normally duotheism.
Budapest believed that all woman had a right to her ‘new’ religion.
Faith: Placing the Mitre on Female Heads? - When it comes to women bishops in roles within the church, the men of god seem hell-bent on shooting themselves in the foot.