Theological Meaning of Wicca

by Janet Mulroney Clark
Wiccan theology allows for diverse beliefs.

Wiccan theology allows for diverse beliefs.

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Unlike many of the world's religions, Wicca is a religion whose theological meaning cannot be found within the pages of one sacred text, nor can it be determined by studying a specific body of work. The theology of Wicca is not determined by one head leader speaking for a body of believers. Instead, Wiccan theology is best explained by examining its principles.

The Wiccan Rede

The binding theological meaning of Wicca is found in the Wiccan Rede, which states, "An' it harm none, do what ye will." This statement sums up the Wiccan belief that people are free to live as they choose, but they are also responsible to live in a way that doesn't harm other people, animals or the environment. Choosing to live in a way that brings no harm to others can be challenging, and Wiccans differ on whether to interpret the Rede as a commandment or as a suggestion.

The Three-fold law

According to this law, any good or any harm that one person does to another returns to him threefold. Wiccans believe this is a spiritual law. Because of their belief in this law and the Rede, Wiccans who practice magic will only cast spells to help people, not harm them. Wiccans believe if they intentionally harm others, they will experience even greater harm to themselves.

Beliefs about God

Wiccans are not required to have a specific belief about a supreme being. Many Wiccans are monotheistic: They believe in one god with both female and male sides. Many refer to this Supreme Being as The Goddess, as the feminine side of God is especially revered in Wicca. Other Wiccans believe in two separate supreme beings, God and Goddess. Polytheistic Wiccans worship many gods, such as those worshiped in ancient Greece: Athena, Diana, Zeus and Pan, to name but a few. Some Wiccans believe the Divine can be found in all of nature, and others do not believe in God, although they look to ancient gods to provide guiding principles.

Council of American Witches

In 1973 a group of about 73 Wiccans met in Minneapolis to establish a guiding set of principles. Their leader was Carl Llewellyn Weschcke, whose publishing house printed many books about alternative religions. The group, the Council of American Witches, represented Wiccans from various groups and sects. The 13 principles stress care for the environment, gender equality and sexual freedom, respect for self and others, and a belief in “supernatural” powers, which are really a part of each person’s natural potential to effect change. The group disbanded shortly after setting forth the principles.

About the Author

Janet Clark has written professionally since 2001. She writes about education, careers, culture, parenting, gardening and social justice issues. Clark graduated from Buena Vista University with a degree in education. She has written two novels, "Blind Faith" and "Under the Influence." Clark has received several awards from the Iowa Press Women for her work.

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