What is Wicca? The Principles of Modern Witchcraft and Paganism
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What is Wicca? The Principles of Modern Witchcraft and Paganism

February 09, 2023 by PathForward
Wiccan festivals celebrate the cycles of Earth and nature while getting you in touch with the divine.
Wiccan festivals celebrate the cycles of Earth and nature while getting you in touch with the divine.

Witches may get a spooky reputation, but there's so much more to modern witchcraft than those stereotypes. Wicca is finding popularity with many people today, and for good reason. This modern religion draws on ideals like peacefulness and inclusivity to create a community for self-empowerment.

What Is Wicca?

Wicca is an alternative minority religion that started in the 1940s in the UK. Regardless of gender, people who adhere to this religion call themselves witches. Wicca and witchcraft are part of a modern paganism movement. This broader community includes heathens, druids, and more — along with witches and Wiccans — and pagans refer to all of these as spiritual paths. These spiritual paths all draw on practices from pre-Christian cultures and religions.

Wicca arrived in the United States in the 1960s and has been growing. Some estimates have around 1.5 million witches living in the U.S. today, though it's important to note that not all witches think of themselves as Wiccans. Today, the group continues to grow on platforms like TikTok. There are many reasons the contemporary community is getting into Wicca (and modern paganism and witchcraft more broadly). Wicca can help you get in tune with yourself and your surroundings, finding more harmony and calm.

Despite the idea permeating mainstream culture that practicing witchcraft is "spooky," the modern principles and practice of Wicca embrace peacefulness and respect. Many modern Wiccans get into their practice for self-care, and many report feeling positivity and freedom as part of their practice. Wicca can create a space for you to focus on your mental and spiritual health. Wiccan communities tend to embrace differences and inclusivity, creating a space for people whose personal beliefs align with the religion to further grow and explore.

What Do Wiccans Believe?

So, what do Wiccans believe? How do you know if exploring Wiccan practices might be a good path for you?

The religion has one overriding rule: "Harm none and do as you will." There isn't one single text that Wiccans draw their beliefs from — in fact, most Wiccans practice independently. Wiccans have the freedom to develop a unique practice that works for them. At the same time, Wiccans are usually in regular contact, finding ways to network online and congregate at gatherings. These gatherings provide a space for Wiccans to learn about spiritual and magical practices from each other. Many enjoy coming together to conduct rituals and enter a magical space for encountering and embracing divinity.

Wicca features a few key differences from more mainstream religions. First, Wicca celebrates both a Goddess and a God. Wicca also does not have a formal institutional structure like a church. Instead, this religion emphasizes ritual and direct spiritual experiences over belief. As a result, Wiccans call themselves practitioners instead of believers.

Maybe a better question, then, is:

What Kinds of Rituals Do Wiccans Practice?

The pagan, nature-based religion includes eight Sabbats and twelve esbats. These festivals celebrate the universe's natural occurrences and Earth's natural cycles. 


Wicca includes a yearly cycle of rituals called Sabbats. The rituals celebrate the beginnings and heights of the Northern Hemisphere's four seasons and follow the cycle of seasons based on the sun. The rituals are designed to celebrate the season while putting participants in touch with the divine. During Sabbats, Wiccans celebrate the sun god or male deity.

When you practice these rituals, you get to celebrate how the seasons bring changes to nature and take the time to reflect on how your own life mirrors these changes. Beltane, for example, takes place at the height of spring on May 1. On this day, Wiccans celebrate fertility in the Earth and in individual people's lives.


Then there are the esbats, which celebrate moon cycle changes. Esbats acknowledge the moon reaching its full strength while honoring the female deity. Typically, twelve full moons occur each year. However, sometimes you get a thirteenth full moon, a blue moon. A blue moon is a second full moon during a month.

Full moons are ideal times to practice different rituals and recharge your tools and crystals. Every time you celebrate a full moon, the moon will represent something different. For instance, the "wolf moon" is January's full moon. This full moon represents a period of planning, strength, and protection.

How To Practice the Wiccan Religion

Again, you're free to develop a spiritual practice that works for you if you decide to practice Wicca. A Psychic Advisor can help you identify practices that would be a good fit for your personality and goals. Many Wiccans practice magic and believe that magic taps into the spirit world, often called the "otherworld." Other practitioners believe magic draws on an energy field that surrounds everyone, and they do magic as a healing exercise for themselves or others or to find things like a new job or home.

When doing magic, Wiccans emphasize that it must not cause harm. It all goes back to that one rule! Wiccans also look at magic as changing the practitioners as much as it changes their circumstances and encourage each other to pursue self-empowerment and self-growth. It's no wonder that Wicca resonates so much with many people today.

All in all, Wicca is a religion that works well in our current society. Though Wiccans get inspiration from ancient traditions like pre-Christian Celtic and Anglo-Saxon cultures, Wicca is in many ways a modern religion. For example, Wicca resonates with growing environmental concerns, especially among young people, by seeing divinity in nature. Wicca also offers a female face of the divine through the Goddess.

Think Wicca might be for you? A Psychic Reading from an intuitive PathForward Psychic can help you get started. Get a reading today to explore how Wicca's modern principles and practices can fit in with your goals for personal growth.

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