W is for… Wicca

Wicca is so much the mainstream of neo-paganism that one could sometimes be forgiven for thinking that Wicca is Paganism today. I don’t mean the traditional, coven-based kind, although Gardnarian Wiccans are still going strong; I mean the solitary or semi-covened kind, who self-initiate and mostly learn their witchcraft from books. Whether we like it or not (I personally don’t mind too much; teaching yourself is a fine tradition), this is the face of neo-paganism today.

It can have unfortunately side-effects for followers of other traditions, though. There’s no real reason to think that Norse people, for example, cast circles before prayer – but if you have been well-grounded in Wicca in the early years of your Pagan exploration, it can be hard to feel that you’re doing things ‘properly’ without a circle, without the elements in the four quarters, without the yearly round of eight festivals.

Of course, there are grey areas. Are Druids Wiccan? Not all of them, certainly, and even OBOD Druids are not Wiccan in the usual sense. And yet Gerald Gardner and Ross Nichols, OBOD’s founder, were good friends, and undoubtedly influenced one another – and so, having first been trained in generic Wicca via the usual collection of slightly fluffy books, there is much that I find familiar in OBOD’s Druid rituals.

I am not a Wiccan, but my spiritual path and education owes much to Wicca, and for that I am grateful.


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