To celebrate our new wicca wallpapers, we here present a brief outline of the Wicca religion.
Wicca is a religion with focus on nature and with some 800,000 worshippers worldwide. Two spiritual entities (the God and the Goddess) are worshipped by a majority of wiccans as representations of a "life-force" present throughout nature. Its core ethics can, very simplified, be summarised in "do what you want, as long as it hurts no one else". Wicca features many rituals, rites and celebrations, many of which concern nature, seasons and the elements. The key religious text is called The Book of Shadows and a copy of it is usually found in every Wicca household. There are also many tools utilized, such as candles, cauldrons and pentacles (some of which are found among our mobile phone wallpapers), and many keep notes is a private journal.
The roots of Wicca are clouded by time and debate, but some claim that the religion has its origins in ancient European pagan traditions. One theory suggests that Wicca was effectively founded when folklorist merged with Golden Dawn Rosicrucians to form the first English covens in the early 1920s.
In modern time, Wicca was chiefly popularized by anthropologist, occultist and author Gerald Gardner. In his books Witchcraft Today and The Meaning of Witchcraft, he summarised the beliefs of Wicca and described its rituals, and these books have been pivotal in shaping the religion, especially in how it has developed after the 1950s.
In the 1960s, a feminist witchcraft was introduced in the Dianic Wicca, which is not directly derived from traditional Wicca but heavily influenced by its namesake. This version of Wicca has not the same emphasis on the Horned God and does not require an initiate to contact an existing coven before joining. There are other offshoots and variants as well, which has prompted traditional Wiccans in the US to refer to their religion as British Traditional Wicca.
Because of the traditional widespread interpretation of the word "witch" and the rituals and tools used by Wiccans, they have been accused of being devil worshippers, Satanists or practisers of dark magic throughout its history. Garner argues that Wicca is derived from an old European witch cult persecuted among many others during the infamous witch trials that occurred between the 1400s to the 1600s, however that relation is disputed. Still, reports of resentment from other religious groupings continue to emerge, and to avoid debate many Wiccans prefer to carry out rituals and worship in secret.
Traditional Wiccans typically belong to an organized coven, which can be described as a group meeting to perform rituals and exchange knowledge. These covens, often with thirteen members, are led by a High Priest and a High Priestess and require initiation in order to gain acceptance.
Wicca features many rituals, many of which have religious connotations. The moon and the different seasons are the centre of some rituals, while others are in line with The Wheel of the Year. One celebration that should be mentioned, even though it's not directly connected to any specific time of the year, is Handfasting, which can be described as a Wiccan form of wedding and usually include a "trial period" of one year and one day. There's also a ritual called "Wiccaning", which is the Wicca equivalent of the Christian christening.