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Wicca. By: Josh Benson Jimmy Rowland Jeremy Matozzo Derek Dubbs. Quick Facts Page. Name of founder: Gerald Brosseau Gardner Nationality of founder: English Date & Location group was founded: 1950’s in Great Britain

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Wicca

By: Josh Benson

Jimmy Rowland

Jeremy Matozzo

Derek Dubbs


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Quick Facts Page

  • Name of founder: Gerald Brosseau Gardner

  • Nationality of founder: English

  • Date & Location group was founded: 1950’s in Great Britain

  • Number of Adherents: Approximately 300,000 serious adherents. Covens consist of around 3 to 20 members.

  • The group’s ultimate concern: Eight words the Wican Rede fulfill: “An ye harm none, do what ye will.” - In other words – Do what you like as long as you harm no one.


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Wicca Facts

  • Approximately 36 religious denominations can be found throughout 192 countries around the world

    - Wicca is one of the fastest growing

  • Wicca is spiritual and ritualistic in nature, emphasizing “the unity of nature and divinity of human beings”

  • Founded by the earliest forms of witchcraft and Neopaganism

  • Worship the mother Goddess, or “the birth-giver or one who brings into existence all life”


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….Wicca Facts Continued

  • Reported as the most successful and influential religion of the 20th century Neopagan Movement

  • Neopaganism is a term used to describe polytheistic religous traditions of Europe and the Mediterranean

  • Very controversial because of it’s numerous different traditions and branches

  • Misconstrued by the popular culture as being evil and satanic


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Gerald Brosseau Gardner – “The best-known figure of modern witchcraft.”

1884 - Born in Great Crosby on Merseyside in northwest England

Did not attend college

Worked for the commerical branch of the British Civil Service

1927 – At age 43, marries Donna Rosedale, a clergyman’s daughter

Served as an overseer of a rubber plantation in Malaysia

Settled in the South of England known as New Forest

1939 – Meets Margaret Murray in the Folklore Society

History of the Founder


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Gardner Part 2

  • Looked to re-create the “witch cult of Western Europe”

  • The New Forest Coven was descended from one of “Nine Covens” founded by George Pickingill 40 years earlier

  • Upon his discovery of this Coven, Gardner became highly motivated to teach and practice Wicca

  • 1947 – Him and his wife move to America to live with his brother, Douglas

  • 1949 – published High Magic’s Aid, a fiction book that points out what Gardner is trying to get across about the new religion of Wicca

  • 1954 – Resigns from membership in the Folklore Society after his publication of Witchcraft Today


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Gardner Part 3

  • Gardnerian Witchcraft became highly recognized in America

  • 1963 – Met Raymond Buckland who later became his spokesperson in the United States

  • Buckland and his wife did intensive studying in Scotland and by doing so were initiated into Gardner’s coven

  • The Buckland’s brought Gardner’s famous Book of Shadows back to New York where it was founded by the New York Coven in Bay Shore, Long Island

  • The New York Coven then became the center of the Gardnerian and Neopagan movements in America for the next 20 years

  • 1964 – Dies on the SS Scottish Prince off the coast of North Africa


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History of Wicca

  • Rooted in the period before 500 BC, the start of the Iron Age

  • Wicca was illegal in Britain for nearly 1000 years up until 1951. Since it’s legalization a large amount has been published and it is now accessible to all

  • Origins can be traced back to Paleolithic peoples who worshipped a Hunter God and a Fertility Goddess

  • Perhaps the oldest religion in the world

  • Cave paintings were found in France nearly 30,000 years ago depicting a man with the head of a stag, and a woman with a swollen, pregnant belly. The two stood in a circle with eleven mortals to equal lucky number 13. The archetypes of the divine are worshipped by Wiccans to this very day.


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History of Wicca

  • After 1951, when the witchcraft laws were repealed, Gardner was the first to come to public eye and was sought to be the founder of Gardnerian Wicca

  • He was the first to describe what modern witches were practicing, thus becoming the father of his own original Wicca

  • His information was spread through the traditions of a coven or a small group consisting of 3 to 20 members, but usually are made up of 13 people

    - New Forrest Coven

    - Margaret Murray

  • Aleister Crowley

    - Introduced the notion that if people knew their true will and followed them, they would attune themselves to harmony with the universe

    - Many of Crowley’s practices and beliefs can be seen in Gardner’s Book of Shadows


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…History Continued

  • Wicca can be dated back as far as the 1300s, when the first witch trials were being held in Europe

  • 1692 – 19 people were tried and hung as witches in Massachusetts

  • Not hard to argue that Wicca was pieced together by ONLY Gardner in 1939 but also from Margaret Murray, Charles Leland, Aleister Crowley and many more helped define Wicca to what it is today


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Doctrine of the Group

  • Deep belief that nature controls the quality and circle of life

  • Believe in the old saying – “What goes around, comes around.”

  • Although there are different forms, the usually worship two separate deities

    - The Goddess

    - The God or Horn God

  • Some forms only worship the Goddess, that is why many feminists practice Wicca

  • Gardnerian Wiccans practice polytheism or the worshipping of more then one deities


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…Doctrine Continued

  • Wicca Creed

    - Cornerstone for the rest of their beliefs and teachings

    - “If it harm none, then do what you will”

  • Belief that reincarnation serves as an orderly system of learning

  • Law of Attraction

    - “What I do to other living creature, I will draw to myself”


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Membership & Initiation

  • First level

    - The priest – male

    - Great Goddess – female

    - Must be stroked 40 times with a scourge and take an oath of secrecy

    - Also introduced to “working took of the Art” including a broom, cauldron, Chalice, wand, Book of Shadows, Altar cloth, athame (personal knife) alters knife, candles, and incense.

  • Second level

    - Magus – male

    - Queen – female

    - Scourged 40 times again, then the candidate must scourge their initiator 120 times

    - A play of the legend of Goddess is then acted out and the candidate is introduced to the powers of the four elements.

  • Last & Most Powerful level

    - High Priest – male

    - High Priestess – female

    - Candidate must perform ritual lovemaking with the person that is initiating him or her

    - Many do not engage in intercourse but rather perform ritualistic dances with each other around the consecrated circle


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Wicca & The Four Elements

  • The four elements of earth, air, fire, and water, represent the four points on the pentagram star, which is a symbol of their faith.

  • The four elements are assigned a direction and a color.

    - Air : East - Yellow

    - Fire : South - Red

    - Water : West - Blue

    - Earth : North - Green


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Holidays

  • Celebrate 8 main holidays or what they refer to as Sabbats

  • Top Four Sabbats

    - Candlemas – February 2

    - May Eve or Beltane – April 30

    - Lammas – August 1

    - Samhain – October 31 or Halloween

  • Two less important Sabbats

    - Solstices

    - Equinoxes

  • Covens also come together every full and new moon to perform rituals and ceremonies


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Analysis

  • Many people see Satanism and Witchcraft as the same thing

    - Not true

  • They do have a few things in common

    - Both use and believe in magic and spiritual forces

    - Wicca believes all natural forces of this world should be used for good

    - Accept images that are found to be dangerous and evil to contemporary society

    - Both use images such as demons and satanic symbols

  • Wicca does not have a very high potential for violence and dos not have an apocalyptic belief

    - Controversy during the 80s when police intercepted documents detailing a Wiccan outline to take over the worl

    - The documents were later known as “Wicca Letters”


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Final Thoughts

  • Wicca is practiced in a wide range of places and there is many branches of Wicca, therefore there is not one dominating Charismatic leader

  • There is usually a leader within the covens but they do not have the same manipulating skills as a leader from cults we have learned about such as Jim Jones or David Koresh

  • The truth is that people that follow Wicca have a deep respect for nature, the supernatural, and are also peaceful


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