Why not Wiccan?

Personal practice, Processing 4 Comments »

I’ve mentioned on other posts that even though I started on a pagan path as Wiccan, my personal path eventually diverged from Wicca. So what does that mean? According to Northwind’s About Wicca page here is a brief description of Wicca:

In summation, Wicca is a nature religion the adherents of which worship a deity who is divided into male and female aspects. The adherents of Wicca attempt to attune themselves with nature and to see themselves and all life as a part of nature. The Religion does not have as a component, a personification of evil, such as the devil but; believes in personal responsibility for one’s acts.

There are other components too, like the Rule of Return (whatever you do returns threefold) and the Wiccan Rede (And it harm none, do what you will). I mostly honor these.

NorthWind specifically honors Native American aspects. For example, the Cherokee were in the area of Tennessee where NorthWind originated. NorthWind uses the Cherokee names for spirits associated with each element. Using these names (with respect and understanding of the original context) is a way of honoring the people who know the land and have deep ties with them. Honoring their connection — not trying to claim any part of their culture. It’s an important difference to me. Something I always liked about the group rituals. I never used any of the Native American parts in my own practices.

In my personal practice, I do not believe in a deity who is divided in to male and female aspects. I honor one deity and acknowledge the existance of others, which is called henotheism. Wikipedia defines henotheism as “the belief and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities that may also be worshipped.”

Grey Cat said this about the view of deities within NorthWind:

Whether or not the God and Goddess are viewed as “real”, “the concept of the God or Goddess, that is personification of the gods, is the means to make contact with divine reality.” (Weinstein) And it is noteworthy that deity, as nature, is in all life, all of the world seen and unseen, including being manifest within each person. So to contact the deity, He/She must be awakened within oneself. This means that Goddess is always with and all around each being, Our Gods are very much a part of our everyday lives.

I still very much hold with this view. In order to have a strong connection with deity, you reach inside to connect to the Divine. I do believe that each person can connect with their deity(ies) if they do the work and listen. (That’s the big trick. Listening.)

So the big difference for me is that I am dedicated to one deity. One deity who isn’t part of or a manifestestation of a great godhead. She is who She is. Following that connection with Her is what lead me farther away from a Wiccan path. The more I learned about Her, the more the details about my personal practice changed.

I tend to do informal ritual. I do daily offerings each morning. My altar doesn’t have quarter candles or elements represented. No god candle. No goddess candle. There is a working reproduction of an oil lamp found in the ancient Roman empire. Other items on my altar include resin stick incense, wooden offering plate, vase with fresh roses, and my depictions of Her (statue, painting, sculpture).

As for the eight general sabbats, I may go to open rituals sponsored by local pagan communities, but I don’t generally do anything to mark the sabbats’ passing. Maybe a nice meal. My main holy day during the year is December 18, the one known feast date for Epona (even if the date only comes from a single inscription from Guidizollo, Italy).

Moving away from Wicca wasn’t something that happened over night. It was years a gradual evolution. I’m glad I had the training and the experience. It’s a good framework and background. It’s just not where I am now.