Q. What is a Witch/Wiccan?
A. A practitioner of a nature-based religion and follows the seasonal cycles. A Wiccan/Witch believes that the divine exists within them as well as outside, and feels a direct connection with the God/dess. Wiccans/Witches come from all racial, socio-economic and religious backgrounds. Many are collage educated and find employment in high tech jobs. Most are are literate and read extensively. What we share is a loosely structured system of beliefs largely known as "Wicca". Wiccans follow a code of conduct called the "Wiccan Rede" (An it harm non, do as thou wilt). Not all pagans are Wiccans, but all Wiccans are pagans.
A: Witches are just Witches. As far as "good/White" or "evil/Black" Witches are concerned, as in any religous group, some are good and some are bad. We believe that each human is responsible for their own actions. To us, evil is a choice, a bad one, that someone might make, not an deity to blame our actions upon. If someone chooses to do evil, we believe they will be punished by the laws of karma. Also, if one is working for the good of others, the same laws will reward them. What goes around comes around. The majority of Witches believe in reincarnation, and that karma can follow a person from life to life. This helps to explain why terrible things happen to people.
Q: Do you worship Satan?
A: Satan is a part of the Christian/Jewish/Muslim religions. Since we are neither Christian, Jewish nor Muslim, we do not recognize the existence of "Satan", so it would be impossible for us to worship him/it.
Q: So why do you use that "Satanic" symbol, the Pentagram/Pentacle?
A: The pentagram, or five pointed star, is not Satanic. It has been used for ages to symbolize many things. In Medieval times, some Christian knights used the pentagram as their symbol and to bring luck and protection. Today it is used to represent a Masonic group, The Order of the Eastern Star. To modern Witches the pentagram means the five points correspond to the elements Air, Earth, Fire and Water with the top point corresponding to Spirit. The pentagram in a circle may represent a human with their legs and arms outstretched, surrounded by universal wisdom.
Q. What about the knives, wands and other things witches use?
A. The personal knife, often called an athame (soft a-thame)or black handled knife, is a tool used to direct energy and are never used to cut things in the physical world. Wands, Swords, Staffs are all used in the same way. The cauldron us used to symbolize the womb of life. Candles serve several purposes, they provide light, they represent deity, and they can symbolize a need in a spell, to name a few. Salt represents the Earth, and Water, the water of life.
Q: Do you do blood sacrifice?
A: The nature of sacrifice is to give up something of yours in order to get something more important. Wiccans do not feel that the life of another creature is ours to give therefore we would never kill an animal in ritual, as we would not consider it a sacrifice. Wiccans also believe that the Goddess is the Mother of All Life, so why would she want the destruction of one of her own creations.
Q: Do Witches cast spells?
A: Yes. Spells are just active prayers. Spells, much like prayers, are used to as a catalyst to create change in one's own life or the life of a loved one. Prayers are a petition to Deity to create the change. Spells are are used to connect with our own divine selves, and use our own energies to create the change. Wiccans/Witches generally will not do a spell for anyone who has not asked and given them their permission. Spells such as those which use love magic to gain a specific individual, or curses, are considered "manipulative". Anything manipulative that goes against the free will of another is considered wrong.
Q: Is Witchcraft a cult?
A: A cult by definition is a group of people who blindly follow a leader. As Wiccans tend to be free-thinkers and have no one person we consider to be the leader, we cannot be called a cult.
Q. What does it cost to become a Witch?
A. Many witches believe that one should never charge to teach another, for knowledge is free to all who seek it. Some teachers will charge a nominal fee to cover the costs of copies of lessons. Others use the cost of instruction to weed out those that are just curious or those wishing to learn "black magick"or "sex magick". Some use their talents as a source of income, such as tarot readers and psychics. (not all tarot readers and psychics are wiccan or witches) Most witches believe that one should never be charged for an initiation. Tool that are purchased can be expensive. We encourage people to make most of their tools.
Q: Do you have ritual orgies?
A: No. These rumors come from our lack of taboos regarding sex. Wiccans have no rules which prohibit homosexuality, nudity or pre-marital sex. The Wiccan Rede, "An thou harm none, do what thou wilt." tells us that harming others through misusing sex is wrong. Sex as the generative force in nature is seen by Wiccans as something utterly sacred. Wiccans feel that the physical act of love is to be approached with great respect and responsibility. Many Witches/Wiccans are monogamous.
Q: Why do Witches wear black?
A: We all don't. Most Wiccans seem to favor green and/or purple. Black, however, is in many cultures a symbol of clergy. Priests, Ministers and Rabbis all wear black as the main color of their ritual garb.
Q: Aren't all Witches women and men Warlock's?
A: No. Witches can be either men or women. The term "Warlock" is never used to describe a Wiccan/Witch as it is considered to be a religious slur. "Warlock" is an old Scottish word meaning "traitor" or "oath-breaker". Men and Women alike are called Witches.
Q: Why would anyone want to be Wiccan?
A: People are generally drawn to Wicca for several reasons. Some people feel left out of mainstream religions because of the lack of feminine divinity. For them, the Wiccan concept of the Goddess as Mother of All Living Creatures fills that lack. As a nature based religion, Wicca also appeals to those who feel a strong need to "get back to the Earth" and places great importance on protecting the environment, which we are a part of, not apart from. People drawn to the mystical find Wicca much more accommodating as we do not see anything unnatural about psychic ability or the use of magick to create needed changes in one's life (see Spells). Another reason is our rule (rede) "An thou harm none, do what thou wilt." This tells us that nothing is inherently wrong (sinful) unless it harms someone, including oneself.
Q: How do you convert new Witches?
A: We don't. Wiccans/Witches feel that the attempted conversion of others is wrong. (If someone tries to convert another to their religion, this assumes that the other person's beliefs are not as valid as their own.) We feel that all paths are equally valid as long as they do not infringe upon the basic rights or free will of others. According to our beliefs, the individual should choose their own path. We do not try to manipulate others into our way of thinking, only try to educate others about our religion, that they may better understand us. We do, however try to help guide those who have already expressed an interest in the Wicca. By this we mean that you must seek out a practicing wiccan/witch to teach you (if you desire a teacher) and ask specifically to be taught. Many Wiccan parents do not teach the religion to their children as they believe that the child should explore and choose the religion that is best for them.
Q: So what do Witches DO?
A: We live. We die. Some of us have children and (most of us) pay taxes. We practice our religion without forcing it on others. Most Wiccans/Witches are not open about their religion because they fear persecution for their beliefs. There are large Wiccan churches, but most practice by themselves as Solitaries or work within small groups usually known as covens. Covens function not only as religious groups but also as extended families. We hold our ceremonies or "circles" outdoors (when we can) as we feel that being with nature brings us closer to the divinity that creates it. Some of our beliefs may seem strange to most, but consider how strange and horrific the consumption of the blood and body of Christ may seem to one unfamiliar with Christianity. All that we ask is that we are allowed to practice our religion without prejudice as is our right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America.