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Ch.2 Baptism (WMB 2.a)

Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @ https://amzn.to/3Ay4HJr. Shared here with the intention to inspire and inform the now and future generations interested in Wicca and other Pagan traditions inspired by it.




Chapter 2

Baptism

Since emerging into the public eye in the 1950s, the tradition which is now commonly referred to as Wicca has been known by many different names, and there has been much debate about which of the terms holds the most authenticity. Terms such as ‘the witch cult’, ‘the Craft’, ’the Old Religion’, ‘Wica’, ‘Wicca’ and simply ‘Witchcraft’ are all used, exclusively and interchangeably, sometimes with varied definitions being applied, causing a great deal of confusion along the way.

During the last few years ‘Wicca’ has become a buzz word amongst modern seekers of alternatives to the more established systems of religion and spirituality, which are often viewed as being patriarchal and restrictive. Although the word is used interchangeably by some with terms such as ‘witchcraft’ and ‘paganism’, for the purposes of clarity and consistency within this work we have decided to use the term ‘Wicca’ to describe the tradition of magick, mysticism and spirituality which was first made public through the writings and teachings of Gerald Gardner. There are some who believe that the term ‘Wicca’ should only be applied to the initiatory traditions, whilst at the same time the vast majority of those applying the term to themselves today are often followers of what is commonly referred to as ‘Solitary Wicca’ made popular through the writings of American authors such as Scott Cunningham, Starhawk and Silver Ravenwolf.


Further to the already confused blend of definitions and terminology we have found that a number of modern writers and teachers have incorrectly come to the conclusion that Gerald Gardner was somehow solely responsible for the revival of the term ‘Wicca’ and a few who even believe him to have invented it. To address these misconceptions we will begin by exploring the use of the term in the decades preceding the publication of Gardner’s first books, as well as some much earlier applications of it within its original context in Old English texts.


Our exploration begins with Gardner himself who used the term ‘Wica’ to refer to the tradition, as can be seen in the example below, found in his book The Meaning of Witchcraft:

“I realised that I had stumbled upon something interesting; but I was half-initiated before the word, ‘Wica’ which they used hit me like a thunderbolt, and I knew where I was, and that the Old Religion still existed.”


Much has been made by some modern practitioners of the difference in spelling between ‘Wica’ and ‘Wicca’, with some adopting ‘Wica’ to distinguish themselves from the masses using the term ‘Wicca’ for practices which often seem to have little in common with the initiatory traditions. However, this spelling of the word does not seem to have any historical significance, beyond having been used by Gardner and it is very likely that it was a deliberate variation of the spelling. Unless of course Gardner meant ‘wiҫa’ which is the word used by the Dakota people of North America for ‘man’ or in some instances ‘raccoon’ – though that is probably a little bit farfetched! However, we thought this little quirky coincidence was an interesting aside nonetheless and worth including.


Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @ https://amzn.to/3Ay4HJr. Shared here with the intention to inspire and inform the now and future generations interested in Wicca and other Pagan traditions inspired by it.

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Hello

My name is Sorita d'Este

and this is my website and blog!  Thanks for visiting - I hope you are finding what you are looking for!

 

Many years ago I dedicated myself to the pursuit of both esoteric knowledge, and an understanding of polytheism, the Gods and Nature.  I have been a full-time writer, author and publisher, specialising subjects linked to the occult, witchcraft, Paganism, mythology, ancient religions and magic - and all kinds of things in between since 2003. 

 

I live on a hill in Glastonbury, overlooking the marshes of Somerset,  a place of myth and legend, and a crossroad for many different religions. Here I am frequently found digging and growing, serving my fluffy rescue cat and navigating the unknown with my teenage son.  

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