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Miriam-webster defines Wicca as: Wicca Wic·ca Pronunciation: \ˈwi-kə\ Function: noun Etymology: probably from Old English wicca wizard — more at witch Date: 1959 : a religion influenced by pre-Christian beliefs and practices of western Europe that affirms the existence of supernatural power (as magic) and of both male and female deities who inhere in nature and that emphasizes ritual observance of seasonal and life cycles
According to wikipedia: Wicca is a religion found in various countries throughout the world. It was first popularised in 1954 by a retired British civil servant named Gerald Gardner after the British Witchcraft Act was repealed. He claimed that the religion, of which he was an initiate, was a modern survival of an old witchcraft religion, which had existed in secret for hundreds of years, originating in the pre-Christian Paganism of Europe. Wicca is thus sometimes referred to as the Old Religion. The veracity of Gardner's claims cannot be independently proven, and it is thought that Wiccan theology began to be compiled no earlier than the 1920s. Various related Wiccan traditions have since evolved or been adapted from the form established by Gardner, which came to be called Gardnerian Wicca. These other traditions of Wicca each have distinctive beliefs, rituals, and practices. Many traditions of Wicca remain secretive and require that members be initiated. There is also a movement of Eclectic Wiccans who do not believe that any doctrine or traditional initiation is necessary in order to practice Wicca. The 2001 American Religious Identification Survey estimated that at least 134,000 adults identified themselves as Wiccans in the US.
Because there is no centralised organisation in Wicca, and no single "orthodoxy", the beliefs and practices of Wiccans can vary substantially, both between individuals and between traditions. Typically, the main religious principles, ethics and ritual structures are shared, since they are key elements of traditional teachings and published works on the subject.
Origins The history of Wicca is much debated. Gardner claimed that the religion was a survival of matriarchal Pagan religions of pre-historic Europe, taught to him by members of the New Forest Coven; their rites were fragmentary, and he had substantially rewritten them. It has been posited by authors such as Aidan Kelly and Francis X. King that Gardner invented the rites in their entirety, incorporating elements from the thesis of Dr. Margaret Murray, incantations from Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches by Charles Godfrey Leland and practices of ceremonial magic. Heselton concludes that while Gardner may have been mistaken about the ancient origins of the religion, his statements about it were largely made in good faith. Gardner's account is as follows: After retiring from adventuring around the globe, Gardner encountered the New Forest coven. Subsequently fearing that the Craft would die out, he worked on his book Witchcraft Today, releasing it in 1954, followed by The Meaning of Witchcraft in 1960. It is from these books that much of modern Wicca is derived. Much of Gardner's rites and precepts can be shown to have come from the writings of earlier occultists and other extant sources, and the remaining original material is uncohesive and mostly takes the form of substitutions or expansions within unoriginal material. Roger Dearnaley describes it as a patchwork. Some, such as Isaac Bonewits, have argued that Valiente and Heselton's evidence points to an early 20th century revival predating Gardner, rather than an intact old Pagan religion. This argument points to some of Gardner's historical claims which agree with the scholarship of that period but contradict later scholarship. Bonewits writes, "Somewhere between 1920 and 1925 in England some folklorists appear to have gotten together with some Golden Dawn Rosicrucians and a few supposed Fam-Trads to produce the first modern covens in England; grabbing eclectically from any source they could find in order to try and reconstruct the shards of their Pagan past." The idea of a supreme Mother Goddess was common in Victorian and Edwardian literature: the concept of a Horned God — especially related to the gods Pan or Faunus — was less common, but still significant. Both of these ideas were widely accepted in academic literature and the popular press at the time.