Wiccan beliefs and practices are rich and intricate. It draws upon practices both ancient and recent. Some things, however, are not as widely known as others. Here are five little-known facts about Wicca that you may not know.
1. The term “Witch” is unisex
One of the most common misconceptions about Wicca is the proper use of the word “Witch.” I’ve heard people refer to male practitioners of the Craft as “wizard” or “warlock.” The fact is, however, that the term “Witch” is used to refer to ANY practitioner of Wicca, regardless of gender.
2. Wiccans are typically “green”
This one may seem like a no-brainer to those familiar with the basic tenets of Wicca, but it’s still not widely known to most. Wiccans believe in the sanctity of the Earth. Indeed, it is one of the cornerstones of Wiccan belief and practice. The Earth is sacred, and should be treated with the utmost respect and reverence. As a result, most Wiccans are “green,” meaning they’re environmentally conscientious and responsible. It is common for Wiccans to be involved in environmental awareness, and many Wiccans choose to engage in common “green” practices such as recycling, energy conservation, etc.
3. A personal collection of spells & rituals is called a “Book of Shadows”
Doing spells and rituals is part and parcel of practicing Wicca. As you walk along your Wiccan path, you’ll inevitably gather a collection of different spells and rituals, either those you come across in research, or those you create yourself. Your collection of spells and rituals is recorded in a Book of Shadows. Every Witch has (or should have) a Book of Shadows that is unique to that Witch. A Book of Shadows is an intensely personal item, and it can contain more than just spells & rituals. Many Wiccans also keep common information such as the Wiccan Rede, a list of properties of herbs and crystals, journal entries, and much more. Your Book of Shadows is your go-to resource when practicing the Craft.
4. In Wicca, there is no hell… or “devil”
Unlike the Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, Wicca does not have a concept of hell. While it is true that Gerald Gardner (who is widely regarded as the “father of modern Wicca”) mentions hell in his “13 Laws” writing, the majority of Wiccans today do not believe in a notion of hell. The corollary to this is a lack of belief in the “devil.” Wicca is a belief system rooted in personal responsibility. Your choices (or lack of choices) are solely your own. There are no unseen malicious forces at work when you choose to do something bad. Christianity often uses the belief in the devil to explain away unfavorable behavior (“the devil made me do it”). However, Wiccans understand that good and bad exist in the Universe, but there is no evil force at work with relation to the “bad” in the world. It’s just a part of the balance of Universal energies.
5. Witches really do use brooms
Wiccans do use brooms, but not (usually) for flying. A broom (also known as a “besom”) is a tool used in Wiccan ritual to cleanse a space of any negative energy. The broom is used to “sweep” the energy out of the ritual space, thus creating an energetically clean area within which to work. The broom generally never touches the floor, and is instead swept a few inches off the ground since it is being used to cleanse energy, not physical space. There are other ways to clear the energy in a particular space, and thus not every Witch uses the besom to clear energy.