Knowing What to Believe

Unlike most organized religions such as Christianity or Judaism, Wicca does not have a set of dogmatic rhetoric in which you must believe in order to be considered a Wiccan.  In fact, Wicca is a belief system that encourages self-discovery through personal experience and private intuition.  This is one of the most empowering, but also the most confusing aspects about Wicca.  If you’re just starting out in Wicca, it can be hard to know the ins-and-outs of forming your own beliefs within the Craft.  In this article, I’ll offer up some guidance on the best way to do this.

Wiccan Belief – the Basics

Just because Wicca doesn’t have a set of beliefs you must adhere to in order to be considered Wiccan, it does have some basic guidelines and tenets that are pretty universal.  A good place to start is the Wiccan Rede.  Most Wiccans use that as a sort of blueprint for how to conduct oneself as a Wiccan.  The Wiccan Rede contains some over-arching concepts that are (or should be) inherent in one’s value system.

For example, it encourages us to “bide within the law,” meaning to follow the laws of wherever we reside.  Wicca is not an anarchist belief system.  “Live ye must and let to live” is another major aspect of Wicca; as Wiccans, we should have a reverence for all life, including our own.  A lot of the remainder of the Rede is focused on how to conduct yourself in ritual – invoke a circle clockwise when the moon is waxing/full, and counterclockwise when it’s waning/new.

Wiccans believe in the Goddess, with a majority of Wiccans also believing in a God, albeit a much different one than Christianity.  Wiccans also believe that it is possible through spells & rituals to commune and work with the Goddess & God, as well as other astral beings on the ethereal plane.

Perhaps most importantly, Wiccans believe that nature, the very Earth itself, is sacred and divine.  It is one of the reasons that Wicca is considered the preeminent “green” religion.  Head over to the Wiccan Beliefs & Common Practices page for more detail.

Believing in What Resonates with You

As I mentioned earlier, Wicca is a belief system that is centered on the personal experience of the individual, and values self-discovery over dogma.  Over the past several years, my own journey on the path of Wicca has led me to my own set of beliefs and practices.  A key aspect in forming your own set of beliefs and practices is to approach everything with an open mind.  As you learn more about whatever it is you’re considering, pay attention to your intuition, allow yourself to consider the belief fully, then decide if it resonates with you.  If it does, great.  If it doesn’t, there’s nothing wrong with disregarding it.

For example, there are a number of Wiccan traditions out there that believe in the Goddess energy but not the God energy.  This is common in many feminist traditions.  During my own exploration of Wicca, I did not resonate with this particular aspect, and thus, I did not adopt it as a belief of my own.  However, I also respect the fact that many Wiccans hold this belief themselves, and that’s okay.  Unlike Christianity, Wicca does not require that everyone believe the same way.

Avoiding Dogma

Having a mutual respect for others’ beliefs is a critical component of Wicca, and it’s a big reason why Wicca is a peaceful belief system.  One of the many things that attracts people to Wicca (especially those with a history in organized religion) is because it allows you to explore the Wiccan belief system and come to your own conclusions.  After all, Wicca is considered a “mystery tradition.”  No one has all the answers about everything.  The Universe is a vast and infinitely complex place, and some things are simply unknown and unknowable.

As a result, it’s crucial that you take care to avoid dogma and dogmatic frames of mind.  Wicca is not dogmatic, and while organized religions such as Christianity push an agenda of “you must believe exactly this way, because this is the only right way,” Wicca is exactly the opposite.  Wiccans realize that one person’s spiritual reality is not all persons’ spiritual reality.  Dogma is designed to oppress, whereas Wicca and Paganism in general is centered around spiritual freedom and is designed to be free of oppression.

As you walk along your spiritual path, remember to think critically, use your intuition, and keep an open mind.  You’ll be surprised just how liberating and enlightening your path will become if you do so.

Until next time, Blessed Be!