The following is a brief overview of the main qualities of Witchcraft and Wicca. Most of these points are explored in greater detail in the book "When Someone You Love is Wiccan" by Carl McColman. Please note that not all Wiccans/Witches/Pagans believe in the same thing. It is always best to talk to them in person and ask questions. We are here to help you understand and clear up misconceptions.
"Wicca is a spiritual path. In other words, it is a way for people to find meaning and purpose in their life through spirituality.creation. Rather, Witches would be more likely to see the natural creation. Rather, Witches would be more likely to see the natural world as the "body" of the Goddess and the God, just like the human body is the physical dimension of the human soul. This is why Wiccans consider it important to revere nature. When one reveres nature, one is revering the Goddess and the God as well.
Witchcraft is a system of healing. Historically, the Witches were the wise women and men who understood how to use herbs and other natural tools to help heal the sick. Many of today's Witches see their craft as a tool to help bring about spiritual healing to individuals as well as to planet Earth as a whole.
Not all Witches would call Witchcraft a religion, mainly because they're uncomfortable with the abuses found in other religions (may there never be a Wiccan priestess on TV raising millions of dollars for her selfish purposes!). But strictly speaking, Wicca is indeed a religion: a system of meaning and purpose that involves reverence for the God and the Goddess, a moral code, and a set of spiritual practices.
The moral code of Witchcraft is called the Wiccan Rede. Many versions of the Rede exist, but they include this essential statement: If you harm none, do what you will. In other words, Wiccan ethics balance personal freedom (do what you will) with a commitment to respect the rights and freedom of others (harm none).
Witches see the God and the Goddess as two aspects of a unified Spirit. But they also see ancient mythology as a helpful tool for learning about the Goddess and the God. Thus, Witches enjoy learning about the mythic Gods and Goddesses from cultures all around the world. Some of the most loved include ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse and Celtic myths.
Witches believe in magic. The simplest way to define magic is spiritual power or energy. In other words, Witches believe such a spiritual power exists, and that it is morally acceptable to use such power for good purposes. So much of the activity that Witches engage in relates to learning about, and how to use, the energy of magic.
Wiccans perform religious ceremonies called rituals. These usually take place in the evening, most often on the night of the full moon or the new moon, or on the solstices, equinoxes, or for other days considered particularly holy (including Halloween, the night most commonly associated with Witchcraft). The purpose of these rituals is to honor the Goddess and the God, and to generate magical energy, usually for the purpose of healing. Whereas Christians and members of other religions typically pray for healing when someone is sick, Witches work magic as a way of asking the Goddess to heal the sick.
Witches generally adopt a "live and let live" attitude toward other religions. They accept religious diversity as a normal fact of life. They feel the only problem with other religions is when they encourage their members to be intolerant of those whose beliefs are different from their own.
Wiccans are optimistic about life. They believe the world we live in as basically good, and that the God and the Goddess are loving deities.
Finally, most Witches believe in life after death; the most common idea is that after death the soul goes to a paradise known as the Summerland; eventually the soul can reincarnate in a new body.
To summarize, Witchcraft is a positive, life-affirming religious and spiritual practice. It is based on loving the Goddess and the God, performing rituals designed to honor the Goddess and the God, and seeking magic (spiritual power) to be used for good purposes, such as helping to heal the sick. Witches have a liberal, but strong, ethical code, based on the idea that personal freedom is okay but harming others is not."
When Someone You Love is Wiccan, Carl McColman - pages 38-41 Reprinted, with permission of the publisher, from WHEN SOMEONE YOU LOVE IS WICCAN © 2003 Carl McColman. Published by New Page Books a division of Career Press, Franklin Lakes, NJ. 800-227-3371. All rights reserved.
Special Note to Parents: True Wiccans understand the need for parental consent when teaching young people. We respect a parent's right to choose the religious education of their children. If you are willing to let your child learn about Wicca, please work with a teacher/mentor who will willingly share the educational process with you. If possible, take a class with your child, so that you understand what he/she is being taught. There are predators in all walks of life: please use caution.