An eclectic Wiccan as the term implies, doesn’t follow any strict traditional guidelines. Instead they practice the beliefs that suit them best. They often mix traditions to find that which most suits their own stance on religion or personal beliefs.
They practice whatever magick they consider obtains the best results, and study those parts of any religion that best suit their lifestyles. This is mostly of modern origin and rather New Age; where previously most Wiccan traditions had more restricting boundaries. The eclectic tradition marks witchcraft’s expansion into a patchwork quilt of various beliefs and theories.
This is a system, not a religion per se, which is based on a 400 year old German Magick. In this day and age though, it has lost much of its ancient concentrations and is basically now more simple faith healing, but being revived somewhat.
For a lot more information on Pow-Wow click here to go to our “On-Line Books” section where there is a complete book that describes this tradition. This book is actually a grimoire in the “Pow-wow” tradition of the Pennsylvania Dutch. In spite of the name, Pow-wow is not a Native American tradition, but a rural European healing and hexing system which was imported into America in the 18th and 19th Century by German immigrants. After nearly dying out completely it has, as we mentioned above, experienced a small revival in recent years.
Also referred to as the fae, fey, feri, faerie, fairy, and fairie tradition. Founded by Victor and Cora Anderson in the mid-late 1950’s, when they were inspired to form their own tradition after reading a book by Gerald B. Gardner “Witchcraft Today”. Anderson was responsible for writing most of the tradition’s rituals, which he initially based on fairy folklore and beliefs, he is still universally recognized as the Grand Master of the Faery Tradition. In 1959, Victor initiated the late Gwydion Pendderwen, who then aged 13, would later become a leading voice in the Faery Tradition.
Wicca is a religion which honors the Earth through worshipping the God and Goddess, as represented by the masculine and feminine aspects of the universe. There are many sects of Wicca including Gardenarian, Alexandrian, Blue Star and Dianic
The differences between them usually surround matters of practice, rather than belief. Structure of groups is another place of divergence (i.e. heirarchy). Dianic Wiccans, however, vary in that while they recognize the existence of the God, generally only actively worship the Goddess. Of course, rather naturally, the majority of Dianic Wiccans are female. Read more
Mary Nesnick (Dionysia), an American initiate in Gardnerian and Alexandrian traditions founded a so-called ‘new’ tradition called Algard. This tradition brings together both Gardnerian and Alexandrian teachings under a single banner. This was possible due to the great similarities between the two traditions.
She stated that she bought fifty percent of it from Aleister Crowley, borrowed ten percent from books and manuscripts like Leland’s Aradia and filled in the remainder by borrowing from Far Eastern religions and philosophies. Some texts even say she was a renegade who had been expelled from the Gardnerian tradition as a First Degree for stealing their Book of Shadows.
Since Alexandrian is already mostly Gardnerian, it actually seems a little redundant. There are very few Algard covens in either the US or Britain as the tradition never really caught on.
Janet and Stewart FArrer actually operate their Covens on a healthy mix of Gardnerian and Alexandrian traditions, as they are so very similar as to be hardly noticeable and their books highlight any and all differences however small, so one can read for oneself and see that Algard in and of itself is actually quite redundant as said earlier. Sort of re-inventing the wheel and calling it fire.
Italian witches, known as Strega, walk the path of the Old Religion (Str. They are the witches of Ancient Italy. In 1890, folklorist Charles Leland published a book titled ARADIA; GOSPEL OF THE WITCHES. Although it was typical in many ways of the distorted Christian image of Witchcraft of this period, we do find several things of interest. In Leland’s book, Italian witches worship a goddess and a god, meet for full moon rituals and celebrate with singing, dancing and making love. Their celebration also includes a feast containing cakes and wine.
In 1609, Francesco Guazzo published several woodcuts in his book Compendium Maleficarum. One of these Italian woodcuts depicts witches gathered inside a circle drawn upon the ground. In 1954, Gerald Gardner describes English Witchcraft in very much the same way. Take a look at some of the topics on this Web Page for other interesting similarities between the Strega Path and Wicca. Read more
The practice of Witchcraft allows one to develop abilities that transcend the mundane rules of existence, and to enter realms only dreamed of by other people.
It has been said that Wicca is one of the fastest growing “religions” in the world, certainly in Britain and the United States. Whether true or not, I will try to herein clarify what Wicca actually is.
There is no dogma attached to Wicca and new adherents come in all the time, where subtle changes take place within the various Covens, thus personalizing it somewhat and make it their own. Wicca in the nineties and now, the new millennium, is different to the nineteen fifties revival when it flourished in Great Britain. Today’s Wiccan are for the most part, ordinary people who draw their beliefs from ancient beliefs and roots and apply them to the needs of modern life. Read more
The Celtic tradition is based on the practices of the pre-Christian Celtic world. This includes many parts of West England, Ireland, Isle-of-Man, Wales, Scotland, and Gaul accross the channel.
There is also significant Druid practice used and mixed in with this particualr tradition. It also seems to share a lot with the Teutonic tradition, including the frequent use of runes.
This tradition is extremely earth and nature based and much stronger in various religious aspects of the Craft, similar to Druidry. Many aspects of Christianity were actually drawn from the Celtic pagans, such as Cerridwen’s cauldron translating into the Holy Grail, and the goddess Brigit becoming Saint Bride and of course the Goddess Ostara and Her day of Ostre being taken over by the Chrstians and being called Easter, (complete with eggs and bunnies. Read more
Seax-Wica was the inspiration of Raymond Buckland. In 1973 fed-up with the egotism and power trips exhibited by others within the craft, he decided to leave the Gardnerian tradition feeling it no longer met his religious needs. He developed and founded Seax-Wica as a new tradition at Samhain that same year. He felt that the craft needed to develop beyond ego trips and self-gratification into a bone-fide religion, which did away with an oath of secrecy and became more democratic and enjoyable. Seax Wica is just that, allowing all to have a relationship with the God and Goddess. With access to the mysteries and kinship with all, “Love is the law, Love is the bond”. While Buckland claimed no direct descent from Saxon times, he chose a Saxon background as a foundation for the new tradition with “Woden and Freya” as its main deities. Read more
After the repeal of England’s last antiquated witchcraft laws in 1951, there began a resurgence of interest in the Old Religion, and witchcraft in particular. Gerald Brosseau Gardner, who later that year became director of the newly opened “Museum of Magic and Witchcraft” in Castletown, Isle of Man, spearheaded this resurgence. From there Gardner started to establish covens, using the basic ideas and rituals he had written about in his fictional book “High Magic’s Aid”, published in 1949.
In 1953 Gardner initiated into his coven Doreen Valiente. It was Doreen who helped Gardner reshape the structure of his covens, by re-writing and embellishing his “Book of Shadows”, thus establishing a new tradition and calling it Gardnerian Wicca. Both Gardner and Doreen were greatly influenced by the teachings of Charles Godfrey Leland, and in time the tradition took on elements of Italian Witchcraft. The famous “Charge of the Goddess” adapted from Stregheria Witchcraft by Doreen, was clearly inspired by his work. Read more