Wicca (coming from the old English “wita” [counselor] or “wis” [wise]) is a term for modern-day witchcraft as invented in England by Gerald Gardner in the early to middle part of this century. With England’s law against witchcraft repealed in 1951, the religion of Wicca traveled extensively abroad. Raymond Buckland was primarily responsible for introducing Wicca to the United States in the 1960’s.
Some claim that Wicca is the “Old Religion,” and that Gardner merely revived it. I am of the opinion, however, that Gardner merely drew from pagan sources and rituals to invent Wicca. Freemasonry is one of these sources. To see the enactment of a wiccan initiation (which I have) is to see many elements from the ritual of Masonry in wiccan garb.
Though this treatment of Wicca can by no means be exhaustive, and in recognition that Wicca is quite diverse, there are nonetheless several theological / philosophical traits common to Wicca. I shall detail five of them, and then offer an approach for a Christian apologetic and evangelism.
The worldview of Wicca is multi-faceted. First, it is “Animistic.” Here, all things are animated by “Spirit” (or the “Life Force,” or “Energy”). Second, it is “Pantheistic,” in that God (the ABSOLUTE ONE) cannot be separated from nature. Consequently, humanity participates in God and is God. Third, understand that though all is God, there are diverse realities within God as humanity participates in God. For this reason, it is claimed, groups that are quite diverse (I would say contradictory as well) in belief and practice are able to exist harmoniously with each other (taken from Margot Adler, Drawing Down the Moon [Boston: Beacon Press, 1989], 25).
Goddess / God
This is the female and male aspect of the genderless ABSOLUTE ONE. Some wiccans see these as personal beings. Others view them as aspects of the personality, or the self. They are given various names, but in the ritualistic circle (a metaphysical circle of a certain circumference for the performance of ritual) the High Priestess of the coven (group of witches) is the Goddess incarnate, and the High Priest (if there is one; and he is not a “warlock”) is the God incarnate. They experience the God/Goddess within all men and women.
It plays a big part in Wicca. Some witches see magic as supernatural, while others view it as natural, but both see it as a tapping in to “Energy” through various techniques. There are four steps to understanding the mechanics of magic. First, the witch believes that there exists a Power / Energy / Life Force throughout the universe. Second, this Power can be aroused. Third, this Power can be programmed. Finally, this Power can be directed toward a desired goal through the “spell” (words, chants, gestures with tools, etc.) (see S. Cunningham, The Truth About Witchcraft [St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 1988], 7, 4).
The wiccan rede (creed) is, “And it harm none, do what you will.” A law of three-fold retribution exists within Wicca. Do evil and it will return to you three-fold; do good and it will also return to you three-fold.
Reincarnation is basically the belief that the soul, at death, returns to another physical existence. Witches may see reincarnation as the vehicle of perfection, in order that the soul may be prepared to reunite with the ABSOLUTE ONE.
Witnessing to Wiccans
There are two routes you can take. First is the philosophical. Here we take the worldview of wiccans (included here is the view of morality) and ask them some serious questions. For example, within the ABSOLUTE ONE are there contradictory realities? And is this a God they would want to trust? Further, “What if,” I once asked a High Priestess, “it is my reality and religious path to slit your throat, that I may be cleansed of my sin with your blood?” The answer came in a hurry, “You can’t do that! You mustn’t harm anyone!” “But who,” I asked, “defines what harm is? What good is? Where do we get a definition of ‘harm’ and ‘good’?” “From within,” came the reply. I countered, “What if I define from within what harm is and what good is, and it comes out different from your definitions?” She answered, “Well, you just can’t!” You can also take the biblical route. But here we must be careful to secure that the witch sees the Bible as, at the very least, somewhat authoritative. Thus, in our conversation with witches, watch to see if they are quoting the Bible, or stating something to you that they get from the Bible. For example, after conversing with this High Priestess, I moved to another witch. She started talking about Jesus! (This most likely was because I introduced myself as a Christian.) Although what she was saying was not biblical, I asked her what gave her the idea that Jesus existed, and then where it was that she believed He taught those things. “From the Bible,” she responded. Well, as you can imagine, I was off and running with that one, asking her to read passages that state that He is uniquely God in the flesh (John 1:1, 14, 18), the only way (John 14:6), and that the Bible refutes reincarnation (Heb. 9:27).
In both situations outlined above, the ultimate goal is to share the Gospel with wiccans. Having (by God’s grace) collapsed their worldview from under them, or having seized upon their use of the Bible in some way, we can then proceed to encourage them to receive Jesus Christ, the true and biblical Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior.