Deborah Lipp’s most recent books are Magical Power for Beginners and Tarot Interactions. Her earlier works include The Study of Witchcraft, The Elements of Ritual, The Way of Four, The Way of Four Spellbook, Merry Meet Again, and The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book. One of these things is not like the other.
Deborah became a Gardnerian Witch in 1982 and a High Priestess in 1986 and has been teaching Wicca and running Pagan circles ever since. She’s been published in many Pagan publications, including newWitch, The Llewellyn Magical Almanac, Pangaia, Green Egg, and The Druid’s Progress, as well as Mothering Magazine. She has lectured at numerous Pagan festivals on a variety of topics.
As an active “out of the closet” member of the Pagan community, Deborah has appeared in various media discussing Wicca, most notably on the A&E documentary Ancient Mysteries: Witchcraft in America. She has also appeared on MSNBC, in The New York Times, and in many smaller TV and print sources.
In “real life” Deborah is a Business Analyst. She lives with her spouse Melissa, and an assortment of cats, in Jersey City, NJ, three blocks from a really great view of Freedom Tower. Deborah reads and teaches Tarot, solves and designs puzzles, watches old movies, hand-paints furniture, and dabbles in numerous handcrafts.
WHAT IS WICCA? Wicca, also known as Neopagan Witchcraft, is one of the fastest-growing religions in the world, and one of the most misunderstood.
Wicca as it is known and practiced today is a modern religion, but one with ancient roots. We worship Mother Earth and attune ourselves with nature. We follow cycles of the moon and sun. We believe in magic–the magic that is all around us, the magic that is within us, the magic that can change the world. Wicca is positive, life-affirming religion. We believe that human beings have a natural ability to make good, wise decisions, without a lot of books and rules telling us what we must and must not do. We believe that nature is good, and so the things that are natural–such as love, pleasure, sex, and happiness–are also good, provided they are done with wisdom and a loving heart.
The main characteristics of Wicca are:
- We are polytheists, worshiping many goddesses and gods. Some Wiccans believe that all deities are ultimately One, and others do not.
- We believe in immanence; that deity is within us, that we are not separate from Creation or Creator(s).
- We believe both women and men are positive, powerful, and sacred, and that they are equally valuable.
- We believe that “all acts of love and pleasure” are sacred.
- We believe that the Goddess is fully present in nature, and that nature is sacred.
- We believe that attuning ourselves to the cycles of nature will make us saner, wiser, and closer to the Gods. So, we mark the cycles of the moon and of the growing season.
- We believe that human beings have more power than is generally acknowledged, including power that is considered “supernatural.” We believe it’s not “super,” just “natural.”
Some people call Wicca “Witchcraft” or “the Craft.” During “The Burning Times,” our predecessors were called witches for worshiping the moon and following the old ways. So, we take the name given us–if worshiping the moon is witchcraft, so be it! There many kinds of witchcraft, some real, some fictional. Not all real witches are Wiccans. A person who practices magic without necessarily being religious might be one example of a witch who is not Wiccan.
Some Wiccans follow a tradition and some do not. Some practice in a very freeform manner, and some perform highly structured rituals. Some Wiccans are “just folks” who happen to be Wiccan, and some consider Wicca to be something that affects their politics and world view in every way. There are highly political Wiccan groups, who will tell you that Wicca is, by definition, feminist, left-wing, Green, etc. But there are other Wiccans who aren’t political at all, and just practice their Craft of healing and worship without regard to what’s going on in the world.
Some Wiccan groups are women-only, or gay-only. Others, probably most, are of mixed gender and orientation. Some groups have leaders (a High Priestess and/or High Priest) and some rotate leadership, and some are entirely run by consensus. Many Wiccans, probably most, practice “solitary”–alone.
All of these variations are welcome in The Craft, which celebrates our ability to make these decisions for ourselves! There is no “One Right Way,” and all paths that lead to the Goddess are good paths.