Wicca is a modern pagan witchcraft religion. Wiccans belive in using benign witchcraft and the healing powers of herbs and whose central deity is a mother goddess and her consort god. Wicca was first introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardener after the appeal of witchcraft in England in 1951. The religion was popularized during the 1970s and since has been growing and gaining quite a few adherents.
The word "wicca" comes from the Anglo-Saxton word "wicce", which means "to bend". It has also been translated from other various languages meaning "wise". The word "witch" comes from the word "wiċċe".
Wiccans have a wide variety of beliefs. Wicca has no set dogma of beliefs that a believer must follow, therefore beliefs can vary from Wiccan to Wiccan.
Wicca is a duotheistic religion, believing two major deities: The Triple Goddess, associated with the moon and earth, and the Horned God, associated with the sky, sun and hunting. Wiccans also revere other deities (creating controversy that Wicca is a polytheistic religion) that were primarily worshiped in ancient Greece and Rome, in other words, deities that were worshiped before the birth of Christianity.
Many Wiccans hold the belief in reincarnation. Some believe that the soul will reincarnate many times unti they have learned a specific lesson and evolve spiritually. A popular saying with Wiccans is "once a witch, always a witch", meaning that they may have had past lifes as witches.
Typically, Wiccans who believe in reincarnation believe that the soul rests in the Summerlands in-between lives. During this period, the spirit can be contacted through mediums such as seances, ouija boards, and spirit mediums. Another belief is that in-between lives, the spirit will reflect on its previous life and it's memories from that life will be erased and then reborn.
Many Wiccans belive in magic. Aleister Crowley, who spelled it "magick" to make it different from stage magic, defined magic as "the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will". Wiccans belive that magic can only be used to effect objects by which that object can already be effected by nature. Magic by itself is neither good nor bad, but it is the witch that makes black or white magic. White magic is typically seen as healing or positive magic, while black magic is seen as selfish and evil. In a Wiccan code of ethics known as the Wiccan Rede, magic used to harm other is forbidden. In the old covens, Wiccans who betrayed the Wiccan Rede and used harmful magic were considered "warlocks" (now a term for "male witch" in the media).