Wicca // is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica." From the 1960s onward, the name of the religion was normalised to "Wicca.".
Wicca is typically a duotheistic religion, worshipping a goddess and a god, who are traditionally viewed as the Triple Goddess and Horned God. These two deities are often viewed as being facets of a greater pantheistic godhead, and as manifesting themselves as various polytheistic deities. Nonetheless, there are also other theological positions within Wicca, ranging from monotheism to atheism. The religion also involves the ritual practice of magic, largely influenced by the ceremonial magic of previous centuries, often in conjunction with a broad code of morality known as the Wiccan Rede, although this is not adhered to by all wiccans. Another characteristic of this religion is the celebration of seasonally-based festivals, known as Sabbats, of which there are usually eight in number annually.
There are various denominations within Wicca, which are referred to as traditions. Some, such as Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca, follow in the initiatory lineage of Gardner. Others, such as Cochrane's Craft, Feri and the Dianic tradition, take primary influence from other figures and may not insist on any initiatory lineage.
Christopher Penczak (born 1973) is an author in the fields of paganism and magic.
In 2000, he was ordained as a minister by the Universal Brotherhood Movement, Inc. He is a part time faculty member at the North Eastern Institute of Whole Health and a founding member of the Gifts of Grace Foundation, a non-profit organization in New Hampshire made up of individuals from diverse spiritual backgrounds dedicated to joyful service to the local communities.
Penczak has penned a number of acclaimed titles on witchcraft and healing. In 2002, City Magick won Best Magic Book from the Coalition of Visionary Retailers. In 2003, he won the same award for The Inner Temple of Witchcraft. In 2004, Penczak received multiple awards from the Coalition of Visionary Retailers, including a tie for Best Book of the Year for The Outer Temple of Witchcraft.
He continues to write books and articles. He maintains a teaching and healing practice in New Hampshire, where he lives in a polyamorous relationship with his partners, roleplaying game designer and developer Steve Kenson and Reiki master Adam Sartwell.
Beltane is one of the four principal festivals of the Irish calendar, one of the two main druidic holy days, and one of the four major Wicca sabbats, and was also celebrated in many European countries. It was also known as La Bealtaine, Bealtainn, Beltain, Beltaine, Boaltinn, Boaldyn, and Belotenia, as well as a few other lesser common used names.
Celebrated most commonly on May 1st, or originally April 31st (or October 31st or November 1st in the southern hemisphere), it was dedicated to the sun, and the goddess Maia, as well as the horned god, and the three-fold goddess, also in Irish tradition, the Tuatha De Danann.
One of the common symbols of Beltane was the May Pole, which was later transferred into a symbol of May Day. It is opposite of the festival, Samhain, also celebrated in most druid, Gaelic, pagan, etc. traditions. It is a festival of life and sexuality.
The five elements are seen as symbolic as opposed to literal; that is, they are representations of the phases of matter. They are invoked during many magical rituals, notably when consecrating a magic circle. The five elements are Air, Fire, Water and Earth, plus Aether (or Spirit), which unites the other four.
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