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.
The Panthean Temple, abbreviated as PTC as the Panthean Temple of Connecticut, is located in New Haven County, Connecticut and was the first Pagan and Wiccan church to incorporate in the state of Connecticut under its first name of the "Pagan Community Church,". It was founded by Rev. Alicia Lyon Folberth, in 1995.
The Panthean Temple is open to Witches and Pagans of all traditions who honor harm none, which they consider to be a universal tenet of all true spiritual paths. Their practices are devotional, and are primarily Odyssean tradition, although individual public rituals may vary depending on the people leading them and the traditions they practice, but do not consider themselves eclectic.
Odyssean Wicca has its roots within British Traditional Wicca but like the Wiccan Church of Canada, the temple's purpose is to provide public ministry services, such as open worship, rites of passage, and prison and hospital visitations. The Panthean Temple is notable for its large festival, "Beltaine: A Pagan Odyssey," which began in 1999.
Janet Farrar (born Janet Owen on 24 June 1950) is a British teacher and author of books on Wicca and Neopaganism. Along with her two husbands, Stewart Farrar and Gavin Bone, Farrar has published "some of the most influential books on modern Witchcraft to date." According to George Knowles, "some seventy five percent of Wiccans both in the Republic and Northern Ireland can trace their roots back to the Farrar's [sic]."
Farrar has been one of the most public faces of Wicca, having appeared as a model for book covers and illustrations in several of the best-read books on the subject. Farrar is a frequent guest lecturer on the subjects of Wicca, Neopaganism and witchcraft in North America and Europe.
Lughnasadh is one of the four principal festivals of the Irish calendar and one of the eight Wicca sabbats, and was also celebrated by many other peoples, including the Scots and the Gaelic people. Also known as Lugh or, most commonly, Lammas, it is primarily dedicated to the god Lugh.
It is most commonly celebrated on August 1st (February 1st in the southern hemisphere), as a symbol of harvest and life. Lugh, to which Lughnasadh is primarily dedicated, is the god of the harvest and life. There are many different tellings of the mythology surrounding Lughnasadh. One of the primary Wiccan tellings is that it is the second harvest festival (preceded by Midsummer, and followed by Mabon), in which the Horned God gives his life away, for the grain and people.
Lughnasadh was often celebrated by the druid, Gauls, pagan, and other cultures, and known as Lùnastal in modern Scottish Gaelic, Calan Awst in Welsh, Lugunassatis to the Gauls, Lughnasa, Lughnasad or Lughnassadh in Old Irish, and Lá Lúnasa in modern Irish.
Handfasting is the commonly used term for Wiccan weddings. Some Wiccans observe the practice of a trial marriage for a year and a day, which some traditions hold should be contracted on the Sabbat of Lughnasadh, as this was the traditional time for trial, "Telltown marriages" among the Irish. A common marriage vow in Wicca is "for as long as love lasts" instead of the traditional Christian "till death do us part". The first ever known Wiccan wedding ceremony took part in 1960 amongst the Bricket Wood coven, between Frederic Lamond and his first wife, Gillian.