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.
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.
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.