3.5.13

Wiccan Traditions

Gardnerian Wicca

I have already mentioned that this was the first Wiccan tradition. It was founded in the 1950s in England by Gerald Gardner whose name it carries. He enabled the expansion of Wicca throughout Great Britain and later on in America (through Raymond Buckland). In my previous post entitled "The History of Wicca" i already talked about Gardner's initiation into "wica" so I won't repeat myself in this post. This tradition puts more emphasis on the Goddess than the God though it claims that both are necessary for balance. Garner also introduced the three-degree initiation system. Before initiation both general and from one degree to another, the practitioner has to wait a year and one day in order to live through the cycle of the year once more and relive it in a new light and learn how this cycle functions in Wicca. Because of balance, this tradition advocated male-female pairs working together in covens and doesn't approve of homosexuality or bisexuality because of the same reason. The covens usually work skyclad (naked) though most modern-day covens don't treat this as a rule. The magickal works in this tradition are mainly oriented towards healing. If you want to find out more about this tradition, you can read some of Gardner's works among which I would emphasize Gardner's Book of Shadows (even though it is the modified edition).

Alexandrian Wicca

It also, like Gardnerian Wicca, got its name from its founder - Alex Sanders. We can see a huge influence of the Gardnerian Wicca on this tradition since Sanders himself was one of Gardner's followers before his emancipation. Alexandrian Wicca can be defined as a fusion of Gardnerian Wicca and Judeo-Christian practices as well as ceremonial magickal elements. Practitioners of this tradition also celebrate both the Goddess and God but Sanders, opposed to Gardner, doesn't insist on covens made up of male-female heterosexual couples; in fact, he approves of gay and bisexual relationships. As additional reading for this tradition, I would recommend you read June Johns' book King of the Witches: The World of Alex Sanders and, of course, the Alexandrian Book of Shadows.

Saxon Wicca

The aforementioned Raymond Buckland is the patriarch of this tradition for which you can assume has a Saxon background. Actually, Buckland didn't set out to "copy" the Saxon religion but rather create something completely new. Covens in this tradition work openly (as in the rituals are open for everyone) and all materials related to this tradition are easily attainable. An important difference between this tradition and the two that preceded it is that this one acknowledges self-initiation  therefore it can be practiced by own or many people, depending on your preferences and situation :) Though it is traditional to have a High Priest and High Priestess at the head of the coven. Each group decides by themselves how to work and what to do which gives a certain dose of freedom to its practitioners. The best source for Saxon Wicca would be Buckland's book of Saxon Witchcraft written by Raymond Buckland himself.

Dianic Wicca

It was actually founded by Ann Forfreedom, but one of the most important and popular representatives is Zusanna Budapest. Contrary to modern beliefs, this tradition isn't strictly for women. In fact, men can also take part in Dianic rituals if they like. Though each coven is left to their own decision-making regarding who to accept (only women or both women and men) and each individual has the option of choosing whether to work in a coven or as a solitary.

What sets this tradition apart from the others is the fact that they endorse female leadership and it is precisely because of this that these covens are labeled as "lesbian-oriented". The High Priestess has a bit more prestige than the High Priest, though both play their parts in rituals. Accordingly, more emphasis is put on the Goddess than the God and this goes so far that some covens decide not to even celebrate the God at all. As I have mentioned in my previous posts, all followers of this tradition are encouraged to be informed on subjects regarding feminism and other problems regarding humanity as a whole.

The Frostian tradition

This tradition is another which was named after its founders - Gavin and Yvonne Frost. Its beginnings can be found in the 1970s when the founders decided to take Welsh traditions as their starting point. If you don't recognize this name, perhaps you will recognize its more popular name: "The Church and School of Wicca which teaches basically everything that is said in the Frosts' book entitled The Witch's Bible (please differentiate this book from Janet and Stewart Farrar's book A Witches' Bible a.k.a. Eight Sabbats for Witches). In the beginning of the tradition, followers only acknowledged the God, but the Goddess later started to be worshiped also. It is famous for its emphasis on sexual freedom and is often found as baffling or even repulsive because of this. It is because of this that sexually-related traditions came to be repressed over time. Along with the Frosts' aforementioned book, you can also have a look at their official website: http://www.wicca.org/.

Georgian Wicca

Its founder of the Georgian tradition is called George E. Patterson and it was founded in 1970 in the USA (more specifically, California). It kept growing until 1980 when it became the Georgian Church. Like other traditions, this one is also based on Gardner's and Sanders' teachings but with a mixture of the English traditions even though it didn't come to life in England. It can't be traced back directly to BTW (British Traditional Wicca - a name for those covens who can trace their lineage directly back to Gardner of the New Forest coven) though its influence can definitely be seen.

It is most commonly described as eclectic because all of its followers were urged to write their own rituals and to use all the (quality) materials they have for learning. Each coven makes their own decisions though everyone is encouraged to work skyclad. Both the Goddess and the God are worshiped but it seems to me that the Goddess is a bit more favored than the God. All eight Sabbaths are celebrated but other works are incorporated into them (be they of a religious or magickal character).

You can have a look at the official page of this denomination if you want to read up more on them: http://georgianwicca.com/. And since this tradition is, in a way, eclectic, then I won't recommend any special literature so you can just read what you feel like reading, basically or have a look at the Recommended reading section.

Other traditions

These are some of the most famous traditions, but certainly not all of them. I should also mention the American Celtic Witches, Australian Witches (which is actually all the traditions put together on the Australian continent), the Y Tylwyth Teg Church (a Celtic-Welsh tradition), Church of the Crescent Moon (and Irish-based tradition), Circle Wicca (also connected to shamanism and Native American beliefs), Deboran Witchdom (eclectic tradition), the Northern Way (also called Asatru, connected to Norwegian beliefs), Pecti Wicca (a Scottish tradition), the Tesalonian tradition (oriented towards Greek beliefs and tries to reconstruct Greek magickal practices and follows Greek philosophical beliefs) etc.

There are many more traditions, but in stead of listing them all here, I would rather you found out for yourselves what suits you best. It isn't may place to tell you which tradition is right for you. It is my job to give you a few pieces of information which may help you to find what you are looking for and lead you towards the right path for you. I sincerely hope that this short overview of Wiccan traditions helped you at least a little bit in this search :)

Until next time. Yours,
Witch's Cat

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