People keep asking, so here we go again. In Appendix 2 of our Solitary Wiccan’s Bible we tried yet again to define of Witchcraft (Wicca). Here it is for your comment and development.
In trying to define a religion or a spiritual path, it is instructive to look first at other religions. Note: Under ‘religion’ here as a courtesy we include various personality cults such as Christianity along with real religions that are ways of spirituality. Let us see, then, whether we can find the underlying essence, the message or whatever, of a few world religions.
1. Christianity – Christianity is a religion “of the book”. Various interpretations of the book in its myriad translations result in various sects; so Christianity is an approach to the sacred through the written teachings of one sacred book and one avatar. Its purpose may be summed up as a religion of sacrifice which leads to salvation. The sacrifices expected of its followers are many and varied, from the giving of money to the church to living unnatural life styles.
A religion of salvation through sacrifice
2. Judaism – Judaism too is a religion based on the book. Here the book contains a great deal of civil law. The religion teaches its adherents to live safely in an unsafe world; therefore it has many different laws of behavior and diet, many restrictions, and many rituals that bring strength to the family and to the kin.
A religion of learning salvation through civitas (civilized behavior)
3. Islam – The message of Islam may be the simplest and the most stark of any of the major religions. It is simply that if one submits to Allah, one receives salvation. The very name of the religion means “submission to god”. The tribal culture in which it flourishes is of the desert and of the stark reality of nature as a threat to life. A religion of salvation through absolute submission
4. Taoism – This religion–which some say is not a religion–relies on the balancing of opposites. It tries to get its adherents into harmony with the primal nature of things. It differs from Confucianism in this way: Confucianists try to use reason and learning as a guide; whereas a Taoist guides himself by intuition. Thus the Tao instructs people to be humble and accept life as it comes to them.
A religion of salvation through harmony
5. Witchcraft (Wicca) – The great thrust of the Craft is that it encourages spiritual development in all people they intuitively feel is right for them. On its social side the Craft teaches connection with nature and the idea that one should progress through harming no one. That leads to a very simple definition: an ethical path that encourages its members to progress in their own way and in their own time to greater spiritual understanding.
A path of spiritual growth through learning and ethical exploration
6. Hinduism –
This is the oldest and largest religion (by temple or church attendance) in the world. It relies on the idea that what you do in this lifetime affects what you will become in your next incarnation: an idea known as transmigration. The aim of many of its adherents is to live in such a way that they will get off the wheel of continuous reincarnation (samsara).
A religion of salvation through right living.