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Traditions of Wicca

Alexandrian Tradition: Founded in England during the 1960's, Alex Sanders referred to himself as the "King" of his Witches. It is a formal, structured, neo-Gardnerian tradition.


Amythystian : Founded in 1968 by Lady Amethyst. Tradition is rooted in the Order of the Garter, Order of the Royal Oak. Traditional with lots of Hermetic beliefs. Dedicated to preserving old traditions while growing into a new generation of enlightened ones. Teaches by example in daily life, at home and at work, as well as when among our own. Known through work and deeds. Believes in a strict code of ethics exemplified by one's actions and lives by the Wiccan Rede.


Aquarian Tabernacle Church: An American Tradition of Wicca based on English Traditional Wicca, and focused on service to the larger Wiccan and Pagan community through open worship gatherings. ATC was founded in 1979 by Pierre "Pete Pathfinder" Davis. The Church is based in Index, WA. ATC provides regular, open worship circles and also sponsors several annual festivals. ATC also functions as an umbrella organization, accepting affiliations by Wiccan groups wishing to become recognized, open and public Wiccan churches.


Black Forrest Clan: This is Silver RavenWolf's group and is considered Euro-Wiccan, drawing from Silver's German heritage and Pow-Wow and training she received from her Old Guard Wiccan magickal teachers. The Black Forest is not a social organization and does not charge an initiation or elevation fee. The Black Forest training program is designed specifically to train Wiccan Clergy, and therefore does not train individuals new to the Craft, nor is it considered a social organization.


Blue Star Wicca: Blue Star was founded Frank Duffner in 1975 in Pennsylvania. Blue Star practices mostly as a hierarchical, mystery-based tradition with its roots in Alexandrian Craft. Most covens operate on a Grove system, in which uninitiated members and students comprise an Outer Court, and Initiates make up an Inner Court. Traditionally, a Coven (or circle) would include both Inner and Outer court members and would be presided over by a Third Degree High Priest and High Priestess.


British Traditional Witch: A formal, structured, neo-Gardner that is a mix of Celtic and Gardenarian beliefs. Most famous organization at this time is the International Red Garters. British Traditionals move mostly from within the Farrar studies/ They too are fairly structured in their beliefs, and train through the degree process. Their covens are also co-ed.


Caledonii Tradition: Formally known as Hecatine Tradition, this denomination of the Craft is Scottish in origin, and still preserves the unique festival of the Scots.


Celtic Wicca: The use of a Celtic/Druidic pantheon mixed with a little ritual Gardenarian, and heavily stressing the elements, nature and the Ancient Ones. They had a vast knowledge of and respect for the healing and magickal qualities of plants and stones, flowers, trees, elemental spirits, the little people, gnomes and fairies.


Ceremonial Witchcraft: Followers of this Tradition use a great deal of ceremonial magick in their practices. Detailed rituals with a flavor of Egyptian magick are sometimes a favorite, or they may use the Qabbalistic magick.


Church and School of Wicca: This is one of the many Welsh-based traditions. It was originally founded by Gavin and Yvonne Frost in the early 1970s. As "The Church and School of Wicca" the material is presented to students by correspondence, though the course is virtually the same as the material presented in their book. Originally (in the book) there was no mention of the Goddess at all and there were various sexual aspects which dismayed many who were otherwise drawn to the tradition. The latter situation has recently been modified and there is now mention of the Goddess. It is a widely spread tradition, found throughout this country and abroad.


Circle Wicca: Circle was begun in 1974 by Selena Fox and Jim Alan. Its headquarters are at Circle Sanctuary, a 200 acre nature preserve and organic herb farm in southwestern Wisconsin. They publish an annual source, the Circle Guide to Pagan Resources as well as a quarterly magazine, Circle Network News.


Correllian Tradition: The Correllian Tradition is dedicated to the advancement of the Pagan people and emphasizes celebratory as well as initiatory Wicca, and is strongly committed to accessible public ritual.


Covenant of the Goddess: A cross-traditional federation of over one hundred covens, plus solitary elders and associates, who have joined together to win recognition for the Craft as a legitimate and legally recognized religion. Covenant of the Goddess was organized in 1975 at Coeden Brith. It is incorporated as a non-profit religious organization in California, though it has grown to be a nationwide organization with members throughout the United States, as well as a few in Canada and Overseas. Decisions are made at an annual Grand Council or in local councils. The Covenant publishes The Covenant of the Goddess Newsletter and sponsors the COG Merrymeet Festival and Grand Council each year. A coven can apply for membership if it is a cohesive, self-perpetuating group which has been meeting for six months or more; the group follows the code of ethics defined by COG; the coven has three or more members studying for the priesthood, one of whom is an Elder; and the focus of the group's ritual and theology is the worship of the Goddess and the Old Gods (or the Goddess alone).


Dianic Tradition: First pinpointed by Margaret Murray in 1921 in "The Witch-Cult in Western Europe," this term appears to include a mixture of various traditions. However, their prime focus in recent years is on the Goddess, and has been pegged as the "feminist" movement of the Craft.


Eclectic Witch: This catch-all phrase indicates that the individual does not follow any particular Tradition, denomination, sect, or magickal practice. They learn and study from many magickal systems and apply to themselves what appears to work best.


Faery Wicca: This is an Irish tradition that centers on green Witchcraft and faery magick. It is an ecstatic, rather than fertility tradition, emphasizing on polytheism, practical magic, self-development and theurgy. Strong emphasis is placed on sensual experience and awareness, including sexual mysticism, which is not limited to heterosexual expression. Starhawk is an initiate.


Family Traditions: These are the practices and traditions, usually secret, of families who have been Witches for generations.

Gardnerian Tradition: Organized by Gerald Gardner in England in the 1950's. Gardnerian was one of the few people so determined that the Old Religion should not die that he took the risk of publicizing it through the media. This is a formal, hierachal path with skyclad worship of Aradia and Cernunnos. Gardners believe it takes a Witch to make a Witch.


Georgian Tradition: The Georgians, founded by George E. Patterson in 1970, were chartered by the Universal Life Church in 1972, as The Church of Wicca of Bakersfield. In 1980 they were chartered as The Georgian Church. They lean toward the Goddess and generally work skyclad but individual groups or individuals may do as they wish. They are both religious and magickal and celebrate the eight Sabbats. Members are encouraged to learn from all available sources.


Hereditary Witch: One who can trace the Craft through their family tree and who has been taught the Old Religion by a relative who was living at the same time. How far one has got to go back on the family tree to meet the conditions of the first part of this definition is debatable. Family trades (another name for Hereditary Witches.


Kitchen Witch: Basically, this type is one who practices by hearth and home, dealing with the practical side of religion, magick, the earth and the elements.


Minoan Tradition: The Minoan tradition is actually of triad -- the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood, and the Cult of Rhea -- was incorporated in December of 1998 under New York State religious corporations law. Their beliefs do not focus on the gender differences of the dieties and many Minoan followers are gay, lesbian and bisexual.


Pictish Witch: Scottish Witchcraft that attunes itself to all aspects of nature: animal, vegetable, and mineral. It is a solitary form of the Craft and mainly magickal in nature with little religion.


Reclaiming: Reclaiming is a community of women and men working to unify spirit and politics. It is a tradition of Witchcraft that began in the 1980s in Northern California.


Pow-Wow: Indigenous to South Central Pennsylvania. This is a system, not a religion, based on 400 year old Elite German magick. Pow-Wow has deteriorated to a great degree into simple faith healing. Although Pow-Wow finds its roots in German Witchcraft, few practicing Pow-Wows today in Pennsylvania follow the Craft or even know the nature of its true birth.


Sacred Wheel: An eclectic neo-Pagan path which was organized in Delaware within the past decade. Calling themselves Wiccan, they focus on balance and learning. Celtic beliefs are a part of their teachings. Still concentrated in the easten states, covens are formed from study groups which include both old-timers and novices.


Seax-Wica: Founded by Raymond Buckland in 1973. Although of Saxon basis, it was authored by Raymond himself without breaking his original Gardenarian oath.


Shamanic Witchcraft: This term refers to practices associated with those of tribal shamans in traditional Pagan cultures throughout the world. A shaman combines the roles of healer, priest (ess), diviner, magician, teacher and spirit guide, utilizing altered states of consciousness to produce and control psychic phenomena and travel to and from the spirit realm. Followers of this path believe that historical Witchcraft was the shamanic practice of European Pagans; and Medieval Witches actually functioned more as village shamans than as priests and priestesses of "the Old Religion." Shamanic Witchcraft emphasizes serving the wider community through rituals, herbalism, spellcraft, healings, counseling, rites of passage, handfastings, Mystery initiations, etc. The distinguishing element of Shamanic Witchcraft is the knowledge and sacramental use of psychotropic plants to effect transitions between worlds.


Strega Witches: Follows a Tradition seated in Italy that began around 1353 with a woman called Aradia. Of all the traditional Witches, this group appears to be the smallest in number in the United States.


Teutonic Witch: From ancient time, the Teutons have been recognize as a group of people who speak the Germanic group languages. Culturally, this included the English, Dutch, Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish peoples. This is also known as the Nordic Tradition and incorporates deities, symbolisms and practices from Norse and Germanic cultures.


Source: The Wicca Handbook, To Ride a Silver Broomstick,
and Index of Common Wiccan Traditions



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