The first thing you should know is that Wicca is a religion. A faith. It is also a practical craft, but, for me at least, that is not its principal purpose. If Wicca sounds interesting to you because you want to start working spells, you might want to take some time to consider the seriousness of your decision. This is neither a hobby, nor a clever way to advertise your nonconformity. It is a way of looking at the world with a deeper respect, and exploring your place in it. Still interested? All right, then. Let's start at the beginning.
There is one essential question of faith, from which all else arises. Is there a "God" or not?
We can argue details until the end of time, but this is what it all comes down to. Either there is a supreme power holding the universe together, or there isn't. If you don't believe there is, then I appreciate the visit, but I'm probably wasting your time. If you're undecided, but open to the possibility, then read on. I hope I can offer you something that makes sense. If you do believe in some version of a Divine Power, then you've got a lot of thinking to do. What, if anything, does it look like? Where is it? Does it have a name? A gender? How does it behave? What role does it have in your life, or after your death? This is a long, long discussion, and no one, least of all me, should presume to make these decisions for you. Your answers will define your world, and your world is yours to create.
Ironically, I can't even tell you how Wiccans answer these questions, because we don't all agree, and that's part of the appeal of this path. We don't have to. Most agree on the Rede: harm none. The Three-fold Law is also widely, but not universally, accepted. It states that whatever you do, good or evil, will come back to you threefold. It's a very 'do unto others' sort of idea. The role of Divine Power is shared between a Mother Goddess and a Father God, in varying proportions. Beyond that, your relationship to Goddess, Gods, or God, is your business. This is an important point, and one I spend a lot of time talking about. There is no One Way to believe. If there were, would we be given so many beautiful choices?
What I can share with you is a little of the thinking that led me to my own choice. In so doing, I may be able to give you a clearer picture of Wicca, and a better idea of the very personal nature of my belief.
I do believe in a Divine Power, and for a simple reason: the notion of a randomly created world filled with amazingly varied but essentially unrelated bits of matter and energy depresses me. If no action has meaningful or lasting consequence; if living, consuming and dying is the most profound life to which we may aspire, then there really doesn't seem to be any point to getting out of bed.
Now the last thing I want to be caught doing is quoting from Highlander, but to me, the nature of such a Power implies that there can be only one. Binding together and organizing the Universe is a tall order. I don't imagine that sort of thing being done very well by a committee. But look around. Even within my country, there are countless portrayals of God. Even different Christian denominations disagree on the nature of God, to say nothing of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and countless others. How do we reconcile these differences with the notion of one Supreme Power?
Well, as simplistic as it sounds (and I'll admit to that one), I believe that there are three possibilities. In the first, one segment of one faith somewhere on the religious map has hit on the One True God, and the rest of us are just plain out of luck. I cannot fathom this one. I mean, what are the odds? Millions of people have professed faith in just as many Gods. Can most of their choices be merely frivolous? Simple mistakes? In the second, we're all wrong, and we're all wasting our time. There can be no God, and this is contrary to my thesis, so what's left? The remaining option is that we're all right. Simple as that. Curiously enough, this one makes perfect sense to me.
Here's why. Imagine the nature of a power so sweeping that it can unite, organize, and energize a seemingly infinite universe. I don't know about you, but there's no way that sort of concept is going to fit into my head. But I believe in this power, and I want a way to interact with it, to experience it on a personal level. Simply put, I need to give it a face. And this, I believe, is what practitioners of every faith throughout history have needed, and what I believe they've done. God the Father cannot be imagined; we need God the Son to give us a face to pray to. The Ancient One is too big to be addressed in terms of everyday emotion, action and reaction, form and gender. Nonetheless, there are qualities that I would like to think the Ancient One would, as a matter of course, possess, and I need a way to represent these. Fortunately, there is an endless supply of Goddesses, Gods, and Guardian Spirits to help me do just that.
In the Mother Goddess, I see love and nurturing kindness. She is the cradle of new life, the passionate consort, the Wise Woman. In the Father God, I see energy, growth, sacrifice, death and rebirth. I call the Guardians of the Four Elements, and through them I can imagine the whole of the material world, and my place within it. I believe passionately in all of these things, and more, but to me, they are all aspects of one Divinity; a few of the countless facets of the one unimaginable jewel, the ancient source of all energy and creation, the Unknowable One.
Wicca gives me the opportunity to believe that we are all looking for the same things, all striving toward knowledge of, and communion with, the same Power. We are quick to dwell on our differences, and to label each other accordingly, but how much more productive might it be to celebrate our unique approaches to a Common Divinity? Wicca gives me hope for the future of the Earth, and a greater respect for those who do not believe exactly as I do. To end at the beginning, I'll say again that this won't wash with everyone, not even with all Wiccans, but that's okay. This is why I think the way I do. It is why I set out on this path, and why I continue to believe it is the right one for me. It's also the closest thing to Theology you're ever likely to hear from this writer. May you find as much joy, and more, on your own journey.