Wicca is a 20th century revival of paleo-European Paganism. Although our modern roots can be documented from the late 18th century, Wicca took its present name and public form in 1950, though some practitioners claim private forms of "Wicca type" Paganism in family traditions that go back many centuries to pre-Christian times. Wicca (also known as "the Old Religion", "Witchcraft", or simply "the Craft") has grown and diversified through the years. Modern Witches are coming out of the "broom closet" in large numbers.
Modern Wicca is a joyous, life-affirming Nature religion. Our Goddess is all that is eternal and generative; that which is mortal, dying and reborn, we call God. The Goddess and God are not opponents -- so Wicca doesn't see the world as full of opposites. Rather, we see life as deeply interconnected and compliemntary, not adversarial. We see Divine Spirit permeating the world in humans, animals, rocks, trees, rivers, and many other forms. We respect and honor as siblings other kinds of animate and inanimate life.
Witchcraft is a religion of experience: we are expected to forge our own relationships with the Gods and Elements, rather than have someone else tell us what the Gods want us to do. The feelings stirred in us by a beautiful sunrise, the scent of rain, a baby's laugh are communions with Deity.
The way we live and all we do is governed by moral laws. If you harm none, do as you will, says the Wiccan Rede. The energy we put into the world comes back into our lives "three-fold", amplified and on many levels; this principle is called the Three-fold Law. We believe in reincarnation so we like to leave our "karma" cleaner than we find it. We know everything in life and the universe is complementary, not confrontational, so we look for cooperative solutions to our problems rather than laying blame or seeking revenge. Respect for others and responsibility for what we ourselves do is paramount, and critical.
The Goddess is all that is eternal and generative: the God is all that dies and is reborn. Together, we say, they are "one and more than one". They are not enemies, but partners. The God has nothing to do with the Christian deity "Satan", Wiccans do not believe in "the Devil".
She is Everything: the creative void, grave and womb together. She is a triple Goddess: Maiden, Mother and Crone, represented by the waxing, full and waning phases of the Moon. She is the eternal Source.
He is the grain we harvest in the Autumn and replant in the Spring. He is the buck we hunt to eat this Winter, reborn in next year's fawns. He is our experience and our inheritance, physical. psychological and spiritual. He has many symbols, including the Sun, and wild animals with horns or antlers.
Wicca is one of several neo-Pagan faiths. Other Western Pagan religions include Greco-Roman and Egyptian traditions, Native North and South American traditions, Afro-Caribbean faiths, Druidism, and the Norse Asatru.
"Prison Odinism" is far from the Asatru practiced outside. Aggressive, racist, and/or sexist Odinism is unwelcome among Arizona's Pagans, and most other places as well.
All nature based religions are experiencing growth now. Like others, some prisoners who have difficulty accepting mainstream beliefs find them appealing. This is where Mother Earth Ministries comes in.