The term Wicca today encompasses a wide range of beliefs, but, like other religions, Wicca has central foundational points shared by most self-identifying Wiccans.
In general, Wicca:
- Is polytheistic, acknowledging the existence of multiple deities.
- Focuses upon dedication to a pair of patron deities, a god and a goddess.
- Is a modern religion developed in the 1940s by Gerald Gardner and which became public in the 1950s.
- Was influenced by a variety of sources including pre-Christian religious beliefs, 19th century Romantic ideals, and various aspects of ceremonial magic.
- Views the spiritual and material worlds as overlapping: the gods are not distant beings but entities whose presence we can experience.
- Stresses personal experience with divinity and developing greater harmony with the larger world.
- Involves understanding the natural cycles of the planet, particularly the yearly solar cycle and, to a lesser extent, the monthly lunar cycle.
- Views the universe as the product of complementary opposites in a system roughly akin to the Chinese concept of yin and yang. These opposites are often considered male and female forces, a practice which can be found in numerous other schools of thought, including for many centuries in Christian Europe.
- Emphasizes balance over extremism.
- Commonly incorporates the platonic elements of Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Spirit into its rituals and worldview.
- Teaches that we all are ultimately responsible for our own actions.
- Encourages us to consider the repercussions of available options before taking action.