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History of Wicca and Paganism

Discussion of animism, early polytheism, duality in gods and goddesses, the burning times and witch hunts in Europe, Gerald Gardner and the introduction of Wicca, and several authors well-known in modern Paganism.
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Top 10 Authors You Need To Read
The following people are some of the most well-known authors in the fields of magic, the occult, Paganism and Wicca. While not everyone agrees with everything these authors have written, reading their work will give you a greater understanding of the history of Paganism and Wicca in the modern era. Although this isn t a comprehensive list, it s...

Maiden, Mother and Crone - The Triple Goddess
What is the archetype of the Maiden, Mother and Crone in modern Paganism? This triple goddess represents the three phases of a woman's life.

The Salem Witch Trials - The Colony and Accusers
Wondering about the Salem witch trials? Here's a brief overview of what happened, who was involved, and some of the outcomes of the case.

Does Salem Ancestry Make Me Special?
A reader is certain that his Salem ancestry makes him special - so why does it seem like nobody cares? Let's talk about whether Salem ancestry makes you unusual in the Pagan community.

Rebecca Nurse
Rebecca Nurse was one of the nineteen women hanged in Salem during the 1692 witch trials. She features as a major character in Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible", which focuses on the hysteria that gripped the area during the trials.

Who Was Dorothy Clutterbuck?
The name of Dorothy Clutterbuck comes up regularly in discussions of modern Wiccan practice. Who was "Old Dorothy", and why is she important to the Pagans of today?

Bridget Bishop - The First to Die in Salem Witch Trials
Bridget Bishop was the first person to die in the Salem witch trials of 1692. Learn about why this woman was singled out and accused of witchcraft.

American Witchcraft Laws
Are there laws against practicing witchcraft in the United States? Let's look at how the legal landscape has changed in America when it comes to the practice of witchcraft.

Were the Burning Times as Bad as They Sound?
The phrase "Burning Times" is often used in modern Paganism and Wicca to indicate the era from the Dark Ages to around the nineteenth century, when charges of heresy were enough to get a witch burned at the stake. Some have claimed that as many as nine million people were killed in the name of “witch hunts.” However, there’s a lot of discussion within the Pagan world about the accuracy of that number.

Flying Ointment
During the European witch hunts, many witches were accused of using flying ointment to travel around on their brooms. What is flying ointment, and is it still used by witches today?

Polytheism is the belief in mutiple gods or goddesses. In many ancient cultures, these deities took on human form and characteristics. In others, they take on the essence of animals, trees, and supernatural beings. Learn more about the evolution of polytheism.

American Council of Witches and The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief
Although modern Pagan religions tend to have varying viewpoints on a good many things, back in 1973 a group of witches got together and put together a list of principles. This list, known as the 13 Principles of Belief, is still used as a guideline by many Neopagan traditions and groups today.

The Ardanes: The Old Laws of Wicca
In the 1950s, Gerald Gardner presented his coven with a list of guidelines that he claimed came from ancient sources. But were these Ardanes, or Old Laws, really as old as Gardner made them out to be?

Ancestor Worship in Pagan Cultures
The concept of ancestor worship is not a new one for many Pagans today. Ancient cultures often venerated those who came before them, and even now, in our contemporary society, it’s not uncommon at all to find celebrations that honor the ancestors in a variety of different ways.

Shamanism in Siberia
This article, originally written in 1914, is a comprehensive review of the aboriginal Shamanic practices of of northern Siberian tribes. It's a great resource, because much of this culture was uncontaminated by Western influences at the time the article was written.

Beginner's Guide to the Salem Witch Trials
Although this page at the Discovery Channel's education site is geared towards students, it's actually a great place to start learning about the witchcraft hysteria that swept through Salem, MA, many years ago. A worthy read, and good source of info for modern Pagans and Wiccans.

What is Shamanism?
Shamanism is a form of magical practice and belief that has been followed for thousands of years. Let's take a look at some of the historical aspects of shamanism, and how indigenous tribes around the globe have practiced it.

What is Animism?
What is animism? Let's look at a basic description of this earliest known form of religious beliefs.

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