Traditional Wicca vs Faerie Wicca
There is a wide variety of Wicca worshipers today. Wiccans are a diverse group with distinct principals followed amongst each branch. Most Wiccan beliefs fit into the widespread, humanist religions of modern society, but they do consider themselves to be witches. Wiccan beliefs are based on a combination of witchcraft, white magic, and mystical traditions; however, Gardnerian, or traditional, Wicca is a neo-pagan religion, whereas Faerie Wicca is an ancient religion. In many ways these two branches of Wicca are alike, but in many ways they differ.
One distinction between traditional Wiccans and Faerie Wiccans is that traditional Wiccans have a written Rede that carries their law and a witchcraft bible that holds their principles and beliefs. Because traditional Wiccans have written documentation, it is a religion that can easily be studied and learned by others. The Faerie Wiccans have no written word. This form of Wicca is an oral tradition, very much hands-on and only taught in person by initiates of the Craft (Ariadne, 3). It cannot be learned in a book.
Because each initiate has their own view or individual experiences, many authentic branches have resulted, including Watchmaker, Vanthi, FireDrake, Compost, Draconian Pictish-Elven, and more. There are basically two main branches of traditional Wicca, which are Gardnerian and Dianic. These two have the same beliefs, but Dianic Wicca caters more to the feminist group of worshipers who only worship the goddess not the god. Traditional Wicca is taught from books, online courses, or in schools following the same principles each time, creating a single lineage of beliefs.
In Faerie Wicca, some customs are taught while others are generally understood through Faerie energy. They live by the Faerie Warrior Code which is also taught orally to all initiates. This code includes the Black Heart of Innocence which is a fierce openness. In the Faerie tradition, worshipers are expected to be sincere, honest and strong. There are a few Faerie covens that offer apprenticeships that can last up to two years. In traditional Wicca there are 161 written laws that are learned and followed.
Moral behavior is determined by the individual, but hexing and cursing or negative magic is not accepted, and worshipers are expected to work toward the greater good of all (Wicca. org). Another difference between the neo-pagan religion and the ancient religion is their deities and their impact on sexuality. Most traditional Wiccans worship the god and goddess and their covens aspire to having equal numbers of men and women (d’Este & Rankine, 11). Nearly all traditional Wiccans subscribe to the idea of the Spirits being divided into two polarities, the male and the female.
Faerie Wiccans believe in a primary, androgynous Star Goddess that has both male and female characteristics. There are six other deities that are aspects of the Star Goddess who are both male and female. Because traditional Wiccans usually worship in heterosexual pairs, homosexuality is more commonplace within the Faerie Wiccan branches than in traditional branches. Neither religion passes judgment on sexual orientation; therefore it is not unheard of to have bi-sexual or homosexual worshipers in both branches. Traditional Wicca celebrates feminism, sexism, and women’s empowerment in heterosexual relationships.
Faerie Wicca is very open to all sexual orientations, and often encourages bisexuality during rituals to reach states of ecstasy. There are covens of Faerie wiccans made up of gay men, and there are other predominantly gay groups of radical Faeries which emphasize male spirituality and gay marriage or “handfasting” ceremonies (Smith & Home, 237). There are also major distinctions between the two groups when it comes to their beliefs. Traditional Wiccans believe that everyone has a divine god or goddess within them and should develop their occult magic.
They also believe in the divine forces of natural spirits. Nature and the earth are a sacred manifestation of the Goddess, thus rituals and celebrations are tied to the seasons and moon phases (Conway, 45). Faerie Wiccans also revere nature and its beauty, but believe that nature is represented by fairies from an “in between” world. Faerie Wiccans believe that Faerie energy can be produced through exorcises, and the energy is used for sexuality, creativity, love, beauty, mysticism, and sensual experiences and awareness.
Another belief of traditional Wiccans is that everyone has his or her own spiritual path to follow and can do so by meditation, visualization, mystical rituals, and invocation of the forces of the God or Goddess. There is a law that they live by that states, “And it harm none, do as ye will,” which basically means that any behavior is acceptable as long as it does not harm oneself or others. Since there is no sin, there is no need for forgiveness from a higher being.
Most traditional Wiccans believe in the concept of karma and perpetual reincarnation. There is no belief in good and evil, only natural forces that must be balanced. Faerie Wiccans are encouraged to take risks and have no laws limiting behavior. There is a lack of morality amongst Faeries who believe in a state of enchantment called a state of “Fey,” or poetic madness (Ariadne, 39). This is considered a journey between the fairy world and reality. Faerie gods possess all morality which is different from the reality of humans.
Contrary to popular belief, neither traditional Wiccans nor Faerie Wiccans worship the devil or believe in demons; however, some of the Elvin folk can be likened to demons or crones who are amoral. The traditions and beliefs of traditional Wiccans originated in the mystical traditions of the ancient Celtic and Norse. The traditions and beliefs of the Faerie Wiccans are also from ancient Celtic and Norse culture, originating in Scotland, Iceland, and Ireland (Wicca. org). Symbolism is an integral part of Wiccan life.
With traditional Wicca being a feminist religion, there are many symbols related to female spirituality. The serpent is a symbol of eternal life and female power. Other symbols used by traditional Wiccans are the Pentagram, the Ankh, the crescent moon, crystals and the butterfly. The pentacle or five pointed star is used for protection, spells and conjuring. In the Faerie Wiccan branch, they use the seven point star, called the Elvin Star, which is representative of the seven pillars of wisdom. In traditional Wicca, the crescent moon is the symbol of the Goddess.
Both branches use crystals, which are believed to have healing power and are considered to be spiritual. Traditional Wicca use the butterfly to represent renewal of life or the circle of life, whereas the Faeries use the wheel of life. There are many other symbols used in both branches of Wicca such as the bell, asthame, bat, chalice, circle, candle, cat, and broom. Each has a valuable contribution to different rituals.
Faeries also have symbols that are used for protection, love, healing, and prosperity. They fly an Elvin flag that bears the Faerie star and is inscribed with, “Two Worlds, One Earth, One Hope. Most symbols are written or worn in the Faerie tradition, such as the “all seeing eye. ” Both traditional Wicca and Faerie Wicca are interesting branches of witchcraft. They are both entwined with mysticism and secrecy that is yet to be accepted or understood by the general populous. Their beliefs, traditions, symbolism and culture are intriguing and alluring to the new humanist movement as a source of spiritual enlightenment.