Watch more How to Understand Wicca videos: my name is Phillis Cura and I’m a Wiccan priestess. And yes boys and girls, I’m a witch. I can’t believe I’m saying that, except I’ve been saying that for a long time. As you can see, no pointy hat, no green face, et cetera. But yes, Wiccans practice witchcraft. In fact, the word wicca comes with the word witcha, it’s an old Anglo-Saxon term. And witch is the phonetic spelling of that old Anglo-Saxon term wicca, it meant a wise one. It was the shaman of the local village. And there are other forms of witch craft, in Italian its stregheria. You have lots of different kinds, culturally defined kinds of witchcraft. But wicca comes primarily from England, Great Britain, it has Celtic influence and became very public in the early 1950’s with Gerald Gardner who soft of rescued it from oblivion. He’d been initiated by the new forest coven in England and he stirred into that cauldron of a lot of creativity.
There’s romanticism and transcendentalism and the elegant golden dawn which was the poet that people knew, Yeats and Lady Gregory who helped create the Irish National Theater and George Bernard Shaw messed around with them. And with masonry he pulled in a lot of influences into contemporary Wicca. It’s undergone tremendous transformations in the last 50 years. Especially with the influence of the role of women in Wicca. As priestesses and teachers have had a tremendous influence on transforming it and making it more dynamic.
MY own tradition is the tradition of aura and it’s a shamanic tradition because from the very beginning when I was initiated in 1981 I also began working with Michael Harner, Dr. Harner, who created the foundation for shamanic studies. So I was studying qua-shamanism that would tie into Wicca. Wicca has a root that goes back to the earliest religion to shamanism. It is very modern, it’s a kind of modern renaissance of rediscovery. The ancestral wisdom of the British Isles and to some extent Ireland and Celtic countries as well. Yet it has a root that is deep in the Earth and goes to the earliest religion to shamanism. It’s a specific cultural form, British, and Celtic, some Irish. A combination of the two along with cultural influences, and now it’s very American, and very European. It’s also all over Latin America, Brazil, there is a huge Wiccan movement in Brazil. And Columbia and Mexico, Australia, and each place and each era, each generation brings a new facet so it’s a living religion. It’s not dogmatic, and it’s a personal spiritual path that’s celebrated in community although you can practice. So it’s constantly undergoing a kind of transformation, it grows and matures and it discovers new depths and new ways of practicing. It becomes more sophisticated too, becoming more clear and more effective and more powerful with each generation..