An intriguing and obscure tarot card used by wiccans in the United Kingdom to practice divination.

The Cultural Roots and Celebration of Wicca in the United Kingdom

For as long as time itself, occultists and other forms of worship have thrived with their ways. As each emulates their own unique presentation of expression, they all share the common trait of extraordinary passion.

In this article, there will come a better understanding of the infamous Wicca faith. Followed by how it becomes glorified and predominate in subcultures throughout the United Kingdom.

What is Wicca

A Pentecost symbol universally representing the Wiccan faith in The United Kingdom and abroad.
A Pentecost symbol universally representing the Wiccan faith in The United Kingdom and abroad. Image Source: (huffpost.com)

Wicca is a contemporary pagan religion/faith that aims at uniting and having others express themselves positively. It mainly focuses on the appreciation of the natural world and the cycles that ensure throughout one’s lifetime.

Although some may perceive this faith as worshipping the devil, Wiccans are far from this. Many modern Wiccans throughout the United Kingdom gather for seasonal celebrations such as solstices, equinoxes, and other spiritual affairs.

Another key detail to this unique faith is that most followers believe in the invisible force of magic. Although this element can be viewed as supernatural, Wiccans perceive magic as another aspect of the laws of nature.

Meaning that it is merely a gift present to aid one in all endeavors faced. Moreover, the Wicca faith also consists of worship to certain figures like a mother or horned god from pre-Christian eras.

In essence, this eccentric group of individuals provides vast enlightening and ancient enriching perspectives for newcomers to witness.

The United Kingdom and Gerald Gardner

Portrait of Gerald Gardner the founder of Wicca in the United Kingdom.
Portrait of Gerald Gardner the founder of Wicca in the United Kingdom. A grand figure in the religions history. Image Source: (medium.com)

Furthermore, the Wiccan faith is believed to find roots in the United Kingdom during the 1940’s and 1950’s. The religion became originally discovered and brought to light by English occultist Gerald Gardner (The father of Wicca).

He became motivated to create this organization as he encountered local occultists in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, as he found himself initiated into this domestic and secretive pact, he recalls hearing members chanting phrases like “Wicca”.

With this at hand, he begins to create his own version of these practices and promotes them. Moreover, in his unique representation of worship, he bases his belief on being supportive and serving as a beneficial force.

Despite many backlashes in the early years of his eventual breakthrough, Gardner publishes the novel “High Magics Aid” in 1948. This literary piece established roots in this captivating religion that would soon gain followers in the future.

In turn, Gerald Gardner’s actions and example served as a catalyst for the Wicca faith to rise from obscurity.

Wiccan celebrations throughout the United Kingdom

A colorful illustration of The Wheel of the Year calendar for the Wiccan faith
A colorful illustration of The Wheel of the Year calendar for the Wiccan faith. A major religious factor to the beliefs of the organization. Image Source: (pinimg.com)

Next, we come to the various interesting illustrations of Wiccan celebrations observed throughout the United Kingdom. In the Wiccan faith, there is a tool used that becomes known as the “Wheel of Year”.

This serves as a calendar to organize and mark the special holiday dates for followers to be aware of. Interestingly, each occasion on the calendar becomes known as a “Sabbat” which further promotes appreciation for the seasons and nature.

Another sharp detail to this calendar is that it represents and follows the phases of the sun as time goes on. Meaning that any age or hour past or present, time keeps moving forward regardless.

This goes back to the belief of natural cycle elements like death, fertility, life, youth, rebirth, relaxation, and the divine. The beauty of this practice is that it creates recognition for followers becoming connected to nature as most abandon it.

In summary, the Wheel of the Year serves the purpose to bring humans back to their natural roots.

Imbolc

Candles lit scene in a wiccan follower’s home in the UK.
Candles lit scene in a wiccan follower’s home in the United Kingdom. Image Source: (fanpop.com)

The first Wiccan celebration observed in the United Kingdom becomes known as Imbolc. This event takes place on the first of February where it holds symbolism to the end of winter.

During this period, many followers practice cleansing rituals to purify the mind and body. Another is paying tribute to the goddess Brigid who promotes wisdom, healing, and inspiration for maintaining life on earth.

This event technically becomes observed as the first day of Spring for the Wiccan calendar. One example of unique celebrations to this holiday/sabbat is Wiccans lighting up and leaving candles around their homes during sunset.

This action symbolizes the return of literal brighter and longer days after the harsh and dark months of winter. Furthermore, individuals also spring clean unwanted clutter in their residence followed by blessing the altar of the area after.

More than anything promotion of gathering with others becomes essential. In brief, Imbolc serves as an exciting and motivational time for those who practice Wicca.

Ostara

A welcoming painting depiction of the goddess Eostre. One of the many Wiccan gods worshiped in the United Kingdom.
A welcoming painting depiction of the goddess Eostre. One of the many Wiccan gods worshiped in the United Kingdom.  Image Source: (ebayimg.com)

Next, comes the blossoming celebration of Ostara. This event takes place during the spring equinox on March 21st.

It typically coincides with the Christian observation of Easter. This sabbat holiday becomes named after an ancient Saxon goddess named Eostre who symbolizes rebirth, fertility, and growth.

Ostara in the Wiccan faith becomes like Imbolc because they both highlight the arrival of warmer and brighter days in the year. Some observations and actions to this time of the year include gathering all forms of greenery for your home.

Another would be observing nature while taking note of the physical changes that occur to gather inspiration. To add, casting balance spells also becomes essential to observing Ostara as it implements a stabilized length of light.

Ostara mainly focuses on the betterment of oneself, which is why fertility also becomes celebrated. For example, other gods like Aphrodite become worshiped at this time of the year.

Overall, in the United Kingdom, Wiccans relish in these rich ancient traditions that promote the connection of nature.

Beltane in the United Kingdom

Fun and playful example of British Wiccans taking part in the Beltane Fire festival.
Fun and playful example of British Wiccans taking part in the Beltane Fire festival. Image Source: (wiccanspells.info)

Our third Wiccan festival that becomes observed in the United Kingdom is Beltane. This sabbat typically takes place on the first of May which marks the halfway point from spring to summer.

This period in the Wiccan calendar becomes recognized as the most romantic one because it represents marriage and fertility. In addition, there is also a high amount of sexual energy as nature emulates its prime amount of blossoming.

Meaning that the mark of new life cycles finds itself centralized as a theme in this period for Wiccans. One interesting celebration observed at this time is the Beltane Fire Festival occurring.

Here, many followers of the faith walk, dance, and jump over an open fire. This roots in the belief that fire serves as a means to heal and purify.

Moreover, there are also courting rituals that take place for potential couples to strengthen their bonds. To sum up, Beltane serves as a time to establish and appreciate romantic aspects of life.

Litha

Wiccans from the United Kingdom celebrating Litha.
Wiccans from the United Kingdom celebrating Litha. Image Source: (pinimg.com)

Additionally, the celebration of Litha arrives next on this Wiccan Wheel of The Year calendar! Litha finds itself observed on the twenty-first of June which marks the longest day of the year.

In other words, it becomes also recognized by non-Wiccans as the “Summer Solstice”. This celebration can be highly anticipated for Wiccans because it symbolizes abundance and perfection for all forms of life.

One observation practiced by members of this religion consists of lighting bonfires and spending as much time outside. As the sun becomes believed to be at its most powerful, this also marks a time for charging to take place.

Furthermore, Wiccans can charge tools or altar items for assurance of maintaining a steady stabilization of energy and blessings. In addition, most members stay active as they sing, feast, and participate in games that emulate ancient traditions.

One unique feature to this time for Wiccans is that the handfasting becomes prominent as most couples form official unions. All in all, Litha becomes another highly cherished and anticipated holiday for Wiccans.

Lammas

A follower of the faith in the United Kingdom gathering natural crops and supplies for the first harvest autumn harvest.
A follower of the faith in the United Kingdom gathering natural crops and supplies for the first harvest autumn harvest. Image Source: (pinimg.com)

Furthermore, comes the holiday of Lammas. This celebration becomes the first of three harvest festivals throughout the last half of the year.

Lammas occur on the first of August where themes of abundance and concern become centralized as winter nears. This time of the year is usually the most serious because many Wiccans acknowledge their fears and prepare for survival.

One Goddess that is associated with this holiday/sabbat is Demeter who symbolizes food, grain, and agriculture. Some observations that take place during Lammas are Wiccans decorating altars with fruits and other natural resources.

Another is gathering with a coven, praying for harvest, and giving thanks for all positive elements in life. Moreover, storing seeds and herbs becomes crucial for assurance of survival in the darker and colder months.

Interestingly, there is also the practice of giving offerings of food like bread and cider to gods, goddesses, or animals. On balance, Lammas serves as the most serious themed holiday for Wiccans in the United Kingdom.

Mabon

A relaxing visual of a British wiccan individual making peace with animals and offering them food during Mabon.
A relaxing visual of a British wiccan individual making peace with animals and offering them food during Mabon. Image Source: (pinimg.com)

Moreover, comes the interesting celebration of Mabon. This Wiccan holiday finds itself observed on the twenty-first of September.

It coincides with the autumn equinox and symbolizes another time of equal balance during the year. To add, Mabon also serves as the second harvest festival after Lammas.

In a way, this holiday becomes met with melancholy as there is a bittersweet farewell to the brightness of summer. Another detail to Mabon is that this period displays the gods’ powers decreasing as the year comes closer to an end.

One observation Wiccans partake in is creating a cornucopia present with a variety of fruits and vegetables to feast on. In this time fellow witches from other covens and family members gather to eat.

Besides these actions, Wiccans also pay tribute to ancestors by decorating their gravesites. Last would-be encouraging harmony and reflection by casting spells for maintaining balance and reaping positivity.

Altogether, Mabon is almost like a precursor holiday to Samhain for Wiccans.

Samhain in the United Kingdom

 A mysterious yet informative photo of Samhain customs observed by wiccans in the United Kingdom.
A mysterious yet informative photo of Samhain customs observed by wiccans in the United Kingdom. Image Source: (modernmysteryschoolint.com)

The next Wicca holiday to be featured is the infamous Samhain. The holiday falls on the thirty-first of October and the first day of November.

Not only is this the biggest holiday for Wiccans, but it also serves as the last part of harvest festivals. During this exciting time, Wiccans practice necromancy which is the art of communicating with the dead.

Observers typically hold seances and candlelit ceremonies to temporarily welcome back long-lost loved ones. Another practice during Samhain is followers of the faith connecting with the spirit world by using divination.

Moreover, the celebration of death and rebirth becomes central to this celebration. Death for Wiccans is a new path and chance to continue in contrast to the other religion’s views of the topic.

Samhain also emulates ancient British tradition in the land as modern Wiccans continue to practice old methods like these. In essence, for every death, there is always a new beginning in the Wiccan faith.

Yule

Charming depiction of natural wild life in the UK during Yule- another grand holiday for Wiccans.
Charming depiction of natural wild life in the UK during Yule- another grand holiday for the Wiccan faith. Image Source: (bp.blogspot.com)

Lastly, comes the final celebration/sabbat holiday in the Wiccan calendar. Yule finds itself observed on the twenty-first day of December.

It also coincides with the Winter solstice which also becomes known as the shortest day of the year. This is an important time for Wiccans because the mother goddess gives birth to the horned god.

The horned god represents new beginnings, hope, and the return of light and spring. During this time, the mother goddess goes into a deep hibernation like slumber as the year comes to an end.

Followers of the faith practice Yule by burning Yule logs, bringing in Yule trees, and decorating homes with greenery. This time also highlights being generous by giving and encouraging peace by casting peace spells.

Like earlier celebrations throughout the year, renewal becomes also highlighted in this holiday. In close, the Wiccan calendar and its celebrations in the United Kingdom provide various insights into the preservation of ancient tradition.

Final thoughts on the Wiccan faith

Another depiction of the Wicca Pentecost but with a natural twist as the United Kingdom blends ancient Celtic elements into the art.
Another depiction of the Wicca Pentecost but with a natural twist as the United Kingdom blends ancient Celtic elements into art. Image Source: (figuren-shop.de)

As witnessed, Wicca is much more than what many perceive it to be. In a way, it becomes like a gem among new-age faiths. In the United Kingdom, there are eleven thousand and twenty-six members in England.

Followed by having seven hundred and forty in Wales. The growth of the faith becomes central to the actions of Gerald Gardner who brought this unique perspective to life.

Unlike before, eccentrics that practiced occult activities found themselves falling victim to violent persecution simply because of ignorance. Fast forward to modern times, individuals like these can now practice and freely express themselves.

Overall, there has been progress evident as this religion becomes a new and rising faith embraced by newer generations.

Significance of the Wicca in the United Kingdom

An intriguing and obscure tarot card used by wiccans in the United Kingdom to practice divination.
An intriguing and obscure tarot card used by wiccans in the United Kingdom to practice divination. Image Source: (ssl-images-amazon.com)

In conclusion, from a breakthrough discovery formation, old beliefs resurrected, and a subculture developing, the United Kingdom becomes central. As the land where these beliefs came to be, many British Wiccans hold a sense of pride for their accomplishments.

Although this religion can be found in the US and throughout the globe, the UK continues to hold an example. Magic may not exactly be what many expect it to appear as, but many tend to overlook the beauty.

Meaning that there is magic in all aspects of life such as waking up and seeing the sunrise. Along with witnessing the seasons change and connecting with your inner self to gain spiritual insight.

All in all, Wicca offers a new perspective on the varying aspects of everyday life.

Works Cited:

Neopaganism in the United Kingdom – Wikipedia

Wiccan Holidays and their Meanings · Wiccan Gathering

About Beltane Fire Festival – Beltane Fire Society

Crawley, United Kingdom Witch Events | Eventbrite

 

 

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