This reference was researched and composed by Lydia the sapientissimist.
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Wicca is a highly syncretic religion that combines elements from several different sources.
Those sources are: the two witch-related books by Margaret Murray (The Witch Cult in Western Europe and The God of the Witches),
the book Aradia by Charles Leland, the black mass, The Druid Order, a poem by Rudyard Kipling, the fiction books of H.P. Lovecraft,
the Key of Solomon, Freemasonry, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, and BDSM practices.
- 1 Elements taken from Margaret Murray's books and Aradia
- 2 Elements taken from the black mass
- 3 Elements taken from The Druid Order and Rudyard Kipling
- 4 Elements taken from H.P. Lovecraft
- 5 Elements taken from the Key of Solomon
- 6 Elements taken from Freemasonry
- 7 Elements taken from the Golden Dawn
- 8 Elements taken from Aleister Crowley
- 9 BDSM elements
Elements taken from Margaret Murray's books and Aradia
The goddess name Aradia was taken from the aforementioned book of the same name.
The usage of the male god name Cernunnos was taken from chapter 1 of the book The God of the Witches.
Gerald Gardner's book High Magic's Aid states that the witches worshipped the horned male god Janicot (which is an alleged basque deity).
The god name Janicot was likewise taken from chapter 1 of The God of the Witches.
The words 'sabbat' and 'esbat' were taken from The Witch Cult in Western Europe.
'Sabbat' is the french spelling of 'sabbath', and it was used several times in french excerpts in the book.
The idea of having sabbats on four particular days of the year (Wicca originally had only four sabbats), and esbats on other days,
was likewise taken from that book, from the section about sabbaths.
The original names of the four original wiccan sabbats were taken from The Witch Cult in Western Europe.
The sabbat names 'May Eve' and 'November Eve' were taken from the book,
and that same style of naming was used to give names to the other two cross-quarter sabbats- Febuary Eve and August Eve.
The later Gardnerian cross-quarter sabbat names Candlemass, Lammas, and Halloween, were likewise taken from that book,
though in the book, Halloween is called by more archaic names and spellings, such as Hallowevin.
The wiccan practice of having thirteen people in a coven, consisting of one leader and twelve subordinates,
was taken from chapter 7 part 2 of The Witch Cult in Western Europe.
That is in turn an imitation of the arrangement of Jesus and his twelve disciples.
The wiccan practice of performing all rituals nude was taken from the book Aradia,
which states: "ye shall be naked in your rites, men and women also".
Elements taken from the black mass
The wiccan third-degree initiation ritual contains elements from the black mass.
Those elements are the use of a nude woman as the altar, the central focus of the woman-altar's vagina in the ritual,
and sexual intercourse between the priest and the woman-altar.
Elements taken from The Druid Order and Rudyard Kipling
One of the four original wiccan sabbat rituals, May Eve, incorporates the recitation of part of one of Rudyard Kipling's poems, A Tree Song.
The wiccan solstice and equinox sabbats, which were added to Wicca in the mid 1950s, include druidic elements.
Those druidic elements include the use of a cauldron, the phrase "cauldron of Cerridwen",
and referring to Cerridwen as a goddess rather than a mere witch.
Originally the wiccan sabbats did not use druidic titles, but in later post-Gardnerian years,
later wiccans used druidic titles for as many as five of the sabbats.
Those five druidic titles are Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasad, Samhain, and Yule.
The term 'wheel of the year', which was adopted by many wiccans some time well after the death of Gerald Gardner,
was likewise taken from druidic groups.
Elements taken from H.P. Lovecraft
In the wiccan ritual recitations, there is an unusual phrase that appears multiple times, which clashes with the other aspects of wiccan belief.
That phrase is "the dread lords of the outer spaces" and variants of that phrase.
That phrase is based upon the fiction books of H.P. Lovecraft, wherein there is a realm called 'the outer spaces',
wherein dwell fearsome god-like beings.
Elements taken from the Key of Solomon
The black-handled knife, the word 'athame', and the white-handled knife were taken from chapter 8 of book 2 of the Key of Solomon.
The word 'bolline' (which came to refer to the white-handled knife) was taken from part of a book by A.E. Waite that was about the Key of Solomon.
Most of the other eight Gardnerian ritual tools, all except the scourge, were likewise taken from the Key of Solomon.
The sword and the wand were taken from the same chapter as the two knives- chapter 8 of book 2.
The wiccan practice of consecrating the ritual tools was taken from the same chapter- chapter 8 of book 2.
The wiccan tool consecration recitations are almost identical to those in the Key of Solomon.
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn similarly has ritual objects that were inspired by the Key of Solomon,
and consecrates those objects, which was likewise inspired by the Key of Solomon,
but the wiccan ritual object consecrations follow the Key of Solomon much more closely,
and the Golden Dawn does not use the black-handled and white-handled knives from the Key of Solomon,
and the wiccan ritual objects do not have any of the unique characteristics of those of the Golden Dawn;
therefore Wicca takes those elements directly from the Key of Solomon rather than indirectly via the Golden Dawn.
The Key of Solomon has a large section that is devoted exclusively to depicting and describing specific pentacles.
The typical wiccan pentacle, which has a pentagram on it, is based upon the 'second pentacle of Venus' and
the 'first pentacle of Mercury' from that section.
Similarly, the older occult group called the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn based their own pentacle, which has a hexagram on it,
upon the 'the second pentacle of Mars' from that same section.
The wiccan practice of consecrating water, consecrating salt, and then putting the salt into the water,
was taken from chapter 5 of book 2 of the Key of Solomon.
The wiccan consecration recitations for the water and the salt are almost identical to those in the Key of Solomon.
The wiccan practice of consecrating candles was taken from chapter 12 of book 2 of the Key of Solomon.
The wiccan consecration recitation for the candles is almost identical to the consecration recitation for incense
in chapter 10 of book 2 of the Key of Solomon.
The wiccan practice of inscribing candles with the white-handled knife was taken from chapter 10 of book 2 of the Key of Solomon,
in which candles are inscribed with a dagger or a burin (aka bolino).
The wiccan circle, with its three concentric rings, and casting by a sword or black-handled knife, was taken from chapter 9 of book 2 of the Key of Solomon.
The wiccan practice of waving the wand to the four cardinal directions was taken from chapter 13 of book 1 of the Key of Solomon.
The wiccan practice of showing the pentacle to the four cardinal directions was taken from chapter 13 of book 2 of the Key of Solomon.
The wiccan practices of asperging and censing were likewise taken from the Key of Solomon.
Elements taken from Freemasonry
The three-degree system of advancement and initiation was taken from Freemasonry.
The use of eight objects that are called 'tools' was taken from english Freemasonry,
though Freemasonry uses actual tools, whereas in Wicca the word 'tools' is a misnomer.
The phrase 'the craft', which is used many times in the wiccan laws, was also taken from Freemasonry.
The wiccan practice of tying a rope around an initiate's neck, with rope hanging down the front called a 'cable tow',
and tying that cable tow to a ring on the altar so as to force the initiate to kneel and bend over forward,
was taken from the initiations of Freemasonry.
The wiccan initiation practice of having a blindfold (aka hoodwink) on the postulant throughout much of the initiation ritual
was taken from either the self-initiation ritual described in Crowley's book Liber 671 vel Pyramidos,
or from the initiation ritual of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, from which Crowley took the idea,
or from the initiation ritual of Freemasonry, from which the Golden Dawn took the idea.
In the wiccan third-degree initiation ritual, the human female breasts are called "twin pillars",
despite the fact that they have neither the long cylindrical shape of pillars nor the solid consistency of pillars.
In the pre-Valiente version of that ritual, the human female breasts were more explicitly called the "twin pillars Boaz and Jachin".
The idea of two pillars named Boaz and Jachin was taken from Freemasonry,
though the freemasons got the idea from the historical records of Solomon's temple in the old testament books of Kings and Chronicles.
The Golden Dawn likewise took that idea from Freemasonry, so Wicca might have gotten it indirectly via the Golden Dawn,
but it is one of the central ideas of Freemasonry, so it is masonic regardless of what subsequent groups borrowed it.
Elements taken from the Golden Dawn
The wiccan initiation practice of poking a sword into the postulant, and telling the postulant to have no fear in one's heart,
was taken from the initiation ritual of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
The wiccan ritual practice of calling upon the "lords of the watchtowers" of the four cardinal directions was taken from
the Golden Dawn, which had a ritual of calling upon the "angels of the watchtower" of the four cardinal directions.
The wiccan practice of using one of the ritual tools to trace pentagrams in general,
and the invoking pentagram and banishing pentagram in particular, was taken from the Golden Dawn.
The wiccan ritual practice of circumambulating three times was taken from the Golden Dawn,
which employed it in several of their rituals.
The wiccan use of the terms 'deosil' and 'widdershins' was likewise taken from the Golden Dawn.
The wiccan preference for deosil movement was likewise taken from the Golden Dawn.
The wiccan body position of having one's arms crossed flat over one's chest, like a mummy,
which is called 'the goddess position' or 'the god position',
was taken from the "sign of Osiris risen" from the Golden Dawn.
In Ye Bok of ye Art Magical, which preceded Gerald Gardner's book of shadows,
Gardner openly called that position 'the Osiris position'.
The wiccan practice of creating a "cone of power" is based upon the Golden Dawn practice of creating a "great cone" of "astral light".
Like the wiccan cone of power, creating a great cone involves several people.
The wiccan use of the phrase 'mighty ones', which refers to powerful supernatural beings, was taken from the Golden Dawn.
Gerald Gardner's original book of shadows uses the word 'officers' three times, referring to unspecified officers of a coven,
but all subsequent wiccan writings, including Alex Sanders' book of shadows, make no mention of officers.
The general idea of having officers was taken from the Golden Dawn,
but Gerald Gardner never figured out the specifics of the officers, so that idea was dropped from Wicca.
Elements taken from Aleister Crowley
The use of the word 'magus' was taken from the writings of Aleister Crowley.
The use of a scourge was also taken from the writings of Aleister Crowley.
Crowley in turn got the general idea of using a scourge from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, to which he belonged.
The scourging of the butt in the wiccan initiation and elevation rituals was taken from
the self-initiation ritual in Crowley's book Liber 671 vel Pyramidos.
The use of knells on a bell in the 1st-degree initiation ritual and the 2nd-degree elevation ritual was likewise taken from
the self-initiation ritual in Liber 671.
The wiccan 'spiral dance', also called the 'meeting dance', which is performed on the May Eve and August Eve sabbats,
is loosely based upon a dance that is likewise named the 'spiral dance' that was invented by Aleister Crowley.
Crowley's spiral dance is described in his book Liber 5 vel Reguli, and also mentioned four times in his book Liber 671.
Both the Crowleyan spiral dance and the wiccan spiral dance involve moving in an inward spiral or an outward spiral,
but both versions of the dance have their own unique characteristics, so the wiccan dance is not an exact copy of the Crowleyan predecessor.
The wiccan practice of 'cakes and wine' is taken from the 'gnostic mass'-
a ritual that was created by Aleister Crowley, in which wine and so-called 'cakes of light' are consumed.
The gnostic mass is in turn based upon the catholic mass.
The wiccan practice of putting the tip of an athame that is held by a priestess into a cup of wine that is held by a magus or priest,
which is done during the cakes and wine ritual, and the association of the athame with the penis and the cup with the vagina,
was likewise taken from the gnostic mass, although the gnostic mass uses a comparatively large and cumbersome lance instead of an athame.
Crowley in turn got the idea of putting the tip of a blade into a cup of wine from the Golden Dawn's adeptus minor initiation ritual,
though that Golden Dawn practice lacked the sexual symbolism that Crowley gave to it,
and did not specify the gender of the person holding the blade or the cup.
The wiccan practice of having the priestess girt with a sword was likewise taken from Crowley's gnostic mass.
In the pre-Valiente version of the wiccan initiation rituals, there were several recited passages that were taken from the writings of Aleister Crowley.
Doreen Valiente removed most of such passages from the rituals, but not all of them.
Later, Alex Sanders, while creating Alexandrian Wicca, restored some of the Crowleyan passages that Valiente had removed.
Although it was Doreen Valiente's intention to remove all of the Crowleyan passages from the initiation rituals,
she mainly removed passages from Crowley's Book of the Law, but did not remove various passages, phrases, and words that occur
exclusively in Crowley's gnostic mass, thus indicating that Valiente was familiar with The Book of the Law but not the gnostic mass.
However, Valiente's alteration of the ritual recitations to make them more poetic resulted in some of the Crowleyan passages
from the gnostic mass being broken-up.
The passage "there is no part of us that is not of the gods", which is used in the wiccan third-degree initiation ritual and in the Febuary Eve sabbat,
was taken from Crowley's gnostic mass. Crowley in turn got the phrase from the Golden Dawn.
Gerald Gardner had slightly altered that passage by replacing the word 'me' with 'us'.
The passage "encourage our hearts; let thy light crystallize itself in our blood, fulfilling us of resurrection",
which is used in the wiccan third-degree initiation ritual, was likewise taken from Crowley's gnostic mass.
The passage "make open the path of intelligence between us", which is used in the third-degree initiation ritual of
pre-Valiente Gardnerian Wicca and in Alexandrian Wicca, and Doreen Valiente's altered version of that passage,
"pathway of intelligence", is taken from Crowley's gnostic mass.
Gerald Gardner had altered that passage from its original Crowleyan version, which was:
"make open the path of creation and of intelligence between us and our minds".
The mention of a 'lance' and 'grail' in the wiccan third-degree initiation ritual and summer solstice ritual,
and the association of the lance with the penis and the grail (aka cup) with the vagina, was taken from the gnostic mass,
though in the gnostic mass, the spelling 'graal' is used.
In the pre-Valiente version and Alexandrian version of the third-degree initiation ritual, the ritual even uses the passage from the gnostic mass:
"therefore, whom we adore, we also invoke, by the power of the lifted lance".
Various elements of the wiccan initiation rituals are also present in BDSM (bondage / dominance / sadism / masochism) practices.
Gerald Gardner cherry-picked elements from other sources, and added his own additional elements, to satisfy his BDSM desires.
Those BDSM elements in the initiation rituals are: having the postulant strip naked, blindfolding the postulant,
binding the postulant's wrists behind their back, tying a cord around the postulant's neck and pulling them around by that cord
(taken from Freemasonry), tying the neck cord down so as to force the postulant to kneel and bend over forward (taken from Freemasonry),
and whipping (aka scourging) the postulant on their bare butt (taken from Crowley, but changed from self-scourging to
interpersonal scourging, to make it more BDSM).