Prince Toreus Rhann,Junior

Prince Toreus Rhann,Junior.

"Hither came, black-haired, keen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his booted feet." Forward. Know this, my Friends-somewhere between the Great Cataclysmic Era’s of the Central Pangea Shattered Empires and the Great Fall of Civilizations, the rise and fall of Trongaroth Empires and the Great Rise of Empires upon the Pangean Shattered Lands and rise of the New Son of Terra-Prime, there an age of great heroes and heroines-warriors and, time sorcerers, who fought for the Lords of Light against the Dark Forces of evil. This was Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars – Neimaria, Oparia, Britainia, Hykhonia-the four nations –so called Sword brother nations, who helped defend the west from many an enemy. Zhankhora with its dark-haired women and dark haired brave hearted men, who fought against Metrone spider-armies of the Casparean Mountains, Zhankhearia The most powerful sea raiders next to their Zhankhoria rivals, the Zhankhearian are active supporters of the Casparian buccaneers, Kothankhora-the great alliance of City States that bordered the pastoral lands of Shonkhora to the East, with its shadow-guarded tombs, and mystery haunted gleaming towers of gold Mankhorian Nomads, whose spike riders wore steel and silk and gold. It was said, a Mankhorian Nomad, learned ride before he or she could walk.

The Drakhoneans and the Arkhon twine kingdoms-Gleaming mailed and silken clad riders, masters of the Black Burning Sea, Twine Kingdoms revels in sweeping the barely contested wastelands to the west and south .The Khaiton ancient empire, stronghold of the world's greatest time wizards and masters of the eastern world.

But the proudest kingdom of the world was Great Thuvia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west.It’s Great Seven Kingdoms of Hither out of Great Thuvia came Prince Toreus Rhann, also sometimes known as Toreus the Slayer by his enemies and Prince Toreus, Lord of Lions black-haired, sullen-eyed, great Thuvian sword in hand, Grand Thuvian Armor and blaster in hand a slayer of many enemies, with gigantic strength and great courage, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Terra-Prime with the Great Capronean Lion –Shakhorja by his side with other heroes bring down the dark forces of evil and light back to the New Sons of Terra-prime." - The Thuvian Chronicles-Prince Toreus Rhann, the Third. This is a tale of Prince Toreus Rhann. The First Son of Thuvia, also sometimes known as Toreus the Slayer by his enemies and Prince Toreus, Lord of Lions, by friends, companions, and allies. Not to be confused with Toreus Rhann I, his esteemed father. Much has been said about that worthy elsewhere in the Chronicles of Pangaea and the Book of Thuvia.

Template:About {{Infobox comics character | character_name =Prince Toreus | image = | imagesize = |converted=y | caption = | publisher = Maveric Comics | debut = | creators = Carl Edward Thompson, Joseph Gilbert Thompson | alter_ego = | real_name = Peter Parker | alliances = Thuvian Rangers Legion of Time Sorcerers
Project;Time Stalkers,Inc.
Arcadian Restance Forces
[[]] | partners = Shakhorjah,the Silver Capronean Lion, Captain Colin O'Brian, Captain Erik Darkwater, Commander Faphneer Jadmere Khonn, Logan Morningstar, Princess Antilus Sojat, Doctor Arenjun Sarkhon ,[[Captain Kotharr Khonn,III. | supports = | aliases = Toreus the Slayer, Captain Ulyseas Khonn, Captain Perseus Rhandark, | powers =

  • Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, reflexes, and durability
  • Accelerated healing factor
  • Ability to cling to most surfaces
  • Precognitive spider sense
  • Genius-Level Intellect,Peak physical strength, speed, agility and reflexes,

Ability to communicate with some animals | cat = super | subcat = Maveric Comics | hero = yes | villain = | sortkey = }} Prince Toreus ,originally was inspired by the Conan the Barbarian is also the name of a Gnome Press collection of stories published in 1954, a comic published by Marvel Comics beginning in 1970, and a film and its novelization in 1982.Prince Toreus sabertoothed Capronean Silver haired lion Shakhorja, who possesses -human intelligence thanks to his Atlantean Lion ancestry.Atlantean dogs and cat, are bred for greater intelligence and longer life span. When presented with a situation where a weaker individual or party is being preyed upon by a stronger foe, Toreus invariably takes the side of the weaker party. In dealing with other men Toreus is firm and forceful. With male friends he is reserved but deeply loyal and generous. As a host he is likewise generous and gracious. As a leader he commands devoted loyalty. In contrast to these noble characteristics, Prince Toreus philosophy embraces an extreme form of "return to nature Although he is able to pass within society as a civilized individual, he prefers to "strip off the thin veneer of civilization

Prince Toreus Rhann an extreme example of a hero figure largely unalloyed with character flaws or faults. Prince Toreus Rhann is described as being Caucasian, extremely athletic, tall, handsome, and tanned, with grey eyes and black hair. Emotionally, he is courageous, loyal and steady. He is intelligent and learns new languages easily. He is presented as behaving ethically, Telepathic, by way his Guider Gem and bioelectrical powers, by way, hidden mechanisms within his Thuvian Battle Armor. Regenerative healing factor Superhuman senses, strength, agility, stamina, reflexes and longevity Domatium-laced skeletal structure with retractable claws Expert martial artist The various stories of Prince Toreus occur in the fictional "," of the sphere, known as Terra-Prime set after the destruction of and before the rise of the ancient civilizations, that proceeded the Great Trongaroth Invasion and the rise of the New Sons of Terra-Prime . This is a specific epoch in a fictional timeline created by Howard for many of the low fantasy tales of his artificial legendary

By conceiving a timeless setting — "a vanished age" — and by carefully choosing names that resembled human history, Howard shrewdly avoided the problem of historical anachronisms and the need for lengthy exposition.

==Personality and character==
The use of the spelling "magick" specifically refers to the magical system of Aleister Crowley and Thelema. It is not to be used here, since this article does not have to do with Crowley or Thelema magick. Please avoid this.

This article uses British English (non-Oxford) spelling only, established per consensus on the talk page.

Do not change the word pentagram to pentacle, they are two different items, and pentagram is the item shown here.
File:Pentacle 2.svg

Wicca (Template:IPA-all) is a neopagan, nature-based religion.<ref> - "Wicca, or Witchcraft, is an earth religion – a re-linking (re-ligio) with the life-force of nature, both on this planet and in the stars and space beyond"</ref>  It was popularised in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant, who at the time called it a "Witch cult" and "Witchcraft", and its adherents "the Wica".<ref name="WitchcraftToday">Template:Cite book</ref>

Wiccans, as followers of Wicca are now commonly known, typically worship a Goddess (traditionally the Triple Goddess) and a God<ref name="Farrar1989">Template:Cite book</ref> (traditionally the Horned God), who are sometimes represented as being a part of a greater pantheistic Godhead, and as manifesting themselves as various polytheistic deities. Other characteristics of Wicca include the ritual use of magic, a basic code of morality, and the celebration of eight seasonally based festivals.

There is dispute as to what actually constitutes Wicca. Initially, this spelling may have referred to the lineage of one of Gardner's rivals, Charles Cardell,<ref>Seims, Melissa. "Wica or Wicca?  - Politics and the Power of Words" in The Cauldron magazine.</ref> although from the 1960s it referred only to lineages stemming from Gardner and operating as initiatory Mystery Priesthoods (such as Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca). These are now collectively known in North America as British Traditional Wicca.<ref name="ReferenceA">Fifty Years of Wicca, Frederick Lamond</ref> A third usage, which has grown in popularity in recent years, considers Wicca to include other forms of Goddess-oriented neopagan witchcraft that are similar to but independent of that lineage, including Dianic Wicca and the 1734 Tradition; these are sometimes collectively termed
Eclectic Wicca.<ref name="ReferenceA" /><ref name="DrawingDownMoon">Template:Cite book</ref><ref name="Gallagher2005">Template:Cite book</ref>

Template:TOC limit

== Beliefs ==
File:Luna statue.jpg

=== Theology ===
Main article: Wiccan views of divinity
Although Wiccan views on theology vary, the vast majority of Wiccans venerate a Goddess and a God. These are variously understood through the frameworks of pantheism (as being dual aspects of a single godhead), duotheism (as being two polar opposites) or polytheism (being composed of many lesser deities). In some pantheistic and duotheistic conceptions, deities from diverse cultures may be seen as aspects of the Goddess or God.<ref name="Gallagher2005" />

==== The God and the Goddess ====
For most Wiccans, Wicca is a duotheistic religion worshipping both a God and a Goddess, who are seen as complementary polarities (akin to the Taoist philosophy of yin and yang), and "embodiments of a life-force manifest in nature."<ref name="NatureRelToday">Template:Cite book</ref> Often, the Goddess is symbolised as the Moon, and the God as the Sun.

File:Gundestrup antlered figure.jpg

Traditionally the God is viewed as a Horned God, associated with nature, wilderness, sexuality and hunting.<ref>The Witches' God by the Farrars, Chapter VIII</ref> The Horned God is given various names according to the tradition, and these include Cernunnos, Pan, Atho and Karnayna. At other times the God is viewed as the Green Man,<ref name="ReferenceB">The Witches' God by the Farrars, Chapter IX</ref> a traditional figure in art and architecture of Europe, or as a Sun God<ref>The Witches' God by the Farrars, Chapter III</ref> (particularly at the festival of Litha, or the summer solstice). Another depiction of the God is as the Oak King and the Holly King, one who rules over Spring and Summer, the other who rules over Autumn and Winter.<ref name="ReferenceB" />

The Goddess is usually portrayed as a Triple Goddess with aspects of 'Maiden', 'Mother' and 'Crone',<ref>The Witches' Goddess, by the Farrars, Chapter V</ref> though she is also commonly depicted as a Moon Goddess.<ref>The Witches' Goddess, the Farrars, Chapter VI</ref> Some Wiccans see the Goddess as pre-eminent, since she contains and conceives all; the God is the spark of life and inspiration within her, simultaneously her lover and her child.<ref>The Witches' God by the Farrars, Chapter I</ref> This is reflected in the traditional structure of the coven.<ref name="WitchesBible">Template:Cite book</ref> In some traditions, notably feminist Dianic Wicca, the Goddess is seen as complete unto herself, and the God is not worshipped at all, though this has been criticised by members of other traditions. Secondarily, the God is also sometimes viewed in a triple form (possibly in a reflective religious homage to the triple Goddess, referencing their complementary polarity) that being the aspects of 'Son', 'Father' and 'Sage'.

According to Gerald Gardner, the deities of Wicca are prehistoric gods of the British IslesTemplate:Citation needed: a Great Mother goddess and a Horned God.<ref name="MeaningWitchcraft1">Template:Cite book</ref> Modern scholarship has cast doubt on this claim; however various different horned gods and mother goddesses were worshipped in the British Isles in the ancient and early mediaeval periods.<ref>Ronald Hutton (1991) Blackwell ISBN 0-631-17288-2. Page 260-261</ref>

==== Polytheism ====
File:Kali Devi.jpg

The duotheism of the Goddess and the God is often extended into a type of dual pantheism through the belief  that, in the words of the occultist Dion Fortune, "all gods are one god, and all goddesses are one goddess"<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> —that is, the gods and goddesses of all cultures are, respectively, aspects of one supernal god and goddess. For instance, a Wiccan may regard the Germanic Eostre, Hindu Kali, and Christian Virgin Mary each as manifestations of one supreme Goddess—and, likewise, the Celtic Cernunnos, the ancient Greek Dionysus and the Judeo-Christian Yahweh as aspects of a single, archetypal God.

A more polytheistic approach holds the various goddesses and gods to be separate and distinct entities in their own right. Pantheistic systems may conceive of deities not as literal personalities but as metaphorical archetypes or thoughtforms.<ref name="DrawingDownMoon2">Template:Cite book</ref> While these conceptualizations of deity—duotheism, polytheism and pantheism—may seem radically different from each other, they need not be considered mutually exclusive: Some Wiccans may find it spiritually beneficial (or magically practical) to shift among one or another of these systems, depending upon time and circumstance.Template:Citation needed

Wiccan writers Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone have postulated that Wicca is becoming more polytheistic as it matures, tending to embrace a more traditionally pagan worldview.<ref name="ProgressiveWitchcraft">Template:Cite book</ref>

==== Godhead ====
Gardner stated that a being higher than the god and the goddess was recognised by the witches as the Prime Mover, but remains unknowable.<ref name="MeaningWitchcraft2">Template:Cite book</ref> Patricia Crowther has called this supreme godhead Dryghten,<ref name="WitchBlood">Template:Cite book</ref> and Scott Cunningham called it "The One".<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> This pantheistic or panentheistic view of God shares similarities with beliefs such as the Hindu Brahman.

==== Animism ====
Wicca is essentially an immanent religion, and for some Wiccans, this idea also involves elements of animism. A key belief in Wicca is that the Goddess and the God (or the goddesses and gods) are able to manifest in personal form, most importantly through the bodies of Priestesses and Priests via the rituals of Drawing down the Moon or Drawing down the Sun.

=== Afterlife ===
Beliefs in the afterlife vary among Wiccans,<ref>The Wicca Bible by Anne-Marie Gallagher, Godsfield, page 34-39</ref> although reincarnation is a traditional Wiccan teaching. Raymond Buckland said that a soul reincarnates into the same species over many lives in order to learn and advance one's soul,<ref name="CompleteBookByRayBucks">Template:Cite book</ref> but this belief is not universal. A popular saying amongst Wiccans is "once a witch, always a witch", indicating that Wiccans are the reincarnation of earlier witches.<ref name="Valiente reincarnation">Template:Cite book</ref>

Typically, Wiccans who believe in reincarnation believe that prior to this, the soul rests for a while in the Otherworld or Summerland, known in Gardner's writings as the "ecstasy of the Goddess".<ref name="Hutton">Template:Cite book Page 392</ref> Many Wiccans believe in the ability to contact the spirits of the dead who reside in the Otherworld through spirit mediums and ouija boards, particularly on the sabbat of Samhain, though some disagree with this practice, such as High Priest Alex Sanders, who stated "They are dead; leave them in peace."<ref name="Farrar on Sanders">Template:Cite book</ref> This belief was likely influenced by Spiritualism, which was very popular at the time, and with which Gardner had some experience.<ref name="Hutton" />

Despite some belief in it, Wicca does not place an emphasis on the afterlife, focusing instead on the current one; as the historian Ronald Hutton remarked, "the instinctual position of most pagan witches, therefore, seems to be that if one makes the most of the present life, in all respects, then the next life is more or less certainly going to benefit from the process, and so one may as well concentrate on the present".<ref name="Hutton">Template:Cite book Page 393</ref>

=== Magic ===
Wiccans believe in magic that can be manipulated through the form of witchcraft or sorcery. Some spell it as "magick", a term coined by occultist Aleister Crowley, though this spelling is more commonly associated with the religion of Thelema than Wicca. Wiccans cast spells during ritual practices inside a sacred circle, in an attempt to bring about real changes (which are further explained in the "Ritual practices" section). Common Wiccan spells include those used for healing, for love, for fertility, or to banish negative influences.<ref name="Wiccan spells">Template:Cite book</ref>

Many Wiccans agree with the definition of magic offered by ceremonial magicians.<ref name="Valiente on Magic">Template:Cite book</ref> Aleister Crowley, for instance, declared that magic was "the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will", and MacGregor Mathers stated that it was "the science of the control of the secret forces of nature".<ref name="Valiente on Magic" /> Wiccans believe magic to be a law of nature, as yet misunderstood by contemporary science.<ref name="Valiente on Magic" /> Other Wiccans do not claim to know how magic works, merely believing that it does because they have seen it work for them.<ref name="Hutton">Template:Cite book Page 394-395</ref>

Many early Wiccans, such as Alex Sanders and Doreen Valiente, referred to their own magic as "white magic", which contrasted with "black magic", which they associated with evil and Satanism. Some modern Wiccans however have stopped using this terminology, arguing that the colour black should not have any associations with evil.<ref name="Black">Template:Cite book</ref>

The scholars of religion, Rodney Stark and William Bainbridge, claimed, in 1985, that Wicca had "reacted to secularization by a headlong plunge back into magic" and that it was a reactionary religion which would soon die out. This view was heavily criticised in 1999 by the historian Ronald Hutton, who claimed that the evidence displayed the very opposite, that "a large number [of Wiccans] were in jobs at the cutting edge [of scientific culture], such as computer technology."<ref name="Hutton" />

=== Morality ===
Main article: Wiccan morality
Wiccan morality is largely based on the Wiccan Rede, which states "an it harm none, do what ye will". This is usually interpreted as a declaration of the freedom to act, along with the necessity of taking responsibility for what follows from one's actions and minimising harm to oneself and others.<ref name="ExegesisRede">Template:Cite journal</ref> Another common element of Wiccan morality is the Law of Threefold Return which holds that whatever benevolent or malevolent actions a person performs will return to that person with triple force,<ref name="Lembke3fold">Lembke, Karl (2002) The Threefold Law.</ref> similar to the eastern idea of karma.

Many Wiccans also seek to cultivate a set of eight virtues mentioned in Doreen Valiente's Charge of the Goddess,<ref name="EightSabbats">Template:Cite book</ref> these being mirth, reverence, honour, humility, strength, beauty, power and compassion. In Valiente's poem, they are ordered in pairs of complementary opposites, reflecting a dualism that is common throughout Wiccan philosophy. Some lineaged Wiccans also observe a set of 161 Wiccan Laws, commonly called the Craft Laws or Ardanes. Valiente, one of Gardner's original high priestesses, argued that these rules were most likely invented by Gerald Gardner himself in mock-archaic language as the by-product of inner conflict within his Bricket Wood coven.<ref name="RebirthofWitchcraft">Template:Cite book</ref><ref name="TriumphoftheMoon">Template:Cite book</ref>

Although Gerald Gardner initially demonstrated an aversion to homosexuality, claiming that it brought down "the curse of the goddess",<ref name="WitchcraftToday2">Template:Cite book</ref> it is now generally accepted in all traditions of Wicca.

=== The Five Elements ===
Wiccans believe in the five classical elements, although unlike in ancient Greece, they are seen as symbolic as opposed to literal; that is, they are representations of the phases of matter. These five elements are invoked during many magical rituals, notably when consecrating a magic circle. The five elements are: Air, Fire, Water and Earth, plus Aether (or Spirit), which unites the other four.<ref name="Zell2006-42">Template:Cite book</ref>

Various analogies have been devised to explain the concept of the five elements; for instance, the Wiccan Ann-Marie Gallagher used that of a tree. A tree is composed of Earth (with the soil and plant matter), Water (sap and moisture), Fire (through photosynthesis) and Air (the creation of oxygen from carbon dioxide). All these are united through Spirit.<ref name="Gallagher2005">Template:Cite book</ref>

Traditionally, each element has been associated with a cardinal point of the compass; Air with east, Fire with south, Water with west, Earth with north and the Spirit with centre.<ref name="Gallagher2005" /> However, some Wiccans, such as Frederic Lamond, have claimed that the set cardinal points are only those applicable to the geography of southern England, where Wicca evolved, and that Wiccans should determine which directions best suit each element in their region, for instance, those living on the east coast of North America should invoke Water in the east and not the west because the colossal body of water, the Atlantic ocean, is to their east.<ref name="Lamond2004">Template:Cite book</ref>

The five elements are symbolised by the five points of the pentagram, the most prominently used symbol of Wicca.<ref name="ABCwitchcraft">Template:Cite book</ref>

=== Symbols ===

Various different symbols are used by Wiccans, similar to the use of the crucifix by Christians or the Star of David by Jews. The most notable of these is the pentagram, which has five points, each representing one of the five classical elements in Wicca (earth, air, fire, water and spirit) and also the idea that the human, with its five appendages, is a microcosm of the universe. Other symbols that are used include the triquetra and the triple Moon symbol of the Triple Goddess.

=== Scripture ===
In Wicca there is no set sacred text such as the Christian Bible or Islamic Qur'an, but there are various texts that were contained in Gerald Gardner's Book of Shadows. Many of these texts he claimed to have at least partially rewritten, since the rituals of the group into which he was initiated were fragmentary. The most notable among these is the Charge of the Goddess, which contained material from Charles Godfrey Leland's Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches (1899) and the works of 19th-20th century occultist Aleister Crowley. Other texts which are important to Wiccan beliefs and rituals include Eko Eko Azarak and the Wiccan laws.

== Practices ==
=== Ritual practices ===
File:Athame and Boline.JPG

When practising magic and casting spells, as well as when celebrating various festivals, Wiccans use a variety of rituals. In typical rites, the coven or solitary assembles inside a ritually cast and purified magic circle. Casting the circle may involve the invocation of the "Guardians" of the cardinal points, alongside their respective classical element; Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Once the circle is cast, a seasonal ritual may be performed, prayers to the God and Goddess are said, and spells are sometimes worked.

=== Tools ===
Main article: Magical tools in Wicca

Common tools in the Wiccan practice include a special set of magical tools. These usually include a knife called an athame, a wand, a pentacle and a chalice, but other tools include a broomstick known as a besom, a cauldron, candles, incense and a curved blade known as a boline. An altar is usually present in the circle, on which ritual tools are placed and representations of the God and the Goddess may be displayed.<ref>Crowley, Vivianne. Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Age (1989) London: The Aquarian Press. ISBN 0-85030-737-6</ref> Before entering the circle, some traditions fast for the day, and/or ritually bathe. After a ritual has finished, the God, Goddess and Guardians are thanked and the circle is closed.

A sensationalised aspect of Wicca, particularly in Gardnerian Wicca, is the traditional practice of working in the nude, also known as skyclad. This practice seemingly derives from a line in Aradia, Charles Leland's supposed record of Italian witchcraft.Template:Citation needed Skyclad working is mostly the province of Initiatory Wiccans, who are outnumbered by the less strictly observant Eclectics.Template:Citation needed When they work clothed, Wiccans may wear robes with cords tied around the waist, "Renaissance-faire"-type clothing or normal street clothes. Each full moon, and in some cases a new moon, is marked with a ritual called an Esbat.

=== The Wheel of the Year ===
Wiccans also follow the Wheel of the Year and celebrate its eight festivals known as Sabbats.<ref>Farrar, Janet and Farrar, Stewart. Eight Sabbats for Witches (1981) (published as Part 1 of A Witches' Bible, 1996) Custer, Washington, USA: Phoenix Publishing Inc. ISBN 0-919345-92-1</ref> Four of these, the cross-quarter days, are Greater Sabbats, coinciding with Celtic fire festivals, and these were initially the only four sabbats. The other four are known as Lesser Sabbats, and comprise of the solstices and the equinoxes, and were only adopted in 1958 by the Bricket Wood coven.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> The names of these holidays are often taken from Germanic pagan and Celtic polytheistic holidays. However, the festivals are not reconstructive in nature nor do they often resemble their historical counterparts, instead exhibiting a form of universalism. Ritual observations may display cultural influence from the holidays from which they take their name as well as influence from other unrelated cultures.<ref>Crowley, Vivianne. Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Age (1989) London: The Aquarian Press. ISBN 0-85030-737-6 p.23</ref>

The eight sabbats, beginning with Samhain, which is thought to have been the Celtic new year<ref name="Danaher1972-190">Template:Cite book</ref>:
* Samhain - Greater Sabbat of the dead
* Yule - Lesser Sabbat, the Winter solstice
* Imbolc - Greater Sabbat
* Ostara - Lesser Sabbat, the Spring equinox
* Beltane or May Eve - Greater Sabbat
* Midsummer, or Litha - Lesser Sabbat, the Summer solstice
* Lughnasadh, or Lammas - Greater Sabbat of the Harvest
* Mabon - Lesser Sabbat, the Autumn equinox

Gardner made use of the English names of these holidays: "The four great Sabbats are CandlemassTemplate:Sic, May Eve, Lammas, and Halloween; the equinoxes and solstices are celebrated also."<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

=== Rites of passage ===
==== Initiation ====
When a person joins a coven and begins to study the craft, they go through an initiation ritual. In this way, all British Traditional Wiccans can trace their initiatory lineage back to Gerald Gardner, and from him to the New Forest coven. Gardner himself claimed that there was a traditional length of "a year and a day" between when a person began studying the craft and when they were initiated, although he frequently broke this rule with initiates.

In British Traditional Wicca (BTW), initiation only accepts someone into the first degree. To proceed to the second degree, an initiate has to go through another ceremony, in which they name and describe the uses of the ritual tools and implements.<ref name="Farrars initiation">Template:Cite bookChapter II - Second Degree Initiation</ref> It is also at this ceremony that they are given their craft name.<ref name="Farrars initiation" /> By holding the rank of second degree, a BTW is therefore capable of initiating others into the craft, or founding their own semi-autonomous covens.<ref name="Farrars initiation" />

The third degree is the highest in BTW, and it involves the participation of the Great Rite, either actual or symbolically, as well as ritual flagellation.<ref name="Farrars initiation2">Template:Cite bookChapter III - Third Degree Initiation</ref> By holding this rank, an initiate is capable of forming covens that are entirely autonomous of their parent coven.<ref name="Farrars initiation2" />

The Cochranian tradition, based upon the teachings of Robert Cochrane, does not have the three degrees of initiation, merely having the stages of novice and initiate.

Some solitary Wiccans also perform self-initiation rituals, to dedicate themselves to becoming a Wiccan. Several self-initiation rituals have been published, in books designed for solitary Wiccans such as in Scott Cunningham's book Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.

==== Handfasting ====

Handfasting is another celebration held by Wiccans, and is the commonly used term for their weddings. Some Wiccans observe the practice of a trial marriage for a year and a day, which some traditions hold should be contracted on Lammas (Lughnasadh), as this was the traditional time for trial, "Telltown marriages" among the Irish. A common marriage vow in Wicca is "for as long as love lasts" instead of the traditional Christian "till death do us part".

The first ever known Wiccan wedding ceremony took part in 1960 amongst the Bricket Wood coven, between Frederic Lamond and his first wife, Gillian.<ref name="Hutton">Template:Cite book Page 325</ref>

==== Wiccaning ====
Main article: Wiccaning
Infants in Wiccan families may be involved in a ritual called a Wiccaning, which is analogous to a Christening. The purpose of this is to present the infant to the God and Goddess for protection. Despite this, in accordance with the importance put on free will in Wicca, the child is not necessarily expected or required to follow a Pagan path should they not wish to do so when they get older.

=== Book of Shadows ===

Main article: Book of Shadows
In Wicca a private journal or core religious text known as a Book of Shadows is kept by practitioners, similar to a grimoire used by magicians.<ref name="Crowley1989">Template:Cite book</ref> In lineaged groups, such as Gardnerian Wicca, the Book's contents are kept secret from anyone but the members of the lineage concerned (i.e., those initiating and initiated by a particular coven). However, several proposed versions of the Book have been published.<ref name="Farrar1996">Template:Cite book</ref><ref name="">Template:Cite book</ref> Sections of these published versions, such as the "Wiccan Rede" and the "Charge of the Goddess", as well as other published writings about Wicca, have been adopted by non-initiates, or eclectic Wiccans. For many eclectics, they create their own personal books, whose contents are often only known by themselves.

== Traditions ==
Template:See also
A "tradition" in Wicca usually implies the transfer of a lineage by initiation. There are many such traditions<ref name="BeaufortIndex">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="DiffTypesCraft">Template:Cite web</ref> and there are also many solitary or Eclectic Wiccans who do not align themselves with any particular lineage, some working alone, some joining in covens. There are also other forms of witchcraft which do not claim origins in Wicca. Traditions within the United States are well described in Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon, Starhawk's The Spiral Dance, and Chas S. Clifton's Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca and Paganism in America.<ref name="clifton2006">Template:Cite book</ref>

The lack of consensus in establishing definitive categories in Wiccan communities has often resulted in confusion between Lineaged Wicca and the emergence of Eclectic traditions. This can be seen in the common description of many Eclectic traditions as traditional/initiatory/lineaged as well. In the United States, where the confusion usually arises, Wiccans in the various lineages extending from Gardner may describe themselves as British Traditional Wiccans.

=== Covens and Solitary Wiccans ===
Lineaged Wicca is organised into covens of initiated priests and priestesses. Covens are autonomous, and are generally headed by a High Priest and a High Priestess working in partnership, being a couple who have each been through their first, second and third degrees of initiation. Occasionally the leaders of a coven are only second-degree initiates, in which case they come under the rule of the parent coven. Initiation and training of new priesthood is most often performed within a coven environment, but this is not a necessity, and a few initiated Wiccans are unaffiliated with any coven.<ref name="CompleteBookByRayBucks" />

A commonly quoted Wiccan tradition holds that the ideal number of members for a coven is thirteen, though this is not held as a hard-and-fast rule.<ref name="CompleteBookByRayBucks" /> Indeed, many U.S. covens are far smaller, though the membership may be augmented by unaffiliated Wiccans at "open" rituals. When covens grow beyond their ideal number of members, they often split (or "hive") into multiple covens, yet remain connected as a group. A grouping of multiple covens is known as a grove in many traditions.

Initiation into a coven is traditionally preceded by a waiting period of at least a year and a day. A course of study may be set during this period. In some covens a "dedication" ceremony may be performed during this period, some time before the initiation proper, allowing the person to attend certain rituals on a probationary basis. Some solitary Wiccans also choose to study for a year and a day before their self-dedication to the religion.

In contrast, Eclectic Wiccans are more often than not solitary practitioners. Some of these "solitaries" do, however, attend gatherings and other community events, but reserve their spiritual practices (Sabbats, Esbats, spell-casting, worship, magical work, etc.) for when they are alone. Eclectic Wiccans now significantly outnumber lineaged Wiccans, and their beliefs and practices tend to be much more varied.<ref name="NWCFAQ">Template:Cite web</ref>

Many, perhaps most, are solitary practitioners. Others form small groups of believers, called covens, groves, etc. Because of centuries of religious propaganda and misinformation, many conservative Christians, and others, associate Wiccans with Satanists even though the two belief systems are as different as Christianity and Atheism.<ref>[1]. By: Robinmson, Bruce A. "Wicca the Religion."religioustolerance,Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
,1995 to 2008</ref>

== History ==

Main article: History of Wicca
=== Origins ===
File:Witchcraft Today.JPG

The origins of Wicca are much debated. Gerald Gardner brought the religion to public attention in the early 1950s. He claimed that, after returning to England on his retirement from a career spent in Asia, he encountered a coven of witches located in the New Forest in southern England, (the "New Forest coven") and was initiated into it. In line with the popular Witch-cult hypothesis, he claimed that the religion practised by the coven was a survival of a pagan religion of pre-historic Europe, known as Witchcraft to its adherents. Subsequently fearing that the religion would die out,<ref name="WitchcraftToday3">Template:Cite book</ref> he published details of its beliefs and practices in a series of books: his novel High Magic's Aid (1949) and his non-fiction works Witchcraft Today (1954) and The Meaning of Witchcraft (1959). These books helped to attract many new initiates to a coven that he formed, the London-based Bricket Wood coven.

Gardner reported that the rites of the New Forest coven were fragmentary, and that he substantially rewrote them. Many of the rituals and precepts that he promoted can be shown to have come from the writings of earlier occultists (such as Aleister Crowley)<ref>{{Cite news

| issn = 1753-898X

| issue = 30

| pages = 14-18

| last = Orpheus

| first = Rodney

| title = Gerald Gardner & Ordo Templi Orientis

| work = Pentacle Magazine

| date = 2009

}}</ref> and other writers (including Rudyard Kipling and Sir James Frazer). The remaining original material is not cohesive, and mostly takes the form of substitutions or expansions within unoriginal material. Roger Dearnaley describes Gardner's texts as a "patchwork".<ref name="AnnotatedChrono">Template:Cite web</ref>

The veracity of Gardner's statements cannot be independently proven, however, and it is possible that Wiccan theology began to be compiled no earlier than the 1920s.<ref name="WiccanRoots">Template:Cite book. See also Nevill Drury. "Why Does Aleister Crowley Still Matter?" Richard Metzger, ed. Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult. Disinformation Books, 2003.</ref>  Even the very existence of the New Forest coven has been called into question. It has been posited by authors such as Aidan Kelly and Francis X. King that Gardner invented the witch rituals in their entirety,<ref name="CraftingArtMagic">Template:Cite book</ref> incorporating elements from the writings of Dr. Margaret Murray, incantations from Aradia<ref name="Aradia">Template:Cite book</ref> and practices deriving from ceremonial magic.<ref name="CraftingArtMagic-Review">Aidan Kelly's theories have been critiqued in detail: Template:Cite web</ref> Some of Gardner's historical claims are consistent with ideas that were current in the earlier part of the 20th century but are in conflict with later scholarship. The idea of a supreme Mother Goddess, for example, was common in Victorian and Edwardian literature: the concept of a Horned God—especially related to the gods Pan or Faunus—was less common, but still significant.<ref name="TriumphoftheMoon2">Template:Cite book</ref> Both of these ideas were widely accepted in academic literature and the popular press at the time.<ref name="TriumphoftheMoon3">Template:Cite book</ref>

Some writers, such as Isaac Bonewits, have been unwilling to believe either that Gardner fabricated his religion out of nothing or that it represented a genuine survival of a historical pagan cult. They have suggested instead that it was constructed at some point in the 20th century prior to Gardner's initiation, perhaps by the New Forest coveners. Bonewits writes:


Although some have described Wicca as a twentieth century phenomenon—"the only religion that England has ever given the world,"<ref>Hutton, Ronald, The Triumph of the Moon - A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft, Preface, " the only religion that England has ever given the world"</ref><ref>Heselton, Philip, Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration, blurb</ref> many Wiccans themselves disagree, claiming it stems from very ancient practices."<ref></ref>  There is, however, no archaeological evidence at this time to support these claims. Nor does the history of the practices necessarily reflect how long they have been used in conjunction with any particular religion.

=== Later developments ===
Gardnerian Wicca was an initiatory mystery religion, admission to which was limited to those who were initiated into a pre-existing coven. Wicca was introduced to North America by Raymond Buckland, an expatriate Briton who visited Gardner's Isle of Man coven to gain initiation. Interest in the USA spread quickly, and while many were initiated, many more non-initiates compiled their own rituals based on published sources or their own fancy.<ref name="NewPagans">Template:Cite book</ref>

In the United Kingdom, initiates of Gardner had begun to perform their own initiations, and a number of lines of Gardnerian descent began to arise. From one of these (although it was originally claimed to derive from a traditional, non-Gardnerian source) came the line known as Alexandrian Wicca. Increasing popularity on both sides of the Atlantic, and in other countries, along with the increasing availability of published material, meant that many people started to practise a form of Wicca without being part of a coven or having participated in an initiation. In response to this, traditionally initiated Wiccans in North America began to describe their version as British Traditional Wicca.

Another significant development was the creation by feminists in the late sixties and seventies of an eclectic movement known as Dianic Wicca, or feminist Dianic Witchcraft. Dianic Wicca has no connection of lineage to traditional Wicca, and creatively interprets published materials on Wicca as a basis for their ritual structure. This specifically feminist, Goddess-oriented faith had no interest in the Horned God, and discarded Gardnerian-style hierarchy and lineage as irrelevant. Rituals were created for self-initiation to allow people to identify with and join the religion without first contacting an existing coven. This contrasts with the Gardnerian belief that only a witch of opposite gender can initiate another witch.

=== Demographics ===
Isaac Bonewits points out some of the practical problems in establishing the numbers of any neopagan group.<ref>Bonewits, I (2005)How Many "Pagans" Are There?</ref> Nevertheless some estimates have been attempted. The 2001 American Religious Identification Survey estimated that at least 134,000 adults identified themselves as Wiccans in the United States, compared to 8,000 in 1990.<ref name="ARIS">Template:Cite web</ref> In the UK, census figures do not allow an accurate breakdown of traditions within the Pagan heading, as a campaign by the Pagan Federation before the 2001 Census encouraged Wiccans, Heathens, Druids and others all to use the same write-in term 'Pagan' in order to maximise the numbers reported. For the first time, respondents were able to write in an affiliation not covered by the checklist of common religions, and a total of 42,262 people from England, Scotland and Wales declared themselves to be Pagans by this method. These figures were not immediately analysed by the Office of National Statistics, but were released after an application by the Pagan Federation of Scotland.<ref name="PFScotland">Pagans and the Scottish Census of 2001 Accessed 18 October 2007</ref>, an independent website which specialises in collecting estimates of world religions, cites over 30 sources with estimates of numbers of Wiccans (principally from the USA and UK.).<ref> Statistical summary pages: W Accessed 12 December 2007</ref> Their median estimate for Wiccan numbers is 800,000 worldwide.

== Etymology ==
Template:See also
The spelling Wica<!-- This is not a misspelling, but the term used by Gardner. --> first appears in the writings of Gerald Gardner (Witchcraft Today, 1954, and The Meaning of Witchcraft, 1959). He used the word as a mass noun referring to the adherents of his tradition of witchcraft ('the Wica'), rather than the religion itself. He referred to the religion as witchcraft, never Wica. The word seems to be based on the Old English word wicca (Template:IPA-all); similarly, wicca and its feminine form wice are the predecessors of the modern English witch.

Gardner himself claimed he learned the term from existing members of the group who initiated him into witchcraft in 1939: "I realised I had stumbled on something interesting; but I was half-initiated before the word Wica which they used hit me like a thunderbolt, and I knew where I was, and that the Old Religion still existed."<ref name="MeaningWitchcraft3">Template:Cite book</ref><ref name="GardnerWitch">Template:Cite book 1999 reprint, Thame, Oxfordshire: I-H-O Books.</ref>

The spelling Wicca was not used by Gardner and the term Wiccan (both as an adjective and a noun) was not used until much later, but it is now the prevalent term to refer to followers of Wicca.<ref name="wiccandef">Template:Cite web</ref>

== Wicca and Paganism ==

Most Wiccans call themselves Pagans, though the umbrella term Paganism encompasses many faiths that have nothing to do with Wicca or Witchcraft. Wicca is commonly described as a Neopagan faith, though Isaac Bonewits, the influential Neo-druid, has claimed that early Wicca (at a time when it was still called "Witchcraft") was in fact a Meso-Pagan path.<ref> "Defining Paganism: Paleo-, Meso-, and Neo-" (Version 2.5.1) 1979, 2007 c.e., Isaac Bonewits</ref> Since there is no centralised organisation in Wicca, and no single orthodoxy, the beliefs and practices of Wiccans can vary substantially, both among individuals and among traditions. Typically, the main religious principles, ethics, and ritual structures are shared, since they are key elements of traditional teachings and published works on the subject.

As practised by initiates in the lineage of Gerald Gardner, Wicca is a variety of witchcraft founded on religious and magical concepts. As such it is distinguished not only by its beliefs, but by its practice of magic, its ethical philosophy, initiatory system, organisational structure and secrecy.<ref name="NWCFAQ" /> Some of these beliefs and practices have also been adopted by others outside of this lineage, often termed Eclectic Wiccans, who generally discard the institutions of initiation, secrecy and hierarchy, and have more widely varying beliefs. Some Eclectic Wiccans neither perform magic nor identify as witches. Within traditional forms of Wicca there are three degrees of initiation. First degree is required to gain membership of a coven; those who aspire to teach may eventually undergo second and third degree initiations, conferring the title of "High Priest" or "High Priestess" and allowing them to establish new covens.<ref name="NWCFAQ" /> At initiation, some Wiccans adopt a craft name to symbolise their spiritual "rebirth", to act as a magical alter-ego, or simply to provide anonymity when appearing as a witch in public (see Acceptance of Wiccans below).

== Acceptance of Wiccans ==

Main article: Religious discrimination against Neopagans
In the United States, a number of legal decisions have improved and validated the status of Wiccans, especially Dettmer v. Landon in 1985. However, there is still hostility from some politicians and Christian organisations.<ref name="SatanicArmy">Template:Cite press release</ref><ref name="RISwiccan">Template:Cite journal</ref><ref name="BarrProject">Template:Cite news</ref><ref name="George W. Bush Justifies Off-The-Cuff Bigotry">Template:Cite news</ref>

According to the history of Wicca given by Gerald Gardner, Wicca is a survival of the European witch-cult that was persecuted during the witch trials (sometimes called the Burning Times).  Modern scholarly investigations have revealed, however, that these trials were substantially fewer than claimed by Gardner, and seldom at the behest of religious authorities.<ref name="Witchesandneighbors">Template:Cite book</ref>  Theories of an organised pan-European witch-cult, as well as mass trials thereof, have been largely discredited, but it is still common for Wiccans to feel solidarity with the victims of the witch trials.<ref name="WitchcraftInside">Template:Cite book</ref>

There have been Christian assertions made that Wicca is a form of Satanism, despite important differences between these religions,<ref name="Davis2003">Template:Cite book</ref> such as the lack of a Satan-like figure in Wiccan theology. Due to negative connotations associated with witchcraft, many Wiccans continue the traditional practice of secrecy, concealing their faith for fear of persecution. Revealing oneself as Wiccan to family, friends or colleagues is often termed "coming out of the broom-closet".<ref name="slate031204">Template:Cite web</ref>

Some people have accused Wicca of being anti-Christian, a claim disputed by Wiccans such as Doreen Valiente, who stated that whilst she knew many Wiccans who admired Jesus, "witches have little respect for the doctrines of the churches, which they regard as a lot of man-made dogma".<ref name="Valienteand Christ">Template:Cite book</ref>

Some have asserted that Wicca is simply an off-shoot of the New Age movement, a claim which is fiercely denied by Wiccans and also by historians such as Ronald Hutton, who noted that Wicca not only predates the New Age movement but also differs in its general world view.<ref name="HuttonNewAge">Template:Cite book</ref>

== References and footnotes ==

== Further reading ==
* Nikki Bado-Fralick, Coming to the Edge of the Circle: A Wiccan Initiation Ritual (Oxford University Press, 2005).
* Raymond Buckland, The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism (Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 2002).
* Helen A. Berger, A Community of Witches: Contemporary Neo-Paganism and Witchcraft in the United States (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1999).
* Jon P. Bloch, New Spirituality, Self, and Belonging: How New Agers and Neo-Pagans Talk About Themselves (Westport: Praeger, 1998).
* Anne Carson, Goddesses and Wise Women: The Literature of Feminist Spirituality 1980-1992 An Annotated Bibliography (Freedom, California: Crossing Press, 1992).
* Chas S. Clifton and Graham Harvey, The Paganism Reader (New York and London: Routledge, 2004).
* Chas S. Clifton, Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca and Paganism in America (Lanham, Md.: AltaMira Press, 2006).
* James R. Lewis, Witchcraft Today: An Encyclopedia of Wiccan and Neopagan Traditions (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1999).
* Graham Harvey, Contemporary Paganism: Listening People, Speaking Earth (New York: New York University Press, 1997).
* Lynne Hume, Witchcraft and Paganism in Australia (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1997).
* Aidan A. Kelly, Crafting the Art of Magic: A History of Modern Witchcraft, 1939-1964 (St Paul: Llewellyn, 1991). ISBN 0-87542-370-1.
* James R. Lewis, ed., Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996).
* T. M. Luhrmann, Persuasions of the Witch's Craft: Ritual Magic in Contemporary England (London: Picador, 1994).
* Sabina Magliocco, Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004)
* J. Gordon Melton and Isotta Poggi, Magic, Witchcraft, and Paganism in America: A Bibliography, 2nd ed., (New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1992).
* Loretta Orion, Never Again the Burning Times: Paganism Revived (Long Grove: Waveland Press, 1995). ISBN 0-88133-835-4.
* Sarah M. Pike, Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community (Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001).
* Lee Prosser, Isherwood, Bowles, Vedanta, Wicca, and Me (Lincoln, Nebraska: Writers Club Press, 2001). ISBN 0-595-20284-5.
* Shelly Rabinovitch and James R. Lewis, eds., The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism (New York: Kensington Publishing, 2002).
* Kathryn Rountree, Embracing the witch and the goddess: Feminist Ritual-Makers in New Zealand (London and New York: Routledge, 2004).
* Leo Ruickbie, Witchcraft Out of the Shadows: A Complete History (London: Robert Hale, 2004). ISBN 0-7090-7567-7.
* Jone Salomonsen, Enchanted Feminism: The Reclaiming Witches of San Francisco (London and New York: Routledge, 2002).
* Allen Scarboro, Nancy Campbell, Shirely Stave, Living Witchcraft: A Contemporary American Coven (Praeger Publishers, 1994). DOI 10.1336/275946886.

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