Lesson 5: Traditions

Like many religions, Paganism has it's own subgroups. Whether you call these groups denominations, sects, or traditions, they all provide their own unique flavor and come with their own specific rules and beliefs.

Below is a description of a few different traditions:

  • Gardnerian Wicca: Gardnerian covens have a degree system in which one learns about the craft. Individuals must be initiated by the coven and cannot initiate themselves through self-study. Gardnerian covens work skyclad. In addition, some try to have equal numbers of men and women in the group.
  • Alexandrian Wicca: Originally based in England, practitioners work skyclad and much of their ritual is similar to Gardnerian practices, although the Alexandrians place more emphasis on ceremonial magick. Alex Sanders called himself the "King" of his witches.
  • Dianic Wicca: The Dianic Tradition focuses on the Goddess with little talk about a God. The Goddess is worshiped in her three aspects — Maiden, Mother, and Crone. There are different varieties of Dianic witch. Since the 1970's, the Dianic Tradition has been seen as the feminist movement of the craft. Some, but not all, Dianic covens are women, only.
  • Celtic Wicca/Church of Wicca: This tradition looks to ancient Celtic and Druidic deities and beliefs with an emphasis on the magickal and healing powers of plants, minerals, gnomes, fairies, and elemental spirits. Some of the rituals are derived from Gardnerian practice.
  • Discordianism/Erisian: The Discordian or Erisian movement is described as a 'Non- Prophet Irreligious Disorganization' and has claimed 'The Erisian revelation is not a complicated put-on disguised as a new religion, but a new religion disguised as a complicated put-on. "It all started with the 'Principia Discordia, or How I Found the Goddess and What I Did to Her When I Found Her', a collection of articles and ideas compiled by Greg Hill (Malaclypse the Younger). The central theme is 'Chaos is every bit as important as Order' as illustrated in the story of The Curse of Greyface.”
  • Eclectic Wicca: An eclectic Wiccan doesn't follow any strict traditional guidelines, but instead, practices the beliefs that suit them best. They mix traditions to find their most fitting stance on their religion, using the magick that is most practical for their lifestyle and studying the parts of the religion they consider to be essential. Deities from several pantheons may be invoked, sometimes even in the same ritual, particularly when a working is being created for a specific cause. In such a case, Eclectics may call upon, for example, an assortment of Love Goddesses, etc. from many different cultures.
  • Seax-Wica: Seax-Wica is based on Saxon traditions, but as Raymond Buckland admits, he made it up alone. Covens decide for themselves if they will work skyclad or robed. Witches of this tradition can be initiated by the coven or through self-study.
  • Feri Tradition: An ecstatic, rather than fertility tradition, emphasizing on polytheism, practical magick, self-development and theory. Strong emphasis is placed on sensual experience and awareness, including sexual mysticism, which is not limited to heterosexual expression. This is a mystery tradition of power, mystery, danger, ecstasy, and direct communication with divinity. Most initiates are in the arts and incorporate their own poetry, music and invocations into rituals. The Tradition is gender-equal, and all sexual orientations seem able to find a niche.
  • Northern Way/Asatru: This tradition is based on the Old Norse gods. Practitioners generally work in re-creations of Old Norse dress. They celebrate four Solar Fire festivals and Old Norse holidays.
  • Strega Witches: Stregheria is the form of witchcraft native to Italy; there are several distinct traditions sharing common roots, in various parts of Italy. The witches of La Vecchia Religione are called Streghe (plural), with the title Strega (for a female), Stregone (for a male).
  • Pecti-Wita: A Scottish Solitary tradition passed on by Aiden Breac, who personally teaches students in his home at Castle Carnonacae, in Scotland. The tradition is attuned to the solar and lunar changes, with a balance between the God and the Goddess. Meditation and divination play a large part in the tradition and it also teaches several variations on solitary working of magick. Information is not generally available and Mr. Breac (now in his 90's) is not seeking further students.
  • Hereditary Witchcraft: This is a person that can trace the Craft back on their family tree and was also taught the craft by a living relative.
  • Kitchen Witch: This type is one that practices by home and hearth concentrating on the practical side of religion, magick and the earth and elements. A more convenient form of practice for those who have limited space and resource, mainly suburbanite and city witches.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License