The Definition of Wicca

The following is taken from the June 1982 "Impression" of Gerald Gardner's Meaning of Witchcraft, page 95.

By this time the Celts in their out-of-the-way dwellings were regaining their prosperity, and the Danish-Saxon lawgivers began making laws against the aboriginal magic they feared. As they had no witches of their own they had no special name for them; however, they made one up from "wig", an idol, and "laer", learning, "wiglaer", which they shortened to Cicca. They also used the terms scin-laeca, galdor-craeftig, and morthwyrtha. Scin-laeca seems to have been a phantom double or astral body, or the one who could project it. Galdor-craeftig is one skilled in spells. Morthwyrtha is a worshiper of the dead. They also had a word "dry" for a magician. Their laws were clear on the subject: "If any Cicca or wiglaer (male witch), or false swearer, or morthwyrtha or any foul, contaminated, manifest horcwenan (whore, quean, or strumpet), be anywhere in the land, man shall drive them out."

Continued on page 96 is:
"We teach that every priest shall extinguish all heathendom, and forbid Wilweorthugnga (fountain worship) and licwiglunga (incantations or invocations of the dead), hwata (omens or soothsayings), and galdra (magic), and man-worship, and the abominations that men use in the various craft of the Wica, and frithspottum with elms and other trees, and with stones ("going to the stones"?), and with many phantoms." Penalties were provided for destroying anyone by "wicca crafte", or for driving sickness on a man, or for causing death, or for using "wicca crafte" to gain another's love, or for giving him to eat and drink of magic, or for divining (wiglian) by the moon, or for worshiping the sun or moon, fire or floods, wells or stones, or trees, or for "loving wicca crafte". There was also another word, unlybban wyrce, which seems to mean unlawful magic, that is, the deadly kind, or what is called nowadays black magic. It is a curious fact that when the witches became English-speaking they adopted their Saxon name "Wica".

Then on page 120, there is this:
There is no word in French exactly corresponding to our "witch", which in the original Anglo-Saxon possessed two forms, "wicca", (masculine), and "wicce", (femmine). The French used the word "sorcier" for both sorcerer and witch, the femmine form being "sociere".

The following comes from the 1989 edition of Doreen Valiente's The Rebirth of Witchcraft, page 81, second paragraph.

One neologism which has become very widespread is the use of the word 'Wicca' to mean witchcraft. In fact, it means nothing of the kind. It is the Old English word for a male witch, as any good dictionary will show. The value of any claim to practice ‘Traditional Wicca' may be judged accordingly. The feminine form of the word was wicce and the verb ‘to bewitch' was wiccian.

Now to define "neologism", as defined in the Office Edition of Webster's II, New Riverside Dictionary, 1988 edition.

Ne-ol-o-gism n. A new word, phrase, or expression or a new meaning for an existing word.

I think that the part of the definition to be stressed here is "a new meaning for an existing word." It is by the one's usage of the word Wicca, is it determined whether this person is really a traditionally trained "Witch".

We condemn others when they make up other meanings for our religion, but cry freedom of religion and quote "harm none" when we do it ourselves. And we call others hypocrites. We like to think of ourselves practicing the craft of the wise, but how can one do so with out investigating what our religion is, where it came from, and what its about.

The following was excerpted from:
The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology, Robert K. Barnhart, Editor Sol Steinmetz, Managing Editor, Published by The H.W. Wilson Company 1988, 1st Edition

witch n. About 1250 CE wiche, in Genesis and Exodus: developed from Old English wicce female magican, sorceress (about 1000 CE), feminine of wicca sorcerer, wizard (about 890 CE). Theses words are related to, and probably derivatives of Old English wiccian to practice witchcraft, itself related to Old English wigle divination, wiglian to devine, and wig idol, all cognate with Old frisian wigila sorcery, withcraft, and probably with Middle Low German and Middle High German wicken, wikken to bewitch, devine, Old High German wih, wihi holy, Old Icelandic ve temple, and Gothic weihs holy —v. use the power of a witch on. Before 1200 CE wicchen; developed from Old English (about 1000 CE) wiccian practice witchcraft.

witchcraft n. Probably before 1200 CE wicchecraft, in Ancrene Riwle; developed from Old English (about 1000ad) wiccecrafft (wicce witch, n. + craeft CRAFT).

The Following was excerpted from:
A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary by John R. Clark Hall M.A., PH.D., Fourth Edition with Supplement 1960, First Edition 1894, Published by Cambridge at the University Press

wicca I. m. wizard, magician, soothsayer, astrologer, LL, WW. ['witch'] II. = wicga

wicce (y) f. 'witch' AE, OEG.

wiccecraeft m. 'witchcraft' magic, OEG, LL.

wiccedom m. witchcraft, Bk20; HLll123. ['witchdom']

wiccian to use witchcraft, LL. ['witch']

wicccraeft (Cra 70) = wiccecraeft? or wicg-craeft (skill with horses)? (BT).

wiccung f. enchantment, LL. ['witching']

wiccungdom m. witchcraft, Da121.

The following was excerpted from:
Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Reader in Prose and Verse, Revised Throughout by Dorthy Whitelock, Elrington and Bosworth Professors of Anglo-Saxon in the University of Cambridge, Published by Oxford at the Clarendon Press 1967, First Edition 1876

wicca m. or wicce f. wizard or witch 16/164

The following was excerpted from:
A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language Volume II L-Z, by Dr. Ernest Klein, Elsevier Publishing Company 1967

witch, n., sorceress (orig. used also in the sense of 'sorcerer') — ME. wicche (and fem.) 'witch', rel. to OE. wiccian, 'to use witchcraft', and to MLG. wikken, wicken, ‘to use witchcraft', wikker, wicker, 'soothsayer', OE. wigle, 'divination', and prob. also to OE. wih, 'idol'. See victim and cp. bewitch. Cp. also wile.

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