Wiccan Traditions


Paganism encompasses many paths, of them Wicca is by far the largest. While some people define Wicca as just one particular tradition, in common usage it has become an umbrella term encompassing a number of traditions that revive ancient practices and revere nature as sacred. 

There are many different branches of Wicca. Some are quite rigid and dogmatic. Some are very loose and spontaneous. Some are hierarchical. Others are consciousness of sharing power equally. Some use high drama in their rituals. Others are more casual. And still others are little more than a social gathering for like-minded people. Below is a summary of some of the most common paths.

Gardnerian: Founded by Gerald Gardner in England this is the original version of Wicca and is often seen as the source of all modern Wicca. Very traditional and has strict rules and an internal hierarchy including an initiation requirement and a degree system. Focuses on the goddess over the god. Some argue this is the only true form of Wicca. 

Alexandrian: A more relaxed version of Gardnerian founded by Alex and Maxine Sanders in the U.K. Alexandrian also uses initiation and degree systems, but focuses on equality between the God and Goddess. Additionally, it utilizes a lot of ceremonial magick. 

Dianic: Originating in the United States, this is a feminist tradition, with a cosmology that focuses solely on the supremacy of the Goddess. The original and most well-known form of this tradition was founded in the 1970s by Zsuzsanna Budapest. All covens tracing their lineage to Budapest are female only. A simmilar path, also utilizing the name “Dianic” was later started by Morgan McFarland and her husband, Mark Roberts. This latter tradition, as well as other traditions inspired by the original Dianic Wicca, does admit men into covens.  

Celtic: Use of Celtic pantheon for deities and ritual inspiration. The elemental powers are held to be equally important as gods and goddesses. A deep knowledge and reverence for the healing aspects of nature, the magickal properties of plants, stones, spirits, gnomes, and fairies are stressed. 

Seax: Created by Raymond Buckland, a British author, who traveled to America and created a new path.  This path has a Saxon pagan foundation and deals with Germanic deities and rune divination. Unlike its traditional British counterparts, Seax focuses on open, public rituals with no requirement for initiation. It is a path used by both covens and solitary practitioners.

Eclectic: The most open form of Wicca. Eclectics tend to draw from several styles, pantheons, and traditions in order to form a new path. followers pick and choose elements that suit them and are encouraged to create their own rituals and spells. The eclectic path can be followed by covens or solitary practitioners. 

Solitary Wicca: The practice of Wicca by individuals on their own, rather than as part of a coven. Solitaries may follow a single tradition or a blended path, learning through books and/or through participation in informal Wiccan circles. Most newcomers begin as solitaries until they feel compelled to dedicate to a specific path or to join a coven.

Wiccan Traditions