Here are a few, but by no means all, traditions of modern-day Wicca. Also, a term I’d like to define right away is “Solitary Wiccan”; this refers to a Wiccan who practice the religion and magickal work on one’s own and is not affiliated with a coven. Doreen Valiente famously wrote self-dedication rites in the 1970’s which marked the start of solitary practiced Wicca.
In Gardnerian Wicca, covens and practitioners can trace their lineage back to Gerald Gardner himself. To be a proper Gardnerian, you must have been initiated by another Gardnerian. Most work skylclad, i.e. perform rituals in the nude. Gardnerian Wicca has three degrees and after initiation you are oath-bound not to reveal the secrets of the tradition. Author Doreen Valiente is one famous Gardnerian.
- Alexandrian Wicca
The name of the tradition does not equate the name of its founder Alex Sanders, but rather pays homage to the Library of Alexandria. Alexandrian is reminiscent of Gardnerian Wicca but with a heavier focus upon Ceremonial Magick and Qabalah. Alexandrian also share the principle that it takes a Wiccan to make a Wiccan, and thus also have an initiatory degree system. Author Vivianne Crowley is one of many famous Alexandrians; authors Stewart and Janet Farrar were also trained in the tradition.
Raymond Buckland, is English writer and occultist though most prominently a Gardnerian Wiccan who established his own tradition of Seax-Wicca in 1974. He came to the States in 1962 with his then wife Rosemary and established a correspondence with Gerald Gardner, already initiated into his coven. Seax-Wicca is based upon Anglo-Saxon symbolism.
- Blue Star Wicca
Blue Star Wicca was founded in the mid-1970s by Frank Dufner. Blue Star Wicca has a five-degree initiatory system with no solitary practitioners; one must be tied to a coven. Personal connections with deities and the community are highly valued. Families are usually welcomed at Blue Star Wicca circles. Initiatory tattooing is common (but not mandatory).
- Dianic Wicca
Zsuzsanna Budapest mixed Wiccan religious beliefs with feminist politics and in 1971 created the Dianic Witchcraft, today known as Dianic Wicca. Dianic focuses on the female energies and thus on the female Goddess, excluding the Horned God. Most covens are only for women, some covens exclusively for lesbians.
One Gardnerian named Starhawk was inspired by both the Dianic and Gardnerian traditions, and tried to blend the two into a working tradition in her book The Spiral Dance from 1979. Starhawk’s tradition is known as Reclaiming and mixes Wicca with environmentalism.
- Eclectic Wicca
Eclectic Wicca is rather an all-purpose term placed upon those practitioners, whether solitary or covens, that don’t fit into other specific categories. Most solitary wiccans are eclectic. Eclectics can use deities from different pantheons in different rituals, some even have a statue of Artemis right next to a statue of Odin! A solitary Wiccan can also create their own tradition and it will often by default be called an eclectic tradition.
Some also use the term NeoWicca to describe all traditions other than the Gardnerian and Alexandrian initiatory traditions, to describe the newer and more eclectic traditions. Basically, if you include Eastern traditions such as Feng Shui or yoga in your practice – it’s NeoWicca.
A few organizations
Here are a few organizations that have meant a lot to the Pagan and Wiccan communities.
- Circle Sanctuary
A Wiccan Church founded by Selena Fox in 1974. While not a tradition, Circle Sanctuary has proven valuable as a place of resource for the Pagan community, often via their quarterly magazine.
- The Covenant of the Goddess (CoG)
CoG is a cross-traditional Wicca interest group, started in 1975. It was founded to secure the legal protection enjoyed by many other religions. It currently holds over 100 covens registered as part of CoG. A newsletter is released each Sabbat and activities are held all around the year directed at all ages.