Wiccan philosophy on the God & Goddess Duality

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 13, 2007 1:55 PM GMT
    I am reading about Wicca lately and so I have one question that sticks out for any Wiccans/Pagans here or anyone who may happen to know?

    I read that the God & the Goddess are truly a duality of one spirit. Does that mean that essentially Wicca is monotheistic? It is one God with a Ying-Yang like quality of the positive and negative energy and masculine and feminine spirits? If it is one God on a pole of duality why do people choose to worship the God & Goddess separately if essentially they are the same entity?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 13, 2007 8:54 PM GMT
    It's the personification of the divine. Aspects of the whole.

    It is not monotheistic as both aspects, and many others, are worshipped seperately. Similar to Bast and Sekhmet being considered by same as aspects of the same goddess. The Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone are all one Goddess, but seperate as well.

    Judaism also holds the belief in the feminine aspect of G-d, mainly because G-d is unknowable and unfathomable to humans.

    Catholics have the Holy Trinity, The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All one God, all, at times, are obviously seperate.

    There's also the the different branches of Wicca and Witchcraft which hold different ideals. Some believe that the Goddess and the God are indeed the Goddess and the God, some that they are aspects of one, some only rever the Goddess. Gardenerian, Solitary, Dianic, Egyptian, just the other day i saw a book for Gothic Witches, all have different ideas about divinity. So it's up to the tradition, the coven, or the individual witch.

    To answer the last question you pose, because, as i mentioned before, G-d is unknowable to humans. Faces and human or animalqualities are given to the divine by humans, not by That Which Is Divine.
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    Nov 14, 2007 3:30 AM GMT
    Thank you stripper for your response, I am very interested in exploring this. I guess there is no concrete answer to any of this spiritual stuff, I'll just have to come up with my own understanding and reasoning over time.

  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Jan 03, 2008 4:02 PM GMT
    Hiipie, try to avoid all the fluffy books on Wicca that dominate the bookshelves at your local big-box bookstore. It's an unfortunate truth that most of these books deal little with Wicca, choosing instead to focus on 'spells' and rituals. Authors and publishers are out to sell books and make money, publishing is a business afterall, and spells sell books.

    Pick up any one of those books and I'll bet you'll find one chapter on the history of Wicca and perhaps a history of witchcraft, a section on rituals that fails to go indepth on their meanings, and the rest of the book filled with spells, the real money-maker and filler to meet the page requirements of the publisher.

    With anything else, take what you read with a grain of salt, keep your mind open to different ideas and opinions, and do your research...no one author is the authority on Wicca. There are lots of great books out there on Wicca, and many great websites too.
  • helium

    Posts: 378

    Jan 04, 2008 4:41 PM GMT
    ShawnTO saidHiipie, try to avoid all the fluffy books on Wicca that dominate the bookshelves at your local big-box bookstore. It's an unfortunate truth that most of these books deal little with Wicca, choosing instead to focus on 'spells' and rituals. Authors and publishers are out to sell books and make money, publishing is a business afterall, and spells sell books.

    Pick up any one of those books and I'll bet you'll find one chapter on the history of Wicca and perhaps a history of witchcraft, a section on rituals that fails to go indepth on their meanings, and the rest of the book filled with spells, the real money-maker and filler to meet the page requirements of the publisher.

    With anything else, take what you read with a grain of salt, keep your mind open to different ideas and opinions, and do your research...no one author is the authority on Wicca. There are lots of great books out there on Wicca, and many great websites too.


    I agree here too. I know that a lot of the big-box bookstores will have little things about this stuff. One store that I recall going to in FL was called Elysian Fields. That store had a lot of Wiccans and other crafts. It was a nice store to see and learn from. In fact, I recalled picking up a few books from there and still using them to this day. You can check it out at http://www.elysianfieldsonline.com. Hope that helps out a bit.
  • Alan95823

    Posts: 306

    Jan 04, 2008 5:00 PM GMT
    When I started studying/practicing Wicca in 1984, there were just about 5 books on the subject. Now there are so many that it's hard to wade through them all. My favorite reference for new students is still "The Witch's Bible Compleat" by Janet & Stewart Farrar. Now that Stewart has passed on, I'm not sure how long it'll stay in print. Back when they wrote it, it was still the age where a lot of the material was anthropological in nature, but they do explain quite a bit in addition to giving all of the rituals that are in most "secret" books held by various traditional Wiccan groups. I've compared (with permission, of course) that book to the secret books of 5 different Wiccan traditions, and the differences are so minor as to be inconsequential.

    Part of that is because Wicca has grown in popularity, with all the benefits and downfalls that entails. Some authors started off pretty good, then got greedy for more book sales and started publishing things that violate the Wiccan Rede 'An it harm none, do what thou will'. Love spells focusing on "making" a person fall in love with you are a prime example of force and manipulation that most people wouldn't equate with "harm" without thinking about it.

    In answer to the God/Goddess question, ask 5 Wiccans and you'll get 12 answers. Part of that is because it's not a very simple question. If you think of that divine force in the universe that keeps all life connected as "God", and the Gods and Goddesses of the various forms of Wicca as a cognitive part of that force, then the answer to your question is that all life/energy/deity is one because it's all connected.

    One prays to a Goddess of Love to sort out affairs of the heart, just as one prays to a God of Fertility to get crops to grow. Sure, you can pray to one big generic un-nameable god force, but why not go to a specialist who deals in just your issue? icon_smile.gif
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    Jan 04, 2008 6:00 PM GMT
    technically ALL religions are monotheistic in essence, and are also pagan. i mean, the church has a whole pantheon of angels and saints- not to mention the ubiquitous holy trinity and the virgin mary (sacred feminine) of the catholics. the modern 'pagans'- like the hindus, have a belief in a source or oversoul type of abstract divinity of which the gods are emanations or colored aspects. read Iamblichus' On The Mysteries- its an Aristotelian dialogue from like 250 ad between a philosopher and an egyptian priest about the nature of theurgic rites, prayer, and the gods. the priest essentially says that the gods are all as rays from the sun- u can divide the sunlight up with grills or glass or what not, and direct the beams where u will, but they're still all part of one beam coming from one source. even the ancient pagans knew that it only made sense for there to be one source.
    to get into it a bit more deeply- study kabbalah, read Crowley- or even study quantum mechanics and theory- everything is really just one thing, and science is mathematically showing this even today- and all time and distance are illusions. that's quantum theory in a nut shell, and was postulated by kabbalists and mystics millennia ago. therefor, while existence seems to be a fractured and shattered thing of a dizzying amount of separate entities and objects- in terms of energy and space and potentiality, its all one. in the same way, god being everything, god itself will appear to be many different entities, aspects, and things, but is in its deepest sense... one.

    so to answer ur question, yes, the god and goddess are aspects of one entity- but that entity is EVERYTHING and NOTHING, its in all of us, and its beyond your conception, which is why ppl split it into things as base as 'male and female,' 'light and dark,' 'projective and receptive,' etc. its too hard to grasp as it is so we dumb it down for ourselves by clothing it in different guises for our approachability and ease. which is fine as long as u realize that's what religion does. using Iamblichus' analogy of the sun- its like, the sun is too bright to contemplate directly, so it requires round-about ways of study to grasp- like seeing its effects on the planet and analyzing its rays as they bounce off things for our vision. its not the single-entity god that most would jump to conceive of- a santa clause entity with a naughty and nice list- this entity comprises everything and is too real to fathom. all religions worship this same god, in different guises and with different names, colored by different cultural values and customs of worship- the fact is, all duality and multiplicity, while 'real,' is in fact an illusion. and even the most ancient adepts understood this.

    i agree with above posts cautioning one to be wary of junky books- they're abounding. read the old stuff. i started on the fluff, early on when i began (5th grade, if u can believe it), but that led me to older things. modern wicca is pre-chewed medieval ritual magick mixed with a light ancient paganism salad. which is fine- but i suggest, as supplementary to your studies and understanding of Wicca, that you read Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, Trithemius, Giordano Bruno, Peter De Albano, Imblichus, Zoroaster, Dr. Dee, or more contemporarily- Israel Regardie and Alister Crowley. for classical grimoires, try this website: http://www.esotericarchives.com/esoteric.htm

    happy reading
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Jan 08, 2008 3:28 PM GMT
    It all boils down to one thing...your personal truth. That's something only you can figure out for yourself.

    Wicca is duotheistic: all gods are one god, all goddesses are one goddess, and together, they are one. Wicca is a religion, it has it's own set of beliefs, ideologies, and doctrine. So, in the strictest sense, Wiccans are duotheists, but have the freedom to decided which cultural pantheon they feel most attuned to, and therefore work with.

    When I was initiated into my Gardnerian coven, I was never wholly comfortable with duotheism. To me, it's like saying all men are one man, all women are one woman. I was, and still am, more comfortable as a polytheist, someone who believes in a whole host of gods and goddesses, separate entities connected by divine energy, just like all human beings are separate yet connected together energetically. So, over the years, this personal belief, as well as many others, led me to move away from Wicca towards Druidry as a spirituality that works better for me, that fits in with my personal truth much more easily.

    For many decades Wicca was a very secretive religion, few books were written on the subject. Then, in the late 80s into the 90s, it's popularity exploded and a few moderately good books became available. Eventually, all the fluffy books I mentioned in my last post came on the scene.

    The problem with these moderately good and fluffy books is that somewhere along the way, the idea that Wicca is whatever you want it to be became a very popular notion. I mostly blame the secretive nature of the original practioners of the religion. Misinformation abounds whenever you have secrets.

    The fact is, Wicca is a religion with it's core set of beliefs, duotheism being one of them. If that doesn't work for you, you can always keep searching for a Pagan religion or spirituality that fits you better.

    I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to diagree with czarodziej's recommendations. Wicca is a religion that does not pre-date the 1940s, although Gerald Gardner did take the fragmented pieces of folk belief and practices his group in the New Forest area of England were practicing as the basis for his religion. He added to those bits with the help of Aleister Crowley (the Wiccan Rede), Doreen Valente (much of the poetry you find in the rituals), and Ross Nichols (the seasonal celebrations). The young age of Wicca does not invalidate the religion, the age of the religion, spirituality, or system of belief does not affect it's effectiveness or meaningfullness to the people practicing them. For many years it was in vogue to create a false history of Wicca, one that stretched through the ages, an unbroken line of Wiccans meeting in secret for hundreds of years. The fact is, this is not so, and today we know this.

    Don't confuse witchcraft (a system of folk magic) with Wicca the religion, they are two different things. Magic is an auxillary practice that is in harmony with the ideology and practice of Wicca, but they are two separate things. I'm not saying that czarodziej's recommendations are worthless, they're not, they just don't reference Wicca.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 25, 2008 11:16 PM GMT
    If its been Llewellynized forget it bros...you can find better stuff then that in a comic book, in my humble opinion.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 28, 2008 8:41 AM GMT
    I know that the question is already answered and over with, but I wanna throw in my two cents. When you talk about Wiccan believers, generally they in one divine source that can express itself as both a male and a female. They are still considered one entity, so it would be considered monotheistic. But there is a wide range of beliefs in the Wiccan/Pagan communtity and really depends on who you ask. I personally believe in a singular god or divine source that is both the universe and also destinctly apart from, which would be considered pantheism. Others may hold polytheistic beliefs (like they worship the Greek or Celtic pantheon.) In any case, definitely read more about it. www.religioustolerance.org is a pretty good, non-biased site on all sorts different religions and has pretty good info on Wicca and Paganism. www.witchvox.com Has a lot of good articles on Wicca and Paganism, as well as a listing of various Pagan groups. I hope this helps.
  • Seamus81

    Posts: 4

    Jan 18, 2010 6:59 AM GMT
    It's important to note that Wicca is orthopraxic (same practice) not orthodoxic (same belief). I can see the God and Goddess as two separate but intertwined and complementary deities, and my High Priestess can see them as two sides of the same coin. I would be a polytheist and she would be a monist.

    Monotheism means one god and one god only. Christianity, Islam and Judaism are monotheistic. Wicca is not. Wicca has, at the very least, two gods (duotheist) even if you think they both spring from the same source (monism) like ying and Yang spring from the Tao into the myriad things of the universe.

    In traditional Wicca, it doesn't matter what the witch believes the gods to be. What matters is that the witch practices the Craft in the correct manner, which enables him/her to work in tandem with other witches who are working the Craft similarly in order to serve the Gods. The Wica are a priesthood of two deities. We serve them. We don't sit around trying to tell everyone else how to perceive them. At the most, we lead those worthy seekers who have been called by Them to the doorstep of Their Mysteries, and allow them to experience our gods for themselves.

    BB,
    Seamus
  • The6Degrees

    Posts: 53

    Oct 01, 2011 2:26 AM GMT
    hippie4lyfe saidI am reading about Wicca lately and so I have one question that sticks out for any Wiccans/Pagans here or anyone who may happen to know?

    I read that the God & the Goddess are truly a duality of one spirit. Does that mean that essentially Wicca is monotheistic? It is one God with a Ying-Yang like quality of the positive and negative energy and masculine and feminine spirits? If it is one God on a pole of duality why do people choose to worship the God & Goddess separately if essentially they are the same entity?


    No.

    One of the strengths of Wicca is that it believes in it's primary deities as separate.

    "How dare they believe in a Goddess"

    Win: Wicca icon_smile.gif

    Fail: Monotheism.