Het Book of Shadows and the Book of the Law.
Wicca is not a religion of revelation and accordingly has no “holy scripture”.The Book of Shadows and the Book of Law, which are traditionally copied by hand,
cannot be seen as some sort of “Holy Bible”.It is just one of the things we keep in honour, for the sake of tradition.
The Book of Shadows primarily is a summary of the sabbath-, esbat-, and initiation-rites, as they have been handed down to us.
History proves them to go back to at least Gerald Gardner and Alex Sanders.In Greencraft, the texts from this book about the initiations,
form the core from which we have derived our own Tradition of initiations.
All Greencraft-covens follow this Tradition; four initiations and three degrees.
The texts in the Book of Shadows about the sabbaths are very concise, and thus we have developed our own Tradition.
Every coven acts in its own right and develops in due time its own specific texts for sabbaths and esbats.
The Greencraft Book of Shadows is the same as the Alexandrian Book of Shadows, but elaborated with a chapter specifically made for Greencraft.
The “laws' from the Book of Law are a collection of instructions, which are copied out of respect for tradition, but which we are not obliged to follow.
Just as it occurs in other wicca traditions, Greencraft also holds different opinions about the origin of these instructions :
some believe they are useless, others think once in a while there may be some inspiration to be found in them.
This may seem confusing, but only accentuates the fact that Wicca is not a dogmatic religion. All Wicca Traditions make room for the individual development of
their covens, and give the members of each coven the opportunity to find their own individual development, but they also make it possible to intertwine the energies in a group.
Covens are usually guided by a High-Priestess and a High-Priest, who are not necessarily living as a couple and regardless of their sexual preference.
Alexandrians and Gardnerians.
Historically, the two most important Wicca traditions are the Gardnerians and the Alexandrians.
The Alexandrians started with the coven of Alex Sanders and Maxine Morris.Alex has always claimed to be a “hereditary witch” but was also initiated in the three degrees
of the Gardnerian Wicca.Gardnerians have their roots in the coven of Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valiente.Gardner always maintained he was initiated in an existing
but already expiring coven in the New Forest. Originally there were a number of specific differences between Alexandrians and Gardnerians.
In the coven of Alex and Maxine for instance, second and third degree initiations were often combined.
This was mostly because it often concerned people, who had to travel great distances and could not come to coven-meetings regularly.
In the first Gardnerian covens, a custom was created in which a second-degree couple already leading a coven, had to decide for themselves whether they thought
it advisable to give each other a third-degree-initiation.For a while it seemed both traditions would evolve from a three-degree system to a more 'practical' two-degree system.
In Gardnerian covens, the emphasis lay on “practical” magical work and a lot of singing and dancing was undertaken, while in the Alexandrian covens education was
of major importance and their magic was more ceremonial and following the cabbalist way.
This difference of opinion between both traditions did not only cease to exist, but has made a complete turn.
Nowadays the differences between covens of the same tradition may be more outspoken, than the differences between the two traditions themselves.
In both, a good education is now of great importance.
And each of them acknowledges the three degrees as separate moments of initiation, and uses chanting and dancing as ritual magical techniques.
Moreover many covens of both traditions use the term “neophyte”.
The person who has made the most significant contribution to unite these traditions is Vivianne Crowley, who was initiated in both.
She has written a number of excellent books about Wicca and she founded the yearly international convention for covens from both traditions.
The Greencraft Traditional Craft Wicca.
Greencraft is based on the Alexandrian tradition and has evolved from the coven Corona Borealis of Hera and Arghuicha.
Greencraft unites a number of covens in Flanders, the Netherlands and the United States.
Although the Greencraft-covens are also autonomous, co-operation and mutual visits are encouraged.
The sabbaths are seen as opportunities for several covens to meet one another and celebrate together.
Once a year, there is the Greencraft Convention during which Greencraft covens can meet for rituals, workshops and having a general good time.
Greencraft is also linked to Sacred Well, a religion recognized in the United States, whose clergy follows the Greencraft course.
Greencraft also tries to enhance the bond that links us to the other children of Mother Earth, not just by words, but by actual experiences.
For the names of Gods and Goddesses, we find inspiration in our Celtic history and in the remnants of the Nordic-Germanic religion, which can still be traced in
our traditions, habits and folkloric events. Also the Greek, Roman and Egyptian pantheons are studied. Greencraft, following the concept of Hera and Arghuicha,
uses a Celtic Tree-calendar and a Celtic Tree of Life, and also a proper Celtic Tarot in which trees, power animals,
Gods and Goddesses have a place of their own. Among the original members of Corona Borealis were Gayomard and Odinda of the Tuatha De Danann and Taniquetil
and Itarilde of the Elven tradition (who uses Tolkien-language for some of their rituals).In the Greencraft courses one can find elements of both.
Dianics, Faeries, Reclaiming and solitaries.
Both the rise of Wicca and the Woman emancipation movement have a similar historical pattern, and each had an influence on the other.
In Wicca many women have found a religion in which respect and esteem for the presence of the Goddess in every woman not only has a central place,
but is even a little more enhanced than the male aspect of the God (which is only as it should be after 2000 years of triumphant patriarchate).
Also it is important that the idea of women-priestesses is completely natural in Wicca.
In contradiction to this idea, groups were formed who consisted only or primarily of gay men who called themselves “fairies”.
Other groups were born who “actively” as a group carried forward political opinions, and from these groups Starhawk started the Reclaiming Movement.
Influenced by the books of Scott Cunningham and those of Marianne Green, more and more people started as solitary practitioners, either because they did not find a coven,
or because they preferred not to work with others in a group.
Things that have nothing to do with Wicca, but or often confused : Luciferians and Satanists.
Although Wicca has nothing to do with either of these movements, sometimes laymen mix them up, because the pentagram is a major symbol for Luciferians and Satanists as well.
It is important to know that someone, who wears the pentagram as a jewel, can be either a Wiccan, a Luciferian, a Satanist, or just someone who likes the pentagram as a symbol.
In France, there is even more confusion, since there arose a small movement of people, who called themselves “Wiccans”, but worked mostly according to the Luciferian way.
Luciferians, who honour Lucifer as “the bringer of Light”, whatever the meaning of this name in Latin,sometimes incorrectly call themselves Wiccans.
Satanism, which is a religion founded by Anton La Vey in the United States, is closely related to Luciferianism, but works more systematically with Christian inversions,
such as Christian prayers in Latin which are quoted in reverse, a crucifix that hangs upside down etc.
Not only symbols but also Christian principles are reversed and “compassion for the weaker” for instance becomes “admiration for the stronger one”.
Wicca dissociates itself firmly from all worship regarding an 'anti-Christ”, blood-sacrifices, animal and human sacrifices and sinister rituals.
Wicca is also a religion who does not consider itself inherent to a particular ethnic group, but who extends to every individual the right to choose his own path freely,
and independently of whatever ethnic group they believe they belong to.In Wicca,the polarity between male and female, both on the divine as on the human level,
is given the central place, exactly as it is in all of nature that surrounds us.
This works inspiring and liberating for men as well as it does for women.
The various Wicca traditions have more things in common than they have differences.
Whatever Wicca tradition one may adhere to, the concept that the Universe and Nature are the material expression of the divine, unites them.
Translation by Aelis