Wicca is a modern nature religion based on ancient Witchcraft tradition. Wicca has been the subject of much criticism, controversy, and misinformation. But there is one source—the Celtic Connection website—that provides a clear description of Wicca: “a belief system and way of life based upon the reconstruction of Pre-Christian traditions originating in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.”
Various forms of Wicca have evolved in Great Britain and the US, each type having its own focus and interpretation of the ancient principles.
Gardnerian Wicca developed out of the experiences of Gerald Brosseau Gardner, who was an initiate of the old New Forest coven in Britain in 1939. A bold, outspoken man—and a controversial figure even now—Gardner believed that the traditionally secret “Craft of the Wise” should be brought out into the open. The witchcraft revival began with him. His form of Wicca was Priestess-led, with covens practicing in “skyclad” (nude) male-female pairs.
Alexandrian Wicca, founded in Britain in the 1960’s by Alex Sanders and wife Maxine, is more relaxed than Gardnerian in some of its rules, yet more formal in its rituals, an influence from ceremonial magic. Though also Priestess-led, this form of Wicca focuses primarily on the cycles of the God-energy.
Dianic Wicca has two branches. One includes both male and female members in its covens, honoring primarily the Goddess, with a place for her consort the Horned God. The other branch of Dianic Wicca is exclusively women, exclusively focused on the Goddess.
The Celtic Connection provides a wealth of information on all aspects of Wicca.