A Guide to Alternative Religions

And Their Opponents (Vers. 2.0)

Chapter: 1



Listen to the words of the Great Mother, who of old was called Astarte, Artemis, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Ceridwen, Diana, Arionrhod, Brigid, and by many other names:

"Whenever you have need of anything, once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full, you shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of Me who is Queen of all the Wise. You shall be free and as a sign that you be free, you shall be naked in your rites. Sing, feast, dance make music and love, all in My presence, for Mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and Mine also is joy on earth. For My Law is love unto all beings. Mine is the secret that opens upon the door of youth, and mine is the cup of wine of life that is the Cauldron of Cerridwen, that is the holy grail of immortality. I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal and beyond death I give peace and freedom and reunion with those that have gone before. Nor do I demand aught of sacrifice, for behold, I an the Mother of all things, and My love is poured out upon the Earth."

Hear the words of the Star Goddess, the dust of whose feet are the hosts of Heaven, She whose body encircles the Universe:

" I who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters, I call upon our soul to arise and come unto me. For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the Universe. From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return. Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold - all acts of love and pleasure are My Rituals. Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence with in you. And you who seek to know Me, know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without. For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of all desire."


Alone, awesome, complete in Herself, the Goddess, She whose name cannot be spoken, floated in the outer darkness, before the beginning of all things. As She looked into the curved mirror of black space, She saw by Her own light Her radiant reflection, and fell in love with It. She drew It forth by the power that was in Her and made love to Herself, and called Her "Miria, the Wonderful."

Their ecstasy burst forth in the single song of all that is, was, or ever shall be, and with the song came motion, waves that poured outward and became all the spheres and circles of the worlds. The Goddess became filled with love, swollen with love, and She gave birth to a rain of bright spirits, that filled the worlds and became all beings. But in that great movement, Miria was swept away, and as She moved out from the Goddess, She became more masculine. First She became the Blue God, the gentle, laughing God of love. The She became the Green one, vine-covered, rooted in the earth, the spirit of all growing things. At last She became the Horned God, the Hunter whose face is the ruddy sun, and yet dark as Death. But always desire draws Him back toward the Goddess, so that He circles Her eternally, seeking to return in love. All began in love; all seeks to return in love. Love is the law, the teacher of wisdom, and the great revealer of the mysteries. In love, the Horned God, changing form and changing face, ever seeks the Goddess. In this world, the searching and the seeking appear in the Wheel of the Year.

She is the Great Mother, Who gives birth to Him as the Divine Child Sun at the Winter Solstice. In spring, He is the Sower and the Seed who grows with the growing light, green as the new shoots. She is the Initiatrix, Who teaches Him the Mysteries. He is the Young Bull; She is the Nymph, seductress. In summer, when light is longest, They meet in union, and the strength of Their passion sustains the world. But the Gods' face darkens as the sun grows weaker, until at last, when the grain is cut for harvest, He also sacrifices Himself to Self, that all may be nourished. She is the Reaper, the grave of earth to which all must return. Throughout the long nights and darkening days, He sleeps in Her Womb. In dreams, He is the Lord of Death, who rules the Land of Youth beyond the Gates of Night and Day. His dark tomb becomes the Womb of Rebirth, for at Midwinter She again gives birth to Him. The cycle ends and begins again, and the Wheel of the Year turns on and on.

"The Golden Ass"

by Apuleius

the Roman writer of the second century AD

(Robert Grave's translation )

I am Nature, the Universal Mother, mistress of all elements,

primordial child of time, sovereign of all things spiritual,

queen of the dead, queen also of the immortals, the single

manifestation of all gods and goddesses that are. My nod governs

the shining heights of Heaven, the wholesome sea breezes, the

lamentable silence of the world below. Though I am worshipped in

many aspects, known by countless names, and propitiated with all

manner of different rites, yet the whole round earth venerates me.

The primeval Phygians call me Pessinuntica, Mother of the gods;

the Athenians, sprung from their own soil, call me Cecropian

Artemis; for the islanders of Cyprus I am Paphian Aphrodite, for

the archers of Crete I am Dictynna; for the tri-lingual

Sicilians, Stygian Proserpine; and for the Eleusinians their

ancient Mother of Corn. Some know me as Juno, some as Bellona of

the Battles; others as Hecate, others again as Rhamnubia, but

both races of Aethiopians, whose lands the morning sun first

shines upon, and the Egyptians who excel in ancient learning and

worship me with ceremonies proper to my godhead, call me by my

true name, namely Queen Isis.

Goddess Origins

Condensed from: "When God Was A Woman:"

Even more astonishing is the archaeological evidence which proves that Her religion has existed and flourished in the Near and Middle East for thousands of years before the arrival of the patriarchal Abraham, first prophet of the male deity Yahweh. Archaeologists have traced the worship of the Goddess back to the Neolithic communities of about 7000 BC, some to the Upper Paleolithic cultures of about 25,000 BC. From the time of its Neolithic origins, it's existence was repeatedly attested to until Roman times. Yet Bible scholars agreed that is was late as somewhere between 1800 and 1550 BC, that Abraham lived in Canaan (Palestine).

The Upper Paleolithic period, though most of its sites have been found in Europe, is the conjectural foundation of the religion of the Goddess as it emerged in the later Neolithic Age of the Near East. Since it precedes the time of written records and does not directly lead into an historical period that might have helped to explain it, the information on the Paleolithic existence of Goddess worship must at this time remain speculative. Theories on the origins of the Goddess in this period are founded on the juxtaposition of mother kinship customs to ancestor worship. They are based upon three separate lines of evidence:

  1. The first relies upon anthropological analogy to explain the initial development of matrilineal (mother-kinship) societies. Studies of "primitive" tribes over the last few centuries have led to the realization that some isolated "primitive" peoples, even in our own century, did not possess the conscious understanding of the relationship of sex to conception. The analogy is then drawn that Paleolithic people may have been at a similar level of biological awareness. (Authorities on this include: Jacquetta Hawkes; S.G.F.Brandon, Professor of Comparative Religion at the University of Manchester in England; James Frazer; Margaret Mead and Leonard Cottrell.)

  2. The second line of evidence concerns the beginnings of religious beliefs and rituals and their connection with matrilineal descent. There have been numerous studies of Paleolithic cultures, explorations of sites occupied by these people and the apparent rites connected with the disposal of the dead. These suggest that, as the earliest religious concepts developed they probably took the form of ancestor worship. Again an analogy is drawn between the Paleolithic people and the religious concepts and rituals observed among many "primitive" tribes studied by anthropologists over the last two centuries.

  3. The third line of evidence, and the most tangible, derives from the numerous sculptures of women found in the Gravettian-Aurignacian cultures of the Upper Paleolithic Age. Some of these date back as far as 25,000 BC. These small female figurines, made of stone and bone and clay and often referred to as "Venus figures," have been found in areas where small settled communities once lived. They were often discovered lying close to the remains of sunken walls of what were probably the earliest human-made dwellings on earth.


Not every Wiccan will subscribe to all of these points, but generally they are representative.

  1. The divine Spirit is present in all creatures and things: people, animals, plants, stones...

  2. The ultimate creative force manifests in both feminine and masculine modes; therefore it is often symbolised as the Goddess and The God.

  3. In some covens, both are celebrated equally. In others, The Goddess is given precedence or even celebrated without reference to the God.

  4. All Goddesses and Gods are aspects of The Goddess and The God. The aspects most popular in Wicca are the Triple Goddess of the Moon (Maiden, Mother and Crone) and the Horned God of death and rebirth.

  5. Reincarnation and karma are valid concepts. Upon death one goes to a state of rest and reflection, and eventually chooses where and when s/he will be reborn.

  6. Magick is practiced for positive (helping) purposes: spiritual development, healing, guidance, safety, etc.

  7. Rituals are generally performed outdoors when possible, at the New and Full Moons, and at eight Sabbat festivals which mark the progression of the seasons.

  8. Magick and celebration are performed in small groups, usually 3 to 13, called covens. These are basically autonomous -- there is no central church authority or hierarchy.

  9. There is no holy book, or prophet, no equivalent of the Bible or Jesus or Mohammed. Individuals have access to the divine, and do not require an intermediary. Every initiate is regarded as a priest/ess.

  10. The central ethic is "And ye harm none, do as ye will." Whatever energy you send out returns threefold, so it is wise to be kind to others.

  11. We should live in harmony with the Earth and Nature, and not exploit them.

  12. Though Wicca is a valid spiritual path, it is not the only one. There is no recruiting, and people should be free to choose the path that best fits their needs.

  13. The concepts of original sin, sacrifice, redemption, confession, the divinity of Jesus, sinfulness of sex, Judgment, Heaven and Hell, denigration of women, bodily resurrection, and the Bible as divine revelation are not part of Wicca. Neither are Satanism, the Black Mass, desecration of cemeteries, the sacrifice of animals, etc.

San Jose, CA

Copyright (c) 1983
Amber K., Our Lady of the Woods.
Used by Permission


The pentacle is the primary Earth symbol. Its gender, like that of the wand, is not usually emphasized, but as the symbol of the Earth Mother, it may be taken as being feminine. It is the centerpiece of the altar, on which objects are consecrated; the water and salt bowls, too, are placed on it for blessing - some covens do not use a salt bowl but place the salt directly on the pentacle from which, after blessing, it is tipped into the water.

In persecution days, the pentacle used to be inscribed on wax for each Circle, so that it could be destroyed afterwards as a dangerous piece of evidence. Today it is usually a disc of metal, mainly in copper, and it is normally 5-6 inches in diameter.