a definition...ok several

Wicca, or Witchcraft, is an earth religion -- a re-linking (re-ligio) with the life-force of nature, both on this planet and in the stars and space beyond. In city apartments, in suburban backyards, in country glades, groups of women and men meet on the new and full moons and at festival times to raise energy and put themselves in tune with these natural forces. They honor the old Goddesses and Gods, including the Triple Goddess of the waxing, full, and waning moon, and the Horned God of the sun and animal life, as visualizations of immanent nature.

Paganism is a spiritual way of life which has its roots in the ancient nature religions of the world. It is principally rooted in the old religions of Europe, though many adherents also find great worth in the indigenous beliefs of other countries. We celebrate the sanctity of Nature, recognising the Divine in all things; the vast, unknowable spirit that runs through the universe, both seen and unseen.

Okay, I was going to stop at the two above, but there are a few more I just can't pass up. Quoted from Inner Space, I found this article related directly to what we, as a Goddess Community, are trying to accomplish... righting the world before it collapses in upon us all. I will post only a few paragraphs, but if they interest you, please do go check out the link.

The word "witch" is itself fraught with complex associations: Christians see evil and Satanism; Hollywood depicts seductresses casting spells; popular culture uses the word for someone, usually female, who tells fortunes or has psychic powers. Why would feminists identify with the word, given its negative connotations? "Witch" has associations with ancient knowledge, with women schooled in the arts of healing, herbology, midwifery. But it also evokes a person defined by herself, not by men. The word has a radical impact, resonating with a notion of spirituality based on the sacredness of nature and the life of this world, as opposed to a religion that denigrates earthly life and promotes only an abstract hereafter as valuable. Most major religions assume a hierarchy from a god on down through messiahs and prophets to gurus and disciples--with nature as a lowly servant. Because of association with childbirth, menstruation, and sexuality, women traditionally have been viewed as bound to the cycles of nature--and religions that denigrate the earthly plane tend to place women, too, at the bottom: spirit is exalted, flesh seen as inconsequential (or worse), and life regarded as something to pass through. The dichotomies characterizing our age--mind versus body, spirit versus material, sacred/secular, play/work, emotion/rationality, white/black, men/women--reflect religious and philosophical views mired in such dualisms and hierarchies.

Human beings have evolved and lived successfully as a species on this planet for hundreds of thousands of years, yet we forget this because we're taught that the only valuable part of our heritage is the "historical part" recorded over the last 6,000 years. We may believe in evolution, but we act as if the world began with the myth of Adam and Eve. We forget that our ancestors, no matter where we're from, lived, hunted, gathered, procreated, established communities, questioned their relationship to the stars, acquired knowledge of seasons and flora and fauna, and created ceremonies that helped knit their lives into relationship with the lands on which they lived, the animals and plants they knew, and the communities they created.

Old Religion - Unlike the "religions of the book," the old religions did not depend on literal texts, but on the doing and living that comprises experience. They were based on the rhythms of celestial bodies, the movement of herds, the turn of the seasons; they emphasized ceremonies of birth, life, death, regeneration. The earth religions were tied to place. Each people had its own sacred places, its own rivers and mountains, so there was no assumption that there was (or should be) a single truth. There was no missionary desire to proselytize, crusade, or convert because--though there was a sense of "oneness" in the experience of spiritual connection--different peoples had different cultures and therefore distinct sacred places, thus diverse divinities. Being based on oral tradition instead of literal text, there was no scripture to fight over. Furthermore, belief systems that perceive the world metaphorically instead of literally can adapt to new information and scientific findings. Earth-centered religions understand "god" or "gods" as immanent in nature, connected to all things, from rocks to trees to human creatures. The Sublime is not above, with humans below; everything is part of a vibrant, sacred reality.

Women's spirituality movement -- Both women and men must confront not only a liberation but also an impoverishment that comes with a lack of rooted traditions. No matter our ancestry, almost all of us live in a culture fairly barren regarding ceremonies, songs, stories, rituals--the juice and mystery that is part and parcel of indigenous religious experience. If our ancestors were Native American peoples, our traditions were decimated through colonialism and forced conversion. If our ancestors were brought here as slaves, our traditions were brutally suppressed. If our ancestors came here as immigrants, fleeing authoritarianism, our traditions were lost in the desire to assimilate. All of us are missing elements that bind communities together. A crucial aspect of women's spirituality involves the discovery, re-creation, and creation of stories and ceremonies that foster that sense of community--but one with a contemporary sense of democracy and egalitarianism. This is a spirituality not based on literal scripture and fanatical belief, but on experience and pluralism; one at home with flexibility and new scientific knowledge, yet one that sees clearly the burden modernity has placed on the fragile earth. Allowing ecstasy and intellectual integrity at the same time, the forms of such spirituality are many, but its coexistence with freedom and modern life is something that our whole world could use as a model.

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