The Development of Wicca

Wicca originated in the early twentieth century

The history of Wicca documents the rise of the Neopagan religion of Wicca and related witchcraft-based Neopagan religions. Wicca originated in the early twentieth century, when it first developed amongst several secretive covens in England who were basing their religious beliefs and practices upon what they read of the historical Witch-Cult in the works of such writers as Margaret Murray. It was subsequently popularised in the 1950s by a number of figures, namely Gerald Gardner, who had been initiated into the Craft - as Wicca is often known - by the New Forest coven in 1939. Gardner's form of Wicca, the Gardnerian tradition, was spread by both him and his followers like the High Priestesses' Doreen Valiente, Patricia Crowther and Eleanor Bone into other parts of the British Isles, and also into several other, predominantly English-speaking, countries across the world. In the 1960s, various new figures arose in Britain who popularised their own forms of the religion, including Robert Cochrane, Sybil Leek and Alex Sanders, and organisations began to be formed to propagate it, such as the Witchcraft Research Association. It was also during this decade that the faith was transported to the United States, where it was further adapted into new traditions such as Feri, 1734 and Dianic Wicca in the ensuing decades, and where organisations such as the Covenant of the Goddess were formed.


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