New Wiccan Church
The New Wiccan Church, originally the New Celtic Church,
was founded in the early 1970s to practice Witchcraft in the
British tradition. Membership is restricted to adult witches who
have been initiated in the Gardnerian tradition or one of the
several variations of the Gardnerian practice, the most well
known being the Alexanderian. Gerald B. Gardner, generally
considered the father of modern Wicca, established a new form
of Witchcraft in England in the 1950s. He instituted three degrees
of accomplishment, the third being admittance into the
In the statement of belief, called the ‘‘Dedication,’’ the New
Wiccans identify themselves with a form of traditional monotheism
by affirming belief in Dyghtyn, the name they give to
the ultimate godhead. They follow modern Wicca, however, by
noting that the godhead, who is all knowing and all pervasive,
differentiates itself into male and female as the ‘‘Lady of the
moon’’ and the ‘‘Lord of Death and Resurrection.’’ The Lord
and Lady further differentiate themselves into a myriad of lesser
deities that have been recognized throughout human history
in the various world mythologies. Members are free to acknowledge
these lesser deities in their rites as they see fit, save only
that such practice does not lead to harm to people or animals.
In addition to the ‘‘Dedication,’’ the church circulates the statement
issued in 1974 by the now-defunct Council of American
Witches whose ‘‘Principles of Wiccan Belief’’ has become a popular
statement defining the community.
The actual rites used in the church are secret, but the published
Gardnerian rituals provide a close approximation of typNew
Thought Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
ical practice. There is a degree of variation from coven (small
worshipping group) to coven. Traditionally, Gardnerians worship
in the nude, but many New Wiccan coven dress for rituals.
There are annual dues for members and each coven may ask
for an additional fee to cover the small costs involved in running
the coven. However, no fees may be charged for initiating
anyone into the craft or for the performance of an act of magic.
Church members are very active in the larger Wiccan community,
especially with the covens of the Covenant of the Goddess.
Most New Wiccan covens are found in the Western United
States. Headquarters are at Box 162046, Sacramento, CA
95816. Information about the group can be found in its periodical,
Red Garters, and on its website,
Adler, Margot. Drawing Down the Moon. Boston Beacon
Press, 1997.