What follows is a very brief overview of our Tradition of Wicca. We share it not to advocate it, but to inform those who seek to know more about it of their own will. It is not the best tradition of Wicca. Nor is it the one true tradition, the right tradition, or the oldest tradition of Wicca. But... it is our tradition of Wicca, from the ground up, and that is why it is a powerful and perfect tradition of Wicca... for us.
Just as there are many flavors of Buddhism (Tibetan, Theravadan, Zen, Nichiren, Jodo Shinshu, etc etc) and Christianity (Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Mormon, Methodist, etc etc), there are many traditions of Wicca (Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Georgian, Saxon, Shamanic, etc etc). Some traditions of Wicca are more eclectic than others. If you're not familiar with Wicca in general, we encourage you to examine any of the materials on our Reading Materials page. Columbian Wicca is an evolving independent form of Wicca with its roots based in Gerald Gardner's (or more accurately Doreen Valiente's) religious creation and with its branches based in our own capacity to do what Gerald Gardner, Doreen Valiente and the early founders of Wicca did themselves: to trust ourselves to be our own highest spiritual and religious authority and to continue the process of creating, revising and practicing the religion of Wicca.
Our tradition was born on Imbolc of the year 2000 on the banks of the Columbia River in Washington State by three witches of long and varied Wiccan backgrounds. Having experienced first-hand the issues, challenges, personalities, history, and politics involved with several Wiccan styles, traditional and eclectic, and realizing the essential nature of Wicca from its inception being one of trusting the self to create, borrow and adapt/adopt all manner of practical, spiritual and magickal practices into a suitable gumbo which effectively serves to honor the gods and empower lives, they came to a combined purpose and reasoning which resulted in their own form of Wicca.
The Columbian tradition of Wicca takes it name from a warrior goddess of the American Pantheon: Columbia. Armed with helmet and sword, she epitomized/epitomizes the independent spirit of the early colonies of the United States of America and their quest and craving for freedom above all else. Her virtues (freedom, independence and vigilance) are at the core of our practice, for we do not believe in being ruled by anyone but ourselves, and we value complete freedom in our practice of Wicca.
Our ForeMothers brought forth on this continent a new religion conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all witches are created equal...
We hold the liturgical, poetic, ritualistic and philosophic contributions of Doreen Valiente (who in our opinion was/is one of the greatest unsung heroes of our religion) to Wicca dear to our practice, and anyone who has read her works or followed her life will understand our claim to a non-sexist, constantly-creative, privately-practiced, seriously-dedicated, oath-observing, self-trusting, truth-seeking, health-encouraging, freedom-worshipping, no-bullshit practice of Wicca. Anyone familiar with her Proposed Rules For The Craft (not the ones Gardner wrote up based on her proposed rules) will have a general idea of the kinds of laws that we have proposed and ratified, and regardless of whether or not you find Columbian Wicca your style of Wicca or not, we highly recommend Doreen's book Witchcraft For Tomorrow for anyone serious about practicing a healthy and practical form of our religion. By the same token, her words are not gospel either; they are sifted, as with all things, through our own capacity to discern what is beneficial and effective for our tradition. Also highly recommended (whether you agree with the premises she establishes or not) is Doreen's Rebirth of Witchcraft and Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed (co-authored with Evan Jones) on her practices after leaving Gardner.
Our tradition (indeed our tribe) works for us because it is wholly ours, and that is all that matters in the final analysis. Our practice of magick relies as heavily on the magickal systems that Gardner used as the magickal systems of witchcraft we encounter within our own families and cultures, both inherited and selected. To put it Hermetically, we discount nothing that works. We believe in mentoring as well as experimenting, and though we work within the framework of the Wiccan Mythos, we also acknowledge the Lord and Lady in their many names and forms throughout the world.
No Queen. No King. No Elders. No single permanent High Priestess or High Priest in charge. No Patriarchy or Matriarchy. No lineage papers. No passwords. No swearing fealty to another human being forever. No apostolic successions. No degrees of subserviency. No set-in-stone theology. No forbidding of worship or contact with other religious traditions (including Wiccan), circles or individuals. In short, autonomy. Any rules we have in our Tradition are rules we created by ourselves for ourselves, and they are made perfectly clear to anyone considering joining our coven before any oath to abide by them is taken. We do not waste time or energy justifying ourselves to anyone about our practice, and we vehemently discard any behavior which puts people in power "over one another" in circle. Our Tradition can also be distinguished from other traditions of Wicca at a dogmatic and ritualistic level:
... and we are not seeking to become a church. We are not an institution, and our practice does not involve the handling of money, the acquisition of property and tax-exempt status, the building of indoor structures, or the franchising of spirituality. We do not seek to expand our numbers (even though that is apparently happening), nor do we seek to build covens (like our own) elsewhere. If other witches choose to form covens which practice Columbian Wicca (and we can certainly appreciate why they would), we are glad to assist them, but it is not our goal to 'cultivate them'; we trust them to cultivate themselves as they see fit. Our priesthood/priestesshood does not have a pyramidal structure to it. Our initiations are not based on academic achievements and scholarship, and our worship is founded on the un-sophisticated, simple peasant earth religion of the past which honors all living spirits.
Our wisdom and training are not shared as sermons delivered from a pulpit to a congregation; we see every student as a teacher, every teacher as a student. Although we are active in serving the community, we do not practice evangelical ministries to billboard Wicca and Paganism in our community. Our practice is wholly private and anonymous. Our religion is not a mixture of Wicca, Christianity, Buddhism and/or other religions; it is Wicca, period. Our Goddess and our God have no decreed singular name by which they must be worshipped; they have many names and we honor all of them. Our members are educated in Traditional Wicca but not governed by it or confined to it in their practice; the only person we are accountable to with any aspect of our Wiccan religion ... is ourselves. Columbian Wicca is characterized by dedication to creative worship and full participation in all activities orchestrated by all coveners, not attention to verifiable legitimacies and inflexible methodologies orchestrated by a few. We are autonomous in every sense of the word. Hail Independence in thinking. Hail Freedom in worship. Hail Creativity in practice. Hail Columbia in coven.
Learn All You Can, Trust Your Gut
We do take our study of Traditional Wicca very seriously so that our members remain educated and aware of those characterstics which distinguish our own Tradition from others (or continue to align our Tradition with others). We bear no ill-will, grudge or hostility towards any other tradition of Wicca, be its practice traditional or eclectic. By the same token, we owe nothing to any other tradition of Wicca. Every part of our practice is created, borrowed, and adapted/adopted to suit our needs as witches just as every part of Gardner's practice was created, borrowed and adapted/adopted to suit his needs as a witch. Our practice of Wicca is wholly based in independent thinking, unlimited creativity, and executed in a circle of complete freedom. As stated on our Tradition's To Join page, any of our coven's mandates/bylaws reduce to this:
There is much about our Tradition (or any tradition of Wicca) that can only be learned through emersion. Much of our training is handed down through an oral tradition, gleaned through long discussions and months of actual practice together. We're not focused on growing in size. We're focused on growing in strength and trust. We are not fundamentalists (we do not believe there is one right way to practice Wicca), but we do believe that magickal competency comes only through practice and that, like the constant and entirely predictable reactions of certain mixed chemicals, certain universal principles (magickal and otherwise) are set in stone.
Here then is what we have learned as a Tradition thus far:
We believe these things are the root of circling in perfect love and perfect trust, and our capacity to recreate ourselves on a daily basis is the beginning of harnessing our own power to overcome all obstacles. May you find what you seek in perfect timing. Hail Columbia!
The Founding Members of the Columbian Tradition of Wicca