Columbian Wicca
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.

Hail Columbia!
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.

Rule Thyself
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:

  • We do not abide all the traditional Wiccan Craft Laws. We do not hold to those Craft Laws which Gardner invented to serve his own personal religious and spiritual needs. We trust ourselves to write and abide our own Wiccan Craft Laws (just as Gardner did) to serve our own personal religious and spiritual needs. We are well-aware that much has been added to American Traditional Wicca that distinguishes it from British Traditional Wicca, and our Tradition incorporates elements of both... and neither. All of our covens abide Natural Law and Tradition Law, and each coven also abides its own Coven Law. We honor what Gardner and others initiated by him have created, but more importantly we affirm what Gardner trusted himself to do -- which was to create Wicca (rituals, Craft Laws and all) in the first place. As Aiden Kelly put it (despite the holes in some of his theories and despite his oathbreaking character flaw), "The only way to be a true follower of Gerald Gardner, my friends, is to have the guts to create a religion for yourself that meets your own needs." We consider Gerald Gardner the founder of his Wiccan tradition just as we are the founders of our Wiccan Tradition and the only Wiccan history we're really focused on these days... is our own. For us, Wicca is not about what Wicca was yesterday as it was practiced by others across the sea. It is about what Wicca is today as it is practiced by us. We do not believe the Goddess plays favorites or finds anyone 'first among equals' (but we do find that She offers Her secrets up to those who pay Her close attention over a long period of time). Hail Columbia!

  • We do not adhere to traditional Wiccan dogma. For example, we do not subscribe to Wiccan apostolicity (that power is only accessible by it being 'handed down' through certain people who have been initiated by certain people who have been initiated by certain people etc etc). Nor do we acknowledge lineages of any kind, Wiccan or otherwise. For those of you that do subscribe to apostolicity, blessed be. We've met too many people with power and no lineaged initiations to believe in it ourselves (and we've met too many people with lineaged initiations who had no grasp of their power). We encounter magickal power in every individual, regardless of who knows who or who has sworn what to who. We believe that, through diligent study of the Craft (traditional and eclectic methods) and extensive practice, anyone has the capacity to harness magickal power and enhance their life with it just as anyone has the capacity to harness electricity and enhance their life with it. But, as with electricity, effective handling of magickal power takes skill and perseverance and can be dangerous (even fatal) in the hands of the unskilled. Hail Columbia!

  • We do not implement traditional Wiccan rituals in their entirety; we sift out which portions of them suit our needs, and we graft new ones on to our growing liturgy at every gathering for those portions of them that don't. For example, while we are thoroughly aware of the scourge's ability to induce trance states through the use of flagellation or mesmeric strokes from the coccygeal to the cervical regions of the spine following the mathematical pattern of a Fibonacci Series, we do not use ritualistic scourging and binding to initiate and 'properly prepare' anyone for anything, nor to raise sexual power or induce visions in circle. The scourge in Columbian Wicca is a symbolic tool of self-rule; emblem of one's capacity to drive one's self and drive each other (with each others' full consent) toward any desired goal or state. We do not require 'surprise' oaths of our initiates which threaten their Karmic lives throughout all time, and our rituals involve no subservience to any other member(s) in any coven of our Tradition. Our rules are laid out and discussed in depth long before anyone is required to abide by them. In our circles, every woman fills the roll of High Priestess and every man fills the role of High Priest, regardless of one's physical fertility state, age or years in the Craft; we believe in many types of fertility and utilize several highly effective methods of performing the Great Rite, and we gather as complete equals from every covener's first day, creating our own rituals at every gathering to serve our unique and ever-changing purpose. Hail Columbia!

We Are Not A Church...
... 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:

  • Execute leadership by rotation
  • Nurture and affirm diversity
  • Raise power through creativity
  • Dispense justice with equality
  • Reach decision by consensus
  • Worship through service
  • Make trust your foundation
  • Guard and defend your freedom
  • Hail Columbia!

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:
  • there is great power in dropping the need for validation from others
  • there is great power in serving the needs of others anonymously
  • there is great power in fellowship when money is not involved in any way
  • there is great power in observing, imitating and holding sacred the universe around us
  • there is great power in acknowledging the divine in ourselves and all living things
  • there is great power in being completely accountable for all aspects of our lives
  • there is great power in mastering the words we use to describe ourselves
  • there is great power in continually creating and enacting rites of worship
  • there is great power in knowing, ruling, loving and trusting the self

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