:Wicca is a new religion?:

It really is a young, new religion

Now, I am not talking about the practice of magic or "Witchcraft". I am talking about Wicca. I've noticed this can be a touchy subject among Wiccans and other Pagans: the history of the Wiccan religion. People (usually novices) often make statements about the ancient origins of Wicca, or how Wicca has been practiced for thousands of years.

Sorry folks, but this is simply not accurate.

The base of the confusion is that some people don't distinguish between something that exists today, and its historical roots. How about an example. The Siamese cat was listed as a recognized breed in 1871. Cats today have evolved from ancient cat species that existed thousands of years ago. You can NOT say that the Siamese cat is thousands of years old. Wicca follows this same idea.

Wicca effectively began with Gerald Gardner in the mid 20th century. Many people give the year 1954 as its inception, because this is when Gardner published Witchcraft Today.

Gardner claimed that in 1939 he was initiated into the New Forest Coven by one Dorothy Clutterbuck. But many people today are unsure of Gardner's claim of discovering an existing Wiccan coven, and feel that his writings were more his own creations than true (and ancient) practices that had been handed down through generations.

Gardner's interests and knowledge of the occult gave him plenty of raw material to work with. It's generally accepted that regardless of whether or not Gardner really found an existing witchcraft coven, he adulterated much of his work with Ceremonial magick concepts that appealed to him.

Wicca certainly bears the influence of older pagan (and non-pagan) traditions, but they are pieces fit together into new meanings and context. So even though there may be ideas, concepts, practices, or beliefs in the Wicca we know today that are based in older knowledge, the collected whole as presented by Gardner really only came into existance in the 1950s.

In the grander scheme of things, so what if Wicca is a new religion? All religions had a beginning and they were all new at some point.