Occasionally I am asked what, if anything, is different between what I do and the Seax Wica tradition. There are superficial similarities, and I am on a couple of Seax Wica e-group lists. I can understand the confusion, however there are fundamental differences between my own praxis and that of Seax Wica.
The primary, critical difference is that Wicca is a duotheistic religion. Many Wiccans will deny this – just as the majority spell their religion with two c’s, even though Gerald Gardner and later Buckland spelled it as ‘Wica’ – but Wicca or Wica, as defined by its founder, adheres to Mary Violet Firth’s assertion that there is only one goddess and only one god. With no central authority, there is nothing to stop a self-professed Wiccan from worshipping a dozen distinct deities or from worshipping only one all-encompassing Great Goddess, but neither of these paradigms are truly Wiccan.
Buckland himself emphasizes this in Buckland’s Book of Saxon Witchcraft (p. 21): “Everywhere in Nature is found a system of male and female; because that is the way of the Gods – a God and a Goddess – believe the Witches. No all-male or all-female deity. It is, then, a duotheistic religion.”
I could explain in depth why I am one Witch who does not believe this, but the relevant fact is that I simply do not. I believe in the very real existence of countless gods and goddesses – sovereign spirits – some who I worship, most who I do not. For this reason alone, and for this reason before all others, I cannot define myself as a Seax Wiccan.
The rest of it is more superficial. I do not cast a magic circle before worship, nor do I celebrate esbats. Many of the differences are semantic rather than substantial. On another level, I think that I am less eclectic than the average practitioner of Seax Wica, although that is of course a generalization. Buckland freely admits that Seax Wica is first and foremost a tradition of Wicca and not a reflection of authentic Saxon tradition. In the introduction to the 2005 edition of his book, he says (p. xi): “I was not trying to reconstruct the ancient religion of the Saxons, nor the magic that they employed…What I set out to do was to create a modern form of Wicca…and to make it something with which I, personally, would feel comfortable.”
In contrast to this, I have tried to create a modern, relevant form of Saxon religion…with which I, personally, would feel comfortable! I may have been influenced by Wicca, in the same way that I may have been influenced by my parents’ Presbyterian Christian religion and everything else I have been exposed to over the years, but it is not the foundation of my own Saxon beliefs and practices.
To be honest, it is not beyond imagining to see me someday practicing Seax Wica. It is a positive, life-affirming path. But if that were to happen, I would be something of a heretic, if the Seax tradition can be said to recognize anything like that. I would revere “Freya” by her English title, Fréo, and would acknowledge her and Woden not as the ONLY two deities – not as “the Lord and Lady” – but as the two deities among the Saxon gods who take the most interest in wiccecræft.
In that sense, I could indeed define myself as Seax Wica (or Wicca). But at this time, at least, I do not. Seax Wicca can be said to be a variety of Saxon Paganism, but not all Saxon Pagans are Seax Wiccans.