What is Wicca? - ReligionForBreakfast

ReligionForBreakfast is another academic YouTube channel I enjoy.

Quoting some of its About page, it’s “dedicated to the academic, nonsectarian study of religion…by exploring humanity’s beliefs and rituals through an anthropological, sociological, and archaeological lens.”

This video is a break in Dr. Andrew M. Henry’s current series on Shinto. That series is the reason I now have a torii :shinto_shrine: on my altar. One of my favorite series of his is the one on American Civil Religion.

The video I am sharing came out this week. It asks the question, “What is Wicca?” In this nearly 18 minute video, he covers terminology, the history of Wicca, the difference between Wicca and Witchcraft, the reason it’s so hard to count practitioners in the U.S. vs European countries, the different sects withing Wicca, the eclectic beliefs and practices, covens, and The Wheel of the Year.

Much of what he says is covered in more detail on this amazing site but I love the summary of the “faith” as a good introduction to family and friends about what I believe. Between this video and Paganism vs Christianity - Angela’s Symposium, I feel more certain in my quote from How Research Led Me To Eclectic Wicca:

I would to hear your thoughts on this timely video.
His references used for the video are listed below.

Ethan Doyle White, Wicca: History, Belief, and Community in Modern Pagan Witchcraft, (Sussex Academic Press, 2016)

Sabina Magliocco, Witching Culture: Folkore and Neopaganism in America, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004)

Ronald Hutton, The Triump of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft, (Oxford University Press, 2019)

Leon A. van Gulik, “The Blind Moondial Makers: Creativity and Renewal in Wicca,” in Magic and Witchery in the Modern West (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)

Patricia Iolana, “Pagan Scholarship from a Pagan Perspective,” Religious Studies Project.

Edit: added in the link. lol


I edited in the link, but just in case it isn’t clear, here it is. Sorry, everyone.


Just from my first impressions, it looks like this was pretty thoroughly researched and approached from a fair and unbiased point of view with the desire to educate more than judge. I love this! :heart_eyes:

I want to watch the whole thing- going in my YouTube to-watch list :+1: Along with several other of ReligionForBreakfast’s videos… the Shinto series looks particularly interesting! I lived in Japan for a while and I always found Shinto and the many shrines throughout the country to be fascinating :shinto_shrine:

Thanks so much for sharing, @praecog29! :grin:


I’m bookmarking this to go back and watch later when I have some more time. Thanks for sharing!


Oooo… thank you! I am going to watch this when I get back from my daughter’s school. It will be nice to have something to watch this afternoon with my tea. Thank you again.


Thanks for sharing this video, @praecog29!! I really enjoyed it and I’m subscribed to the channel now.

I appreciated that he included a quick mention of Phyllis Curott and her video “Not Supernatural”. I’m quoting it here because I agree with her take on Witchcraft.

"Clearing some of the misconceptions about witchcraft:

You don’t have to believe a lot of wacky, superstitious, crazy stuff about the supernatural and make-believe magic.

In fact, witchcraft doesn’t require you to suspend rational disbelief, or believe in the supernatural.

Witchcraft is a spiritual practice that expands our perceptions and our appreciation of reaity beyond the current limitations of science. A lot of yesterday’s magic is today’s science. Magic isn’t supernatural, it’s very real. In fact it’s the ultimate reality.

The divine numinous quality of being that’s embodied by creation and by each of us."


I’m so glad those that watched it appear to enjoy the content. When I talk about watching YouTube sometimes people give me an eye roll. :joy: But I mostly watch documentaries and educational videos from experts in their fields.

@TheTravelWitch, I’ve always wanted to visit Japan. I have a couple friends north of Tokyo and I almost got a chance to meet them a few years back before my company cut international travel. I’d love to learn more about your stay, if you posted anywhere about it.

I don’t want to start yet another thread about a YouTube video :crazy_face: so here is a separate video about Samhain from Angela’s Symposium. :jack_o_lantern:

Angela’s Symposium summarizes Samhain in less than 12 minutes. This is a perfect primer on my new favorite holiday.

From her video:
“The history of Samhain and its relation to Christian Halloween. Irish Folklore and Pagan Wiccan Festival as celebrated today. Wicca and the Wheel of the Year.”

SAMHAIN or HALLOWEEN - An Academic Overview

Her video’s references:
Berger, H. A. (ed.) (2005) Witchcraft and Magic: Contemporary North America, Philadelphia, Pa, University of Pennsylvania Press.

Butler, J. (2008) ‘Neo-Pagan Celebrations of Samhain’, in O’Donnell, H. and Foley, M. (eds), Treat or Trick? Halloween in a Globalising World, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Drury, N. (2009) ‘The Modern Magical Revival’, in Harvey, G (ed), Handbook of Contemporary Paganism, Brill, pp. 13–81.

Hutton, R. (2001) The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain [ebook], The Stations of the Sun, Oxford University Press.


Hahaha I tried to start a blog a few times to post about my travels, but I never got very far- blogging is a lot of work! :laughing: I am sure your friends would be happy to show you around when you make it there, and I am always delighted to talk about Japan! I am sure you will make it to Japan someday so when you do feel free to send me a message :grin::email: I have some itinteraries from past trips I made for Tokyo, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, and Miyajima- I would be happy to share! :raised_hands: :shinto_shrine:

And hooray for another video! Can’t wait to check it out :eyes::+1:

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I’m subscribed to Angela’s Symposium too! Her content is really good.

I love learning from Youtube channels, and I appreciate that they cite academic sources (as everyone should, really).