Wicca, an alternative minority religion whose followers refer to themselves as witches regardless of gender, got its start in the United Kingdom in the first part of the 20th century. Gerald Gardner is credited with making it well known in 1954. The movement is rooted in several prehistoric pagan rituals and hermetic themes from the 20th century. The ideas and rituals of this decentralized religion were first written by both Gardner and Doreen Valiente in the 1940s and 1950s. The founders of the faith wrote books, taught their initiates orally, and passed down secretly recorded rules. Wicca and Witchcraft are part of the wider modern pagan movement. These spiritual approaches all draw inspiration from pre-Christian faiths and cultures for their practices.
Wicca has a variety of theological positions. The religion embraces theists, atheists, and agnostics, with some believing that the religion’s deities are actual living beings while others believe they are only Jungian archetypes or symbols. There are many religious perspectives even within theistic Wiccans, and Wicca embraces pantheists, monotheists, ditheists, and polytheists. Wicca practitioners see the gods of their religion as representations of old, pre-Christian deities. Wiccan holidays honor both the cycles of the Moon, known as Esbats, which are frequently linked with the Goddess (a feminine goddess) and the cycles of the Sun, known as Sabbats, which are seasonal feasts frequently associated with the Horned God (male deity).