Ecclasia & Covenant of the Goddess Information
After centuries of misunderstanding the religion of Wicca, or NeoPagan Witchcraft, has once again entered the public's awareness. The Covenant of the Goddess is a confederation of covens (congregations) from all over the United States, with members in North America, Europe, and Australia as well. It was incorporated in California on October 31, 1975, as a nonprofit religious organization, with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of any church.
Ecclasia is a Wiccan fellowship, and a member coven of the Touchstone Council of the Covenant of the Goddess. Ecclasia stands in existence to fulfill two main goals within our community. The first is to teach to those who desire it our Wiccan path. The second goal is to celebrate the Wiccan Sabbats and provide a place for those of like mind to join with us in those celebrations. Ecclasia serves Riverside, San Bernardino, and the surrounding Inland Empire areas.
Wicca is a life-affirming, Earth and nature oriented religion that sees all of life as sacred and interconnected, honors the natural world as the embodiment of Divinity, and experiences the Divine as feminine as well as masculine. Like the spiritual worldview and practices of Native Americans and Shintoists, Wiccan spiritual practices are intended to attune humanity to the natural rhythms and cycles of nature as a means of personally experiencing Divinity.
Rituals, therefore, coincide with the phases of the moon and the turning of the year's seasons - the solstices and equinoxes and the days midway between as such as May Day. Most Wiccans consider their practice a priest or priestesshood, akin to the Mystery Schools of the classical world, involving years of training and passage through life-transforming initiatory rituals. All Witches agree on an ethical code known as the Wiccan Rede: "An it harm none, do what ye will," that honors the freedom of each individual to do what he or she believes is right, but also recognizes the profound responsibility that none should be harmed by one's actions.
The Covenant was originally founded to increase cooperation among Witches and to secure for them the legal protections enjoyed by members of other religions. The Covenant is nonhierarchical and governed by consensus. Two thirds of its clergy are women. Its clergy perform marriages, preside at funerals and other rituals of life transition, and provide counseling to Wiccans including those in the military and in prisons. In recent years the Covenant has turned its attention and resources to community projects and social action, including health insurance, Scouting awards for Wiccan youth, emergency relief for disaster victims, promoting positive media portrayals, and interfaith outreach.
Of necessity, the statements in this packet merely highlight some aspects of Wicca and the Covenant. They cannot illustrate the entire panorama of this diverse religion, but represent an attempt to convey a basic understanding of the Wiccan faith.