InLove asked: I think those are excellent questions -- and they deserve a whole thread just for them, so I hope you don't mind that I set one up. You've asked a few questions in your post so I'll break them down a bit and try and provide some answers. These are just what I understand and are of course open to debate. 1. The origins of Wicca, and Gerald Gardner's role: Wicca is a religion that incorporates the practices of witchcraft as one of the fundamental components. A lot of the ideas in Wicca are drawn directly from witchcraft lore. Wicca is just one of many different religious systems that are based on witchcraft. Witchcraft itself is not a religion. It's the practice of folk magick and can be done within the context of any (or no) religion. Gerald Gardner is largely considered to be the starting point (at least as a promoter, if not the originator) of Wicca. This means that Wicca goes back to about the 1940s, or possibly the late 1930s at the earliest. Wiccans today all trace their practice back to Gardner -- either directly through a lineage of initiations, or indirectly through inspiration and as the source of their religious ideas. Gardner didn't make it all up out of nothing though. He and other Wiccans who followed him have drawn extensively on both Christian and pre-Christian ideas and practices to incorporate in Wicca. Wicca is a Pagan religion though so it does tend to draw more from Pagan ideas than Christian ones. 2. Lady Gwen Thompson: Lady Gwen (Gwynne) Thompson, who lived from 1928 - 1986, was the founder of an American Wiccan sect called the New England Coven of Traditional Witches (NECTW). Most Wiccans know her name through exposure to her poem "The Rede of the Wiccae" which Lady Gwen had published in the Ostara 1975 issue of the popular Pagan magazine, "Green Egg." The poem has been widely circulated although it is sometimes mistakenly called "The Wiccan Rede." The Wiccan Rede is just the statement often summarized as "Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: an it harm none, do what you will." Lady Gwen's poem includes the Rede at the end. You can see the NECTW website here, and a good article explaining the history of the Wiccan Rede and Lady Gwen's poem here. 3: Connection between Celts, Wiccans, and Christians: Wicca didn't come from completely original ideas -- a lot was drawn eclectically from a wide variety of sources. Some of the ritual structures (like the idea of degrees, a Charge, etc.) were drawn from Freemasonry, which has a lot of overtly Christian elements. Some was drawn from ceremonial magick (particularly the grimoire "Key of Solomon" translated by Macgregor Mathers) which is also largely based on Christian theology. But Wicca is a Pagan religion, and so also draws heavily from pre-Christian ideas and mythology. Gardner was English, so it's not surprising that he would draw from the mythology of his homeland -- which means drawing from Celtic myth. He didn't restrict his Pagan sources to just Celtic though. He also drew from European sources (especially Italian -- C. G. Leland's book "Aradia" in particular) as well as Greek and Roman myth (such as from things known about the Eleusinian mysteries.) Theres is also some Qabala mixed into Wicca. Qabala in many popular forms is a mixture of mostly Jewish and Christian thought, but also has some Pagan ideas. There are forms of Qabala that are more Jewish (bananabrain on here is much more able to discuss the Qabala than I am) but I believe Gardner and other early Wiccans drew more from the Christianized forms of Qabala than the purely Jewish ones. 4. The role of magick: Witchcraft is all about magick -- it's folk magick, after all. Since Wicca is a religion that is based on witchcraft, it is a magickal religion. There are some people today who say they practice Wicca divorced from any magickal practice. While they are free to do so, I tend to think they are missing a lot of the point of Wicca. There are lots of spiritual paths that include magick in some form. Praying for a miracle, and doing specific things like lighting certain types of incense or special candles, using anointing oils etc. as part of the petition to the Higher Powers is all a form of magick no matter what religion you follow. Even within the category of witchcraft, Wicca is just one of the possible paths. There are definitely non-Wiccan witches out there, including witches who do not follow any established spiritual path but their own unique one. There are some excellent Frequently Asked Question files about Wicca, witchcraft, and modern Paganism on the web at http://www.witchvox.com/xbasics.html They also have a series of high quality essays about various denominations within the modern Wiccan and Pagan community, most which provide links for how to find more info for those who are interested. The denominations ("traditions") essays are not all-inclusive -- there are many denominations that do not have essays there. The ones listed are just the ones that were submitted to the people who run Witchvox. Witchvox also provides the very best Pagan networking resources available anywhere. You can find groups, stores, events, and individuals for all over the world. You'll often find that there are groups that do public events (either rituals or talks/classes that anyone can attend) if you are curious about meeting people in person.