Bhakti Wicca

by Wilddragon, about 1997

Bhakti is a Sanskrit term derived from the verb “bhaj” meaning “to love, adore, enjoy, eat, or make love to.” It denotes passionate love for a God or Goddess and is one of the major religious paths within Hinduism. The Bhakti approach, however, is not limited to Hinduism. Because Bhakti arises from the inherent nature of human beings, elements of Bhakti are found in all religious traditions.

In Bhakti, the worshiper experiences Deity as a personal Other, rather than (as in some other Hindu philosophies) an impersonal infinite that is in some sense identical with the self. In the words of one Bhakti devotional, “I want to taste sugar, I don’t want to be sugar.”

Combining “Bhakti” with “Wicca” indicates that Deity is being approached through the Wiccan images of Lord and Lady, and through the esoteric techniques of ritual and trance. This is very much in harmony with the teachings of Traditional Wicca, which always contained a strong measure of Bhakti in its approach to the Lord and Lady, though this element was given more emphasis in some covens and less in others.

Covens in the tradition of Bhakti Wicca regard this intense love relationship with Deity to be of central importance in the spiritual growth of the individual and in the character of Wiccan teaching and practice.