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In ensuing decades, members of certain traditions – those known as British Traditional Wicca – began claiming that only they should be termed "Wiccan", and that other forms of the religion must not use it.Conversely, in various forms of popular culture, such as television programs Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed, the word "Wicca" has been used as a synonym for witchcraft more generally, including in non-religious and non-Pagan forms.
Wicca's core beliefs, principles and practices were originally outlined in the 1940s and 1950s by Gardner and Doreen Valiente, both in published books as well as in secret written and oral teachings passed along to their initiates.
Wicca often involves the ritual practice of magic, though it is not always necessary.
Although recognised as a religion by academics, some evangelical Christians have attempted to deny it legal recognition as such, while some Wiccan practitioners themselves eschew the term "religion" – associating the latter purely with organised religion – instead favouring "spirituality" or "way of life".
Theological views within Wicca are diverse, and the religion encompasses theists, atheists, and agnostics, with some viewing the religion's deities as entities with a literal existence and others viewing them as Jungian archetypes or symbols.
Most early Wiccan groups adhered to the duotheistic worship of a Horned God of fertility and a Mother Goddess, with practitioners typically believing that these had been the ancient deities worshipped by the hunter-gatherers of the Old Stone Age, whose veneration had been passed down in secret right to the present.
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These two deities are sometimes viewed as facets of a greater pantheistic divinity, which is regarded as an impersonal force or process rather than a personal deity.