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A Child's First Yule
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Community and Perception
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Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
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The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
The Value of Wicca
Article ID: 15173
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,598
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Author: Meri Fowler [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: September 9th. 2012
Times Viewed: 3,266
There are many spiritual beliefs and religions in the world. Why is Wicca different? What are the problems and pitfalls of being Wiccan? What can Wicca give you and give the world?
Many people are on a quest for healing and health. After they have changed their diets, joined a gym, reached their ideal weight and are feeling physically healthy, they find that they are still not happy or well. Something is missing and the missing pieces of the puzzle are emotional and spiritual. There is so much sadness and trauma in the world and in our lives but we have been taught as a society that it is not acceptable to share our pain in public or even in private. We have been told not to complain, because no one really wants to hear, not to make a fuss, and suck it up Showing pain is weak or even considered mental illness.
When we try to share our pain with others they don't want to hear it and we may be labeled a burden, "negative", or even a psychic vampire. People are carrying huge emotional scars from neglect, abuse, abandonment and isolation on physical, mental and emotional levels. Add to that the high stress of our daily lives, relationships, and work and we have the perfect climate to create serious problems such as illness, depression and even death.
To be well and healthy is not only about eating good food and exercising. We need to heal from the trauma in our lives and create lives that are balanced. But how can we do that? Going to a counselor can be very beneficial because they can help you to uncover the problems but there are some drawbacks to counseling. First of all it is very costly, and many people cannot afford it.
Secondly unless you get a very good counselor it may create more pain and stress because you re-live the trauma but don't necessarily heal it. The techniques used for helping you may be behavioral, cognitive or even pharmacological. These are big words for teaching you to act differently not from the place of pain, to understand where the trouble comes from and then take some Effexor to dull the hurt. Counseling can be very helpful but it can also be useless. Even after years of therapy, people are still left feeling empty and unsatisfied.
Wicca and Healing
Wiccan training is not primarily about healing, but rather creating balance within and connecting with the Divine in Nature. We start the process as hopeful skeptics but our inner experiences lead us to a place of trust that the Divine Presence exists and sustains us. The structure of Wiccan training is very supportive because we meet in small groups, called Covens, led usually by experienced and trained people who share what they have learned. As the process towards inner balance progresses, we address the painful scars -- we call them shadows -- learn from them, release them and let go. Our Coven mates don't try to tell us how to do this, but they listen to us. We learn many techniques that support the work such as ritual, meditation, shamanic journeying etc. and gradually we become well, happy and healed.
The main difference between Wicca and other religions is that we have no fixed dogma. There are core beliefs that define us as Wiccan and not something else, but the rest is very flexible. It is this openness that leads us to trust in ourselves, take responsibility for our own happiness and own our own healing. Yes, it can get messy down there in the muck of our shadows, but compost grows the best flowers! It's not all love and light, but it is growth.
The Problems with Wicca
The biggest problem with Wicca in its present state is that there are not enough qualified teachers to go around. Many people are starting up Eclectic Covens, following books that they like without training. They can learn a lot this way but unfortunately they may run into problems with group dynamics, serious shadow sides of individuals and groups and spiritual stagnation. The process will still work if they are dedicated to each other and the Craft, but it may take longer for them to find the balance they are looking for. Some groups may end up creating something that they think is Wicca, but, in fact, it is something else. They think that everything can be thrown into the pot and still be ‘Wicca’.
Another big problem is that Covens often don't last more than five years. It's rare for a Coven to be around for 10 years and if it is, most of its original members will have left. People leave their Covens for many reasons. It could be personal conflict that they cannot or do not know how to resolve with other members, wanting to pursue other spiritual work outside of Wicca, not being able to make time for their Covens, or getting bored with the group. So when someone leaves their Coven, they have nowhere to go because there is no larger community that they can connect with on a regular basis. Sometimes so many people leave the Covens they just fold or dwindle away.
In contrast, Christians make a commitment to go to Church every Sunday where they see the same people, they get involved in the Church fund raising and social activities and they have a priest or pastor who is readily available to them in times of need. The Church structure will still be there in ten or twenty years.
If a Wiccan does not belong to a Coven he/she may go to public Sabbats that may or may not happen, led by people who may or may not be experienced leaders. In times of need, they have no clergy to turn to for help. The only place for people to meet community is at "Fest", the large public camping festivals that take place during the summer. But although many Pagans may be there, meeting Wiccans from your own area is unlikely. Many don't go to Fest and the ones that do are busy in their own Coven's back home.
The last big problem is that most Covens are closed, that is not taking any new members. They can only be so big, around a dozen people, any more and they won't be able to fit into the High Priestesses living room.
It's important for the leaders of Wicca to create community rather than just one small Coven. We need places where the community can meet, so Covens can share and mingle, raise children, and have a sense of Clan. Humans need this sense of belonging to heal from the traumas in our souls. The problem is that although we charge very little or nothing for Wiccan training, the rent on a community center with all its expenses still has to be paid. In our community I am, with a small handful of volunteers, working very hard giving workshops and courses to pay the rent for a center that everyone can use. We also clean the center, buy the toilet paper, candles, incense etc. and spend twenty plus hours a week at the center to greet new people and make sure it is running well.
Although I and the other leaders of our community don't take any pay for the work we do and the revenue generating courses -- we offer are the same price or cheaper than market value -- people still vehemently criticize us for charging money at all. The same people who are so happy to find us and have a community don't want to pay for it or contribute anything. Still, we do have a beautiful community center for now and I'm still hopeful that more people from the community will step up to help us keep it.
What does Wicca have to offer the world?
Wicca offers the world an opportunity to love itself and to leave behind the guilt of trying to live up to a dogmatic code written thousands of years ago. We see the Divine as Masculine and Feminine which empowers women to be strong as they connect with the Goddess and men to be nurtured, nurturing and gentle. That nourishes us! Wicca encourages stewardship of the world in way that is cooperative rather than dominating. It is a beautiful spiritual path that offers a blueprint for freedom of mind and spirit. The sad part is that although many people say that they are Wiccan, they do not participate in their communities.
I am hopeful that Wicca will be around for other generations to give them the joy, growth and support that I have received in my life, but I am not sure that it will be.
Location: Montreal, Quebec
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