Wicca: Believe Anything You Want?
Article ID: 10665
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Chris K Underwood
Posted: May 7th. 2006
Times Viewed: 6,857
“That’s the great thing about Wicca; you can believe whatever you want.”
Have you seen this or something like this before?
This is a common misconception repeated on different web sites and e-groups. As a Wiccan, not only does it disturb me, it somewhat offends me to a small degree.
Do not get me wrong here; I am not writing this in anger. I am not ranting for the sake of ranting. I just find it disturbing that many people who claim to be Wiccan can make such a statement. Wicca is a religion with specific beliefs, tenets, and concepts that define what it is. A religion is a specific set system of belief and ways of worshiping within that system.
You can believe whatever you like and call it a religion, but you cannot believe whatever you want and use the name of an already existing system. If this were true, I could make such a statement as “I worship rock lizards and believe they are the divine influence and creator of my life. This is my religion and I call it Christianity. The great part about Christianity is you can believe whatever you want.” I am not picking on Christianity or people who may worship rock lizards, only making the point that a religion cannot be whatever a person wants it to be.
I believe this thought process stems from the misconception of a basic Wiccan concept. I blame this on the lack of good credible Wiccan teachers, considering the huge explosion of the popularity of the religion in the past decade or two. It is unfortunate there are some great people out there who wish to learn, but have no access to a real Wiccan in which to discuss and learn these concepts outside the local book store.
The Wiccan concept I am referring to is that Wiccans believe all paths leading to the divine or higher spirituality are valid and no one way is the only way. Therefore, in this manner, Wiccans do believe that “you can believe whatever you want”. Nevertheless, this is not to say you are a Wiccan, or that a Wiccan can believe whatever they want. If you are worshiping the before mentioned rock lizards then you are not a Wiccan. The meaning of the concept is “Wiccans believe all religions are valid”.
If the ideas, concepts, and tenets of the religion fit what you believe, then please consider further study, practice and call your self a Wiccan all you like. If you find that you enjoy the study of Wicca and like some concepts of the religion but have reservations or personal beliefs that do not match, then please call your beliefs something else. The Wiccans out there will support you and your belief; just do not try to convince people that your personal beliefs are Wiccan.
Some have argued with me on various forums that there is no real definition of the Wiccan religion; therefore, it can be interpreted in many forms. This is a misconception of the same stripe. Wicca most definitely has a definition, and can be described by any Wiccan who has studied and learned the system. Wicca is a mystery religion or a non-revealed religion that does not publicly declare its beliefs -but that does not mean those beliefs are not known to the practitioners.
Do not get me wrong here either; beyond specifics, there are no major hidden aspects to the religion. I am instead speaking of a deeper study and understanding of the theology of the system. To put it bluntly, reading a few books and surfing some websites does not a Wiccan make.
I have read a couple of different versions of the Bible and surfed many Christian websites, yet I have not claimed to be a Catholic priest, nor would I wish to. The key to the learning process is motivation and desire, but so is the education itself. Some concepts of the religion are just not something you can explain on a piece of paper, no matter how articulate a persons writing is. These are things that take experience and a give and take dialogue with another more experienced person.
”Well what are the beliefs and tenets of Wicca?” This is the next question usually put to me in a rather sarcastic manor when I talk of subjects like this one. My intention was never to step on another person’s beliefs, but when I question the logic of what it is called, they sometimes take offense. I never felt offended when the same person is describing my religion to another with glaring misinformation and a personal slant. Nor do I feel the need to proclaim on a rooftop exactly what it is Wiccans believe.
I recommend doing some more research on the subject and we will save exact definitions for another article. Many writers in the Wiccan community have recommended you read, then read, and last, read some more. I agree with this wholeheartedly but understand that it is going to take time and many, many books. Even after all the research and reading, you still may not fully grasp the ideas and concepts of the religion you have chosen to study. You also may decide it really does not fit your beliefs as well as you first thought. Rather than attempting to change an already existing religion to match what you believe, you can always change to a religion that already fits your beliefs or create your own path if you cannot find one that works for you.
Wiccans do not need nor want other people thinking Wiccans can believe just anything they want. This leads to the more dangerous misconception “Wicca is not a religion”. We have come a long way in the last few decades, and this is an important battle in public perception that has already been won. We would rather not go backwards.
Therefore, if rock lizards are your deity of choice, or you have some other beliefs outside the Wiccan religion, enjoy them; they are yours to embrace. However, please just do us a huge favor and call it something else so that people won’t think Wiccans just believe anything.
Written by: Chris K Underwood
Edited by: Johnnie Keating
Copyright: Copyright Rev. Chris K Underwood
Permission to freely distribute is granted as long as the original content and credit is maintained.
Chris K Underwood
Location: Palm Beach County, Florida
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