Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 1 (The Center)
September 15th. 2013 ...
Some Pagan Prayers
The Holocaust Survivor (Part II)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Bramble and Cerridwen
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Wicca and Respect
Article ID: 15131
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 552
Times Read: 2,648
RSS Views: 53,115
Posted: September 2nd. 2012
Times Viewed: 2,648
Wicca. The word conjures (pun intended) an image of a young girl, probably dressed in black, almost assuredly Caucasian, wearing a large ostentatious pentacle in silver and draped in a cloak of dime store velveteen while surfing pet listing to find a black cat without that annoying rogue white paw. It probably also brings up youthful ‘phases’ of writing in a Book of Shadows, watching The Craft (but pretending not to like it) and reading whatever you can find at the local bookstore on witches while mispronouncing everything and hollering about ‘the burning times’ť at the drop of a hat. It seems to me that all the images we have of Wicca are of young, beginning people who have a very childish approach to religion. Surprisingly, I don’t get these images from anti-Pagan Christians or from mocking nonbelievers. I get these images from fellow Pagans.
Wicca seems to be viewed by other Pagans as an entry-level position, so to speak. Many Pagans I speak with found Paganism through the lens of Wicca before they moved onto their current paths. What I want to highlight in this essay is that moving from Wicca to another Pagan path should not be viewed as a path …but instead as a move ‘away’. ť Wicca is a path of its own, with its own symbolism and mythos that is not a simple stop-by on the Pagan spiritual progression.
I came to Wicca late in the game, so to speak. My entry into the Pagan world was not through Wicca but through Hellenismos and other Reconstructionist Pagan paths. When I was researching religion after deciding to leave Christianity and finding Buddhism not working for me, the last thing I wanted was Wicca. Wicca seemed to me to be a childish sort of Paganism reserved for teenagers that had no intellectual weight. The stain of poor history put forth by early Wiccans about witch-cults and Gardner’s past seemed to be unavoidable and troubling to say the least. Reconstructionism seemed to me to offer a more intellectual and historically accurate form of worship and ritual. I had a problem, though. Every time I worshiped or performed ritual in these ways, I felt like I was running into a wall. I felt no inspiration and I felt like I was going through the motions. I was an atheist for a long time and I just felt like nothing was going to move me. Then it happened.
I decided to give Wiccan ways a try. I mean, what did I have to lose? I had read a lot on Wicca and I knew many of the basic ways they worshiped and did ritual. I built an altar with homemade items. I cast the circle, saluting the elements and the God and Goddess. The candles were beautiful, the sweet incense enticing. And it happened. I felt something. It was not some thunderstruck prophet-moment. It was just a simply joy that filled me up. I felt comfortable, beautifully involved with what I was doing and happy. I continued doing rituals and simple blessings daily at my patchwork homemade shrine and my joy continued. I felt refreshed and inspired. I felt like I had found something that truly worked for me. The writings of Gardner, Valiente, Sanders, the Farrars, and the rest were a big inspiration. I no longer took them literally, nor did I need to. I took them as a toolkit: a language, a symbolism, and a system to organize spirituality. It worked.
As I rejoiced personally in my newfound spirituality, I began to get dismayed at how Wicca was talked about and how fellow Pagans portrayed it. I was told on forums and in person that I should give up “that silly stuff” and focus on something more serious. When I talked about the God and Goddess I received frowns or eye-rolls from Recons and irritated sighs from Eclectics who told me that the BTW form of Wicca (the form I feel closest to and want to work with) was elitist and full of holes. I was constantly pointed to “better scholarship” that was meant to show me the error of my silly witchy ways. It began to get overwhelming. When I tried to explain to people that it was the ritual of Wicca that appealed to me and that the Goddess and God duality was simply a form of deity that inspired me, it didn’t seem to matter. How can it not matter?
I do not believe that other approaches to the gods are wrong. I believe that the hard polytheist Recon and the soft polytheist or pantheist Pagan can work together. I know they can for I have seen them do it. What I find puzzling is that these two groups can agree to disagree but all seem to be willing to shoot down Wiccan duotheism as a poor path. This seems unhelpful and judgmental, to say the least. If the pantheist who uses polytheism as a lens through which to see some greater truth is welcome at the table then I see no reason whatsoever that the Wiccan’s duotheism can not be welcome either.
There are serious and dedicated Wiccans out there, believe you me. I have met with them, spoke with them and learned from them. Many Wiccans practice their path with the same dedication and love that other Pagans do. Are there beginners who give a bad name to the religion? Of course there are. Think of this. How many liberal, kind, loving Christians do you know? If you're like me, you know many. Now, do those free-thinking and loving people allow the screeching conservative faces of their religion to get them down or define their faith? No, of course not. Why can't we in the Pagan community do the same? Many Asatru practitioners were not willing to allow racists to hijack their religion and we Wiccans are not willing to let sloppy practice and bad scholarship poison ours. You’ve dealt with your wing nuts; we’re dealing with ours.
Wiccan rituals may not be ancient. In fact, most Wiccans freely admit that they aren’t. Does it really matter? If traditional Wiccan practices give people a way in which to worship and a structure for ritual and a mythos of one’s own then I see no reason why it can’t be welcomed openly in contemporary Paganism. Wicca deserves a lot of the credit for bringing Paganism into the mainstream and popularizing earth-centered spirituality. Wicca has allowed thousands of people who felt empty and closed off from religion to find a place where their voices are heard and their experience celebrated. Wicca has been a therapeutic and restorative religion for so many. It deserves a little respect for all of this, does it not?
I am not a teenager. I am educated. I am dedicated. I respect history and scholarship. I respect the views of others and realize that my duotheism may not jive with others. I am all of this, and I am Wiccan. If Wicca was a starting point for you but you felt that it did not fulfill something in you, then that is perfectly fine. If other Pagan paths called to you or if a more Eclectic branch came out of your spiritual workings then that is great. Please, however, do not think that leaving Wicca is somehow graduating to something with more meat and less fluff. I firmly believe that religion can only give out what you put in. If a newly converted Pagan practices Wicca and only uses bad scholars, poorly written rituals and mass media portraitures of witchcraft, then what could the expected outcome be? Many of us, on the other hand, are putting in love and dedication, intelligence and devotion.
What we get out of Wicca is beautiful. Mutual respect is crucial to any religion, especially one as diverse and contemporary Paganism. Let’s try and respect the religion that did so much for modern Pagans, and does so much for thousands of practitioners today.
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