wicca

i try very hard to see the value in all religions, but i have to confess wicca is the most difficult for me to understand. i would think that the basis for following a particular religion would be a) historical support, or b) personal revelation. i've talked with many witches, & when i ask them why they believe what they believe, i have invariably gotten a list of things wrong with christianity, usually followed by the statement that pagan practices are older than jesus.

so i was just curious if anyone has encountered a wiccan who had a more convincing case for their faith. maybe everyone i've spoken with has just been in a rebelious phase, & the "real" witches don't ride around with 'goddess on board' bumperstickers on their car.

I think Gardner put together a pastiche -- add a little ceremonial magic(k) here, a bit of folklore there, some chunks of what we DO know (not much) about ancient paganism... some typical male-female balance stuff (whether from Jung or Tao doesn't matter), etc. Did a very good job.

The wiccans I know (and I know a pretty good number) are really great and sincere people; many have "evolved" from the Gardnerian set-up originally. But yeah, I don't think the historical support is there, really. They tend to be lax about history, or not the most academically sophisticated about it. (Mind you, I haven't actually read much Starhawk or other of the more articulate proponents of wicca). As far as "personal revelation" I find many of them do think of themselves as psychic, or use divination methods they think provide something akin to revelation (even if only small ones). In essence they think it "works for them", even if not a "new dispensation" kind of revelation.

There's also this overlay of feminism which makes it appealing to many -- "the Patriarchical religions of the present era are toppling!" The appeal of this sort of thing speaks to real psychological needs, and bypasses critical functions in many instances. Which is pretty funny if you know much about Gardner himself.... but it has evolved past him, as I said.

Caveat -- this is all just from personal exposure to people, and only the most cursory reading of Wiccan literature. I'm sure Gardner or (especially) Valiente or Starhawk could be much more enlightening in a very few paragraphs than I can be in a longer essay.

thanks for the post ali, i have studied very little wicca as well. is gardner the guy who structured wicca back in the '60s? i've also met many who were nice people, but i've met many more who were more combative than the most evangelical christian, which i thought was ironic. i had hoped that they weren't the norm.

i had forgotten about divination as a form faith-experience. my brother doesn't claim to be a pagan, but he'll throw rune stones & such from time to time.

i heard one story, friend of a friend sort of thing, of this guy who had a vision of odin telling him to worship him. he was in seminary at the time. he dropped out & did what odin told him. still believed in the christian god, though. but this doesn't seem to be the typical neo-pagan experience.

I wanna say Gardner structured wicca back in the late 40s, but I've always been horrid with dates. It is earlier than the 60s though, of that I'm pretty sure. There were some connections between Gardner and Crowley, much of the wiccan material actually, uh, "borrowed" and re-shaped from there, though most Wiccans today get offended if that's pointed out -- due to Crowley being a classic example of "male ego, age of Pisces, passing-era" whatever whatever. Also the wiccan motto "An it harm none, do what ye will" seems to them like a more "conscious" form of Crowley's Law of Thelema: "Do what you will shall be the whole of the Law". But the wiccans REALLY don't understand that one. Takes a bit of reading, at least, to get to what Crowley was after!

I went to some Odinist/Asatru winter/yule/whatever ("Christmas season") ceremony, on an invite. I understood about 1/4 of what was going on. Seemed very much like the wiccan stuff I've been exposed to -- different form and jargon, but similar in that it's this odd pastiche. And they casted runes for the coming year [which, by the way, has some real rough spots but will all be ok in the end, and we'll learn the true nature of our strength etc. ;-)]

whew, that's a relief! i could use a break after this year :)

There was a site a while back called "Why Wiccans Suck" written by an occultist. Sadly, it appears to have been taken down. Some of his points can be found here:

http://www.wiccaweb.com/suck_immaturity.php

I don't think Wiccans suck as a rule, but there are certainly some... Interesting folks involved with the religion. Back in my neo-pagan days I found I got along better with Asatru/Odinist folks more than Wiccans. Asatru men definitely skewed toward the "guy's guy" stereotype. (Think drinking, watching UFC, etc.) Wiccans I knew were almost exclusively female and very new-agey.

If you want to play with demons then do wicca.

End of Thread IMO

I believe there are a few members here who have been involved in the occult to some degree. It's possible they might better explain it to you; or not.

And I happen to agree with Aaron.

hi aaron & vc,

i'm not too concerned in this thread with how christians perceive wicca, since that is common knowledge, but with how witches perceive themselves & rationalize or understand their beliefs. so let's not "end of thread" just yet. thanks!

I suppose I'm one of those who has, in VC Viking's terms, "been involved with the occult to some degree"... though not a Wicca expert. I have friends who are Wiccan. I dated a Wiccan (briefly), and run across wiccans in more tangential fashion -- on the corners of studying divination and such. Oddly, even in law school, a Wiccan woman was my legal-writing T.A..... been preached at by those people a fair amount!

i've brought this up with a few others since i posted this thread; most
folks agree with you. wicca is either a stepping stone or as good an
opiate as any.