I've been noticing a trend that has me puzzled. A number of people have told me they're "Wiccan but not a witch". As a Wiccan of many years I can tell you that witchcraft is inextricably woven into the Wiccan religion whether one spell casts, divines, scry's, etc or not. It's built into the core of Wicca. But my question is, why am I hearing more people resist the w word? My thought is that with Wicca becoming more accessible to the public, are people bringing mainstream fears with them? Thoughts?
Why don't you start a thread on "Differing Methods Of Ritual Practice" , Stavros ?
It doesn't for me personally, I am both and I call myself both interchangeably depending on the context in conversation. Although i DO get irked when people on *certain* social sites [okay tumblr and instagram for instance] use "witchy", "witch" or "bruja" (spanish for Witch) to describe their [all black] outfit for the day with black, floppy fashionable hat and black lipstick, or their current [gloomy] mood (i know most of you have had to have seen this floating around online everywhere at least once). At first it didn't bother me as much, but now it's a trend that just won't go away, especially since a lot of the people i've seen doing it i knew personally who were NOT pagan in any way and have actually criticized paganism and the like, so if anything it gave off a bad taste to me. So now, I am still out of the broom closet, but i'm wary again of individuals who seem they would deem my legit spiritual experience as simply a passing "trend", so i don't openly flaunt it too much like i used to unless within a pagan community or like-minded people.
I wonder if this particular fashion craze has anyone else bugged? hmm :/
In traditional times, a "witch" or whatever we're calling ourselves WAS involved with the community.
Of course, in a traditional community, everyone is a "witch" in that they follow the belief system, but the practitioners, the healers/shamans/etc., were defined by the role in the context of community.
I was trained by an indigenous shaman. I cannot even put a lot of this out there for discussion, but I can say that a central point to his teaching was that if you have this power/ability you must use it. Having taken on the role, you become a servant to humanity. You cannot refuse a request for assistance. What might seem to others as an exalted position is in fact a position of servitude to deities and to humans.
In the modern context, where we really have very little "community" going on, this becomes a question to ponder. Do we have social responsibility if we're pagan? To traditional people, it is an absurd question, since the spiritual figures' role included things crucial to the survival of the group.
In a way it is an impossibility to reconstruct pagan ways, since the sociocultural context has disappeared. Trying to recreate that sort of community is virtually impossible now.
So I'd say that philosophically a pagan ought to consider that there is an ethical obligation to help people, but it is a general thing, almost like Jesus' injunction to "love thy neighbor as thyself". The "community" we have to work with is a global one. If we have any goodness in us, we'll see it as Martin Buber and Dr. ML King did, as a "glorious community" in which all are one, and we must "do unto others" or live a pointless existence.
Why is it important if they call themselves witch or Wicca? Just because they prefer one tittle over another doesn't equal bringing their mainstream fears with them; there could be X number of reasons individuals use a specific tittle.
I get a little suspicious when I see this question posed by a Traditional Wicca initiate and suspect that the question really being posed is who has the right to use the Wicca word.
But that's just my suspicious nature.
This discussion really has two components... what do we call ourselves when among other pagans, and what do we call ourselves publically, in the majority-Christian environment?
To me, saying to pagans that I'm a "witch" seems redundant. Like, duh, I'm pagan, so I'm a witch, some would say. So with them I'll be more specific... I'm eclectic, solitary, green, Celtic, Hindu, shamanic, etc.
With the mainstream I always say that I'm pagan. One advantage to this is that they usually don't immediately grasp what that means, so they're off balance and can't start up immediately with the "Satan-worshipping" accusations which will come if you say you're Wiccan.
But the bottom line really with the mainstream is, Who Cares? They don't get it anyway...
Hi, I'm pagan...
I've been noticing a trend that has me puzzled. A number of people have told me they're "Wiccan but not a witch".
It's a really long story, some of the archives may help with understanding. Believe it or not, there are a percentage of Neopagans that haven't really let go of their Christian backgrounds. They want to be accepted and if the word 'Witch' is keeping them alienated from friends and family, they deny the practice. Some still do practice witchcraft, others do not and claim it's only a religion of goddess worship. This isn't The Tradition of Wicca, this is what we've dubbed 'NeoWicca' but you can call yourself whatever you want. That doesn't mean, others will accept it. Acceptance seeking doesn't produce much, aside more dissent. There's been years long arguments about this very topic. Search the archives.
It is a stigmatised word the Christian church did its utmost in its 'culture war' during the conversion era to use it to stigmatise those who practiced the remnants of paganism. Nowadays witch is a more generic term but as quite a few modern definitions state it is still not without a connection to Christianity: it is person ( in some cases a woman) who uses magic or sorcery or black magic or communication with the devil or a familiar.
The use of magic pretty much sums up a goodly proportion of the neopagan community but it really doesn't tell us much at all about what individuals practice, there are many alternatives to the witch word if people are uncomfortable with it.