Found a funny video about Wiccans by what appears to be a Wiccan. Consider it a rant by proxy...I love Wicca, but usually can't stand Wiccans.
Election season is upon us once again. Dems already know who their candidate is. They've apparently contented themselves to play it safe by continuing support for the current amateur in office, their money riding on the fact that he still seems startlingly electable. Meanwhile, on the other side of the isle things are shaking up a bit, and the race to become the opposition nominee is on.
I am tempted to go off into my own little analysis of the current crop of candidates, but that is something perhaps best left for another time. Instead, I would send out this appeal to my Wiccan (and by extension, Pagan) brethren to really think this one out.
Listen, I get it. Being a liberal is the unwritten commandment amongst modern neopagans. And we don't call it groupthink...nah, we call it enlightenment. I mean, how can so many who hate Bush and the Republicans be wrong, right? (As a quick reminder, Bush is no longer running for any office, so it is best that we redirect our full hatred to someone like Palin, is it not?) And while I'm on it, isn't it way past time we pulled out of Vietnam....er, I mean Iraq, and um, Libya? Oh, wait a minute...Libya is Obamas' little exercise virility via military power...we can't (and don't) bitch about that...anti-war credibility be damned.
Seriously now, my little jabs aside, things are way too serious for us to remain political sheep. It's time to put away the historical revisionism and get a grip on who and what the parties before us actually represent. For a group that prides themselves on being so smart, we pagan types are incredibly stupid when it comes to reasonably understanding history and the parties we elect into power. I am not saying this as a committed Republican (which I am not), but as a convicted (and arguably somewhat educated) conservative libertarian.
Please take a couple minutes and view these videos. They are brief, and will present to you a series of historical facts (many of which I presented in an earlier rant) which completely contradict the image crafted for mass consumption by the left, an image born of deceit and lies for the purposes of misleading you, my well intentioned but grossly misinformed brother. It's time for the thinking pagans with integrity to reassess their allegiances, and their teachers. We are on a downward trajectory...do you really want to be part of the machine that keeps us on this suicidal decline?
It is not my intention to suggest a switch of allegiances from one party to the other (although in this case I think it would certainly be an improvement), but from propaganda to personal integrity. Be responsible. Be educated. Stop buying into canned thoughts cribbed from left wing talking points. In short, stop being what Lenin referred to as a "useful idiot". Know history.
Think folks, think. Blessed be.
One of the great things that made Wicca an accessible religious system to me is ironically the very same thing that has long been one of my chief complaints...namely, the incredibly broad diversity of understandings and approaches that can call themselves Wiccan with some measure of legitimacy. Customarily one can expect some degree of difference to exist within any religious group, but usually there is some core set of beliefs and practices that unite the individual practitioners into a cohesive whole. While many elements may be similar or commonly understood from group to group, there is no commonly held set of beliefs or practices that serve all Wiccans, whether in group or individual practice. To my mind, while such flexibility can prove immensely valuable to some, it is also one of several Achilles Heels for Wicca as a large scale religious body.
This lack of a cohesive standard of practice and belief has been noted over the course of Wicca's development throughout the decades. The most famous effort to unify the various Wiccan factions was by a group self-designated as "the Council of American Witches," who in 1974 convened in Minneapolis, Minnesota to draft the first ever "13 Principles of Belief," which were intended to represent the majority of practicing American Witches. Of course we, being the nit-picky bunch that we are, would have none of that (although many groups today do in fact subscribe to this document).
I present here not only the original thirteen principles (in blue) put forward by the CoAW (which hilariously disbanded immediately thereafter), but I do so nested within a retort written by Aldous Tyler to illustrate our own failure in finding universal ground as practicing Wiccans. Furthermore, I add my own commentary (in red) to distinguish my own views and approach from that presented in the "Principles":
"13 Principles of Belief, Retort
by Aldous Tyler
I sympathise with you, for, sometime not so long ago, I too was under a number of misconceptions about what it meant to be "pagan" or a "witch". So, in only the interest of your further education, I will point out the inaccuracies in the Council of American Witches only surviving document:
1) We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal quarters and cross-quarters.
2) We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.
Firstly, I am afraid that there are many pagans and witches who do nothing even approximating the above two points. I, for one, hold no ceremony based on the rhythms of nature for myself. There is simply no need. No matter where I am, I feel the change of seasons and day into night and back again. Marking each with ceremony is thus a completely unneeded act. I might do so if I feel like it, but that's as far as it goes.
I've yet to conduct or participate in a ritual for the purpose stated above. A more appropriate goal is to attune with the forces of Deity, rather than the more restrictive focus of Terra-based "nature". While the Esbats (moon cycles) and Sabbats (seasonal quarters and cross-quarters) do have some bearing in when ritual is conducted, it is as a general guide only. While many if not most Wiccans favor the Sabbats for their seasonal celebratory value, I prefer the Esbats for their superior consciousness-altering conditions.
On the second point, there are those of us who are not terribly environmentalist in our day to day lives or attitudes. I've seen plenty of purely Wiccan events where styrofoam plates and cups were used and tossed into the landfill-bound recepticles at the end. Are these folks not true Wiccans? Of course they are. They just don't happen to be in compliance with this concept.
This, of course, says nothing about the fact that personally, I feel that our intelligence gives us the unique responsibility to not take anything as holy writ, such as these "rules". Let's face it, we won't hurt nature if we wipe ourselves and every other living thing off this planet. It will begin again, quite happy to be rid of us. It started without life, it can start again if we eliminate it. In fact, I don't believe that any harsh conditions we might impose on this planet, such as radiation, chemical poisoning or the like, will keep it from forming new life. By all accounts, the conditions under which the first life formed the first time around were very harsh and unprotected. It might take our planet up to a hundred thousand years or more to get around to creating new life, but in the lifespan of a planet, that's the blink of an eye. No, I do not buy into the "save the Earth" concept at all. The Earth will be fine. It US we might want to save.
This "principle" is symbolic of the impact of radical environmentalism on the development of Wicca. My own beliefs include responsible stewardship, but "nature" is not defined in modern environmentalist terms, but rather as a consideration of "natural forces", most of which are seen through traditional views. And Tyler is correct here in noting that overall few Wiccans actually practice what many dogmatically preach.
3) We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than is apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary, it is sometimes called "supernatural," but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.
Interestingly, I know a number of Wiccans who do not perorm magick, or believe it exists outside the psychological thoughtforms that human beings can deceive themselves with. Yes, I think these folks are in denial, but I won't go so far as to call them "un-Wiccan".
While Tyler is correct that some do not practice magick, on the whole I am in agreement with the principle offered. Magick is, to my view, a psychological and spiritual process that in the end is essentially an elaborate form of "prayer", or interaction with Deity to bring about certain ends.
4) We conceive of the Creative Power of the Universe as manifesting through polarity--as masculine and feminine--and that this same creative Power lives in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sexuality as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of Life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship.
Ah, now, if only this were true. It would be nice if all Wiccans, much less all Witches, were gender balanced in their approach to spirituality. But just ask the Dianics or other radical feminist Wiccans, and you'll find that the divine male is barely there, if mentioned at all. These folks are Wiccan. These folks are Witches. Once more we see that this document, closing in on thirty years of age, has little basis in reality, and no hold on those who practice either the religion of Wicca or one of the many magickal systems called "Witchcraft".
The principle provided is generally correct inasmuch as it represents how it should be. But as Tyler points out, Wicca on the whole is grossly imbalanced with regard not only to gender equality, but even towards a realistic treatment of the genders. Just as radical environmentalism is a pollutant in mainstream Wicca, feminism is a disease that distorts much of its potential beauty. On a couple of relatively minor points, gender polarity is a crucial component of Wicca that tends to go to the wayside, and sexuality is not only one of the sources of energy used in magickal practice, but it is perhaps the most potent (although the associated taboos and common social conditioning prevent most from seriously considering it as such).
5) We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological worlds-- sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, the Inner Planes, etc.--and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.
As I said above, there are plenty on both sides of this one who do not recognise a balance between the psychological and the "outer" metaphysical.
As previously mentioned, much of my own understanding and approach is through psychological terms, so I am here in agreement. However, as Tyler points out, it is rather ridiculous to state that neither the outer or inner world is neglected for the other. Our natural, or conditioned state is the outer world. Exploration and cultivation of the inner world requires particluar focus. We by default neglect the inner in favor of the outer, which is the whole reason for the purposeful spiritual journey.
6) We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.
This has never been close to accurate, as what of the High Priest and Priestess roles in many Wiccan covens? What of the degrees (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and for some, more)? This statement should never have been adopted into this document by any sane Wiccan of any time period. Gardner, the founder of the religon, knew better.
There are those who try to abide by this viewpoint, and there are even more who pay lip-service to it. I personally have little use for it, as I think it completely ignores the value of a traditionally structured system. There is some wisdom in the recognition of equality between all men in their individual journeys, but radical egalitarianism can become quite foolish. Who could seriously entertain the notion that the neophyte whose training consisted of a couple readings of Silver Ravenwolf is on equal ground with the High Priest of twenty years? And besides, as unpopular as it may sound, there is some very real value to "hierarchy" in a religious system...something most Wiccans, in thier lack of balance and wisdom, fail to understand.
7) We see religion, magick, and wisdom-in-living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it--a world view and philosophy of life, which we identify as Witchcraft or the Wiccan Way.
8) Calling oneself "Witch" does not make a Witch--but neither does heredity itself, or the collecting of titles, degrees, and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within him/herself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well, without harm to others, and in harmony with Nature.
And here we have yet again the misconception that to be Wiccan you must practice magick. This is simply not true. But here, we now see the fundamental ignorance in this document, for not all Witches are Wiccan. There are plenty who practice Witchcraft, who follow no set religion at all, or even follow Christianity, Judaism or another, non-Wiccan faith. And that doesn't beign to account for the followers of Anton Lavey. And again, not all Wiccans are mindful of the concept of "harming none"- many shrug this tired writ off as useless, given that it is impossible to harm no one or nothing and still exist.
I am quite fond of the part that "a Witch (Wiccan) seeks to control the forces within himself (gender neutral - figure it out) that make life possible in order to live wisely and well...". That's quite a fine ideal, and a significant focus for myself. I'm pretty sure it is far from universally practiced, however. Not harming others is another fine ideal, but I do not subscribe to it as dogma like some do (my version of the Rede is 'An it harm none, do as thou wilt. An it bring harm, do as ye must). As for the nature thing, like I said previously, "nature" to me is not focused on gaian clap-trap...it's about the natural order of things.
9) We acknowledge that it is the affirmation and fulfillment of life, in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness, that gives meaning to the Universe we know, and to our personal role within it.
A fine sentiment, but one not commonly seen outside of this document.
I'm not even sure I can wrap my head around some of this new-agey psycho-babble, much less buy into it. But it sounds kinda warm and fuzzy...
10) Our only animosity toward Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy-of-life is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be "the one true right and only way" and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practices and belief.
Gerald Garder himself held more animosity towards Christianty than this, and by comparison to some of the anti-Christian rhetoric we see flying from the mouths of neophytes and elders everywhere, Gardner was NICE. This belonged in a document of Wiccan principles like mustard belongs in a milkshake.
Absolute nonsense. Like I've said over and over, Wiccans almost define themselves by the fact that they have a major stick up their butts about Christians. Personally, I actually believe what is so falsely expressed here...except where some may insist that their way is the only way and seek to enforce it on others, I have absolutely no beef with Christians. As a matter of fact, I have a great deal of respect and even admiration for Christianity. But in truth, based on my experience I have to say that I am in the minority of Wiccans on this matter.
11) As Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present, and our future.
Ahh, and this is why so many Wiccans, unschooled in the origin of their religion, visciously attack anyone who tells them that the only amount of millenia that Wicca has existed for is approximately 0.06? This was simply adopted to hide the fact that many less scooled Wiccans and other pagans (I was in this latter category some time ago) think that the age of a religion somehow makes it better.
Tyler is correct on this score. At the time that this document was written, most Wiccans were horribly educated in most history related to Witchcraft and Wicca. To this day, large numbers of Wiccans still buy into a lot of bad or "alternative" history that re-enforces the things they prefer to believe rather than what more serious presentations reveal. Matriarchal pre-history, anyone?
12) We do not accept the concept of "absolute evil," nor do we worship any entity known as "Satan" or "the Devil" as defined by Christian Tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor do we accept the concept that personal benefits can only be derived by denial to another.
The only note here is something of a technical one. Perhaps the most unifying element common to most practicing Wiccan is the belief in or adherence to some version of socialist world view. This inherently conflicts with any denial that they accept that "benefits can only be derived by denial to another." Liberalism, as a modern form of socialism is firmly rooted in precisely the opposite, from each according to his means to each according to his need.
13) We work within Nature for that which is contributory to our health and well-being.
As does everyone, pagan, Wiccan, Witch or not. Nature isn't just the woods, or some remote mountaintop, nor is it only the yummy raspberry. Nature is also the poisonous hemlock, the form of communal hive-shelter we human beings call cities, and the chemicals we produce from things that came from this earth. It's ALL nature, and everyone works with it tocontribute to thier health and well-being. They simply don't agree on what that is, most often.
Once again, "nature" is to me more than just the trees and bees on this single rock floating in the universe. Wicca is to me not about "nature" as popularly understood, but natural forces which are universal. And Tyler hits on a very good point that is poorly understood in many variants of Wicca...it's not all white light and butterflies. The individual process is fine and dandy as a feel-good lite religion, but it is half empty until we seek out and engage the shadow as well.
I hope this helps illuminate why many Wiccans, witches of other kinds and pagans find this list of rules to ahve been flawed from the beginning and not applicable to them. I am personally sorry to see that it was authored here in Minneapolis, but that does give me one unique perspective on it- no one I know around here would sign a document like this today.
So there you have it...one of the few historical efforts for us to get our collective act together...and what a mess it was. Perhaps in a future rant I will propose my version of what I think should be universal Wiccan concepts. Until then, I'm tired of typing.
I recently finished a relatively new book on Wiccan history titled "Modern Wicca: A History From Gerald Gardner to the Present." Aside of Professor Hutton's work, Triumph of the Moon, I would have to say that this is the best book on the subject that I have read in some time, and even Professor Hutton referred to it as an "extremely important book."
The author, Michael Howard, is a famous author of the popular pagan magazine The Cauldron, and has been part of Wicca since almost the very beginning. As such he draws upon both first hand accounts and very close sources to give an accounting of many little known details of Wiccan origins. Remarkably, rather than follow the suit of other authors who have seen fit to tow left-wing socio-political views as core components of Wicca, Mr. Howard presents a fairly objective history, thus setting him apart from his contemporaries.
If I were to have a criticism, it would be that the book focuses far more on the early days of Wicca to the neglect of further developments. This is not necessarily a bad thing, certainly the work of earlier origins needed to be done. However, as a history "from Gerald Gardner to the present," I had expected the bulk to focus on developments beyond Gardner rather than the opposite. In this sense, the subtitle of the book is slightly deceptive. But again, that is a minor issue at best, given the value of the book overall.
A second, if more substantial criticism, is that the author is somewhat given to speculation in many instances. Wiccan history as documented thus far by most supposed historians (Hutton excluded, of course) has been full of such speculations, opinions, and outright fabrications. While Mr. Howard seems to avoid these, he also relies on some of the unverified earlier contributions to substantiate possible conclusions. However, even as close as he may have been to the original sources, this is still seemingly unavoidable for a variety of reasons.
As a conservative Wiccan, one of the things I valued most was what appeared to be his clear acknowledgment that many of the early members, including Gardner himself, were politically conservative. This is a critical element of understanding that is seemingly absent in most highly politicized approaches to Wicca commonly found today. If we are to listen to the common consensus, Wicca is almost defined by radical left-wing views, and we don't hear a peep about the founders being largely conservative in many if not most of their views. And on the rare occasion that we are confronted with the fact of Gardner the conservative, it is usually dismissed with charges of Gardner the pervert. At least with Howards work, we have an (relatively small) acknowledgment of conservatism in the roots of Wicca by virtue of our forbears political proclivities. And hopefully it will serve as a small base for future inclusion of conservative values in the Wiccan mainstream. A guy can wish, right?
Rather than present an exhaustive review of the book, I would instead offer a hearty recommendation. While the material would be suitable for "outsiders" with only a cursory knowledge of Wicca, it is required reading for Wiccans, plain and simple. Without a doubt, this will be a book I read again, and keep close by for reference.
I commented to my wife last night that I am a "pretty crappy Wiccan." Most others have a very full calender year in which eight Sabbats (holidays or festivals) are celebrated and thirteen moons (26, if you are the hard charging type who does the new moons too) give occasion for further spiritual and magickal work. I, on the other hand, have come to mostly prefer a minimalist approach to religious observance.
Now it might be said that 21-34 (or more) observances in a year is nothing...Christians go to Church once, twice, or even three times weekly. This is quite different though, because for Wiccans there is much, much more to these events than listening to sermons while sitting in the pews and possibly singing a few hymns. For those charged with planning and organizing an event, a lot of preparation is involved and a multitude of variables are considered and addressed for each instance. Even those who "just show up" can be completely exhausted after a ritual, as the good ones will often tax you both physically and spiritually. In other words, effective participation in Wiccan rituals are not only spiritually rewarding, but they are also draining. This is one of the reasons why I, in my absolute commitment to slackerhood, do not observe most Sabbats. In our practice, we emphasize only two of the eight, Samhain and Beltaine, while the others are minor observances at best.
This is probably heresy to many Wiccan gurus. But in all honesty, as I have said before, I could care less about the seasonal cycles and and crop rotations, except for any symbolic value it might have for understanding common human experiences. Therefore, any insistence by self-styled fundamentalists that the full year need be observed falls flat on my decidedly deaf ears. I've made no bones about the fact that to me any intelligent distillation of Wicca does not result in a form of nature-worship, it must lead first and foremost to the God and the Goddess, and then to man and woman. From a certain perspective, Wicca is a humanist religion, as contradictory as that may sound. As a result of this disregard for the agrarian and pastoral cycles, most of the Sabbats, while useful, have much lesser significance. In contrast to these six lesser Sabbats, Beltaine is the most squarely focused on the God and Goddess, their relationship with one another, and their union. It most effectively sums up the whole of our theological and most important philosophical premises, and is to my mind therefore the most holy of Wiccan Sabbats.
Having justified the cause for my being a "crappy Wiccan," let me move on to how Beltaine was for Mr. and Mrs. Page this year. I think I have made mention previously that I fall into the vast majority of practicing Wiccans that are solitary practitioners (although I wonder, if it is my wife and I doing the "practicing" together, are we really "solitary?"), and this can be quite advantageous in some respects, particularly in that it allows for comfortable sharing with intense intimacy. This is very desirable for a Beltaine ritual, so to us being "solitary" is actually quite useful on this the greatest of Sabbats.
Wiccan Traditions in large part hold some elements of ritual to be oathbound, meaning that they are not revealed to outsiders, even Wiccans from other traditions. Likewise, I too believe that some portions of ritual are best left undisclosed because of their (sometimes intensely) private nature, and because they cannot be understood properly by unprepared minds. Therefore, while I would like to share the many wonderful things that happen within the Circle, I am necessarily confined to presenting themes rather than specific ritual content.
Having said that, the ritual this year was even better than that of last Beltaine. I use a basic structural template for rituals that I created some time ago, but it is designed to allow for the simple insertion of content given the overall purpose at the time. On this occasion we had decided to simplify things, and narrowed down to the most basic of frameworks. Even the portions having to do directly with the purpose were kept simple. Recognition of the seasonal significance, the importance of the specific point according to the Wheel of the Year mythos, and even the offering to the God and Goddess were left as the most simple of references or even stripped out completely. This was all for the purpose of minimizing mechanical demands and maximizing opportunities for internal experience. All in all, I think we were well served with this approach. Keep it simple, stupid.
Rowan, as usual, was to me nothing less than inspirational in leading the Circle. While Wicca is about the polarity of the God and Goddess through the equal recognition of both the feminine and masculine divine, it is almost inescapable that woman is the face and heart of the religion, whereas man may tend to be seen in only the shadows as the mind and perhaps the strength of the path. If it is the right woman, I prefer it this way, as they can stir the hearts and spirits of men unlike anything else. In the right circumstances, I am blessed that my wife is such a woman that she allows me to clearly glimpse the face of God, even if only for a time.
This post is not intended to be about my wife, and certainly it isn't. It is about Beltaine, its meaning, and my experience with it this year. But as a representative of the Goddess in a Wiccan ritual, and as my Wife and partner, I cannot approach the subject without mentioning her at length. And that is how it should be for Wiccans, I would think. Having it in mind to attempt a sharing of the magick that happened in this rit, as it does in virtually all of them, it is perhaps best to describe her first in her more common mundane roles.
My wife is in many respects an exceptional woman. Despite very modest beginnings, she has managed to do well for herself professionally, all through the sweat of her brow and the implementation of a very keen mind. Where the standards for what constitutes a good mother seem to have taken a significant dive in accordance with our post-modern sensibilities, I can say that my wife is a genuinely good Mom. This is something I could not say for many mothers I have known. And then there is the fact that she puts up with me. That in itself verifies her superior quality. She is constantly on the go, from morning to night, fulfilling often thankless and always demanding roles. As a result, her standard way of being is to be firmly plugged into the mundane real world on an almost perpetual basis. And then there is the part of her that is, well, quite common and unremarkable...or rather, unexciting. I certainly don't mean to say that in an offensive way. Having lived with the opposite before, I now value steadfastness and predictability over the sorts of "excitement" many modern women bring to the table. But like most of us, she too has her faults, peculiarities, and insecurities. These needn't be mentioned because they are so few, and mostly because she could possibly read this. Besides that, for every flaw she may have, certainly I have a dozen.
But Wiccan practice calls us to adopt a mode of being that is quite opposite of the hard reason-based no-nonsense reality we are accustomed to. To be a successful practicing Wiccan, we need to do things which are difficult for many of us. Among these are to develop an ability to suspend "reality" and visualize concepts, to leave ourselves and become our greater selves, to alter our consciousness in a way that allows for direct communication with the divine and to receive the mysteries, and to cultivate a path that may challenge our fears and insecurities at their very core. If our day to day lives presents ourselves in the light, then Wicca is most certainly a path of darkness. It asks us to put away the comfortability of what we think we are in favour of finding the fullness of what we really are, and to correct and/or embrace and nourish that. This means not only that we recognize and address our deficiencies, but that we find the strength of Deity that resides in ourselves. It also requires us to dig deep within, even into our more primal shadow selves, and to bring forth that which we would never consider in more polite company. The whole process is much easier said than done.
At a diminutive (to me) five foot six with the softest of "girlie" voices and a very non-threatening personality, my wife is the cute, sensible, dependable, and overall seemingly unremarkable girl (which would be a deceiving presumption) that everyone likes, but most likely pay no attention to if they are looking for "excitement." So it would seem unimaginable that she could also be what I have seen, and even more, that she could be what I have seen inside her. This was the first instance of magick in the evening, to witness the literal transformation of the woman I know into something far more than she usually allows herself to be. Through the whole process of readying ourselves, even as far as approaching the edge of the Circle, she is still identifiably my wife, insecurities and all. But it seems that once that first foot of hers crosses into that space, the Priestess rises and inhabits her. In fact, I would argue that it is an instance of her drawing down the moon, in a minor sense, without even the effort or intent of doing so.
Having opened by entering the space, calling the corners and welcoming Deity, we set about the "meat" of the ritual. Without going into detail, this is where the next major, and to me magickal shift took place that transformed not only the persons involved, but the ritual itself. Using a traditional acknowledgment of deity in one another, between the act and the words spoken there was a significant connecting between us that came about as a result. I will not specify the act, but I will simply say that the recognitions were fivefold. And I don't want to overly romanticize what took place, but to my mind it was comprised of three parts; that we were transported beyond the intellectual understandings of the ritual purpose and into the mysteries of it, that we truly entered that place between worlds, and that the Goddess and the God were upon us. It became a moment of genuine recognition of the other in their glory, and the beauty and creative power of union with the necessary other. If only for a time, all was right in the universe.
There was certainly more to the ritual, but suffice it to say that this and following events were the desired peak of it, to understand and commune with Deity though one another. As above, so below. But the effects of the rit went well beyond it. As what I suppose some might consider a bit of a "cheat," sometimes we set up an auto-closing of the Circle. The way this works is that we summon elements (call corners) and invite Deity as normal. But depending upon the nature of the ritual, upon its pronouncement we may also command that the elements depart at certain point in the rit, and we thank the God and Goddess for their presence and welcome them to depart as they wish at that same point. Likewise, we declare the Circle faded and opened at that appointed time. Then it is a simple matter of visualization and acknowledgment on our part, allowing us to absorb, reflect, and recuperate at a time when we are likely most spent, rather than having to go through all of the further mechanics of doing a full opening. Think of it as putting the closing sequence on cruise control. Cheating? Perhaps. But all of the important bits are retained, and it works well enough as far as we are concerned.
On this particular evening, however, our "cruise control" maneuver also allowed for us to stay very much connected without interruption, which is kind of the point. Still in the midst of that post-rit glow and sharing a glass of wine at the foot of the altar, we began our customary post-rit critique and sharing of experiences. This led to lots of sharing with one another, not only as a man and wife, but as the best of friends. We tend to lose this a lot of the time when going through the motions of life, as do virtually all other couples. But for this evening we had re-established the balance of things, and put some of the really important things back in perspective. It is a shame that we get so caught up in the world that we lose sight of the truly miraculous things surrounding us, and often the most miraculous of all, the other half that walks by our side along the path.
I am blessed in that under the right circumstances my High Priestess can for me truly become the very embodiment of the Goddess. Despite any imperfections, when she enters the Circle and shifts consciousness, she is probably the most beautiful woman that I have ever known. To look at her face and hear her voice weakens my knees, simultaneously summoning and taming the beast within. Her movement mesmerizes me, and the strength with which she commands the Circle while retaining the most feminine of ways humbles me. What she becomes validates the truth of my path and me as a man, inspiring me to be even a better one.
Again, provided that it is the right one, women rule the Circle. And so it should be. With Wicca, even the manliest amongst us hears the whispers of the Goddess first and foremost. She is the driving force in men, commanding us with the promise of her touch. Her power is subtle, but when wielded with wisdom, it is absolute. She is the solid earth on which the greatness of man has been established, yet has the power to reduce our accomplishments and aspirations to mere debris. She is the sea which carries us gently into the bliss of her bosom, but can rage against us when we fail to respect her. This is the Goddess, and the Wiccan woman who grasps Her; beautiful within and without, soft yet fearfully strong, and undeniably sensual, yet very particular with whom she would honor with her gift. Who can deny her? None, and certainly not I.
So now another Beltaine has passed, and I am resolved in my conviction now more than ever that Wicca, when properly understood, is not merely a "valid" path, but in this day and age, it is a critical one for those who would hear Her when She calls. I walk away from yesterdays Circle having inside of me the strength and mind of the God, knowing the heart and comfort of the Goddess. I am closer now to my other half than I have been in quite some time, having been previously distracted by the far less important "real world," and my respect, admiration, and longing for her is increased. My path is somewhat clearer, having seen through the mist, and I am encouraged to journey yet further on, for I know she is beside me, whispering in my ear those words of strength and promise.
Quite simply, these are things you ain't gonna learn in Sunday school or by watching Charmed. They are the very real magick of Wicca.
A substantial part of my readership (one out of a total of 6 readers...I think thats like, what, fifteen percent?) have taken me up on my offer to dissect the previous post which provided an in-depth critical and scientific analysis of the second fastest growing religion (after Islamo-Fascism) in the United States. While you can expect the entirety of that article to be found contained in next months issue of Scientific Quarterly, with forewords by Rev. Billy Graham and Stephen Hawking, here is the article in question if you just can't wait until then.
The following is my effort to address the several descriptions given of Wiccans in that article. It is intended primarilly for the audience of Cowans (outsiders, or non-Wiccans) who would like a critical, and I think rather objective peek inside the religion. Basically, it is the perspective of one guy willing to call b.s. on his own religion...and I think that is a healthy thing. So, issue by issue, and virtually line by line, here we go:
-"Wicca is the shi**iest subset of the Pagan expression of religion. It is favored by people too f**ktarded to learn the rules of a real religion and too poor to join any other cult."
I'm not so sure about it being the worst subset of the Pagan expression of religion. "Neo-paganism" (let's be honest enough to admit that it certainly isn't paganism proper) casts an insanely wide umbrella these days, and there are plenty of kooks to go around. Wicca does, however, tend to draw a lot of people who want to maximize personal flexibility in their religious system. For many this simply means the ability to whip up whatever religious nonsense they like, and throw it all under the semi-respectable banner of an "official" religion. I mean really...how seriously are we supposed to take the worship of "faeries"? And while it is tempting to portray most Wiccans as "poor trailer-trash" types, it should be noted that Wicca also has a surprising number of professional adherents such as doctors, lawyers, actors, musicians, law enforcement specialist...it runs the full gamut. But as a group...yeah, we kinda present ourselves as trailer trash hippies. *sigh*
-"Most modern Wiccans will claim to be in it for the self-expression and becoming more in touch with the world. Expect these retards to say Oh Goddess! in lieu of proper epithets."
Yup, those are a couple of the more common claims for involvement in Wicca, although I think "the world" in that sentence would be better changed to read "nature". Another common reason for joining Wicca is because it is advertised as an allegedly balanced path (it fights "the Patriarchy"(tm) by worshiping the Goddess) that reverences the Feminine Divine Principle (also tm) in our return to the purity of a peaceful Matriarchal religion. There are a lot of nonsense reasons given for becoming a Wiccan. I do it because I like the idea of dancing around nekkid with a bunch of easy women while getting high off of second hand doobie smoke. But I ingore most who would exclaim "Oh Goddess!" (and there are a ton of them), as I have found it is an indicator of delusional and imbalanced utopianists.
-"Wicca has only one rule: An it harm none, do what ye will, which makes Wicca as pu**y as it is stupid."
I agree, it is a pretty lame "rule". And actually, it is not even a rule. It is known as the "Wiccan Rede", rede translated as "advice." I have long said that it is a woefully inadequate moral or ethical maxim, but the neo-hippie folk who hijacked Wicca back in the 60's and 70's tend to like their spirituality with no real personal cost...so it works for them. "Get your freak on, just don't hurt anybody please. Now pass the reefer, man."
-"Wiccans delude themselves into thinking they can perform "magic" just by dancing around naked with shiny rocks laid on the ground in mystical patterns."
The shiny rocks came more into prominence with the new age movement and its subsequent infusion into mainstream Wicca. I personally don't do rocks and crystals (you won't find a single one on my altar), but many do. More new age hippy nonsense, IMHO. But at least we're not offing ourselves in cheap Wal-Mart sneakers while waiting for the UFO's to come pick us up. Now magic(k) (<- prefers the Crowley spelling) is something else. Yup, we believe in it...but I am loathe to use the term (along with "witch") in public, since there is a massive divide in understand exactly what we are talking about. As I have said before, let's instead refer to it as "prayer-PLUS." And I think the author here fails to understand the very real value of "dancing around naked." No, I am not kidding. But that is for another rant. Or maybe not.
-"If you see a Myspace, Live Journal, Facebook, etc. profile saying something like Proud to be a witch ! ! !, you can be 99.9% confident that you're dealing with a Wiccan."
Yup. No arguing with this one. Remember that neo-pagans tend to be the sort who view homosexuals "coming out of the closet" as "revolutionary" and "courageous," as if most others could really give a rip. If you're going to be an obnoxious ass with all of this "we're here, we're queer, we're in your face!" crap, the respectable folk would prefer you to get your ass back in the closet. But us libtard pagans, we apparently love this obnoxious and victimhood garbage, so some try to piggy back on that attention seeking gravy train by proclaiming ourselves out of the "broom closet." We're so clever. The above sentence is pretty much spot on.
-"Wiccans are divided into little gangs called "covens", usually with contrived and melodramatic names like The Silver Moon Circle, the Black Pentacle or The Raven and the Rose."
Yup. Absolutely true. This also extends to "craft names," which are essentially religious alter-egos. One of the more famous Wiccan authors (which says a lot about us) is a woman who chose the name "Silver Ravenwolf." Seriously. Another equally famous author and feminazi activist in Wiccan and neo-pagan circles is named "Starhawk." And this predilection for silly fantasy-inspired craft names is absolutely common. Give it a try by making up your own "craft name" with Lady Pixie Moondrip's Guide to Craft Names. You can thank me later.
-"Wiccan covens are full of pot smoking alcoholic female fatties, with a few token males who join out of faggotry or in a hopeless attempt to get laid."
There do seem to be a lot of overweight Wiccan High Priestesses. More often than not, I think they tend to flock to Wicca for it's seeming promise of power and it's "cool" factor. This is usually to address some sort of inferiority complex or self-esteem issues, and the likelihood that they have never really fit in. Not all, mind you. But we do tend to attract a lot of "special" people. Males, on the other hand, are a significant minority in the craft. With the massive injection of radical feminism back from the 60's on, few "real men" can hack the Wiccan community nonsense for very long. As a rule, we are kind of expected to adopt some sort of justification for a "Matriarchal" religion, and we take a back seat. Adequately sensitive hippie types or those sufficiently programed through a series of "women's studies" classes in University or Community College will have little problem fitting into the neutered role crafted for men in mainstream Wicca. The reward for appropriate obeisance may very well include getting a little piece of the 300 pound high priestess...who knows?
-"Wiccans can be easily confused with obsessed fans of the fantasy genre, for instance people who dress up as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings characters. Another group easily mistaken for Wiccans are LARP and Dungeons & Dragons roleplayers."
*SIGH* Yup, all too true. Again, not all, mind you...but enough to embarrass the hell out of the rest of us. The more respectable Wiccans are identifiable by the fact that they are unidentifiable. If you were to see me in public you might think something along the lines of "god, that guy is hot," but you would never know I was a Wiccan, except maybe if you spotted the small pentagram ring on my right pinkie finger (no cracks about coming out of the closet, please).
-"...whereas the Wiccans actually believe that their magic wands and elvenlore are real things."
See my above remarks about faeries. Yeah, some of us can get pretty fruity, and the Wiccan Grand Council at Hogwarts doesn't seem to want to change much for the time being.
-"Wicca is really just dumbed-down Satanism for really f**king lazy people. Wiccans will try to convince you that their religion has nothing to do with Satanism by saying that their religion is over 9000 years old. In reality, it was invented by a Britfag in the 1950's."
There are some elements of Wicca that may be similar to others in Satanism, but these are insignificant. Wicca is very, very different from Satanism in it's theological and philosophical content. Truth be known, I think there are some things that we could stand to learn from the Satanists. For the record: Satanists do not actually believe in Satan. They are more of a radical hedonist philosophy that prefers their outright societal rebellion to carry a degree of offensive shock value. Many, if not most Satanists are atheists or agnostic. But Wiccans have nothing to do with Satanism, and I have yet to hear any use the 9000 year old pseudo-pedigree in defense against such a comparison. I have heard of the 9000 year claim to antiquity, but even the less than reputable now know that it is absolute rubbish. Wiccans are not Satanists, and we are not 9000 years old (try about 60 years). But Wicca was invented by a "Britfag" in the 1950's.
-"Since Wicca does not require any special tools, ordained priests, or even a building to worship in, it is the ideal cult for lazy poor people, even though Wiccans are still encouraged to buy loads of worthless plastic crap from occult shops...even though Wicca is as phony as Scientology, at least it won't f**k you out of your money."
Most Wiccans do use special tools, although they are not an absolute requirement, overall. A lot of us do spend a lot of money buying a lot of "worthless crap" from occult shops, such as the latest deck of tarot cards, ritual supplies such as candles and incense, and on occasion, a sparkly pink crystal...Just in case Xenu shows up with the alien fleet. Overwhelmingly, however, I would argue that the greatest expenditure of Wiccans is on the development of personal libraries. Wiccans are characteristically a snotty little bookish bunch. This is a good thing in that many of us tend to have a grasp of what we are talking about, but it is also a bad thing in that a lot of the books we read are saturated with hippy new age crap. All in all, costs for being Wiccan are relatively small, I would think. One thing that bugs the hell out of me is the completely selfish (and socialist) notion that students should never pay for training. It is an unspoken but militantly enforced rule in some circles that training in the craft should always be free. While a lot of half-ass justifications for this "rule" have been bandied about for decades, the truth is that a lot of neo-pagan types are simply lefties who think they are entitled to "something for nothing."
-"Since Wicca has no established doctrines, half of the things they do are pulled out of the Coven Leader's ass."
The number of new "traditions" (denominations) in Wicca over the course of the last half-century are virtually uncountable. The origins of each of these were essentially someone saying "here's how I am going to do it...", so the above statement is kind of true. As a matter of full disclosure, I am no different. I came into it and commenced to weeding out the bull**it. But I like to think that rather than following the trend of tailoring things to my personal whim and fancy, I instead opted to examine the practices and beliefs involved, and asked what made sense. At least this is what I tell myself.
-"The other half is a mish-mash of pseudo-religion stolen from Medieval Catholic documents on witches, Harry Potter, Disney films and Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
A lot of younger folk came to the Craft as a result of depictions in the mainstream entertainment media. The movie "The Craft" and the TV series "Charmed" have certainly had a substantial impact on the growth of Wicca in recent years. This is of no small irritation to older practitioners, as most portrayals have exercised a large degree of creative license. And for those who find the Craft through such means, I would think that a few might stay, even after they realize that it isn't at all what Hollywood has served up to them. But all in all, I think most leave after realizing that they are not Queen Witch of the Universe after a couple books. Don't let the door hit you on the ass....
"...proceed to bitch about how Christians stole everything from them."
Wiccans have a HUGE stick up their butt about Christians (again...not all do). There is some historical truth about "Christians" having appropriated pagan themes into what we recognize now as Christian holidays. But a lot of Wiccans get their panties in a massive bunch about anything Christian. I could go on about this for quite some time, but suffice it to say that we can be pretty immature and intellectually dishonest about our animosity towards Christians.
-"Wicca is the official religion of feminism..."
I'm not sure that Wicca is the "official" religion of feminism, but if there were one, then many forms of Wicca, and mainstream Wicca in general would certainly be it. Where Wicca originated with concepts of gender polarity and balance as a fertility religion, subsequent morphing thoughout the 60's to the 80's saw drastic redefining of Wicca as a "nature" religion and even as a "feminist" religion. Make no mistake, third wave feminism has done incalculable damage to the original virtuous goals of Wicca, and saw many of it's more respectable tenets stripped away in favor of radical politicization. We can thank imbalanced and bitter feminists like Zsuzsanna Budapest and Miriam Simos (Starhawk) for the shift of Wicca from a balanced reverence for both the God and Goddess to a twisted and unnatural Goddess-only quasi-dogma. The irony is that most of these still somehow con others into believing that a Goddess-only matriarchal religion is the proper response to centuries of a Patriarchal God-only religious approach. Although most in the recent generations have no substantial claim to genuine victimhood at the hands of "the Patriarchy", they are still rabidly devoted to the idea that misandry is justified due to historical records of misogyny. Most often, the run of the mill devotee doesnt actually understand the nature of their hostility, much less the implications of it. Therfore, it shouldn't have to be spelled out that these "womyn" are in it for a sense of revenge against and power over men, not for any reasonable notion of balance alongside them. As a result, one of the primary beauties of Wicca has taken a severe hit in mainstream Wicca.
-"The rare Wiccan past thirty is most often a fat woman who believes her cats are 'children', or a dragon-shirted male suffering from fail."
These are actually more common than not. Do yourself a favor and find a pagan friend. Ask them to take you to the local "drum circle" or whatever pagan events are available. Take a good look around at the bulk of folk in attendance. Pissed off neo-feminist chicks, old aging hippies, and different strains of nerdery, including the dragon-shirted males. It's can often be quite a gathering of oddballs and misfits. But that's not to say that there aren't a lot of good folk there. I happen to favor the underdogs. As a committed nerd myself, this means I champion my own. But let's call a duck a duck here, shall we?
-"They wear black almost universally, even though real pagans wore white."
As far as I know, the real pagans didn't wear white, at least not exclusively. And in those days, I would be surprised if their clothes stayed white for very long, even if they did. But a lot of Wiccans do choose to wear black. These are overall in the minority, however. Pagans also choose to wear some pretty gaudy colors too, like bright green or blue. Me, I like the black. Black and red are my colors. But I'm not gonna be throwing on my ritual robe in public either. A Darth Vader costume, however...
-"Wicca is usually matriarchal, while real pagans were usually led by male druids."
Druids were a sub-group of paganism. So little is known about them that it is best to not even comment. But they were far from officially representing the whole of historical paganism. But Wicca does tend to be mind-numbingly matriarchal, although most traditions tend to deny it with a wink and a nudge.
-"Everything about Wicca is designed specifically to scare conservative Christians, which is completely out-of-line with pre-Christian paganism..."
Wicca is in no way "designed" to scare conservative Christians, but it is certainly hostile towards them in the main. Based on decades of horrendous history about the "burning times" (as if it ever affected modern Wiccans) and the traditional opposition to witchcraft by Christians, we Wiccans have kicked our hatred (but we won't call it that) into overdrive. Google the "Witches Voice" every Sunday. After a few weeks you will see what I mean...we "pagans" have some serious axes we love to grind.
-"Wiccans may tell you that they're descended from six or more generations of Wiccans, in spite of the fact that they live with their affluent, vanilla parents and that modern Wicca has only been around since 1954."
This is a hilariously common trend that has existed from the very beginning of Wicca. Gardner, who created Wicca, was notorious for being, well, imaginative with the truth. He didn't exactly start the seeming tradition of fabricating lineages, but he certainly became fairly famous for it. Alex Sanders and Robert Cochrane were no different, and subsequent Wiccan leaders have overwhelmingly flirted with "alternative" historical truths. This is one of our more shameful pedigrees, at least to my mind. But nowadays, it is actually possible to find Wiccans who do in fact come from a lineage of three or even four generations.
-"...a Wiccan may also claim to have been reincarnated several times over (almost always as a well-known historical figure, such as Cleopatra)."
This was once fairly common, but I seem to think (hope) that it is less so these days. Personally, I am not a reincarnationist, although some groups rabidly insist on it as a theological tenet. Nowadays I just tell these folks that in a past life I was their father, so go fetch me a beer, son.
-"Wiccans who are called out on their bulls**t or don't do either of the above may instead call themselves Gypsies..."
I have yet to meet a single Wiccan call themselves a Gypsy. In fact the only one of Roma descent that I know of offhand is the Wiccan author Raymond Buckland, and he tend not to emphasize the gypsy stuff in any of his teaching, as far as I can see. Now there are quite a few Wiccan folk who seem to live like gypsies...and historically they were, if we are going to be honest here, quite a filthy bunch of people on the whole.
So there you have it...my commentary on the previous post. In the course of this rant, however, I fear that I may have come off as overly critical of the group to which I claim to belong. While I would agree that I have been critical, I don't think it has been any more than is deserved. In fact, there is much more criticism that could be fairly leveled, truth be known.
But the reason that I am so critical is for a number of reasons. Firstly, I have no problem in admitting that I remain perpetually heated that such a potentially beautiful religion has been, to my mind, hijacked and transformed by despicably dishonest and immature political ideologues. The green movement, and more importantly, modern feminism have all but destroyed a thing of beauty. Nowadays, rather than bringing the young and the new to a religion that teaches them a balanced respect for gender according to nature, they are now instead more likely indoctrinated into very un-natural, unintuitive, and unhealthy feminist (and other political) dogmas.
Secondly, I certainly despise the fact that Wicca, and modern neo-paganism in general, has become blindly hostile to conservative wisdom, in favor of simplistic and often juvenile utopian idealism. And they are militant about this crap. All the while, many still add insult to injury where conservatives are concerned by still claiming to be a path of "wisdom" and "balance," and of being non-judgmental and inclusive. All of this could not be farther from the truth. To sit there and watch them tell this delusional nonsense to one another is one thing, but the fact that they advertise themselves so dishonestly as such to the world...now that sticks in my craw. And they make the good ones of us look very, very bad...to the point that I am often slow to even identify myself as Wiccan.
Lastly, I complain mostly not because of what we have become, but because of what we could have been, and still can be. I want more than anything to see us as a group get our act together and become respectable. There are certainly respectable groups and individuals out there, but they are not the public face of Wicca. I want to see that change.
These are but a few of the complaints I have against my own. The overall list is massive.
So why bother? Well, as I have said, I don't have a problem with Wicca (mostly), it's the Wiccans I cannot stand. When you go back to the original principles and you strip away some of the Gardnerian (and Alexandrian) nonsense in favor of those things that are in accordance with common sense and the truth of ourselves (as ugly as that may be at times), then you have a helluva start on a fantastic religious system. One that makes sense and very effectively connects you with the divine. One that does not divide the "real" material world from the "metaphysical" spiritual world, but fuses them together. One that not only allows you to see the divine in your other half, but encourages you to do so. One that genuinely empowers you through healthy and natural philosophical understandings rather than thinking yourself empowered as a perpetually bitching "victim."
I could go on and on and on. And that is yet another reason why I am so critical. I see what we are as a people, and we could have been so much more. I hope that we still can be. But we will never be, so long as the reasonable amongst us remain silent while the nut-jobs run the show.
But I digress (for now).
I just had to post this one. We religious type folks can be quite serious about our spiritual beliefs, and so we should be. But when we get so uptight about things that we cannot take an objective look at our belief systems, or that we cannot laugh at them where they certainly beg for it, well, maybe we need to take a step back and breathe a little.
So, in the spirit of good humor, with the intent of promoting mirth (which the Valiente drones inform me is a virtue), I refer you to the official entry describing Wicca according to the Encyclopedia Dramatica. It is quite disturbing how much of this is accurate, but readers with politically correct sensibilities would be better served to ignore this post; it will certainly offend you, especially if you are Wiccan:
"Ankh If You Love Isis
-Popular Wiccan Bumper Sticker
Wicca is the shi**iest subset of the Pagan expression of religion. It is favored by people too f**ktarded to learn the rules of a real religion and too poor to join any other cult. Most modern Wiccans will claim to be in it for the self-expression and becoming more in touch with the world. Expect these retards to say Oh Goddess! in lieu of proper epithets.
Wicca has only one rule: An it harm none, do what ye will, which makes Wicca as pu**y as it is stupid. Wiccans delude themselves into thinking they can perform "magic" just by dancing around naked with shiny rocks laid on the ground in mystical patterns.
Wiccans have been better known throughout history as witches and many still use this title. If you see a Myspace, Live Journal, Facebook, etc. profile saying something like Proud to be a witch ! ! !, you can be 99.9% confident that you're dealing with a Wiccan.
Wiccans are divided into little gangs called "covens", usually with contrived and melodramatic names like The Silver Moon Circle, the Black Pentacle or The Raven and the Rose. Seriously. Wiccan covens are full of pot smoking alcoholic female fatties, with a few token males who join out of faggotry or in a hopeless attempt to get laid.
Wiccans can be easily confused with obsessed fans of the fantasy genre, for instance people who dress up as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings characters. Another group easily mistaken for Wiccans are LARP and Dungerons & Dragons roleplayers. However, there is a simple way to distinguish these groups from Wiccans. The essential difference is that these cosplaying and roleplaying nerds, while annoying and immature, know that they're just playing a little fantasy game, whereas the Wiccans actually believe that their magic wands and elvenlore are real things. This often leads to a painful disillusionment, when a Wiccan realizes that he or she cannot pay the rent or find a job by casting a magic spell.
Wicca is really just dumbed-down Satanism for really f**king lazy people. Wiccans will try to convince you that their religion has nothing to do with Satanism by saying that their religion is over 9000 years old. In reality, it was invented by a Britfag in the 1950's. Even TOW agrees.
Since Wicca does not require any special tools, ordained priests, or even a building to worship in, it is the ideal cult for lazy poor people, even though Wiccans are still encouraged to buy loads of worthless plastic crap from occult shops. This means that even though Wicca is as phony as Scientology, at least it won't f**k you out of your money.
Since Wicca has no established doctrines, half of the things they do are pulled out of the Coven Leader's ass. The other half is a mish-mash of pseudo-religion stolen from Medieval Catholic documents on witches, Harry Potter, Disney films and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When confronted with that fact, Wiccans will scream "NO U" and then proceed to bitch about how Christians stole everything from them.
Rather, Wiccans might tell you that most of their religion comes from a Book of Shadows that only the innermost circle of Wiccans are allowed to read. Like the Xenu story, this is probably because its contents are so dumb that you can only be given it when you absolutely have to believe it.
Wicca is the official religion of feminism, as all real religions refuse to give women power. Wicca is believed to spread furfaggotry and otherkinism, making it a sort of gateway drug of faggotry.
Modern witches are insane, attention whoring, self-injuring 16 year old girls that are very easy to piss off. They hate to be confused with Goths, emos or vampires and will totally cast a spell on you if you do. Any green a**hole wishing to pursue an exciting career as an internet troll should find a witch community.
Wiccans over the age of thirty are extremely rare, partially due to the fact that they have no time for such nonsense once they have been kicked out of their parents' basement, but mostly because they have been brought to justice long before that. The rare Wiccan past thirty is most often a fat woman who believes her cats are 'children', or a dragon-shirted male suffering from fail.
They wear black almost universally, even though real pagans wore white. Wicca is usually matriarchal, while real pagans were usually led by male druids. Everything about Wicca is designed specifically to scare conservative Christians, which is completely out-of-line with pre-Christian paganism and makes Wicca more of a trolling technique than a real religion.
Wiccans may tell you that they're descended from six or more generations of Wiccans, in spite of the fact that they live with their affluent, vanilla parents and that modern Wicca has only been around since 1954. Failing this, a Wiccan may also claim to have been reincarnated several times over (almost always as a well-known historical figure, such as Cleopatra). Wiccans who are called out on their bulls**t or don't do either of the above may instead call themselves Gypsies, even though Gypsies (or Roma) are a race of smelly Indians who lie and steal, giving them more in common with ni**ers than with Wicca or its supposed origins."
Sometimes the truth hurts. In this case, it is also funny as hell, IMHO. One of these days I am going to have to start picking apart the parts of this that are generally true, but for the moment I will let my brothers and sisters off the hook.
Actually, booze has absolutely nothing to do with this article, I just needed another "B" for the title. But while we're mentioning it, why not check out Hookers and Booze? With a name like that, I know you want to. Go ahead, treat yourself.
As for the topic at hand: Beltaine is right around the corner, brothers, sisters, and aspiring Wiccletts. For the cowan folk, that would be the right randy 1st of May. What is Beltaine, you might ask?
Of the eight seasonal festivals celebrated or observed by Wiccan folk, Beltaine is one of the big two...to my mind on par with Samhain, if not of even more importance. As with each of the Sabbats, Beltaine has some significance with regard to the pastoral and agrarian cycles, but I'll not bore you with that. Honestly, as a modern Wiccan, all of that stuff has very little importance for me, except as a reminder of the seemingly cyclical nature of things. Oh, and as supportive backround to the Wheel of the Year mythos. But other than that, I'm sure most would join me in caring less about the planting and harvesting of crops. However, there is a much deeper significance to Beltaine that speaks to the core of Wiccan understanding and practice as I see it.
If we forget all of the seasonal cycles and hippy-dippy stuff that much of mainstream Wicca is bogged down with, and if we cast aside the oddly whimsical temptation to flood our theological thinking caps with mix and match deities from various pantheons, inevitably Wicca boils down to a very simple focus point, that of the God and the Goddess. For this humble 43rd degree (level, for the D&D crowd) Wiccan Master of all things dark and wycked, this is the absolute heart of the path, and indeed of the Craft.
I've not yet related here exactly how I came to this path, and this is prehaps something I shall have to remedy in the near future. But suffice it to say that as with most, I too came from a Christian background. Finding this path, however, was far easier than navigating it, at least in the beginning. Like with many Christians, there are those who claim they were called to it, and I believe that the same was true for me. However, once I got here and looked around, I was not all that impressed, quite frankly. Nonetheless, the Goddess continued to whisper to me, beckoning me to continue further. And so I did, thus beginning the long and laborious effort to sift the precious golden wheat from a mountain of chaff. I am grateful that I did, for when I looked at it's core, without all of the haphazard and unintuitive trappings heaped upon it by generations of neo-hippies, I found perhaps the most beautiful of divine revalations; as the faith is of the God and the Goddess, the practice is of man and woman.
Now this is certainly a controversial thing to say in these days of dogmatic political correctness. Unless I am willing to include the full gamut of sexual preferences, including french sheep-shaggers (pardon the redundancy) I would assume, then I run the very serious risk of being labeled a homophobe, or some sort of "-ist." So be it. While we seem to have this bizarre need to be insanely inclusive, the truth is that Wicca was never intended to be anything but exclusive. Therefore I in this sense have become one of the "old guard" who reject the big tent philosophy wherever it requires the sacrifice of more important theological and natural principles. So while I support the rights of persons to seek love where they may find it, this does mean I maintain that Wicca is best suited to the worship of the God and Goddess by men and women with natural understandings. This is, to me, the primary spirit and beauty of Wicca. Likewise, this is also the spirit and beauty of Beltaine.
The basic story of the Wheel of the Year is one of a perpetual Goddess who gives birth to and eventually marries and mates with the God, who is caught in a never ending cycle of death and rebirth. I've always found this mythos disturbingly perverse with its incestuous implications and the feminist preference for an immortal Goddess who never dies while an almost seemingly mortal, and therefore inferior God is doomed to die repeatedly. But all of that aside, the more important element is the story of the courtship and eventually the marriage of the two. And within the Wheel of the Year, Beltaine is certainly the most important Sabbat for what it represents in the relationship of the God and Goddess, of the masculine and feminine, and of man and woman.
Traditionally the greatest of fire festivals, Beltaine is a season of passion. In the context of the divine relationship, it is representative of the heiros gamos, or the divine marriage, and highlights the consumation of that marriage as a predominant feature. For the bashful, it should be noted that WIccans (and Pagans overall) are generally far more positive about sex than the more timid mainstream, embracing it as a natural, and even a spiritual function that is not worthy of shame (although yours truly believes that it is still an intimate function and not for being obnoxiously paraded). So it should come as no surprise that we have a significantly important religious "holiday" that features it prominantly.
But beyond the blatantly obvious theme of physical sexuality, there is even greater depth to the understanding of this divine marriage. The joining is not merely one of a physical nature, it is also of the mental, emotional, and spiritual. The joining is literally of two polar opposite becoming one unified whole. Where the Goddess and the God come together, each ceases to be merely themselves and to become one, or as some in the Craft might say, they are then "the One."
To us, that which many refer to as "God" is viewed in terms of the masculine and feminine divine. This is quite intuitive for a species which is divided evenly amongst those very same divisions (along with most others). The path for us is therefore necessarily one of understanding and honoring the qualities of the other, our dependance upon one another, and the negation of our divide through union with the other. In this manner we are able to see the spark of divinity in our spouse or partner, and in a sense, come to know heaven on earth.
And this is why I believe that Beltaine is the most important of the Sabbats, as it represents clearly the most important aspect of Wiccan theology, the union of the God and the Goddess. Likewise, it is a celebration of man and woman as representatives of these, and provides our most clear understanding of the ultimate reality, which is the polarity based nature of Akasha, or the One ("God").
So whether Wiccan or not, take this upcoming May 1st to step back and truly appreciate he or she who is yours. Forget the imperfections, we all have them. Put aside your quarrels, even if only for a day. Look past all of the faults, real or percieved, and know this: She has in her the spirit of the Goddess, and she therefore is the Goddess. He has in him the spirit of the God, and he therefore is the God. Without the other, each is at best merely half of what we are called to be.
"Love is the law..." - A.C.
This is such a beautiful thing that I just had to write about it. After calculating the crushing costs that Obamacare will have on his practice, apparently one doctor decided staffing cuts were necessary post haste. Lo and behold, in a masterfully executed expression of divine justice, the first victim of Obamacare should be none other than an Obama supporter. Now how beautiful is that?
And so it begins. From the very beginning we have tried to warn the juvenile leftists of the consequences inherent to a shallow approach with the health care issue. Rather than take, say, a responsible adults cautious approach, all they seemed to hear were cries for the "unfortunate" women and children, along with the sounds of their own heart strings being plucked by skilled socialist politicians. We asked for a slow and reasoned approach, and they would have none of it. We tried to explain that this would have devastating consequences in various arenas, not just limited in contributing to our economic collapse but threatening our very foundations as a republic. In response, we were portrayed as heartless pawns of the insurance companies.
This is a tragic disposition of the left, that they are hopelessly infantile in their reasoning and "gimme, gimme, gimme" attitudes. By using the word "tragic" I mean to refer to those of us who must live under the oppressive and freedom-killing policies they dogmatically force on the adults amongst us. In fairness, however, I suppose that we are at fault as well. We should have figured out some time ago how to prohibit miscreants and ignoramuses from using the ballot box to enslave others. Hell, I think it is a good idea to require means testing and an IQ test prior to granting the privilege of voting. Prove you are worth having a say in the future of our country, and the fate of your brothers. But alas...
So, now we see just the very beginnings of the unintended consequences of Obamacare. And as our services decline and our costs go up, remember to thank the idiot who voted for Obama. And as we advance along in our Presidents crusade to create a dependant citizenry, when you wake up one day and realize that you are enslaved to serve your government with the sacrifice of half your labor, look back to this day and remember that we tried to tell you...you selfish little bastards.
Marshalling all of the considerable global influence that a web page such as this naturally engenders, I henceforth call all physicians and health care leaders to brace yourselves for the imminent economic impacts due to Obamacare impositions by immediately reducing staff costs by a minimum of 25%. In an effort to allow ex-employees the honor and privilege of further demonstrating unwavering support for their Commander-in-Chief, and to the policies they fervently support, all staff reductions should consist of Obama supporters first and foremost. Allow them the opportunity to embrace the fullness of the "change" they fought so hard for, despite the pleas of more than half the country.
I'm serious here, folks. They voted for this. They should suffer the direct consequences before any others. And they should be paying through the nose for it, the bottom 50% as well as the top.
I've always respected the Witches Voice for the invaluable services it provides to the Wiccan (and greater Pagan) community. However, I've also always taken much of its content with a huge grain of salt as well, as it tends to be more of a clearing house for kooks and neo-hippies more than anything else. But every once in a while, somehow the censors slip and some much needed critiquing of our community, or even common sense slips in (just kidding about the 'censors' thing, Wren, Fritz, and Co.). Here is an article which I found of interest as of late, reprinted in it's entirety from the original source:Paganism - You're OK with us.
That's right boys and girls; there is no war between them and us. Truth be told 95% of Christians don't even know what we are besides what they watched on Charmed 5 years ago. The 5% that is left 98% of those don't give a flying fig about us. 2% of those are like Jerry Fallwell, and Pat Roberson, or the "concerned moral right." But we insist on creating this conspiracy against us that consumes us and makes us fearful or feel righteous in our HATE of another person or group of people.
Maybe we will start getting on the right track after all....
Note: For the sake of clarity, it should be noted that Gaelyn Thorne, the author of the above article, identifies specifically as a pagan, and not as a Wiccan.