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Isaac_Kramer

Wiccan Ulc Ministers

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I just want to say thank you to all of you for your advice no matter which way it swayed. I really appreciate it and wish no hard feelings for anyone. I have heard a lot of what I need to know to go forward with my decision and I appreciate everyone's honesty.

Thank you!

Isaac

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I just want to say thank you to all of you for your advice no matter which way it swayed. I really appreciate it and wish no hard feelings for anyone. I have heard a lot of what I need to know to go forward with my decision and I appreciate everyone's honesty.

I wish you luck. :thumbu:

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This is the first time Ive seen you so supportive and not immediately trash a spirituality..kudos..Maybe your usual kneejerk reactions have their reasons
You'll have to realize that no matter what you say, you cannot communicate with some people. If they cannot see the need for what you are trying to do, then move on to greener pastures. When you get your organization going and they see the benefits to them, take the high road and let them in anyway.

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Hi Isaac

My Name is sean i am new to ohio i live in aurora my self here i am a wiccan i have read your forum post and i have to say i like your view ...email me some time on here look forword to chating with you more

Merry Part

Rev.Sean Johnson

Let me start by stating that I am curious in learning other Wiccan ULC Ministers opinions on this topic, since it is Wiccan related.

In Ohio and some of the other states that surround us, I hear about there being a wide division between Wiccans and Witches. There has been great discussion over the use of prayer vs. spells and it has gone as far as tearing friends apart, even covens. There are groups of people swearing that in order to be Wiccan you must be more Spiritual, therfore making Spiritual Wiccans. This is what my church calls itself.

What I would like to know is, are there any other areas with this problem? How do you feel about this? Could this be the start of the true Spiritual Wiccan churches about to emerge? With this and our growing population numbers of this religion are we close to needing to establish some sort of doctrine?

I personally do feel that we should have some sort of doctrine to help us better than the past. I also have no qualms of a form of fair counseled hierarchy, however, this is the same type of talk that could get me seriously hurt by some members/groups in our religion. Perhaps this view would help to usher us into a better light with some more conservative religious groups. I have several ideas along this line as well as what this type of counsel would be established for, though I feel few will actually listen right now.

Please feel free to give me more insights from other Wiccans abroad instead of in my local area!

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Organizing Wiccans??? Are you nuts man? Let's go over this with a fine toothed comb shall we? Wiccans are as diverse as snowflakes. Getting them to agree on the wording and meaning of the few "universal" texts that exist (like the Rede) is hard enough. Also many of them really like the idea that without a centralized body to attack-well, that makes witches and wiccans of all types very very difficult to track down and slander. How can you attack a group for believing X if only a percentage of that group actually believes it? Besides, spirituality and magick are both very personal things; that makes even a small coven a difficult project for mostly like-minded folks. Who the heck would we elect for a council anyway? RavenWolf, McCoy, Donald M. Kraig? That last guy isn't even a Wiccan but he is an expert in magick. Take a group of a hundred pagans and see if it in anyway represents the pagan community as you truly understand it. Uhmm, I would not volunteer for that project. Many other modern pagans got their start with Wicca. Shouldn't we include Druids, Native American Shamans, and heck we should probably throw in a Zen Buddhist or two. Look, this council idea has been batted about for more than ten years now. Wicca is strong in large part because there is no way to unify it. We don't need codes and credes. We believe in what we are and who we are to the best understanding that we can achieve and in the end we are powerful for that diversity. What is it with our great human need to order, classify, label, and define every concept and idea till it fits into a neatly packaged gift box. Trust me on this. Let It Go.

Interfaith Organizations working to better the world however are all the rage these days.

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"if you are looking for recognation like the more fundemental denomanations claim to have,you'll be spinning in circles trying to achive that,and in the process killing a movement that was based on getting away from those things.as has been said,a national council for the purpose of information and learning is good.no matter what type of wicca you choose to follow,there should be information available;and by someone who knows what their talking about."

While I agree that education should be paramount, and hate to nay say... but this has been tried before... most pagans on the whole.. of the nature relegions anyway, would object.. not with the fact that we should have a more public and open standing in the world today as in fact I agree withthat, but merely that just as in the Christian relgions there is no way to properly gather all forms of faith under an umbrella and expect things to be agreed upon... many, many, schools are forming and have been forming in fact for decades now.. that teach various differant pathways... all call to their individual groups and all stress that their way is the right way. I think instead maybe a school should be set up that teaches with an ecclectic standpoint and not a rigid fixed one so that aspects from many differant pathways can be properly addressed and reveiwed.. leaving the final choice of what to use or to disregard up to the student/practioner in question.Deity calls to us all in many differant ways..Do I think that a punlic, offical recognized voice would be beneficial in things such as military rights etc??? by all means.. In my time in the service mine where the only dogtags that read .."other" they did ask who was pagan,witches,satanist etc, which I give them credit for.. but we still do not have the rights that are entertained by other faiths in the service.for instance.. you are not allowed any form of reading material in the miliatray (In training anyway) except military reading,the Koran, or the Bible.When I asked and received permisiion to bring literature for my own use back to base and received permission.My literature(In this Case Raymond Bucklands Big Blue and a book of mirrors(I was studying language scripts) was immeidiatly confiscated and NOT returned.. my Pentacle was also ripped from my throat while crosses where allowed.if a council could help such things that'd be wonderful.. but as to telling pagans what to beleive and how to practice.. such andendeavor is doomed from the outset.. Sorry but tis true.just look at the Papacy.. its and offical voice and disregarded by Most of Christianity..*Shrug* like I said its a wonderful idea and has merits but as a whole its raher unweildly.

Brightest Blessings,

Rev Etienn De Pyro

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Let me start by stating that I am curious in learning other Wiccan ULC Ministers opinions on this topic, since it is Wiccan related.

In Ohio and some of the other states that surround us, I hear about there being a wide division between Wiccans and Witches. There has been great discussion over the use of prayer vs. spells and it has gone as far as tearing friends apart, even covens. There are groups of people swearing that in order to be Wiccan you must be more Spiritual, therfore making Spiritual Wiccans. This is what my church calls itself.

What I would like to know is, are there any other areas with this problem? How do you feel about this? Could this be the start of the true Spiritual Wiccan churches about to emerge? With this and our growing population numbers of this religion are we close to needing to establish some sort of doctrine?

I personally do feel that we should have some sort of doctrine to help us better than the past. I also have no qualms of a form of fair counseled hierarchy, however, this is the same type of talk that could get me seriously hurt by some members/groups in our religion. Perhaps this view would help to usher us into a better light with some more conservative religious groups. I have several ideas along this line as well as what this type of counsel would be established for, though I feel few will actually listen right now.

Please feel free to give me more insights from other Wiccans abroad instead of in my local area!

Hi there, Isaac. I'd like to give my take on what seems to be the core question: the difference, if any, between spirituality/religion and magic. This post might be quite long, but I think it will be worth reading very thoroughly.

By the way, I don't like spelling "magic" with a K. I choose to spell it only with a C on the end (and I don't spell "women" as "womyn" or any other variation; standard English is a beautiful thing and I use it this way in all forms of communication). So just be aware that in my posts. "magic" will never be spelled with a K.

Now, my understanding of what Wicca even is comes from my understanding of the origins of the word Wicca. I will post here an excerpt from my blog so people can read my thoughts on this:

::begin excerpt::

Sometimes I ask myself, What does this word Wicca or witchcraft actually mean? What are we talking about here? And when I sit with those words, and think about how it came to exist in the English language, I get a mental picture of a magical/spiritual practice that originally wasn’t anywhere NEAR as structured and organized as modern Wicca or pretty much any modern religion is. As an aside, I think we have the mixed blessing of living on this side of the Enlightenment, which I believe has affected the way we think about pretty much everything, including faith and religion.

I find myself thinking that our ideas about what religion is and how it works is nothing like what the practice of wicce – I’ll just use that word for this essay, to separate it from modern Wicca - would have been centuries ago.

So what can I guess the wicce did?

Is it possible they engaged in, among other things, ancestor worship? If I think this is so, why do I think this way?

I look at the holy days, the special days marked out for celebrations. Walpurgisnacht comes to mind.

What in the world is Walpurgisnacht? The best thing I can think to do is really break down the word and understand what it’s trying to express.

As I understand it, Walpurgisnacht has to do with “night of the mounds of the slain/deceased.” Sounds like a form of ancestor worship to me, esp. considering what I have learned about the alfhar, etc. Turning my attention to the time of year (this would be Beltane in the Gaelic calendar, but Beltane isn't the same holiday - they aren't interchangeable) when Walpurgisnacht would have been celebrated, it makes absolute total complete sense to me that it would be right there at that point on the calendar, and it makes complete sense that this would be a holy day sacred to Freyja. It also makes sense that since this is a holy day to honor the glorious dead, this is a night that is great for divination. And yup, all the more reason to worship Freyja in the process. I find myself wondering if this might be part of the reason She's also known as "Vanadis" (which means "female ancestor of the Vanir") and "Valfreyja" (which means "Lady of the slain").

Naturally, Jul and that season’s associations with the Wild Hunt, also suggest to me that the glorious dead were given their weorthscipe (this is an Anglo-Saxon word from which came our English word “worship” and it means "to give worth" or value or respect, sort of like paying respects) as people engaged in feasts of the holy days.

Thinking about this, it’s making me sort of shake a bit. It gives me the serious shivers. It gives me a feeling in the ol’ gut region. It makes sense, but on a more gut-level than just a mental level. And it can be intimidating, even though it’s coming from myself.

Is it possible the wicce would have familiarized themselves with runes? Maybe. I’m not 100% sold on that idea, but maybe 60%. If I think they might have done so at all, it is because somewhere along the line I learned that the Nordic word “vitki” (which is the label Joe uses for himself when describing his magical practices) means “wise one.” I think Thorsson wrote that into one of his books, of which we have entirely too many and I can never keep straight what I read in which book when it comes to him.

I’m not sold at all on the idea that the practice of wicce would have been regarded as something “dark and scary” in the way we define “dark and scary” now. I think of the Voluspa and the seeress who is speaking there. A person like that likely would have been treated respectfully, yes. But the whole Goth oooky scary thing? Eh. Not so much.

I’ve been examining very closely the Anglo-Saxon rune poem; it is the one rune poem that makes the most sense to me. The next one after that is the Icelandic rune poem, in terms of the ones I like best. This brings it home to me that English is/can be used as a liturgical language for the practice of wicce.

::/end excerpt::

And here is an article I found that led to the thoughts I wrote in that blog post:

::begin article::

"A difference that makes no difference is not a difference." --Ambassador Spock

It took more than twenty years before I first ran across the notion that Witchcraft and Wicca were not the same thing. I don't remember where I first read it, but I do remember feeling bemused at such an assertion, and assumed the author had failed to do adequate research into the origins of the word "witch". I also assumed I'd heard the last of it. I assumed wrong!

Over the years, I've seen this sentiment turning up more and more, in conversations, in online discussions and websites, and even in published works on Witchcraft. It is often stated with such conviction that one might conclude it is the very least one needs to know on the subject. The author is usually at pains to convey the distinction that Wicca designates a religion, whereas Witchcraft is merely the practice of magic. In recent years, I have come across three further amplifications: The first is that some groups identify themselves as practicing Wicca exclusively, as a religious or spiritual path. As such, they do not hold with the more "debased" practice of Witchcraft or other magic! The second is that some groups claim that Witchcraft predates Wicca (which they apparently believe was invented by Gerald Gardner) and is therefore more "authentic". The third is that only practitioners who are in a lineal descent from Gardner or one of his covens may use the word Wicca to describe their tradition. All others would have to default to the word Witchcraft for their praxis.

Needless to say (or is it?), this so-called "distinction" between Witchcraft and Wicca came as a huge surprise, and a bit of a shock, to those of us who embarked upon this path back in the 1960s and '70s. Although the term Wicca was known (as the origin of the word Witch), it was seldom used. We were Witches, pure and simple. And we practiced Witchcraft, or sometimes "the Craft", or (based on a popular but incorrect etymology) "the Craft of the Wise", or "the Old Religion". But nobody practiced "Wicca". Even Gardnerians called themselves Witches, typically modified by others to Gardnerian Witches. On the rare occasion when the word Wicca did come up, it was used interchangeably with Witchcraft. Most often, it was when someone was trying to dodge the issue. Potential father-in-law: "So what is this weird cult my daughter says you're into?" Boyfriend (blood draining from face): "Uhhhhh..... OH! I think you must mean Wicca? yeah, that's it... Say, how about those Dodgers?"

The attempt to make a distinction between the spiritual, devotional, or celebrational side of our religion, and the more utilitarian use of ritual and ceremony to effect desired changes in our world, would never have occurred to us. One of the principle tenets of Witchcraft is that the spiritual and material sides of life interpenetrate one another and cannot be meaningfully separated. To attempt to do so is to encourage the sort of Neo-Platonic dualism that has bedeviled our Western society for centuries and led to, among other things, the demonizing of sex and the body, and disdain for our environment. In fact, any attempt to separate Wicca from Witchcraft, the religious practice from the magical practice, is not only historically misguided, but politically dangerous. It plays us directly into the hands of our detractors. But I am getting ahead of myself.

The first question to tackle is where this idea came from. It clearly wasn't there in the 1960s. Nor can it be found in the writings of the 1970s. In fact, an unambiguous reference to this idea does not occur until the late1980s! So the first thing to realize is that this notion is of far more recent vintage than most people would believe. Books about Witchcraft (such as Sybil Leek's Diary of a Witch, in which she speaks of Witchcraft as a religion) began to be published frequently from the 1960s onward, yet they used the word Wicca quite sparingly. In fact, the first popular book to use the word Wicca in the title did not appear until 1988! This was Scott Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. Had this title appeared in bookstores in the '60s or '70s, the most likely reaction, even from Witches themselves, would have been "Huh?!" They would have recognized the word, but would have wondered why such an obscure term should have been preferred to a common one. Not coincidentally, Scott Cunningham was among the first writers to claim there is a difference between Wicca and Witchcraft.

But is there really a difference? In point of fact, "wicca" and "witch" are the same word. This cannot be overstated because few people today believe it. Nonetheless, it is true. Wicca is simply the earlier form of the word witch. Proof of this can easily be found in the twenty-volume Oxford English Dictionary. The O.E.D. (as it is known by scholars) is the highest court of appeals for questions of etymology. "Witch" comes from the Saxon word "wicca". That is a noun with a masculine ending, and (hold on to your pointy hats!) it should properly be pronounced "witch'-ah", not "wick'-ah"! In the Saxon tongue, nouns had either masculine or feminine endings, depending on their referents. The feminine form was "wicce", properly pronounced "witch'-eh". Note the same word was applied to both males and females (no 'warlocks' here!), with only the ending changed. As the word evolved into modern English, the gender ending was dropped, leaving us with a word that is pronounced "witch", and ultimately spelled that way.

When you consider that the Saxon "cc" was pronounced "tch", it becomes easier to understand how the modern word "witch" is derived from the Old English "wicca", and how, ultimately, they are the same word. To say that they are different words, with a different provenance, and different meanings, is to ignore these simple facts. While we're at it, here's one more surprise: the word "wiccan", although typically used by modern Witches to modify a noun ("This is a Wiccan ceremony."), is not an adjective. It's a plural noun. One wicca, two wiccan. That's the masculine plural ending, obviously. The feminine plural form would be "wiccen" (rhymes with bitchin'). ;)Although in modern English, the "s" or "es" plural ending is the most common, the "an" or "en" plural is not unknown, the most obvious example being child > children.

So how is it that Wicca came to be seen as distinct and separate from Witch, in both provenance and meaning? One might speculate that Gerald Gardner himself played a role. Not only did Gardner revive and popularize the craft of the witch, he also revived and popularized the older Saxon form of the word, wicca. In doing so, however, he spelled it with only one "c", rendering it as "wica" in his writings. This tended to undermine the correct "tch" pronunciation of the original "wicca", and thus to obscure its obvious connection with the word "witch". Further, it may have encouraged the now common pronunciation of "wicca" as "wick'-ah", an entirely new critter in our English lexicon. This criticism of Gardner's spelling may actually be too harsh considering "wicca" dates to a time before dictionaries or standardized orthography were invented.

Incidentally, there are some authors today who are so convinced that Gardner invented modern Wicca, or Witchcraft (as opposed to simply reviving it), that they also mistakenly believe that he invented the word "wicca" itself! (Even more amusing, an article on a well-known Wiccan website recently claimed that Selena Fox invented the word Wicca in the 1960s!) Again, anyone who takes the trouble to do a modicum of research will discover the antiquity of the word. According to the O.E.D. (and as noted by Doreen Valiente), the oldest extant appearance of the word "wicca" can be found in the Law Codes of Alfred the Great, circa 890 C.E. Alfred was a Christian and zealous about converting everyone under his rule to his faith. Those who followed the pre-Christian "superstitious" practices of their Pagan ancestors were called Wiccan, whether they were Alfred's own countrymen, or the Celtic people in the areas Alfred was conquering. What did the Celts themselves call these people, in 890? Not Wiccan, because that was the Saxon word for it. Very probably, they used some form of the modern word "druid". That being the case, we have a scenario dating back over a thousand years, where the word "Witch" was applied to people who called themselves "Druid". This is one reason I have always believed that Druidism is one of the tributaries (and a large one!) of modern Witchcraft. (This will no doubt give hissy-fits to all those authors who have written Wicca-Isn't-Celtic articles.)

So now the question becomes, did the word Wicca become totally extinct at some time before Gardner resurrected it? The answer will come as a shock to many. It may have been "extinct" in the sense of being replaced by "witch" in common usage, but it continued to be known in its earlier form, "wicca", even before Gardner came onto the scene. One quick and obvious proof of this is that J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, used the word "wicca" when drafting his earliest manuscript of The Two Towers. We know this because Tolkien's son Christopher has meticulously documented his father's creative process throughout twelve volumes of analysis. In volume seven, "The Treason of Isengard", Ch. XX, "The Riders of Rohan", Christopher mentions, in a passing footnote, that Tolkien uses the word "wicca" apparently to identify the characters Gandalf and Saruman, who were otherwise called "wizards" throughout the trilogy. The word "wicca" is written in the margin next to the scene discussing the identity of a mysterious old bearded man wondering Rohan. Tolkien was writing this draft in 1942, ten years before Gardner published his first treatise on Wica. So it is impossible for Gardner to have influenced Tolkien's use of the term. Nor did Tolkien influence Gardner, since this marginalia was unpublished. These were totally independent uses of the same word by different authors working in different fields, with Tolkien giving the more common spelling a full decade before Gardner.

Therefore, if Wicca is merely an earlier form of the word Witch, and still extant in the decades before Gardner, it seems highly unlikely that Wicca and Witchcraft mean two different things. Of course, to make them perfectly parallel, one should give the latter the fuller Saxon form, Wicce-cræft. But what did the word Wicca actually mean? How does one define it? Before traveling too far down that road, it will be necessary to dismiss a couple of pop etymologies that have gained favor in recent decades. The first is that "wicca" is the origin of our modern words "wisdom" and "wise". Hence, Wicce-cræft is the "Craft of the Wise". This is a lovely concept, and one embraced by many practicing Witches today who call their religion "the Craft of the Wise", or simply "the Craft" for short. Sadly, this etymology is no longer supportable. Still, it is easy to see how the confusion arose, since the two concepts touch each other at many historical points. It was a common practice for many centuries to refer to the village herbalist or midwife as either a "witch" or a "wise woman". As Reginald Scott says in his Discoverie of Witchcraft (published in 1584), "At this day it is indifferent to say in the English tongue, 'she is a witch,' or 'she is a wise woman.'" We also know that the male equivalent of such a person was often termed a "wizard" (remember Tolkien's wizards, also designated "wicca"), and wizard is etymologically connected to the words "wisdom" and "wise". Finally, it will be recalled that King Alfred applied the word "wiccan" to people who very probably referred to themselves by a variant of the word "Druid", which has been translated as "oak wisdom" or "oak wise". So the connection between "witch" and "wisdom", if not linguistic, is a long-standing and stubborn one.

A slightly more recent attempt at the etymology of "wicca" relates it to an ancient word that meant "to twist or bend". Supporters of this theory "explained" it by saying that Witches are people who "twist or bend" reality ˆ a reference to their magical workings. The only thing that seems twisted or bent about this explanation is that it is strained almost to the breaking point. So if "wicca" doesn't mean either "twisted" or "wisdom" (or Twisted Wisdom ˆ which would be a great name for a Pagan rock band), what does it mean? My own inclination is to follow the lead of historian Jeffrey Burton Russell and trace the word wicca back to its ultimate origin in the Indo-European root word, *weik2. Linguists now believe that *weik2 had a meaning that was about halfway between our modern concepts of "religion" and "magic". It might best be explained by drawing a Venn diagram of two overlapping circles, one labeled "religion" and one labeled "magic". *Weik2 would apply to the area where the two circles overlap. And this meaning is just what one would logically expect. (Interestingly, the only other word in any modern Indic language that is also traced back to weik2 is the word "Veda", a word used to designate Hindu sacred scriptures, once again underscoring its connection to religious tradition.)

So then, is Wicce-cræft or Witchcraft a religion? Is someone designated as Wicca or Witch a follower of that religion? The short answer is that it all depends on what you mean by "religion". Scholars of comparative religion will already know where I'm going with this. In our Western culture, we tend to think of religion in very narrow terms. We suppose it always comes with certain trappings and structures, and that it remains highly consistent over time. We might assume a religion must have specific beliefs, that it has sacred scriptures, that it has a recognizable clergy, that it has some connection to a God or Gods, that is has a specific set of rituals, that is has a hierarchy of followers, or that it champions a certain set of moral precepts. Surprisingly, as travelers to the Orient have discovered, many of the world's great religions break one or more of these rules. All the more so do the hundreds of smaller, tribal, and aboriginal religions break them. Some of these religions are little more than a loose collection of rituals and devotions that change dramatically over time. They are not the large-scale, well-funded, organized religions typical of the West. Rather, they might best be described as "folk religions". It is in this sense that Witchcraft is a religion. And always has been. And always will be.

No, of course Witches don't practice their rituals the same way their Pagan ancestors did two thousand years ago. Neither do Christians still gather in catacombs to hold their agapes. But that doesn't mean they aren't followers of Christianity. Any more than Witches aren‚t followers of their own ancient religion. Of course Witches didn't call their religion "Witchcraft" two thousand years ago. Neither did Christians call theirs "Christianity". They didn't even speak the same language! Any more than Witches did! Nor did they worship the same Gods! The Jewish religion once had many Gods (and Goddesses! ˆ see the work of Raphael Patai) and, according to archeological evidence, kept them well into Roman times, long after the monotheistic reforms were supposed to have taken place. (There's something you won't hear from your local Rabbi!) Early Christians had many Gods and Goddesses, too, as anyone familiar with the Nag Hammadi Library knows only too well. Yes, I'm speaking of "Gnostic" Christians, but remember they probably outnumbered the proto-orthodox Christians by the second century and, as recent archeological discoveries have shown, spread as far as the British Isles! What eventually became "normative" Christianity had to be painfully hammered out at Nicea and similar Church councils over the centuries. Most religions, including Christianity, have gone through just as many changes down the centuries as Witchcraft has, and yet we don't doubt their continuity. Why should Witchcraft be held to a different standard?

When Christianity and Witchcraft first began to clash, Christianity certainly regarded Witchcraft as a competing religion. In the "Canon Episcopi", a part of official Church doctrine, which may date back to the fourth century, Witches were accused of following the Goddess Diana. It wasn't until later that the Church shifted its stance and began accusing Witches of devil-worship, instead. Although Margaret Murray is the scholar usually credited with the thesis that European Witchcraft was the remnants of the old, pre-Christian Pagan faith, she was by no means the first to suggest this. That honor should probably go to German linguist and folklorist Jacob Grimm (yep, that Jacob Grimm, of Grimm's Fairy Tales fame). However discredited some of Murray's ideas may have become, to jettison her core thesis (and Grimm's) may be throwing the baby out with the bath. Modern historian Carlo Ginzburg, in his exploration of the "Benandanti" in sixteenth and seventeenth century Italy, has unearthed much well-documented evidence of the survival of ancient European Pagan spiritual practices well into the Christian era. Since this material has been widely accepted even by skeptics, could it also throw new light on that pivotal 1899 publication by Charles Godfrey Leland, Aradia, or The Gospel of the Witches, which examines the survival of Witchcraft practices in Tuscany? If one defines "religion" in the broad sense used by scholars of comparative religion, it seems clear that Witchcraft does indeed meet the criteria. But Witchcraft is even more than that.

It is also the practice (or the "craft") of magic. As we have seen, "wicca" may have come from a word that mixes elements of religion and magic in equal parts. Why is this so important? Because it underscores the idea that religion and magic are not mutually exclusive, that they can exist side by side harmoniously: that religious people can use magic to improve their lot, and that people who use magic can be spiritual, religious, "good" people. Academics had long tried to drive a wedge between religion and magic. This can be traced back to the pioneering work of Sir James Frazer and The Golden Bough. Although modern occultists may honor him for codifying the "laws" of magic, he had another agenda. Like most social scientists of his day, he was overwhelmed by Darwinian thinking and began applying evolutionary theory to everything, even to areas where it didn't fit. Consequently, magic, in Frazer's view, was nothing more than a debased precursor to "true" religion. As he saw it, the evolution went something like this: Mankind started with a flawed version of cause and effect, called sympathetic and contagious magic. Then, as he evolved, he became animistic, invoking the spirits that inhabit every river, tree, and rock. Then, as he became still more enlightened, he became polytheistic, believing in many Gods and Goddesses, each with different functions. Finally, as man evolved into the paragon of reason that he is today (sic!), he became monotheistic, realizing there could be only One True God.

Granted, this model was quickly dismantled, at least in academic circles. Theodore Gastor, professor of comparative religion, took Frazer to task for this idea, in his preface to a newer critical edition of Frazer's The Golden Bough. Gastor rightly points out that even the most "primitive" magician does not typically perform magic without invoking a God or Goddess. And in even the most "sophisticated" monotheistic religions, there is still a goodly amount of magic, although it may be re-christened as "liturgy" and "prayer". (In the West, the Catholic Mass is the parade example of magic as liturgy.) In fact, Gastor goes on to posit that religion and magic are inescapably found together throughout all cultures of the world, throughout all periods of history. Although academics have accepted this revision, non-specialists have been slower to catch on, and the Frazerian model still holds sway for many. It especially appeals to those "sophisticated" monotheists who believe they have already attained the zenith of theological ideals, and that the practice of magic could not possibly have a place in it. Apparently, there are even some new "Wiccan" groups that buy into this, seeing themselves as religious only, and holding themselves above such practices as magic.

To sum up, it seems that the current drive to separate Wicca from Witchcraft, to say that one refers to religion while the other refers to magic, is full of "Frazerian residue". It appeals to those who are uncomfortable with the thought that religion and magic can happily co-exist. (I suspect that it appeals mainly to Witches who are recent converts from monotheistic creeds, yet have ported a certain amount of their previous belief system into their new faith.) Yet both historically and linguistically, it can be shown that Witch and Wicca are the same word, and that they both mean the same thing, a combination of religion and magic. I am perfectly aware, however, of something that linguists call the "etymological fallacy", i.e. that a word means its etymology. We all know that the meaning of words can change over time. Maybe this has already happened to the word Wicca. Maybe too many people have too often repeated the newborn platitude, "Wicca and Witchcraft are not the same thing." Perhaps it is already too late to turn the tide of opinion. Nonetheless, supporting this view would be a catastrophic mistake for a religion like ours. And more to the point, it could be politically dangerous.

It wasn't long ago that Witches were sometimes arrested for the "crime" of "fortune telling", e.g. for reading Tarot cards, etc. In many such cases, Witches were able to mount a successful defense by arguing that such magical practices were part of their religion. However, I can envision a scenario in the not-too-distant future where the prosecutor will counter with, "That's not true! Her religion may be Wicca, but she was merely practicing Witchcraft!" In a culture like ours, in which all magic is seen as suspect by the increasingly political majority religion, it is perilous to allow a dark line to be drawn between religion and magic. Words like Witch and Wicca present us with a unique opportunity to erase that line. These words are the linguistic equivalent of a petri dish in which the cultures of religion and magic have been allowed to mix in equal proportions. I believe it is important for us to champion this unique mix of beliefs. When I first embraced Witchcraft as my path, I knew I was embracing both a religion and a practice of magic. Therefore, I will continue to proclaim that I am a Witch, and I am Wiccan, for it means the same thing. It is my religion, and it is my craft. It is my life.

::/end article::

So I just thought I'd share that. Most people probably won't really agree with these ideas, but it is always good to at least get them out in the open so people can ponder them for a while.

Waes Hael

Rev. Tracie

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Hi every one, here's my take on the whole idea...

I think that we, as a community, would be well served with a council, not for leadership, but as a clearing house for information. It is true, saddly, that as a community, we Wiccans, cannot seem to agree on any one ideal, let alone come to an agreement on something as simple as the wording of "The Rede".

What I see happening here is akin to the Council of Nicaea, where some ideals, and beliefs in the christian community were given up to eccuminacial dogma.

If we were to come together (woah imagen that lol) and form this clearing house how receptive will the mainstream be to us? And how would we be sure that the Community's best intrests are taken into account?

I am not trying to rain on the parade here, in fact I would like to see this go forward, I am tired of the infighting, almost to the point of leaving the religion. And quite frankly, I feel it is time to come out of the shadows and proclaim that "Yes I am Wiccan!" as a community. Remembering the past is very important, whitout a doubt, living in the past is just plain stupid.

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I see no problem with traditions being organized in some manner according to their teachings, which in some cases is the rule even now. But trying to get eclectics, who are currently the majority, to agree on anything will be as successful as an attempt to herd cats. There are perks in either system, really, but I think many Wiccans feel "cool" for not having a form of governing body and that this is the primary reason for the opposition.

edit:Thought I'd note the above isn't a snipe at Wicca or Wiccans as I am rather fond of both(indeed, I was suckered in to marrying a Wiccan :P ) I am just describing much of the opposition I have encountered thus far as they make it seem.

Edited by fruitloup

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I'm sure a counsel on what we dont believe or what image we want to convey would work. We don't have to agree on certain beliefs but we can agree on what isn't acceptable and work from there. Baby steps are the best way to go in order for it not to collapse and worsen the already poor image people have of Wiccans.

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I think that we, as a community, would be well served with a council, not for leadership, but as a clearing house for information.

This is exactly what I have been saying. We need to convince all the groups we would not be a threat to their autonomy

It is true, saddly, that as a community, we Wiccans, cannot seem to agree on any one ideal, let alone come to an agreement on something as simple as the wording of "The Rede".

Forget the wording, as a modern creation, some do not believe it should have any place at all.

What I see happening here is akin to the Council of Nicaea, where some ideals, and beliefs in the christian community were given up to eccuminacial dogma.

The last thing we need is the heretic hunting that would result from that.

If we were to come together (woah imagen that lol) and form this clearing house how receptive will the mainstream be to us? And how would we be sure that the Community's best intrests are taken into account?

Look to the GLBT organizations to answer the first question. For the second, its been done for centuries. Some sort of business model would probably work best.

Remembering the past is very important, whitout a doubt, living in the past is just plain stupid.

Exactly. The fear of some that going public will result in a reprise of the "burning times" does not take into account the change in culture here and around the world.

Rev. H

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Guest MickinEngland

I've always had a soft spot for Wiccans since seeing them burn Edward Woodward in that Wicker Man, he thoroughly deserved it for his bad acting..

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I have a question concerning Wicca.

I love Wiccan people dearly. Pretty eccletic bunch, the ones I know

I always assumed it was a tradition steeped in ego. If one person's magick could be stronger than someone elses than it

must not be based in truth. I hypothesize.

This weekend I was in a gathering of Wiccan folks and I heard a few of them talking about how many Wiccans literally go insane before reaching the second degree. This only reinforced my beliefs about the ego factor.

Any thoughts or comments.

I took a class in Wicca but it wasn't right for me and I left after 6 weeks.

I noticed too that the ULC creed might as well be the Wiccan creed. I wish more pagans would jump into the fiery debates about christianity here :)

Brightest Blessings!

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I have a question concerning Wicca.

I love Wiccan people dearly. Pretty eccletic bunch, the ones I know

I always assumed it was a tradition steeped in ego. If one person's magick could be stronger than someone elses than it

must not be based in truth. I hypothesize.

This weekend I was in a gathering of Wiccan folks and I heard a few of them talking about how many Wiccans literally go insane before reaching the second degree. This only reinforced my beliefs about the ego factor.

Any thoughts or comments.

I took a class in Wicca but it wasn't right for me and I left after 6 weeks.

I noticed too that the ULC creed might as well be the Wiccan creed. I wish more pagans would jump into the fiery debates about christianity here :)

Brightest Blessings!

I am Wiccan. I really don't feel the ego factor on it. It's not so much about stronger as the ablility to use it responsibly and have control over it. I'm very big on respect to my elders. They have the life experience to back what they say up. If an elder has something worth merit to say I'm all ears. I understand the level of degrees because in Wicca, unfortunately, you get alot of young teenagers that come in and play the "I'm enlightened, more mature than you, I know everything, etc." attitude and with the degrees, it puts that to a stop, very quickly. Magic(k) can be a very powerful thing and you wouldn't want it to be in untrained hands. Would you give a gun to a rookie cop and say have at it? Would you give a fresh out of college doctor a delicate brain surgery to perform even though the biggest "surgery" he's done to date was a few stitches to a finger?

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I am Wiccan. I really don't feel the ego factor on it. It's not so much about stronger as the ablility to use it responsibly and have control over it. I'm very big on respect to my elders. They have the life experience to back what they say up. If an elder has something worth merit to say I'm all ears. I understand the level of degrees because in Wicca, unfortunately, you get alot of young teenagers that come in and play the "I'm enlightened, more mature than you, I know everything, etc." attitude and with the degrees, it puts that to a stop, very quickly. Magic(k) can be a very powerful thing and you wouldn't want it to be in untrained hands. Would you give a gun to a rookie cop and say have at it? Would you give a fresh out of college doctor a delicate brain surgery to perform even though the biggest "surgery" he's done to date was a few stitches to a finger?

Thanks for the reply.

I have another question, if you don't mind?

What effect if any will the recent findings in quantum physics that basically mind equals matter and is non-local. The perceivers effect upon all that he sees and the interconnetedness of all things, have within the Wiccan community

Isn't it starting to look as if magick is just a tool for focus and that what basically is happening with spells and such are just the effects of natural laws of the universe?

Brightest Blessings!

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Thanks for the reply.

I have another question, if you don't mind?

What effect if any will the recent findings in quantum physics that basically mind equals matter and is non-local. The perceivers effect upon all that he sees and the interconnetedness of all things, have within the Wiccan community

Isn't it starting to look as if magick is just a tool for focus and that what basically is happening with spells and such are just the effects of natural laws of the universe?

Brightest Blessings!

I really don't see how it would change anything within the community.

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I really don't see how it would change anything within the community.

Well as I was thinking along the lines such that the tools of the trade (wands, cauldrons, etc etc) might wind up becoming a thing of the past

once folks learn to just meditate upon what it is they wish to manifest.

Brightest Blessings!

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Well as I was thinking along the lines such that the tools of the trade (wands, cauldrons, etc etc) might wind up becoming a thing of the past

once folks learn to just meditate upon what it is they wish to manifest.

Brightest Blessings!

The tools are more like symbols for your mind to focus on. I hate to use this but this is all I can think of right now: Aversion therapy. They did a study on aversion therapy using a toddler and a white rat (some say rabbit). Everytime they showed baby "albert" the animal they'd make a loud noise behind his head. What they didn't anticipate was that anything fluffy and white (including the mall santa's beard) freaked "albert" out after the experiments were concluded.

When tools are used in ritual it is more to "prep" the mind for serious meditation and magic(k)al workings. When people wear certain jewelry or clothes in ritual it's the same concept. Getting your mind ready to focus. Kind of like a lucky blouse for a job interview or a lucky sock for the big game. That's the best way I can explain it. Do you understand what I mean? (not looking down on you but making sure I'm being clear in what Im writing)

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The tools are more like symbols for your mind to focus on. I hate to use this but this is all I can think of right now: Aversion therapy. They did a study on aversion therapy using a toddler and a white rat (some say rabbit). Everytime they showed baby "albert" the animal they'd make a loud noise behind his head. What they didn't anticipate was that anything fluffy and white (including the mall santa's beard) freaked "albert" out after the experiments were concluded.

When tools are used in ritual it is more to "prep" the mind for serious meditation and magic(k)al workings. When people wear certain jewelry or clothes in ritual it's the same concept. Getting your mind ready to focus. Kind of like a lucky blouse for a job interview or a lucky sock for the big game. That's the best way I can explain it. Do you understand what I mean? (not looking down on you but making sure I'm being clear in what Im writing)

Thanks Rev.Fred

I already understood that the tools were just focal points to help bring your mind to a singular point of consciousness where its easier to jump the gap.

I use to be a big rock and mineral guy who used all of Melody's master number minerals to meditate with. Then I learned to bypass them and just use my mind.

Trying not to be ignorant but the only example I can think of is riding a bike. When you start you need the training wheels but once you master it

you throw those suckers in the garage and drive like a bat out of hell.

Crutches are usefull until they are no longer needed. This is how I see all forms of religious belief. They help the seeker until the seeker is able to stand on his own two feet and follow his own path.

May your path be filled with health, love and happiness!

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