Replying About Wicca

I haven’t written much about Wicca and Paganism for awhile. I got settled in and knew my own thoughts and just left it at that. But, I feel good to be posting ideas and sharing them. I left (maybe too many) comments on a YouTube video about “What is Wicca?“.  I liked the video and found a lot of people asking questions as I read the comments. So, I began adding replies. Here they are, without the original question, but I don’t think that will make a big difference.

I  enjoyed your video. I’ve been Wiccan for about 30 years, always solitary. We follow pretty different paths but the core of your feelings about what what Wicca and Paganism are very much mirrors the way I have always felt. It comes from within yourself, it is very individual but based on caring for the world and the planet and putting effort into them. Saving our home, in a nutshell.

I did think it was odd when you began speaking about Wicca as a way to feel better about death. For me it is about appreciating life and death is just part of that cycle. I just turned 50 a bit more than a month ago and time/ age is on my mind more than ever before really. But, I don’t worry about what happens so much as not wanting the journey to end.

Anyway, I don’t believe in spellwork because at some level it seems to be against harming none. To make a change which effects someone else (which even changes to yourself will effect others) is in some way causing harm. The spell part of Wicca has always been mildly aggravating to me because it does get abused, like a get rich quick scheme rather than people taking responsibility, putting in the time and learning how to get what they need without a crutch, or gimmick or just expecting the world somehow owes them a favour.

Too much commenting now. But, I did say “Thank you!” out loud when you said Wicca not all about spells. I do wish more people would look past spells and see what really is here and inside themselves. What real power they have without gimmicks, tricks, etc. 

About Covens

That’s pretty much why I never joined a coven. I would have had to compromise what I feel and believe in so I could fit into what the consensus of belief was with the group. I call myself an Earth Witch but I’m also an Atheist. I’d never be able to fit into any coven and people in covens would not like or accept what I feel/ believe.

However, I do think the weakness of Paganism as a religion is not having a consensus of beliefs. It leaves us without a firm identity in common and we do be come a target of other “organized” religions and their believers. Pagans in covens stand together almost like Christians because they do have that agreed upon system of beliefs and expectations. So, in that way it isn’t a bad thing.

About Meditation

Meditation is kind of like prayer in the way it can focus your mind on what is important and help you pull your energy together to accomplish whatever it is you choose as your goal.

About the Masons

The masons are really cool. I think that’s part of what makes me really appreciate rocks and old buildings.

About the Inverted Pentagram

Make your own decision. I feel strongly against the inverted pentagram and ouija boards. You’re bringing something into your life which you may not want.

For Someone Who has Lost Track

Work on making yourself stronger and happier. You can’t help someone else, or yourself, if your own life is at a low ebb. Spend time with people who are positive and strong so you can learn to be positive and strong too. You have to actually look in the direction you want to go. Great advice for driving a car and steering your course through life too.

About Pagan Books

I especially like reading from Doreen Valiente and Marian Green. Also: Practical Solitary Magic Paperback by Nancy B. Watson. Keep reading, make notes about what you find and feel and what you really believe in and connect with. I even wrote notes in my books. It felt strange to mark them at first but then I began to feel I was making myself at home in the pages.

About Fitting Into Wicca

Don’t try to make Wicca right for you. It’s not like joining a special club. Read about religions, faiths and beliefs and find what you actually connect to. You will connect somewhere and it will be right for you when you find it. Don’t stress about finding it or being Wiccan. Wicca should suit you – not the other way around. Hope you understand because it can feel so wonderful when you discover the right fit for you – even if it is not Wicca.

About Choosing Wicca When Parents Don’t Agree

Essentially Wicca is about appreciating life and nature. Your parents can hardly think you are going to hell or be upset if you spend more time outdoors and have those qualities. Christians are supposed to care about life and nature too. Don’t upset your parents with Wicca – that’s not the point of it. When your life is more your own then you can do more things on your own and in your own way. Don’t make Wicca a dividing wall. You can be Wiccan if you want to be and you don’t have to prove it to anyone by flaunting it or buying stuff or even having rituals. Keep it to yourself and experience it without the extra trimmings for awhile. No harm in that.

Probably arrogant to quote yourself, but sometimes I like to remember what I thought at the time and how I said/ typed it.

 

 

Men Can be Witches (Pagan) Too

magic manA male witch is not a warlock or a wizard, he is a Pagan, Wiccan or Witch who happens to be male. So, of course, there are men who are Witches too.

If you are a male Pagan you could be the only one, or one of few, in your coven or group. There may be many men working as solitary Wiccans, Witches or Pagans just because they feel isolated even when they are in a group. Women are drawn to Paganism, at least partially, because it is a religion (set of beliefs) which focuses on the feminine Goddess.

However, Pagans don’t have a one sided belief. Pagans have a dual God and Goddess. The Horned God, the Green Man, are names for the male God of the Pagans. It’s a mistake to think of Wicca, Witchcraft, or Pagan paths as female centred only. If it were not for the men who began researching the older Gods, ancient religions and societies we would not have some of the great Pagan history and literature which we enjoy, study and follow in our modern days.

Actually, there have been a lot of men in the Pagan religion. Some of the most popular books for Pagans have been written by male Pagans.

  • Scott Cunningham
  • Aleister Crowley
  • Robert Graves
  • Raymond Buckland
  • Stewart Farrar
  • Gerald Gardner
  • Isaac Bonewits
  • Charles Godfrey Leland
  • Sir James Frazer

Finding Pagan Men Online

Men are Welcome

If men don’t create their own rituals they may find inspiration from the rituals and spells of others. If the spells were written for a woman, men will have to adapt them to their own needs and purposes.

This is nothing unusual. The Pagan religion is very adaptable, making room for all sorts of new ideas and beliefs – different ways of looking at the world.

Men should not be uncomfortable about taking part in Witchcraft, Wicca or Pagan groups. There may be some groups which will not welcome men, depending on the unique point of view and focus of that particular group. For instance, there are covens which focus on the female Goddess or Maiden, Mother and Crone aspects of women. In this case, the group would be specific to women.

Many groups and covens are far more generic and welcoming for men, new Pagans and solitary Pagans too. Just as any other time you are looking at a group to become involved with, you have to do some research and get your foot in the door.

Comments from the original post on HubPages:

Radical Rog

Personally, I have a problem with this need to label everyone as being this or that. Witch, Wizard, Hedge, White, Black, Wiccan, each is an individual on their own journey towards spiritual enlightenment, understanding, whatever you want to call it, or maybe just standing still on the Path.

So which Path do you follow? In truth, it’s a labyrinth with many turnings and junctions and crossroads. The symbology of the labyrinth in occult mythology is there for a reason.

LaurencePJones

Waband, far be it for me to question that remark as I have ony begun posting hubs a short while ago and haven’t been involved in Wicca that long but isn’t it a sweeping statement to say that ‘witches are female’. I’m sure the majority of them are but surely a little research is required before dismissing male witches out of hand.

That Grrl

Don’t let me interrupt. I’m loving to hear about word history – two of my favourite things combined.

Radical Rog

Correct Raptorcat, or go back further to ‘wys’. ‘Wizard’ has a different entamology and is more of a construct, though with a similar meaning, from ‘zinoti’ – to know.

There is also a connection to the phrase: ‘Singers of the Earth’s Dawn,’ from a time before the written word, when travelling storytellers passed on news and ancient tales. Many of these tales were what are now dismissed as the creation stories of mythology. A wizard was a travelling story teller, a bard, who ‘knew’ the story of man’s relationship to the gods. The early Church missionaries set out to suppress this ancient knowledge and replace those tales with its own version of creation. Hence the subsequent denigration.

A witch was someone who ‘knew’ the tale keeping it alive where they were. A wizard was someone who travelled to spread this knowledge and wisdom, though that last bit is my interpretation.

Raptorcat

Actually, Radical Rog, the word “witch” goes back even further to the original root word “Wicce” which means “Wise” or “Wise one”.

There is also the possibility that it is the root for the word “Wizard” as well, but I am not sure, though the linguistic similarity is there.

Radical Rog

To support your argument, the word witch derives from the original, wichá and wiché (masculine the feminine). The word refers to knowledge/wisdom and a more correct transliteration would be:, wise man or wise woman respectively, or even more correctly, one who knows.

It is this knowledge the Church wished to suppress hence their denigration and persecution.

That Grrl

I’m kind of the opposite. I get started with an initial spurt of idea, even something I don’t know much about. Then I dig up information, decide what I think and what I want to say about everything I have found. Then it all piles into the article. I’m not an expert about anything but I use research and common sense to share information and hope for the best.

I do feel that there will be people who read what I have written and tell me I don’t have a clue. But, usually my research, common sense and my own experience pull me through. I just think it is a shame to let someone else intimidate you from writing and sharing the information you have.

My Uncle told me no one should be a writer until they are 40 and have experienced life – which would mean they had something to say at that point. I was about 14 at the time – a long way from 40. I let that keep me from writing anything more than my diary for a really long time. It wasn’t until I was in my last year of high school and then college that someone made me feel good about my writing again.

Raptorcat

@That Grrl, Actually, there are a few people on the hub that are at least equal, if not superior to me in that regard. They are also better writers than I am.

It is not with any false sense of modesty that I say that, it is just that I know my own limitations in writing on any subject. In some areas, I am a very skilled technical writer and in others I am a more skilled emotive writer.

I am well versed in many subjects, btw, so it is not as if I feel any inferiority or don’t know my voice, but more that I do know my voice and as I gain more and more knowledge, that voice grows, as all voices do.

If people have specific questions, I am more than happy to address them to the best of my knowledge and experience, but to just start writing on a specific subject is tricky for me. Getting started on anything that is not historical is usually where I run into the problems.

That Grrl

Kittydreamer is one of the HP people I follow. I try to keep a watch out for all the Pagan writers here. (As well as all the other Lauras).

That Grrl

@Raptorcat – You aren’t writing to people who are experts and far more experienced than you consider yourself to be. You are writing to people who know less than you do and would benefit from the knowledge and experience you (in particular) have.

If you always consider yourself to be writing for people who know more than you – how will you ever find your own voice and write anything? There are far more people who know less and would like to know more than there are people who know a lot and don’t want to learn anything else. Even the people you call experts are likely to read your thoughts and find something new or interesting to take away with them.

LauraD093

That Grrl- I found this article interesting also the comments made by Raptorcat were things I never knew in regards to this particular belief system. Paganism doesn’t seem female oriented-although until knowing the true definition for “witch” from Raptorcat I always associated Wiccan belief as female dominate with men taking a secondary role which is the exact reverse for most Western religions. It is informative to know that there appears to be a balance. kittydreamer is a fellow hub-writer who addresses a lot of Wiccan and Pagan beliefs you may want to check her work out.

Raptorcat

To be honest, I really would not know where begin. There are a lot of far more qualified and experienced witches out there that can discuss the issue with far more information and knowledge than I.

Authors like Kerr Cuhulain (who has a column on Witchvox) come to mind.

Factually speaking, we are at a point in the craft where we need to move away from the female-centered attitude and start to balance all practices of the craft, taking the male into the same level of serious consideration that we have, to date, given to the female.

Both are mysteries that are equally important to us, as humans and to us as practicioners of the craft.

That Grrl

Raptorcat, I hope you write about Pagan men too. You have a lot more background to make a better post than mine. I got the idea and wanted to write it up before I forgot my ideas/ thoughts. There is a lot more which could be added.

Raptorcat

That Grrl, There are a lot of books that are mostly fluff and many more that are complete and utter nonsense. Many are geared toward only the female practicioners, which is kind of dishonest, since Paganism is neither exclusively a male nor female practice (with few exceptions). It is bi-gender, like our species is.

Many books are filled with gems of useful information, but the real trick is to discern the wheat from the chaff. Not an easy task for any newcomer to any Pagan path.

A lot of the books in our personal library are a bit on the fluffy side, but we still have them for the gems of useful information buried within them.

Raptorcat

Wabond, the word “witch” is actually based in the old English “Wicce”, which means “wise”, which has no gender. SInce the word has no actual gender, I have never called myself a male witch. I am, simply, a witch.

The wicce have always been the ones that performed many duties, from healing to leading ritual at the sabbats and esbats, to officiating at weddings and funerals. They were always the ones that understood herbalism, signs and portents and, sometimes, counsel to the village elders or even to the nobility before the rise of Christianity.

In some cultures they were called priest or priestess, depending on gender, yet there were other cultures, like the celts that had a single word to denote that person who was of the wicce.

That Grrl

I know people who think there is a big difference between being labelled as a Pagan, Wiccan or Witch. I don’t see it that way myself. It’s a shame you let a label change your path. But, you said there were other reasons too.

@Raptorcat – Thanks for the suggestion of another book. I looked for awhile to find books that seemed worth listing. I remember when I started out and had no idea what the right books were to start with. There are some who trust faithfully in books which I think are pure hogwash. There are always people who will write a book full of fluff and nonsense just to create sales.

Raptorcat

Interesting article. As the acting HP of a Gardnerian Coven, I often find myself pointing out that the word “witch” is neither male nor female and that the term “Warlock” is wholly inappropriate as the word means “oathbreaker”, not male witch.

Many of the books that you have listed here I have. They are all good reads, but I would also add the book “Wiccan Warrior”. Most male pagans will find it to be a very enlightening book concerning the warrior spirit found in the God and how it can be applied to both practice and everyday life.

wabond

I was a male witch years ago, and never felt comfortable with the concept. That was one of the reasons I got out of witchcraft. To me witches are female, why do we need men to be witches as well?

Where the Wild Things Are: Teaching Pagan Ideas to Kids

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, February, 20, 2003.

What do you do with Pagan kids?

I think kids are too young to get started on the more serious side of being Pagan. Partly because they are too uninformed to make the decision to be Pagan versus something else. Also, calling themselves Pagan could become a problem with other members of the family or kids/ teachers at school. Most people don’t understand Paganism and thus they don’t trust it. Kids are a bit too defenseless in that situation.

That doesn’t mean kids can’t be Pagan too. Calling yourself Pagan is not being Pagan. What is being Pagan about, at it’s heart? To me it’s nature, the Earth, life, history, science, traditions and environmentalism. Is there any reason kids can’t be involved in those things, of course not. Kids just love to talk about the supernatural too, few kids don’t enough the spooky element of Halloween. You can add the facts about ghosts, Witches and such to their ghost stories.

Teach kids to appreciate nature, take them on walks outdoors, show them how to recycle and make it a priority to learn about history and science. Involve them in your rituals. Take them on a nature walk to gather leaves, stones, etc. Let them know what your altar is for, don’t make it a big mystery, but don’t make it sound too “weird” either. Get them started writing a journal, they don’t have to know it’s a Book of Shadows. Spend time with them, that’s the most important thing for any kids, Pagan or otherwise. Remember, they learn from you. What you do is what they see and what they believe.

You can introduce kids to the Wiccan Rede, the basic ideas behind Paganism and what you believe about Gods, Goddesses, life and death. But, make sure they understand not everyone shares your same beliefs. For one thing you want them to make their own decision about being Pagan. For another you don’t want them to be confused when they discover people who disagree with Pagan ideas.

Kids haven’t lived enough to have a deeper understanding and they don’t know how to protect themselves from those who think Pagans are evil, devil worshipping types. That’s the main reason I think I would just let kids see the heart of Paganism and introduce them to the body later. Likely, they will have had a life of living like a Pagan and it will be a very smooth transition to become Pagan officially.

Where the Wild Things Are: What Kind of Pagan are You?

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, July, 28, 2003.

There are so many choices to make once you decide you are a Witch. First, what kind of Witch are you, are you even a Witch at all? Some prefer to call themselves Wiccans. To me, Wicca is the new religion based on ancient witchcraft. We don’t know a great deal about witchcraft, the old ways. Things weren’t written down they were instead passed along from mouth to mouth. Many things were lost along the way, of course. Some were never passed along at all I’m sure. So, modern Witchcraft is only based on what the Witches were doing a hundred or a thousand years ago.

Still, I consider myself a Witch, not a Wiccan. I like to think my beliefs are the older ways, rather than based on the revamping of the older ways which was started with Wicca in the 60’s and 70’s. I don’t put Wicca down as not being true to the old ways or some how not worthy as a Pagan religion. It’s just not right for me, personally.

Once you get past the Witch versus Wiccan stage you look at all the flavours in being a Witch/ Wiccan. There are so many. Some are based on different cultures like German, Italian, Egyptian, Irish, Celtic, and Native Indians. Others are based on different elements like water, fire, and ice. Then there are traditions based on mythical things like unicorns, dragons, mermaids and fairys. Don’t assume being a myth to our modern culture makes it a myth in reality. People who believe in dragons and fairies and follow that style of Witchcraft are not just playing around, they believe.

Here are some of the basic flavours and styles of witches to help get you started. You should find out at least a few things about each one. That way you will be making an informed choice when you pick which path you will follow.

Alexandrian

British Traditionalist

Celtic Wicca

Caledonii (Hecatine)

Dianic

Eclectic

Gardnerian

Pictish

Seax-Wica (or Saxon) Wicca

Strega

Teutonic (Nordic)

Hedge Witch

Solitary

Asatru

Druidism

Shamanism

Faery

Where the Wild Things Are: Can you Be Yourself and Be Pagan?

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, August, 24, 2003.

Being Pagan isn’t about putting on a show. It’s really a very personal thing, a choice you might keep to yourself forever or reveal to your family or friends. They call it coming out of the broom closet cause that’s kind of cute. But, you were never in a closet. Being Pagan is about being free, living with the Earth and respecting our history/ traditions. How can those be bad? Why would you have to keep that under wraps?

I think people think they have to prove a point or show off when they yabble on about how Pagan they are. In the case of craft names especially, those were meant to be secret, from everyone! But here and there you can find Pagans using their craft names more than the name on their birth certificate. Some rationalize it and say that’s their public craft name and they keep a secret one, privately. So, why the show?

Can you be yourself and be Pagan too? I think that’s what it really comes down to.

If you have to dress a certain way, display certain objects around you and change your name to fit in, where do you really fit in? Being Pagan should be comfortable, part of who you already were. It should add to you, not reprogram you.

Think about your own Pagan or Wiccan lifestyle. Are you putting on a show or are you just being Pagan cause that’s part of who you are? If you have all the toys and gadgets chances are you’re really missing something. If you’ve copied tons of spells from the web but never written any of your own, chances are you’re missing the point. Reorganize, rethink and stop to breathe, find out what part of yourself is Pagan and relearn. Get back to the essentials, rediscover being Wiccan and have fun again. You can’t be having fun if you’re always trying to catch up to some ideal of what being Pagan should be. You are Pagan, you made that choice, so just go ahead and be Pagan. No song and dance required.

Where the Wild Things Are: A Pagan Celebration

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, September, 22, 2003.

Tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox. I should be doing something, celebrating the changing seasons. But I’m not. I’ll be at work from 9:00am till 8:30 at night. By the time I’m done I will be too tired to drive myself home. But, I have to do that so I’ll manage somehow. Times like that I’m so glad it’s the car that does all the work!

Anyway, real life does interfere with how Wiccan or Pagan we would like to be. That’s ok, it’s reality. If I was to skip work and the big meeting after work, that would be living in some unreal imaginary world of my own creation. I have to work to make money to pay for my car, my rent and the clothes I wear while I do all those other things. Now and then I even treat myself to a new book, a fancy coffee or a day of window shopping.

It’s ok to live in the real world. It’s ok to miss a Pagan celebration. It would be nicer to not miss it. But, really as long as I’m alive and still on this planet I’m not missing a thing. As I drive I’ll be looking at the darkened forest I drive through on the way home. I’ll be watching for deer and foxes who sometimes show up along the roadside in the evenings. I’ll be listening to the sounds of the night as I drive with the windows down to let in all that cool night air and the scent of crisp Autumn leaves.

You may not light candles, perform rituals or chant pretty rhymes but that doesn’t mean you’re not celebrating along with the rest of the world. It’s what you have in your heart, mind and soul that matters, even if you only express it to yourself. You don’t have to prove how Pagan you are to anyone but you.