There’s a lot of negative labels associated with feminism. One of them I ran across from a quote by Pat Robertson, “a media mogul, television evangelist, ex-Baptist minister and businessman who is politically aligned with the Christian Right in the United States.” (Wikipedia). Ready for this beast of a quote?
“(T)he feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”
Oh. My. Goodness. There’s so much going on with that quote, I can’t quite focus. But he was serious. Now, this pastor is pretty darn radical. We are just going to focus on the ‘witchcraft’ statement; While I haven’t heard something so outrageous from anyone in person – I have often heard the popular misconception that feminists are witches and dance around naked to worship Satan… Or something like that. Basically, there’s a lot of uniformed beliefs circulating about the spiritual practice of Wicca and it has nothing to do with worshiping Satan. In fact, those who practice Wicca and Witchcraft don’t recognize a force of all evil. It does not exist purely for feminists or women; in fact, there are many men and LGBT identified individuals who practice Wicca.
This is also not Wicca – though, in my opinion a classic show, otherwise.
This is a preview of what Wicca is actually about; I would appreciate it if all readers kept in mind that Wicca practices and spiritual beliefs are across the board – but the following is a general summary.
Wicca is an earth-based religion, meaning it’s very environmentally focused. Since there’s not an actual equivalent of the Bible in Wicca, these beliefs and practices vary, but the number one rule remains the same. It goes something like this: Do unto others as you would have done to you. The idea of karma is also mentioned in Wicca – generally what you give – you get three times back… and that goes for good and bad deeds. We refer to it as the rule of three. So an individual who practices Wicca and Witchcraft (at least a smart one) is not going to curse people – because it’ll eventually come back to the caster 3x as bad as the initial ‘spell’. See The Wiccan Rede for more information about this and other Wicca philosophy.
A good amount of spiritual gain is implemented in Wicca; some of these practices include divination (Tarot cards, casting runes, astrology, etc.), meditation, grounding, visualization and recognition of life energy AKA an ‘aura.’ Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to cover all of this, but I have a list of resources that do allow you to research these topics further.
I want to clear a few things up. Yes, Wicca is centered around energy and magick – with a ‘k’. It’s not pulling things out of thin air, but forming them. It’s very similar to the content of a book called The Secret where you put good energy into the world around you and subsequently attract the positive energies to you. Wicca is very spiritual; generally there are five elements that are recognized and acknowledged. Earth. Air. Fire. Water. Spirit. These are recognized in ceremonial rituals to encourage a connection to the world around us and also to simply respect the beauty that nature is made of.
In terms of deities, it would be considered polytheistic for many reasons, although it’s not necessarily the correct term for it. In Wicca there is a God and Goddess (I’ll get to this in a second). There are different sects of Wicca (eclectic, Dianic, Faery, solitary, etc.) that emphasize different issues more-so than others. For example, Dianic does indeed have a strong feminist vibe and tends to focus on feminine empowerment and ‘female’ deities; eclectic uses beliefs from all paths of Wicca and does not necessarily have a set routine of practices.
The God and Goddess are actually one complete energy. However, they are portrayed as “masculine” and “feminine” aspects in one metaphysical body. However, they are equals and just as appreciated for their characteristics as the other. They aren’t characterized as male-bodied or female-bodied, but a part of one body. An example of this duality is the representation of the sun and moon;
[The sun] is a symbol of the God who gives himself away, so that His people can live. And in this way He preserves His immortality . . . for after death, He can be again born of the Goddess.
The Moon is the Mother of all life on Earth. She is associated with the Spiral of Life – birth, death, and rebirth. She grants our wishes. She guides our dreams. (from here)
Wicca deities are similar to the yin and yang – they become whole when combined together. The use of pronouns is irrelevant to the representations of God and Goddess. Wicca is often associated with paganism and polytheism because of its relationship with multiple gods and goddesses. Oftentimes, the concentration on these deities are chosen by the practitioner for personal reasons and relation to the deity’s characteristics. Sometimes, he/she may chose (for simplicity sake and easy recognition) to ask for the assistance of Aphrodite (the Greek goddess of love, beauty and sexuality) when focusing on a romantic relationship. Or if he/she wishes for a deeper connection to the environment, they might call on Gaia, the mother of Earth in Greek myth. Basically, each god/goddess represents the characteristics and affinities they are defined by – and thus, this is a reason they may be used in certain rituals or prayer. But as I said before, these deities are, in actuality, one in all. Having a name and a face to associate with when praying or focusing on during a ceremony assists with meditation, visualization and concentration which is believed to help focus energy more efficiently. Being able to picture a face is often much easier to form a connection with and I believe is why many Wicca practitioners specifically associate and work with different faces of deity.
In my experience, the biggest difference between Wicca and Christianity is that ‘God’ is not a separate force that punishes and blesses those who ‘deserve it.’ Wicca emphasizes that the God and Goddess are a part of all – in and around us. Therefore, the God and Goddess’ energy is a part of our everyday lives. Wicca is a lifestyle and not a routine. This creates a closer relationship with spirituality (in my opinion) because choice and fate and events are not chosen by ONE Being considered to exist beyond human capacity.
Instead, life occurs as it happens and whether the road taken is pleasant or difficult, the God and Goddess are there with (you) no matter what happens; good or bad choices can be made and as long as it harms no one – there will always be that link between (you) and nature. It’s physically there. A person can touch it and see it and smell it. As opposed to a construct of bliss only achievable through death (this is obviously used as an example – and there are many other representations that construct this complex idea).
The main point I want to make is that Wicca is not a space claimed for feminists who cast spells because they can; while some who practice Wicca may be feminists (believing all people should have equal rights) and while there are purely ‘feminine’ aspects recognized in Wicca — this is meant to open doors to recognize the all. Most modern and westernized religions tend to recognize the Highest Power as a man and an unknown being – generally based on faith alone. (Please do not think I’m belittling any of these beliefs; I’m merely trying to emphasize the differences). Wicca allows the practitioner to physically experience the energy of the divine while also embracing the spirituality of it. It is practiced in order to appreciate the beauty in life, to treat others equally and to form a closer connection within the entire world and its life energy.
**A lot of people might think Wicca is just ‘trendy.’ While it admittably can be, the aspect of study is very important. Wicca isn’t all about doing spells and casting circles under full moons; serious Wicca practitioners devote years of study and practice to become devote witches. For example, if a person decided to enter a coven (which is a group of practicing Wiccan members) he/she is traditionally required to study for one year and a day before he/she is technically ‘allowed’ to join the circle. However, this differs with all covens and solitary witches, but study and research is considered a very important aspect in Wicca.
Sites, Resources & Interesting Articles I don’t have time to touch on….
Here are a number of books on the ceremonial and practical aspects of Wicca.
The Circle Within discusses the spiritual aspect more in depth
This is another book that is actually about Native American practices, but has several parallel practices and beliefs to Wicca
This is the local metaphysical store on campus that has numerous supplies and information regarding all spiritualistic practices
Lunar Cycles & Your Period?
This is the featured Tarot deck at the top
The truth about Divination – Tarot, Runes, “fortune telling”
Why its considered peaceful – briefly touches on meditation, Wicca and pets, and ‘spell-casting’