Wicca . . . more or less

Posted: January 8, 2009 in Bible, Christian, church, faith, family, Personal, Religion, Thoughts, wicca, witch, women

Wicca and witchcraft are everywhere from TV to video games and best selling novels. It’s influence continues to grow with the lack of absolutes in our culture paving the way for Wicca popularity. The promise of power over others and the lure of a female friendly religion is intoxicating to the younger generations. The environmentally friendly Wicca has gained ground in segments of the population that the church has lost due to the perception that Christianity is judgmental and male dominant. Moral absolutes are rejected so there is no need to appeal to a silent God for salvation or assistance.

HISTORY AND BELIEFS
There is no agreement on the age of Wicca, but evidence supports the thousands year old suggestion. There is also disagreement on the origin of the belief system which is possibly European. There is no founder and no common doctrine. The Wiccan beliefs date back to the Druids and the Celts, but because it is a “build-as-you-go” religion it is constantly being repackaged to maintain a modern feel while retaining centuries old  traditions. At the core of  Wicca belief is the Wicca Rede, a rule that states, “An ye harm none, do what ye will.”1  There exists no absolutes in Wicca, so “harm no one” is nothing more than a relative idea such that all understandings of the meaning  would be right. Another rule that most Wiccans follow is the Threefold Law. This is the Wiccan version of karma which states, “Ensure that your actions are honorable, for all that you do shall return to you, threefold, good or bane.” Since there is no universal standard of good within the Wiccan belief system, good or bad remains relative to the practitioner. The religion draws mainly on experience and rejects any religious authority.

The Wiccan will choose two deities on which to build their religion. These deities are one female and one male, and drawn from the gods of any variety of religious lore be it Greek, Hindu, Roman, Egyptian, etc. but not mixed and matched. The Wicca builds his or her pantheon of gods depending on what appeals to them. The freedom to create one’s own personal experience of worship is the main appeal for most Wiccans. With no doctrine or authority to dictate the worship experience, the Wiccan instead works in harmony with the deities rather than simply begging for assistance.

Wicca is grounded in the worship of the earth which is a living goddess blessing us and which must be nurtured in return.2  The All existed before the creation of the earth. The female spirit gave birth to the male spirit and though they are two, they are one. They gave birth to the universe and the goddess dwells in all things. With the seasons, eight Sabbats are celebrated within each coven to honor the goddess. The Wiccan circle in spell-casting represents life and life cycles. They believe that death is only a transformation and that all is reborn, so the circle offers protection as a magical barrier in spell-casting .3  The rituals of Wicca are designed to develop a greater awareness of the unseen “energy” within the universe and to restore harmony between Mother Earth and Wiccans.
 

The deepest need of every human is to learn from experiences, so every witch has a Book of Shadows which acts as a diary chronicling spells, magick, life experiences, lessons learned and ultimately their feelings. It is through their feelings or six sense that they perfect their knowledge. A witch’s spells are only as powerful as the emotions the spell raises inside of her. Spell casting and magick are a vital part of Wicca practices and are performed in an altered state of consciousness in order to manipulate the universe. The practice is used to discipline the mind and cause creation to yield to their will.

Wiccans believe in reincarnation, but if a soul is not ready to come back it can choose to serve as a spirit guide. There is no heaven or hell, but there is a place called Summerland where the spirit goes to contemplate the previous life. Ultimately when a spirit has learned all it can out of life, it will be absorbed into the All. The monistic and pantheistic flavor of Wicca belief eliminates the need to appeal to a higher power since all is god, making proselytizing unnecessary.

CHRISTIAN EVALUATION

Contrary to Wiccan belief two opposing beliefs cannot both be true, one or none, but not both. Not surprisingly Wiccans reject the Bible as outdated and irrelevant. But the historical data supporting the truth of scripture is hard for the Wiccan to counter. God vehemently condemned the practice of witchcraft, sorcery and pagan worship in Deuteronomy 18:9-13.

 9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God.

 Although the initial condemnation in the Old Testament was thousands of years ago, it was confirmed again in the New Testament in Galatians 5:19-21.

 19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

God does not change His mind. Wicca is still a condemned practice today. We do not get a second chance or numerous opportunities to learn from our life experiences as Wiccans assert. Hebrews 9:27 says, “Just as a man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement.” God is very clear in the just punishment for those violating His perfect law in Revelation 21:8, “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

None of us have the power to create or sustain our own existence. Any energy that we need to survive is found outside of ourselves, not within. There is only one all powerful source for our existence, the God of scripture. And there is only one who can provide salvation from the just penalty of our sin, Jesus Christ. Yahweh is the only power who can transform a life from ashes to beauty.

1. Steve Russo, What’s the Deal with Wicca? (Bloomington, MD: Bethany House Publishers, 2005), 19.

2. Ibid., 22.

3. J. Philip Rhodes, Wicca Unveiled (Glastonbury, Somerset, Great Britain: Speaking Tree Books, 2000), 27.

 

With thanks to my friends of the Craft for sharing their thoughts with me. Merry meet.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. jonolan says:

    LOL

    Arguing the lack of merit of religion by quoting words of the holy book of another religion is a useless argument.

    • Nance says:

      If you will read more carefully, you will notice that I was not presenting an argument. It is an evaluation from a Christian perspective. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. A Pilgrim says:

    Ah, Wicca.. I know it well. I was a practicing solitary witch before coming back to Christianity.

    I will say that that there is power in it, that the spells will get results, and that you can can call upon spirits.

    That being said though, it didn’t take me long to recognize that all was being done through the powers of demons. I did learn however that our Enemy is not above doing “good” if it means that it will draw people away from God!

  3. Rickr0ll says:

    Nance got you there, jonolan.

    But i don’t feel that Wicca qualifies as a religion in much the same way as Voodoo doesn’t- it is a set of spiritual beliefs without structure. I could be wrong though. Bhuddism isn’t a religion either; at least, it never was meant to be. It is a way of living, possessing the structure of religion without the supernatural basis for those beliefs- the other side of the coin. Taoism and Confuscionism are the same. And probably Jainism.

    I seriously think that you are confusing this with Satanism as well. (Not Satan worship- the worship of the self.) You might also watch your tone when discussing “New “Agey” denominations, for the simple matter of the long History of Gnosticism- indeed, one of the main churches at the inception of christianity. This isn’t a good time to make an excluded middle out of all the people who might be on your side of this discussion.

    Not that this makes any sort of sense. God has changed throughout time- that much is accutely obvious. In many ways, Judean/ Christian belief structures are the same as Wicca, though far less honest. Mithra, Saturnalia, Dionysus, The Ugaritic Pantheon, Egyptian mythology… All modeled after in the beginnings of Judaism and/or Christianity. I posted a long list of videos on this very subject on the other recently abandoned thread.

    There are also many other specific points i will address, though not now.

  4. Hex says:

    I think you did a good job on this.. Much better than I wouild have done.. As you know, I am pagan.. I have very little tolerance for wiccans.. LOL.. It’s difficult for me to write about it and not throw in my personal opinions..

  5. Seth R. says:

    Interesting that the pentagram was originally a thoroughly Christian symbol. Emperor Constantine used it as a symbol in military conquest. Other early Christians used it as well and didn’t seem to mind much whether the point was facing down or up (the controversial Knights Templar being a famous example).

    The five points of the pentagram were thought to represent the five wounds of Christ and was often to symbolize Christ instead of the cross. Of course, the pentagram also has some hidden mathematical symbolism as well that the devout linked expressly to God (borrowing from the Pythagoreans and their cult of number worship). If you want a simplified (yet remarkably concise) breakdown of the mathematical implication of the symbol just watch the first part of the old Disney classic “Donald Duck in Math-magic Land.”

    You can still find the inverted pentagram displayed on the Roman Catholic cathedral at Chartres France, and on the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    It’s only recent pop culture that has twisted the symbols image into that of the occult – or Satan worship.

  6. jonolan says:

    Fair enough, Nance. Re-reading the post I can better see it as a Christian evaluation of Wicca as opposed to just an argument against its practice based solely on the Bible.

    One point though on the nature of Wicca. As a specific sect of Paganism, Wicca is actually quite young. It was started in 1954 by Gerald Gardner.

    Rickr0ll,

    What’s a religion? How many specific injunctions and Law Verses are required to be a religion as opposed to “spirituality?”

    Where we run into a problem is with shallow people who have turned to various forms of Paganism as a means of justifying their actions. The Rede is actually quite stern, but requires thought on the part of its adherents.

    Think about it – “An it harm none, do as you will.”

    That requires that the person analyze his or her actions and estimate their impact on others.

    BTW all, I’m Pagan but not Wiccan. 😉

    • Nance says:

      Some Wiccans credit Gardner others hold to a 35,000 year old tradition. Because the Craft is a personal build-it-yourself project there is no agreement on its founder or its age. Gardner came up with the name and a few rules, but the actual practice had been around for much longer. This information I have gathered from talking to Wiccans and from research. Few books agreed on a founder or date, although several did mention Gardner as an “organizer” if you will.

  7. jonolan says:

    True, but much the same could be said for the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). They each have specific “start dates,” but derive much of their underlying moral structure and strictures from the much older Zoroastrianism, or so some scholars claim.

    I was merely speaking of the specific “church” of Wicca, much like someone might speak of the Baptists, Catholics, Hasids, or Sunnis.

    Also, The Craft is more “properly” description of the magical practices and not the associated religions. There are practitioners of the Craft who are quite irreligious; we often refer to them as Hermetics.

    • Nance says:

      jonolan-
      The Zoroatrianism claim is another discussion altogether. But I understand your viewpoint. Would you mind my asking you a question I asked dragon cooky? What do you see as the purpose of your life?

  8. jonolan says:

    My purpose?

    OK, the short form:
    To serve My Goddess, Morrigu and my God, Cerrnunos.

    Longer form:
    I follow a War & Death Goddess and a Hunter’s God. My purpose is to be a weapon or a soldier in their ranks. I fight wars – both bloody and bloodless – so that other more peaceful sorts do not need to do so.

    I’ve carried that duty from being a sniper to being something of an activist in various causes that seem to further the greatest good and greatest safety to the noncombatants.

    We man the borders and keep the peace so that finer folk than we can make the world a better place and others can live their lives in safety.

    It’s also part of job to deal with death and dying. I do some hospice care and grief counseling.

    From what I can see, that’s the purpose of my life and why I was born. Perhaps my duties will change someday, but that’s up to Them.

    • Nance says:

      jonolan-
      Thank you for your honest reply. I have a very dear friend who was a sniper for the police department, but now is a Secret Service agent. Myself, well, I enjoy target practice, but there is a lot of room for improvement. 🙂 I did have a follow up question for you.

      In grief counseling as a Christian, the greatest gift I can offer someone is hope in Jesus Christ, sometimes the only gift I can offer. I am curious as to what hope you offer those in mourning.

  9. Rickr0ll says:

    Seth R- don’t forget the inverted cross, which was actually a relic from apocrypha- the Martyrdom of Peter as it is sometimes referred. And many many other such things.

    Though i must say that more likely than not, the pentagram was property of another religion or cult long before Christianity- as i keep stating, Christianity is a jigsaw of other conceptual structures and other mythinc characters/stories. So it’s not just Zoroastrianism- which was integrated far later (while they were captive in Babylon, i believe). And it’s more than just some scholars who hold this belief. Any archeologist who workes now would be willing to say that this is the way it really is. Nova did a special on the topic of the origins of Judeaism. And the History Channel has much to speak of about the Early Church (of Christianity, that is) as well. I won’t repeat all the long list of links- it’s on the “mormonism, part II” thread.

    –What’s a religion? How many specific injunctions and Law Verses are required to be a religion as opposed to “spirituality?”- J

    I’m not sure, and like i said, you have more experiance than i, but unless there is an individual scripture that belongs to a belief system, it is a pick and choose style affair, is it not? Correct me if I’m wrong. Spiritualism is almost an inherrant part of people. Matthew Alper even wrote a book, called The “God” Part of the Brain on this very subject.

    –Where we run into a problem is with shallow people who have turned to various forms of Paganism as a means of justifying their actions. The Rede is actually quite stern, but requires thought on the part of its adherents.- J

    Not just paganism- anything that quickly justifies evil is picked up- “Preisthood of all believers”, for example- something ancient Judaens (at least, those in theorder of the preisthood) would be appaled by.

    –Think about it – “And it harm none, do as you will.”

    -That requires that the person analyze his or her actions and estimate their impact on others.- J

    I agree completely, but the ease of enabling evil is a great part in the inherant weakness (or, for prosletysation purposes, perhaps stregth) of a specific faith. Willful ignorance is the part of a faith which this attribute works on. It’s true- we all see things our own way, and this means that some parts are shaded darker or utterly absent in our view of the Universe.

    What makes Panganism unique? It’s unabashed meme-theivery? I mean, that in and of itself, is no claim either. Something may be a ritual, but that doesn’t mean it’s a religion either.

    Maybe that’s another thing about a religion- intrinsic piety. A highly ritualistic religion such as shinto- or even perhaps Catholicism- is easy to become an empty shell, a mere set of repeated actions.

    If it’s not one, it is often the other that draws in converts. Ornamental ceremony, most of which is often lost on those who never take the time to understand the basis behind them- which is why they can be easily adopted/absconded as easily as an idea for a book or architecture- become token gestures.

    At any rate, this is a fascinating discussion!

    • Nance says:

      You presented some good points, Rick. Thank you for offering your viewpoint instead of someone else’s here. I agree, it is a good discussion. Let’s keep it that way.

  10. jonolan says:

    Rickroll,

    You bring up very valid points, points that many Pagans worry about themselves.

    Part of it is that Paganism isn’t a single religion; it’s a broad super-set of religions and philosophies. We’re all small enough in individual populations though that we lump ourselves together as much as we are lumped together by others. This makes orthodoxy nigh on impossible.

    Part of it is that the Rede of the Wiccans, which many Pagans use as their Golden Rule or Commandment, does contain the weakness you mentioned. It is for the “willfully ignorant” to use it to justify great harm.

  11. Rickr0ll says:

    remember, faith is a loaded gun, jonolan. The best thing to do is disarm it. You seem to be someone who doesn’t carry a round in yours, or flash it to every passerby. That’s a good policy. this isn’t a war, after all.

    Indeed, even denial of faith can be abrasive, crazy, and downright evil. I’ll admit that there is a weakness people have in the face of the universe simply as it is. we don’t quite know how to handle it. That is, after all, what faith is about. Handling it, somewhat 😉

    And i don’t think my opinion is as important as fact. Not worth the risk. But i agree, this is nice.

  12. Nance says:

    jonolan-
    Perhaps you missed my question, what do you offer in the way of hope for those in mourning?

  13. jonolan says:

    Sorry, I did miss that.

    What I offer to the grieved varies a lot based on the circumstances. More often than not I seem to deal with either deaths that occurred after very long illnesses or were completely sudden and violent. Both those circumstances change my response and counsel.

    In the case of the end of a long wasting illness I tend to remind the believed left behind that their loved one is beyond the pain of the flesh now.

    In the case of the those faced with the sudden loss of a loved one, it’s a lot harder! I normally fall back onto the “they’re in a better place now.” platitude and concentrate on helping the people process their grief.

    I DO remind the Christians I deal with of the comfort of Christ, the same as you would.

    It’s an odd and painful thing really, dealing with the bereaved. I’m much more comfortable working with the dying, but I do what I can when I’m called to do it.

  14. jonolan says:

    Reinforce a faith, yes. Remind someone of their faith in an afterlife, yes. Install such a faith in someone in the throws of grief, no – not because I wouldn’t want to, but because I think the effort – mine at least – would be doomed to failure and only make matters worse.

    Do I believe anything of what I share with these people? Yes. I have faith that death as we experience it is only the death of the flesh and that the soul continues.

  15. jonolan says:

    I don’t really know. From my own experience it isn’t fear of death and dissolution or oblivion. I’ve been clinically dead twice (1st time at age 7) and near enough to it close to a dozen times and it has never been a source of fear to me. I’ve always seemed to have known that that death was significant but not final – though I do believe that the “self” I know now will end with this mortal life and become just part of a greater of a whole.

  16. Rickr0ll says:

    jonolan, there is a very unique section of the brain that allows people to shrug off the concept of an ego. Matthew Alper wrote a book on this very subject: The “God” Part of the Brain. I recommend this to nearly everyone, everywhere.

    You know i once did a peice on this…”Maybe it is that we have always existed (you know, past lives and such), thus we are so certain that we have a future past death?” That was the premise of it, i believe. And there is some interesting evidence that Emily Dickenson entertained this thought as well… http://plagiarist.com/poetry/7019/

    Hindu spirituality i think is one of the only functional systems of thought that even touches the concept of pre-life, and that i find compelling…
    Plus “extra-lives” are super cool! Not that they are etwernal in succession, i don’t beleive that any person could have an unending succesion of past or future lives…But that’s based a lot on aesthetics, axiology…though i like what i have invisioned for origins- metaphysical or normal. Just ask.

  17. Cate says:

    I’ve enjoyed this discussion on Wicca, especially the feedback from Jonolan and his interaction with Nance.
    I too do grief and loss counseling. I find that it is not my place as a counselor to put my beliefs on to another person, but to let them discover and express their own.
    At my father’s funeral one of my siblings quoted the Bible explaining how my father would not be accepted into Heaven, a view his family has repeated to my mother many times. She is greatly hurt by this. Both my parents were good Christians, following the Christian Rede, (or Love one another as I have loved you and do unto others as you would have them do unto you), as well as the teachings in the Bible. Why should they suffer because the Bible can be interpreted in many ways?
    I am not a Christian, I have great respect for those that are. I have no respect for people who hide behind belief as a defence of ignorance or use that belief to hurt or deny others.
    For the record, I am an atheist, in that I don’t believe in God. What I do know is that a higher being exists and is known by many names in many forms. Belief and knowledge are very different things.
    I would also like to say that I have some very dear friends who are Wiccan. They do not have book of shadows, and when I mentioned to them this article and “Summerland” they laughed. Wicca, like Paganism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity etc. is celebrated and studied in many forms, not just how you’ve described it.
    I find your blog an interesting read. Thank you for sharing your perspectives.
    (It may interest you to know that a Fraternal Order, which is part of the Christian belief system, uses similar wording to the Wiccan Read in their ritual, and ends the Prayer for members just before dinner with the words “So Mote It Be”, the Wiccan Amen.)
    BTW Constantine worshiped a Sun God prior to his conversion to Christianity and incorporated many Pagan rituals and symbols into what would evolve into the Roman Catholic Church. It is thought he did this to help others transition from the old knowledge to the new beliefs more easily. I learned this through a discussion with an Anglican Bishop, and have read many things that back up what he said.
    Hugs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s