collapse

* "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" Problem Logging In?

If you get an "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" error when you try to log in, you need to be sure you are accessing the board with a url that starts with "https://ecauldron.com".  If it starts with https://www.ecauldron.com" (or "http://www.ecauldron.com") you will get this error because "www.ecauldron.com" is not technically the same website as "ecauldron.com". Moving to the more secure "https" means it is more picky about such things.

Author Topic: "I'm Not Wiccan, but..."  (Read 7219 times)

Nyktelios

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 562
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
"I'm Not Wiccan, but..."
« on: August 07, 2011, 10:02:57 am »
There seems to be a trend of rejecting the label of "Wiccan", even among people who follow a Wiccan-ish system, like casting circles, using the four elements, celebrating the eight sabbats, and seeing deity as the dual God and Goddess.

Some people follow different traditions of Witchcraft that have different lineages than Wicca, like Feri and Dianic traditions. They may have a lot of Wiccan influence and are similar in ritual style (circles, four quarters, eight sabbats), they don't descend from Gardner.

What I find strange is how people who read books on Wicca and follow a Wiccan system for all intents and purposes who, for whatever reason, reject the Rede or Threefold Law, and so will make a point of telling people that they definitely aren't Wiccan. The Threefold Law and Rede aren't supposed to be taken literally anyway, so even within Wicca people don't necessarily go through life doing absolutely no harm and expecting everything they do to come back to them threefold. I read an interview in which Doreen Valiente said that she didn't believe in the Threefold Law, and it was just something Gardner used once in ritual that people took literally ever since. The Rede doesn't necessarily mean "Do no harm!", it's more about being mindful of your actions and acting responsibly, and not being intentionally malicious. It's not  commandment, just a guideline to live without doing *unnecessary* harm.

I think misunderstandings come from self-taught practitioners who read authors who are less than reliable and so do not understand certain concepts, and reject things they don't understand fully. (Not that being self-taught is necessarily bad, as I'm self-taught myself.)

Let's talk about it. Why is there such a trend to reject the Wiccan label, even among witchy people who follow a very Wiccanish system?

Fier

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Michigan
  • Posts: 820
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 7
  • Daughter of the Cosmos
    • View Profile
  • Religion: FlameKeeping
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: "I'm Not Wiccan, but..."
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2011, 10:07:09 am »
Quote from: Carnelian;11140
Why is there such a trend to reject the Wiccan label, even among witchy people who follow a very Wiccanish system?

 
Because they are not a member of that specific religion that descends from Gardner?

Dragonfly68

  • Sr. Apprentice
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 99
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: "I'm Not Wiccan, but..."
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2011, 10:08:19 am »
Quote from: FierFlye;11142
Because they are not a member of that specific religion that descends from Gardner?

 
You beat me to it. :)

Nyktelios

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 562
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
Re: "I'm Not Wiccan, but..."
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2011, 10:35:55 am »
Quote from: FierFlye;11142
Because they are not a member of that specific religion that descends from Gardner?

 
But, as I already said, these same people also tend to follow a system that is very Wiccan in style. I've heard plenty of witches who cast circles, call the four elements to the quarters, celebrate the eight sabbats, and worship "the Goddess", claim to not be Wiccan.

Gardner's whole shtick was to publicize the concept of the witch cult, either as he discovered it or invented it, and people like Doreen Valiente and the Farrars have published books that make the tradition available to people without formal initiation into a coven descended from Gardner. Direct lineage from a BTW coven is no longer a prerequisite for practicing Wicca in this day and age.

Jenett

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3133
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 675
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: "I'm Not Wiccan, but..."
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2011, 11:00:23 am »
Quote from: Carnelian;11151
into a coven descended from Gardner. Direct lineage from a BTW coven is no longer a prerequisite for practicing Wicca in this day and age.

 
Depends on which definitions you prefer. I tend to prefer a tighter definition of Wicca that includes both some sense of lineage *and* central core mysteries, including the interwoven relationship of the Lord and Lady as mother and son, lovers, and widow/sacrificed king.

I refer to what I do as initiatory religious witchcraft because - while we celebrate 8 Sabbats, and esbats, and cast a circle, our core mysteries are not based on that particular mythology.

We do invite both male and female forms of deity into circle (and, for that matter, while I don't think it's happened yet, other gendered deity would be fine), but they're not lovers: they're partners in other forms of creation. We do include a form of the Great Rite in symbol, but it's very much focused on creation and manifestation, rather than fertility (not that the two aren't linked, of course.)

I deliberately use something other than Wicca because I want people to be aware there are lots of other options out there, that it's possible for there to be amazing, wonderful, sustaining paths that do their own thing, rather than doing a partial thing (picking some exoteric pieces of trad Wiccan practice, but leaving many others out) and naming it for the whole.

There's also a complicated part in my head that I have more difficulty talking about, about wanting to honor the specific lineage of my tradition and the people involved in creating it (which includes me, but predates me, as well), and the amount of work, thought, and practice that went into that. Certainly, there are a lot of influences from both public Wiccan-based sources and private conversations about non-oathed material - but there's also a lot of independent work and creation that I value highly. Just calling it "Wicca" negates that, to some extent.

I will occasionally use Wicca (usually as "Are you familiar with Wicca? Like that, but with some differences.") as a quick explanation for people who are not interested in the details, but since those people are likely to have a lot of misunderstandings from popular culture, I use it less than I used to - I'm a lot more likely to say "It's a modern polytheistic religion focused on service to the Gods, transformation of the self, and celebration and growth in community." or something of the kind.
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

Micheál

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Location: Belfast, N. Ireland
  • Posts: 566
  • Country: ie
  • Total likes: 14
    • View Profile
    • Gall-Ghael
  • Religion: Alexandrian Wicca, Gaelic Polytheism
Re: "I'm Not Wiccan, but..."
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2011, 11:31:42 am »
Quote from: Carnelian;11151
But, as I already said, these same people also tend to follow a system that is very Wiccan in style. I've heard plenty of witches who cast circles, call the four elements to the quarters, celebrate the eight sabbats, and worship "the Goddess", claim to not be Wiccan.

Gardner's whole shtick was to publicize the concept of the witch cult, either as he discovered it or invented it, and people like Doreen Valiente and the Farrars have published books that make the tradition available to people without formal initiation into a coven descended from Gardner. Direct lineage from a BTW coven is no longer a prerequisite for practicing Wicca in this day and age.

Without getting into what defines 'Wicca', outercourt, innercourt, e.t.c, being that the use of the word witch today is by that of a reclaimed term, I agree those that abide by it and disassociate with Wicca owe more credit to Gardner than is often realised.

Since witchcraft is secular by nature and was 'supposedly' linked to religion by the Murray thesis, religious or pagan witchcraft is highly influenced by Gardner who pioneered a continuation of the Grimoire tradition later complimented with Victorian ceremonial magick systems(where we get the circle casting, watchtower lords, e.t.c), and combined with that of ancient pagan religions(the Gods, pagan festivals, e.t.c.) I honestly rarely here about family or traditional witchcraft traditions that are genuinely not influenced in some way by Wicca, or at least weren't created until after Gardner's time.

monsnoleedra

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Banned!
  • Posts: 957
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: "I'm Not Wiccan, but..."
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2011, 11:50:44 am »
Quote from: Micheál;11169
.. I honestly rarely here about family or traditional witchcraft traditions that are genuinely not influenced in some way by Wicca, or at least weren't created until after Gardner's time.


I think much of that is due to the fact many Family Trads are still secretive and not open to outsiders.  That and I think many encompass folk and granny magics and practices that cleary are not Wiccan based or inspired.  For instance my grandmother was born in 1892, my great aunt who taugh my sisters born in 1910, cousins born in between then and the present yet what they taught going back perhaps as early as the 1690's when my ancestor's moved into the Blue Ridge Mountain's of Virginia.  Much passed via oral traditions or craftsmanship.

To answer the OP I think many try to seperate themselves from "WICCA" because of all the crap that came out in the 90's and early 2000's.  So much Silver Ravenwolf & D. J. Conway and other's that painted and helped create or inspire the shake n bake version that became the face and focale point of Neo-Wicca.  The constant barrage of ecclectic notions of take what you like and disregard or change what you don't like melded to the "You can't tell me how to practice or what to believe!" mentatility that one encountered.  The constant cry of "Never Again The Burning Times!" that was plastered on every teenagers site on the net along with the claim of Wicca being an ancient practice that pre-dated Christianized Europe.

In many ways distancing themselves from it so that they might get some legitimacy for thier own practices.  To show they might be ecclectic but they are not the shake n bake take only what you like form of ecclectism that was running rampant in the white light and fluff bunny ranks.

But I admit I might be wrong but that is who is seems to me.

Darkhawk

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 4854
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 734
    • View Profile
    • Suns in her Branches
  • Religion: An American Werewolf in the Akhet; Kemetic; Feri; Imaginary Baltic Heathen; Discordian; CoX; Etc.
  • Preferred Pronouns: any of he, she, they
Re: "I'm Not Wiccan, but..."
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2011, 11:55:54 am »
Quote from: Carnelian;11151
But, as I already said, these same people also tend to follow a system that is very Wiccan in style. I've heard plenty of witches who cast circles, call the four elements to the quarters, celebrate the eight sabbats, and worship "the Goddess", claim to not be Wiccan.

 
If I were doing paintings heavily influenced by the style of Matisse, would you hang my work in a modern art exhibition?
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Catherine

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 990
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: "I'm Not Wiccan, but..."
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2011, 12:58:15 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;11140

Let's talk about it. Why is there such a trend to reject the Wiccan label, even among witchy people who follow a very Wiccanish system?


For me, it's not about rejecting Wicca. IMO, Wicca is a religion that has certain core rituals. When you take those rituals out, you can't really call it Wicca anymore.

I do believe in the law of return, even if I'm not on board with the threefold part. I think the Rede is a good piece of advice, and I celebrate the 8 holidays. Though, I go by astrological cross quarter days instead of calender days. But these little changes would still qualify as Wicca, imo.

What I don't do, is any form of the Great Rite. As a solitary, I've never found a way to preform the ritual that held any real meaning for me. I know other solitaries have, and it works for them, it just never clicked for me. So, without that central ritual, I can't call it Wicca. It feels dishonest to me.

I've even moved away from Wiccanish because I don't really work with any Gods. I've tried for years, but I've never made any real connection there. I've always gotten a kind of "Meh, we don't have much in common" vibe, so I let it go. There is one that I think might be Pan who pops in every once in a while, but overall, I honor Goddesses.

So, though some of my practices and beliefs are inspired by Wicca, there aren't enough of them to legitimately call myself Wiccan. That's without including all the lineage and initiation stuff.

SunflowerP

  • Host
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Calgary AB
  • Posts: 8311
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 266
  • Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs!
    • View Profile
    • If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough
  • Religion: Eclectic religious Witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: sie/hir/hirs/hirself
"I'm Not Wiccan, but..."
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2011, 01:28:26 pm »
Quote from: Micheál;11169
Without getting into what defines 'Wicca', outercourt, innercourt, e.t.c, being that the use of the word witch today is by that of a reclaimed term, I agree those that abide by it and disassociate with Wicca owe more credit to Gardner than is often realised.

 
And that was why it took as long as it did for me to stop describing my path as Eclectic Wicca (well, that, and being obstinate and ornery about not getting chased off of words - I started describing my path that way back when "witch" was the word that could get you a lecture on the necessity of lineage from Gardner):  calling it something completely unrelated denied that intellectual debt.  The debt is to others, as well, though - other currents that didn't and don't call themselves Wiccan, but that are religious witchcraft and are enmeshed in the zeitgeist of the neoPagan movement; Feri, the Cochranist trads, NECTW, etc - so I now prefer "eclectic neoPagan religious Witchcraft".  Or, since that's a mouthful to say and a nuisance to type, I'm what I would have been along if not for territoriality over the word, an Eclectic Witch.

Just as well; I get less and less Wiccish all the time.

Sunflower
I'm the AntiFa genderqueer commie eclectic wiccan Mod your alt-right bros warned you about.
I do so have a life; I just live part of it online!
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” - Oscar Wilde
"Nobody's good at anything until they practice." - Brina (Yewberry)
My much-neglected blog "If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough"

Katefox

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 127
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: "I'm Not Wiccan, but..."
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2011, 01:39:29 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;11151
But, as I already said, these same people also tend to follow a system that is very Wiccan in style. I've heard plenty of witches who cast circles, call the four elements to the quarters, celebrate the eight sabbats, and worship "the Goddess", claim to not be Wiccan.

 
Casting a circle, and calling the quarters predates Wicca.  Look up the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram; it's basically casting a circle and calling the quarters, and was/is a beginning ritual in ceremonial magic traditions like the Golden Dawn.  As I understand it, Gardner studied ceremonial magic before he came up with Wicca, so circle casts, and quarter calls from ceremonial traditions very likely influenced Gardner in making up the Wiccan version.

Likewise, honouring the sabbats and esbats need not be Wiccan (though the names are, as far as I know).  People have been marking time by the sun and moon for centuries, religiously, and non-religiously.  If I choose to give days like the solstices, equinoxes, full moons, &c religious significance in my own practice (without reference to Wiccan ceremonies), this doesn't mean I'm celebrating the Wiccan holidays, just because Wicca got there first.

And then there's the whole thing about being initiated by a lineaged coven, and oathbound material that solitary practioners (presumably) don't have access to.  I personally like the idea of calling the various eclectic, solitary, &c. Wicca-inspired practices Neo-Wicca, as a way of giving a nod to their Wiccan origins while delimiting that they're not the same as traditional Wicca.

SunflowerP

  • Host
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Calgary AB
  • Posts: 8311
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 266
  • Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs!
    • View Profile
    • If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough
  • Religion: Eclectic religious Witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: sie/hir/hirs/hirself
"I'm Not Wiccan, but..."
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2011, 01:40:38 pm »
Quote from: Catherine;11192
What I don't do, is any form of the Great Rite. As a solitary, I've never found a way to preform the ritual that held any real meaning for me. I know other solitaries have, and it works for them, it just never clicked for me.

 
I can hold both blade and chalice myself, but that's a different Mystery.  It's somewhat akin to the blade-and-chalice-represented Mystery my coven used (which - at least in terms of how either can be described to outsiders - was quite a bit like Jenett's trad's), in that it's about creation, but my coven's Great Sacrament centred on creative union, which doesn't really work solitary.

Sunflower
I'm the AntiFa genderqueer commie eclectic wiccan Mod your alt-right bros warned you about.
I do so have a life; I just live part of it online!
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” - Oscar Wilde
"Nobody's good at anything until they practice." - Brina (Yewberry)
My much-neglected blog "If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough"

victoreia

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Location: Honolulu, HI
  • Posts: 868
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
  • Religion: disorganized something
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: "I'm Not Wiccan, but..."
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2011, 03:50:39 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;11201


 
I've been reading the responses, and it seems to me the distinction is similar to distinguishing between denominations of Christianity. Some people are Roman Catholic (the "mother church"--haha), some people are Protestant. But they're all Christian. The beliefs are basically the same, but the ways those beliefs are taught and practiced are different. That's how I interpret the Wiccan/not-Wiccan distinctions.

YMMV, of course. :cool:
Do. Or do not. There is no try.  --Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

We are star stuff. We are the universe, made manifest. --Ambassador Delenn, Babylon 5

Audris

  • Apprentice
  • ***
  • Join Date: Aug 2011
  • Posts: 27
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
    • http://thefourqueens.blogspot.co.uk/p/welcome-and-updates_605.html
Re: "I'm Not Wiccan, but..."
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2011, 05:06:07 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;11140
Let's talk about it. Why is there such a trend to reject the Wiccan label, even among witchy people who follow a very Wiccanish system?

A few times on youtube videos I've heard Wiccans stating:

'Wiccans can't agree on what to have for lunch.'

I think, from the articles and videos I've been seeking out from Wiccans over time, that this is quite true. Some Wiccans still insist that Wicca is an initiatory system with a hierarchy and that you can't initiate yourself through self-dedication. Some insist that being Wiccan involves performing spells while others site the idea that ritual, visualisation etc counts as spellcraft. I could go on for a while.. That's one reason why, even though I fit reasonably well under the Wiccan umbrella, I don't identify as Wiccan. I mean, I'd be stating that I was Wiccan but would I be coming up against resistance and lectures and so forth from other Wiccans in the community every time I discuss my practice? I don't like the idea of taking on a title for my path only to feel I'm a square peg in a round hole. (Many Wiccans are understandably eager to feel that the name is protected and only used legitimately.)

The other reason I haven't identified as Wiccan is simple and regrettable, to be honest.. I think there's a lot of negative ideas about Wicca.. That it's predominantly a religion for teenagers who are only just getting involved with the craft. (Which is actually an unfair point, since the majority of literature on Paganism in an average chain bookshop will be about Wicca so it's the most accessible path to get into for newcomers.) There's this whole 'fluffy bunnies' thing that's attached to a lot of Wiccans.. I dunno, it just seems like it's dealing with a lot of bad press currently and I can't be bothered to cut through that particular thicket when it comes to my faith.
The Four Queens - Tarot, spirituality and personal development

Jenett

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3133
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 675
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: "I'm Not Wiccan, but..."
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2011, 05:39:15 pm »
Quote from: victoreia;11227
I've been reading the responses, and it seems to me the distinction is similar to distinguishing between denominations of Christianity. Some people are Roman Catholic (the "mother church"--haha), some people are Protestant. But they're all Christian. The beliefs are basically the same, but the ways those beliefs are taught and practiced are different. That's how I interpret the Wiccan/not-Wiccan distinctions.

 
Except there are places that still doesn't work: for example, I briefly described why the changes in our core mystery focus are different. For me, that goes beyond "basically doing the same thing" and is more like "Instead of this story of Jesus, and the Last Supper leading to communion, and these core ideas of sacrifice and redemption, we're following the ideas of this woman Isabel and her ideas about sacred transformation in fire and the power of the creative force to produce change in the world." If you see what I mean.

I think the two ideas can have some great conversations - but from my POV, they're pretty clearly not talking about the same thing.

The problem comes in part because Wicca (and almost all of the witchcraft offshoots and cousins and distant relations) are about shared practices more than shared beliefs, which complicates everything. But having been in, say, a Blue Star circle, I can tell you that the practices *look* similar, but they're doing different things, and I fully expect the same would be true in a Gardnerian circle, or an Alexandrian circle - or, for that matter, in a circle of another tradition that's gone off in a different direction.

It's sort of like two people sitting down at a piano and playing - you can get Bach, or you can get Scott Joplin, or you could get new-agey improv: they are all using a similar set of exoteric practices (person, piano, keys produce repeatable notes, etc.) but with very different effect.

And if, say, Sunflower and I were in the same place, I suspect we'd see a lot of similarities in how we do stuff in some ways (based on the conversations we've had here over the years) - but also a bunch of differences. Those differences put us fairly comfortably in the "We're doing religious witchcraft" stuff category. But I really think both cores are different enough from Wicca that Wicca is no longer the useful descriptor.
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
10 Replies
3273 Views
Last post October 15, 2015, 09:33:58 pm
by Lilirin
28 Replies
3346 Views
Last post August 07, 2015, 10:52:42 am
by rinceoir
5 Replies
1809 Views
Last post October 15, 2015, 06:25:36 am
by Lilirin
11 Replies
3120 Views
Last post July 16, 2016, 09:59:40 pm
by Phouka
7 Replies
1306 Views
Last post March 28, 2017, 11:18:19 pm
by SunflowerP

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 27
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 3
  • Dot Users Online:

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Host:
Sunflower

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Darkhawk

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Senior Staff:
Aisling, Jenett, Sefiru

Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, EclecticWheel, HarpingHawke, Kylara, PerditaPickle, rocquelaire

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, LyricFox, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Site Administrator:
Randall