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Author Topic: Prejudice in the pagan community against "neo-wicca" - what do you think?  (Read 12122 times)

Ainne

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Something I have noticed over the years is somewhat of a prejudice against non- british traditional wicca in the pagan community - as if "neo-wicca" is below british traditional wicca. Why do you think this is? I have pondered the question and cannot come up with a good reason.
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yewberry

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Quote from: Ainne;54515
Something I have noticed over the years is somewhat of a prejudice against non- british traditional wicca in the pagan community - as if "neo-wicca" is below british traditional wicca. Why do you think this is? I have pondered the question and cannot come up with a good reason.


I have no beef with neo-Wicca.  I do have a beef with the wonton ignorance that sometimes goes along with the neo-Wiccan dabbler (which are legion, in my experience).  I always try to make that distinction crystal clear, however.

So neo-Wicca is fine.  Believing 9 million witches died in the Burning Times (and refusing to ever accept that that's simply not true) will make me less inclined to be generous.

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Quote from: Ainne;54515
Something I have noticed over the years is somewhat of a prejudice against non- british traditional wicca in the pagan community - as if "neo-wicca" is below british traditional wicca. Why do you think this is? I have pondered the question and cannot come up with a good reason.

 
Perhaps the same reason that recons get mad when neopagans, who are not reconstructing an ancient religion, add neopagan ideologies and such to their practice then try to call themselves recons and then forcibly assert themselves in the recon community that their practice is valid.

I'm not saying it's invalid, I'm not a recon either. I am also one of those people who combine neopagan and ancient practices, so I'm speaking from the other side--I just don't try to find validity in the past for my neopagan aspects, for they are modern and just because they are modern does not mean they don't work or have no validity.

So, in short, this topic has been covered over and over. I could see why BTWs and Neo-Wiccans have this issue.

I could of completely missed the point, but this is the deal in the Hellenismos community.

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Quote from: yewberry;54521
I have no beef with neo-Wicca.  I do have a beef with the wonton ignorance that sometimes goes along with the neo-Wiccan dabbler (which are legion, in my experience).  I always try to make that distinction crystal clear, however.

So neo-Wicca is fine.  Believing 9 million witches died in the Burning Times (and refusing to ever accept that that's simply not true) will make me less inclined to be generous.


This.

Also, I am totally fine with non-BTW traditions and practices that have a functional underpinning and cohesive structure (especially around safety and practical issues.)

(For good reason, given that my trad is non-BTW, and I am not that kind of hypocrite...)

But I am - and with what I hope is understandable reason - deeply skeptical about other people's ritual technique unless it comes from a source I know, people whose common sense I trust, or where I've had reasonable opportunities to see how they do things before we hit a high-stakes ritual.

Having been around the community long enough to see some Very Badly Planned Ritual Things, I consider this self-preservation. (That said, because I feel strongly that information is good, I also consider it part of my job in life to provide info on improving that kind of thing when I reasonably can.)
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Elani Temperance

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Quote from: Ainne;54515
Something I have noticed over the years is somewhat of a prejudice against non- british traditional wicca in the pagan community - as if "neo-wicca" is below british traditional wicca. Why do you think this is? I have pondered the question and cannot come up with a good reason.

I am not Wiccan but come from a Neo-Wiccan background, although I have all but abandoned these teachings in my current practice. I have found that as soon as I stopped using the term 'Wiccan' to describe practices which were, in fact, not Wiccan at all, everyone was fine with it. There is a HUGE difference between Wiccan and Neo-Wiccan practices and I don't think it's unfair for the BTW to play monopoly on the term 'Wicca'. Neo-Wicca is in no way less than Wicca but in my experience, it's incredibly important to recognise that these two paths are two seperate paths. This is mostly what the fuss is about.

Also, and this obviously does not aplly to every newcommer or Neo-Wiccan but it does apply to a huge amount of newcommers and Neo-Wiccans, many Wiccans seem to feel a bit offended when the name for the religion they have invested years and years in within a coven and a set training program gets hyjacked by newcommers who picked up a book 'for the solitary Wicca practicioner' and feel their path is complete. It is just not the same.

I am all for 'keeping Wicca Traditional'-- as the slogan goes.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 11:42:11 am by Elani Temperance »
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Micheál

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Quote from: Ainne;54515
Something I have noticed over the years is somewhat of a prejudice against non- british traditional wicca in the pagan community - as if "neo-wicca" is below british traditional wicca. Why do you think this is? I have pondered the question and cannot come up with a good reason.

I haven't personally seen it occur in that fashion, but have seen those that have reacted negatively to Trads' use of the terms "Solitary," "Eclectic", "Neo," "Unlineaged," e.t.c. as if it was being perceived as a derogatory term implying that they are "lesser," invalid, or not real, but from what I've seen anyway, that wasn't the case, and the prefixes were used as a distinction.

It would be ridiculous for one to imply that those paths are "lesser," or "invalid," but they are different from Traditional Wicca. There are of course those that only recognise TW trads as "Wicca," wih the others mentioned being misnomers. Some consider that to be an elitist attitude, but that's their opinion. I think the big thing is just people wanting certain labels to mean specific things, and then others that believe it's okay to bend a label to suit something else in the name of evolution. A lot of Trads think that once you change the core of something, it becomes different, and should properly be given a new name. Therefore it would seem that their beliefs aren't against someone's spirituality, but that the label chosen is misrepresenting them.

And that's a subject that's been around for a while! :eek:

RandallS

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Quote from: Micheál;54534
I haven't personally seen it occur in that fashion, but have seen those that have reacted negatively to Trads' use of the terms "Solitary," "Eclectic", "Neo," "Unlineaged," e.t.c. as if it was being perceived as a derogatory term implying that they are "lesser," invalid, or not real, but from what I've seen anyway, that wasn't the case, and the prefixes were used as a distinction.

TC was one of the first places to start using the term "Neo-Wicca" -- simply as a way of being clear what was under discussion and acknowledging that it was a new and different form of Wicca. While it was never intended as a derogatory term, a lot of people seem to have taken it that way. :(
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Jabberwocky

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Quote from: Ainne;54515
Something I have noticed over the years is somewhat of a prejudice against non- british traditional wicca in the pagan community - as if "neo-wicca" is below british traditional wicca. Why do you think this is? I have pondered the question and cannot come up with a good reason.

 
Part of it is just people being people.  It's not just with neo-wicca.  I know a celtic recon who looks massively down on BTWs.  A lot of occultists look down on pagans and vice versa.  One of my heathen friends is very sniffy about paganism in general, because he doesn't consider it to be scholarly enough overall.  And if you so much as say that you think Satanism is a valid path in many pagan circles, even if you don't follow it yourself, all hell will break loose. (Pun intended).  Actually, on that last one, I've found that neo-wiccans are among the worst offenders there.

In terms of why neo-wicca specifically, there's several factors.  The first is that, quite honestly, a lot of people have actual personal experiences with neo-wiccans that has led them to their disdain for neo-wicca.  Other people have touched on a lot of the reasons.  Arguing for demonstrably untrue historical perspectives and refusing to listen to counter-arguments.  Making sweeping statements about how all Pagans follow things like the Threefold Law and worship nature.  That kind of thing.  It is unfair for people to assume that every neo-wiccan is like that, but neither is that uncommon.  So that particular set of assumptions really haven't sprung out of nowhere.  Also, I do find that a lot of neo-wiccans are more bothered about people not taking them seriously; I think that some of it is simply that they're more bothered about being fully accepted by the pagan community so feel this kind of thing a lot more strongly.

With BTW specifically, some of it is also what other people have mentioned.  Certainly in the UK, a lot of BTWs are really unhappy with the way that the term Wicca has been taken away from them in its representation in the popular media.  And, intentionally or not, neo-wiccans have played a major part in that process.

This is probably a good excuse to post the Pagan Hierarchy Chart.  (All excuses are good excuses when it comes to posting the Pagan Hierarchy Chart).
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SunflowerP

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Quote from: Jabberwocky;54592
This is probably a good excuse to post the Pagan Hierarchy Chart.  (All excuses are good excuses when it comes to posting the Pagan Hierarchy Chart).

 
Hee-hee - yes!  I lost that link in The Great Upgrade last summer, so as far as I'm concerned, giving me the opportunity to bookmark it again is a good enough excuse.

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Micheál

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Quote from: RandallS;54584
TC was one of the first places to start using the term "Neo-Wicca" -- simply as a way of being clear what was under discussion and acknowledging that it was a new and different form of Wicca. While it was never intended as a derogatory term, a lot of people seem to have taken it that way. :(

That's what's hard to understand, because I've never seen it used in a derogatory manner. I think it is a clear term indeed that serves its purpose quite well.

RandallS

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Quote from: Micheál;54658
That's what's hard to understand, because I've never seen it used in a derogatory manner.

Unfortunately, there were places on the Net where the term was apparently used as a put-down/dismissal. In the early 2000s if was fairly common for people who had first seen "Neo-Wicca" used that way to assume TC was using the term the same way. Fortunately, this misuse of the term seems to be much less common today.
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PlaceboArtist

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Quote from: Ainne;54515
Something I have noticed over the years is somewhat of a prejudice against non- british traditional wicca in the pagan community - as if "neo-wicca" is below british traditional wicca. Why do you think this is? I have pondered the question and cannot come up with a good reason.

 
IMO, it's because of the oathbound nature of BTW. Therefore Neo-Wiccans (who use the label Wiccan but haven't been initiated and so cannot be practising the same religion) are seen to be laying claim to something they're not entitled to. Personally, I feel that the non-oathbound info is available to everyone so you could practise all the non-oathbound parts and call yourself a Neo-Wiccan and have just a legitimate a faith as a Trad Wiccan.

I think a part of it is also the length of time Trad Wiccans spend training. It's a minimum of a year and a day to reach the first degree, and then the same again for the second and third, though it's expected to take longer. During the training, they learn not only about the details of the religion, but how to write and lead rituals, settle disputes, and other things necessary for a priesthood. Because Wicca was meant to be a priesthood for the Witches - which I suppose is also part of the issue. While the Catholicism practised by a priest, bishop or cardinal is not inherently better than the Catholicism of the lay person, the cardinal probably has a higher status afforded to them in the Catholic community. Similar ideas apply in the Wiccan community.

Disclaimer on the above: I am not a Wiccan of any sort, Trad or otherwise. So my info comes from what I've collected during my wanderings in cyberspace. Actual Trad Wiccans are welcome to point out where I'm wrong.

Erratic Charmer

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Quote from: yewberry;54521
I have no beef with neo-Wicca.  I do have a beef with the wonton ignorance that sometimes goes along with the neo-Wiccan dabbler (which are legion, in my experience).  I always try to make that distinction crystal clear, however.

So neo-Wicca is fine.  Believing 9 million witches died in the Burning Times (and refusing to ever accept that that's simply not true) will make me less inclined to be generous.

Brina


What she said. I read through the whole thread on fluff in this subforum. The conversation felt a little bit too old for me to jump in there but I felt a lot of good points were raised. The 'prejudice' against Neo-Wicca that Ainne mentions probably comes from identification of Neo-(solitary, eclectic)Wicca with general fluff.

Yewberry points out that there's a distinction to be drawn between Neo-Wicca and wanton fluffy ignorance. Could anyone give specific examples of Wiccan practice that they would consider Neo without being fluffy - Marion Green, perhaps?

Elani Temperance

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Quote from: Erratic Charmer;55365
Yewberry points out that there's a distinction to be drawn between Neo-Wicca and wanton fluffy ignorance. Could anyone give specific examples of Wiccan practice that they would consider Neo without being fluffy - Marion Green, perhaps?

 
I think the destinction lies in research and commitment. Not just reading one book but reading everything that is out there about your chosen path and talking to people about your path as well as theirs to gain an understanding of where Neo-Wicca fits and how it gets identified.

IMHO, even Neo-Wiccans need to work with the Wiccan pantheon (a God who is all Gods, a Goddess who is all Goddessss and, perhaps, the One, who is All). Else you have stripped the absolute basics from Wicca. Holding rituals, at least eight to honor the Wheel, and perhaps celebrations of the (full) moon would also be high on the list. Honestly, I feel the only major difference between Wicca and Neo-Wicca should be coven work and initiation. If you strip anything else, you fall in the realm of (Eclectic) (Religious) Witchcraft or in some cases Neo-Druidism.

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Erratic Charmer

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Quote from: LittleWitchMagazine;55368
I think the destinction lies in research and commitment. Not just reading one book but reading everything that is out there about your chosen path and talking to people about your path as well as theirs to gain an understanding of where Neo-Wicca fits and how it gets identified.

IMHO, even Neo-Wiccans need to work with the Wiccan pantheon (a God who is all Gods, a Goddess who is all Goddessss and, perhaps, the One, who is All). Else you have stripped the absolute basics from Wicca. Holding rituals, at least eight to honor the Wheel, and perhaps celebrations of the (full) moon would also be high on the list. Honestly, I feel the only major difference between Wicca and Neo-Wicca should be coven work and initiation. If you strip anything else, you fall in the realm of (Eclectic) (Religious) Witchcraft or in some cases Neo-Druidism.

My two cents.

 
Ah, so being a respectable Neo-Wiccan (or Pagan of any stripe) is about having breadth and depth of knowledge, or at least making the effort to obtain it. The best book in the world still isn't sufficient if it's the only one you ever read.

Heck, a big part of Paganism is the sacredness of plurality, IMO ;)

I think I agree with your brief list of the core beliefs & practices needed to consider oneself Neo-Wiccan. That list (specifically the part about the Wiccan pantheon) is actually one of the big reasons I *don't* identify as a Wiccan. At this stage I'm pretty much a henotheistic Rhiannon-worshiper. I light a candle for the Green Man now and then, but Lord and Lady they ain't.

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