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Author Topic: Prejudice in the pagan community against "neo-wicca" - what do you think?  (Read 11938 times)

SunflowerP

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Quote from: LittleWitchMagazine;55368
... 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.

 
You just excluded the majority of BTW initiates from being Wiccan.

Since BTW is orthopraxic, not orthodoctrinal, theological positions - be it the one you cited, or another - are not an "absolute basic".  They'll vary from one practitioner to the next, and it's much more common (at least in North America and, I think, Britain) for a BTW to take a hard-polytheistic view in which the Gods of the Wica are "small gods", distinct and separate from all the other deities.  (Though I've gathered that the soft-polytheistic view you describe is more common among BTW in continental Europe.)

The aphorism, "All gods are one God, all goddesses are one Goddess," is not Wiccan in origin at all; it's from Dion Fortune, who was a mystic-Christian ceremonial magician.

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SunflowerP

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Quote from: RandallS;54680
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.

 
OTOH, the use of it to mean, "anything not BTW" is common (it's all over this thread, f'rinstance), and that was not the purpose for which it was originally coined on TC.  

The "if it's not BTW, it's NeoWicca" false binary erases vast swaths of the history of the neoPagan movement, and many, many practitioners.

Jenett has a page in her Seeker's Guide (the whole thing is highly recommended) that addresses the range of uses of the word Wicca better than I can.

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Elani Temperance

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Quote from: Erratic Charmer;55373
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.


In*my* opinion, yes. But I'm neither Wiccan nor do I identify as Neo-Wiccan anymore, although I used to for a long time.

Quote from: Erratic Charmer;55373
Heck, a big part of Paganism is the sacredness of plurality, IMO ;)


For me too ;)

Quote from: Erratic Charmer;55373
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.


It's the same for me. I still honor the Lord and Lady but I can't see them as anything but their own entities, not a cumulating of all other Gods and Goddesses, respectively. It's a bit complicated but it works, for me anyway. I had to distance myself from the Neo-Wiccan label, though, and did so without regret.
 
I forgot to add to my previous list that one of the major differences, IMO, between fluff and paganism is any kind is accountability. Most 'fluffs' do the 'love and light'-routine, feel that it's possible to live by a literal interpretation of the Rede and will plug their fingers in their ears when someone tries to say anything to help them along their path or challenge something they say or do. Which is, obviously, counterproductive.

A lot of these 'fluffs' (I loath the term so I use quotes) self-identify as Wiccan. When challenged they tend to say that 'if they want to label themselves Wiccan, they're allowed (because it says so right here in this book)', which gets them bumped into the Neo-Wiccan crowd by everyone else but them. This,obviously, does a great disservice to the actual, knowledgeable and accountable, Neo-Pagans already using the label. Heck, life would be a lot easier if all the 'fluffs' started labeling themselves as such ;)
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Elani Temperance

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Quote from: SunflowerP;55374
You just excluded the majority of BTW initiates from being Wiccan.

Since BTW is orthopraxic, not orthodoctrinal, theological positions - be it the one you cited, or another - are not an "absolute basic".  They'll vary from one practitioner to the next, and it's much more common (at least in North America and, I think, Britain) for a BTW to take a hard-polytheistic view in which the Gods of the Wica are "small gods", distinct and separate from all the other deities.  (Though I've gathered that the soft-polytheistic view you describe is more common among BTW in continental Europe.)

The aphorism, "All gods are one God, all goddesses are one Goddess," is not Wiccan in origin at all; it's from Dion Fortune, who was a mystic-Christian ceremonial magician.

Sunflower

 
Good to know :)

Alright, I'll edit to 'The God and Goddess' but I would like to point out that IMO the all-are-one thing doesn't exclude the existence of the separate Gods and Goddesses. As stated in the Charge of the Goddess (the Starhawk adaption, true):

"Listen to the words of the Great Mother, Who of old was called Artemis, Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arionrhod, Brigid, and by many other names..."
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RandallS

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Quote from: SunflowerP;55377
OTOH, the use of it to mean, "anything not BTW" is common (it's all over this thread, f'rinstance), and that was not the purpose for which it was originally coined on TC.

Definitely Neo-Wicca wasn't really around when Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide for the Solitarty Practitioner was published -- his book isn't really Neo-Wiccan. However, by the time Ravenwolf's To Ride a Silver Broomstick was published, Neo-Wicca existed and this book was Neo-Wiccan.
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Quote from: LittleWitchMagazine;55381


"Listen to the words of the Great Mother, Who of old was called Artemis, Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arionrhod, Brigid, and by many other names..."


It's worth noting here that the Charge of the Goddess is a non-oathbound piece of text, and therefore its applicability to oathbound BTW practice is not possible for people outside a particular oathbound tradition to determine.
 
(There's some awesome stuff in that piece of text. But it is *not* a Wiccan creed - a statement of belief that everyone in the religion follows. Nor is it a text that every tradition makes central.)
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Rhyshadow

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Quote from: Jenett;55396
It's worth noting here that the Charge of the Goddess is a non-oathbound piece of text, and therefore its applicability to oathbound BTW practice is not possible for people outside a particular oathbound tradition to determine.
 
(There's some awesome stuff in that piece of text. But it is *not* a Wiccan creed - a statement of belief that everyone in the religion follows. Nor is it a text that every tradition makes central.)

 
Especially considering that Gerald and Doreen pulled a lot of that from Leland and other earlier sources, so it wasn't even an original creation then.

It IS a wonderful piece though, and the matching Charge of the God that people have put together over time is also a good piece of work.

Darkhawk

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Quote from: LittleWitchMagazine;55381
Good to know :)

Alright, I'll edit to 'The God and Goddess' but I would like to point out that IMO the all-are-one thing doesn't exclude the existence of the separate Gods and Goddesses. As stated in the Charge of the Goddess (the Starhawk adaption, true):

"Listen to the words of the Great Mother, Who of old was called Artemis, Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arionrhod, Brigid, and by many other names..."

 
Starhawk isn't Wiccan either.  She was initiated by Victor Anderson.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

SunflowerP

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Quote from: RandallS;55394
Definitely Neo-Wicca wasn't really around when Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide for the Solitarty Practitioner was published -- his book isn't really Neo-Wiccan. However, by the time Ravenwolf's To Ride a Silver Broomstick was published, Neo-Wicca existed and this book was Neo-Wiccan.

 
To a very great extent, NeoWicca was built upon Cunningham's work, often by readers reading things into it that he didn't actually say, or interpreting things he did say more broadly than he intended (often more broadly than the text supports, though in some cases his word choices did have implications I don't think he meant them to).

Not just Cunningham's work, of course; I can see the seeds going back as far as books from the early '70s (there's quite a bit in Buckland's The Tree that, if taken out of the context of Seax-Wica as a system, is pretty proto-NeoWiccish, f'ex), and would posit that they had already started to sprout before Cunningham.  What Wicca: A Guide... provided that made it so very influential was (with some interpretational stretching, as noted above) a structure - a loose one, or maybe it'd be more apt to call it instructions for building a loose structure - around which the nascent developments could conform.

Whereas SRW, as you said, was writing about the already-extant new approach that had arisen from that confluence - had almost certainly, IMO, been a part of the development, but Silver Broomstick was a reflection of the result, not of the process.

IIn case it's not clear, this is "agreeing and expanding", not in any way disagreeing with what you said.)

Sunflower
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SunflowerP

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Quote from: Jenett;55396
(There's some awesome stuff in that piece of text. But it is *not* a Wiccan creed - a statement of belief that everyone in the religion follows. Nor is it a text that every tradition makes central.)

 
IME, BTW generally treat it as excellent advice (and/or as effective ritual theatre), not as theological doctrine.

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Quote from: SunflowerP;55511
I can see the seeds going back as far as books from the early '70s....

In hindsight, it is pretty obvious where some of the ideas that became central in Neo-Wicca came from, although in many cases I doubt the original sources were intended by their writers to be interpreted as they were. I know The Tree wasn't.
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Quote from: PlaceboArtist;55253

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.

That's most generally the case, but it is also down to the individual. I for one got my I*under a year without completing a full Sabbat cycle, but I also know of people where it took a couple years. Training aside, it's also about completing what's required of you to you elders' satisfaction, proving your dedication, and for them to agree that you are right for them, and them you. There are general time-frames&requirements for such that continue throughout the degrees, but when you're ready, you're ready. Gardner was rumoured to put some through all three degrees in one night!

Quote from: Jenett;55396

 (There's some awesome stuff in that piece of text. But it is *not* a Wiccan creed - a statement of belief that everyone in the religion follows. Nor is it a text that every tradition makes central.)

Oh indeed, a few lines really hit home with me, but it's definitely not central. I'm not sure if your Tradition does something similar Jenett, but in ours at least Elders even come up with their own Charges, many on the spot, because after all The Charge is just a means. Even Doreen herself grew bored of her own because she witnessed too many bleating it word for word without the emotion it was meant to arouse.  
Quote from: SunflowerP;55511
To a very great extent, NeoWicca was built upon Cunningham's work, often by readers reading things into it that he didn't actually say, or interpreting things he did say more broadly than he intended (often more broadly than the text supports, though in some cases his word choices did have implications I don't think he meant them to).

Oh yes, indeed. What I do find odd is that many who do enter the pagan community on his Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, and think they're connecting with ancient concepts that they feel entitled to label "Wicca," tend to read over where he says in his own words during the preface, "The Wicca as described here is "new." It is not a revelation of ancient rituals handed down for thousands of years." I can definitely see a foundation for Neo-Wicca there.

Jenett

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Quote from: Micheál;55532
There are general time-frames&requirements for such that continue throughout the degrees, but when you're ready, you're ready. Gardner was rumoured to put some through all three degrees in one night!


If I remember right, there's fairly good evidence for that. (That said, people discovered that this has a much greater tendency to break the initiate and throw their life into turmoil after, compared to spreading it out and/or taking more prep time, which is why most modern groups do take their time.)

Quote
Oh indeed, a few lines really hit home with me, but it's definitely not central. I'm not sure if your Tradition does something similar Jenett, but in ours at least Elders even come up with their own Charges, many on the spot, because after all The Charge is just a means. Even Doreen herself grew bored of her own because she witnessed too many bleating it word for word without the emotion it was meant to arouse.  


Something like that, yeah. I should probably explain, since there's probably readers going "Huh" in here, that the purpose of Doreen's Charge was, as far as we know, to have a meaningful alternate that could be used when someone did a Draw Down but where the Goddess in question was either not articulate or articulate to individuals, but there needed to be something to the group as a whole.

In my practice, it's much more preferable to either have the Goddess in question speak to everyone individually (for a small enough group) or say something new and original to the group. I've been in rituals that do both, and I've been the Priestess doing the Draw for the latter: I swear it works.

Rituals I've been at where they use Doreen's Charge, I hear different things in it each time I hear it (which is useful), but it's not nearly as intriguing to me as all-new content. On the whole, I'd rather not force a Draw or the use of a prepared Charge at all, and if the Draw produces a Goddess who articulates in word, awesome, and if not, still fine.
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Quote from: RandallS;55515
In hindsight, it is pretty obvious where some of the ideas that became central in Neo-Wicca came from, although in many cases I doubt the original sources were intended by their writers to be interpreted as they were. I know The Tree wasn't.

 
I'm pretty sure none of the writers intended - or expected - the interpretations and wide-ranging effects.  Cunningham, f'ex, was almost certainly writing for the sort of bootstrap eclectic solitaries that already existed, supposing that future bootstrap solitiaries would be of much the same sort, and never dreamed his own words would give rise to a quite different sort.  Perhaps more to the point, I don't think he conceived of himself as being or becoming such an influential, venerated, larger-than-life figure, and never dreamed his words could have that much influence.

As for The Tree, I'd guess that it never occurred to Buckland that people would do anything other than make use of it as a system.

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Quote from: SunflowerP;55814
As for The Tree, I'd guess that it never occurred to Buckland that people would do anything other than make use of it as a system.

At the time it was written, no one would have thought it would be otherwise used. Hindsight is ever so much better.
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