Well, I figure you all know me well enough. And I suppose , seeing as how you all love me so, it won’t make you love me any less. But really! I thought it was fairly obvious! So here goes. I am coming out of the Broom Closet today: I am a Wiccan.
Yes. For those of you who don’t know what that is, I will explain, because I love you so.
Wicca is an Earth based Religion. It is unorganized… we have no doctrine or Clergy. It was founded in the nineteen forties by a man named Gerald Gardner. Wicca has become much more Eclectic since then, but he gave it it’s name, which means “To bend” or “To shape.” If you want to get technical, it is actually the oldest religion in the world. Wicca is New Age. It’s really a very romantic religion. Obviously, I love being Wiccan. Just don’t ask my Fundie/Evangelical mother about it. She’ll cry. She often wonders where she went wrong with me. * Sorry, mom*
I am mostly too lazy to get very deep into what Wicca is and isn’t (Google it you lazy minxes!), but I will give you all a basic overview.
I am an Eclectic Wiccan. That means I don’t stick to a Tradition. There are a number of Traditions, but again, I am too lazy to name them all. But Wicca is a form of Modern Paganism that borrows from a number of Pre Christian Pagan Traditions. A few misconceptions I want to get out of the way right now:
1. For the Love of all that is Holy (That would be Nature, the God, and the Goddess), I do not worship Satan! Satan is a Christian Deity that is modeled after the Celtic Horned God. (ever wonder why he has goat horns?). If I had a dime for every time some fool asked me if I worshiped Satan, I’d be friggin’ rich. For one thing, Wiccans don’t believe in Hell OR Satan. Wiccans believe that if you give evil a name, you give it power. And we are real sticklers about personal responsibility. There is no “The Devil Made Me Do it” mentality with us Witchy folk. Human beings are responsible for our own “sins.” Asking a Wiccan whether he/she worships Satan is like asking a Christian if they worship a Golden Calf. Don’t do it. It is offensive.
2. I know some fool is going to ask, so I will get it out of the way now. I am not going to cast spells on any of you. A good Witch has a strong understanding of the Universe and it’s Laws. So we know all about Karma. Casting a spell on someone for any purpose other than healing (and even then, only with permission), is an interference of Free Will. I wouldn’t do it even if it wasn’t the equivalent of shooting myself in the foot. It is immoral and unethical for one thing, and it would only come back to bite me in the Ass. Whenever I do a Spell, or anything really, I always keep in mind that all my actions come back to me times three. That is just how it works. It’s like water running or flowers blooming in the Spring. That old adage “Treat people how you want to be treated”- in other words, with kindness, respect and love- resonates strongly with me.
3. While we’re on the subject of spells: Movies like The Craft and Five Girls and Practical Magic are cute and all, but they’re just Hollywood. I cannot shoot lightning bolts out of my palms or make creepy crawlers swirl around potted plants. Sadly, I cannot fly a broom (but wouldn’t that be fun? Isis the kitty could take a ride on the back and we could cruise the stars together over Northeast Ohio at night) and I do not deflate Male Erections for fun (regardless of how useful it would be against Sex Offenders). Have you ever heard someone say that they believe in the power of prayer? Well, Wiccans do their share of regular praying, but a spell is really just like a prayer in action. And what do people usually pray for? Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t know of many folks who pray for people they don’t like to get boils and chicken pox and so on. That’s not how prayer works, and it’s not how love works either. So again, do not ask a Wiccan if they are going to cast spells on you. They will likely reply, “Even if I could, you aren’t worth the effort.” And besides that, it is offensive.
4. I. DO. NOT. SACRIFICE. ANIMALS. Wiccans cherish life. We’re big Tree Huggers. I cry when I see a dead bug, let alone a dead animal! Please! I’m a Pescitarian! Do not ask a Wiccan if they sacrifice animals. It is EXTREMELY offensive.
5. If you do not believe in this sort of thing, that is perfectly okay. Wiccans are not Evangelists. Goddess, no. I still love you desperately even if you think I am off my rocker (well, not that you all ready didn’t).
6. Wiccans are Polytheists. We believe God is both Male and Female, but we believe “All Gods are one God.” Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, is just another Run-of-the-Mill, into-himself God to me, for the most part. Albeit a jealous one. Geez, can someone get him to lighten up? But I only say that because as a rule, we have no chip in our shoulders about Monotheists. Particularly the Big Ones (Jews, Christians, Muslims). Religious Tolerance is Coexistence. I was raised by Fundies. I love religion in General, and I believe all Faiths have a certain amount of truth to them in their core principles.
Now that that’s all cleared up, Wiccans, as I explained, don’t really have a doctrine, except for the Wiccan Rede, and the full version goes like this:
The Wiccan Rede
Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust.
Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give.
For tread the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out.
To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme.
Light of eye and soft of touch, speak you little, listen much.
Honor the Old Ones in deed and name,
let love and light be our guides again.
Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the joyful tune.
Widdershins go when the moon doth wane,
and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane.
When the Lady’s moon is new, kiss the hand to Her times two.
When the moon rides at Her peak then your heart’s desire seek.
Heed the North winds mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.
When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.
When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth.
When the wind whispers from the West, all hearts will find peace and rest.
Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows.
Oak in the forest towers with might, in the fire it brings the God’s
insight. Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower.
Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye.
Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning adds its strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility.
Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen.
Elder is the Lady’s tree burn it not or cursed you’ll be.
Four times the Major Sabbats mark in the light and in the dark.
As the old year starts to wane the new begins, it’s now Samhain.
When the time for Imbolc shows watch for flowers through the snows.
When the wheel begins to turn soon the Beltane fires will burn.
As the wheel turns to Lamas night power is brought to magick rite.
Four times the Minor Sabbats fall use the Sun to mark them all.
When the wheel has turned to Yule light the log the Horned One rules.
In the spring, when night equals day time for Ostara to come our way.
When the Sun has reached it’s height time for Oak and Holly to fight.
Harvesting comes to one and all when the Autumn Equinox does fall.
Heed the flower, bush, and tree by the Lady blessed you’ll be.
Where the rippling waters go cast a stone, the truth you’ll know.
When you have and hold a need, harken not to others greed.
With a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend.
Merry Meet and Merry Part bright the cheeks and warm the heart.
Mind the Three-fold Laws you should three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow wear the star upon your brow.
Be true in love this you must do unless your love is false to you.
These Eight words the Rede fulfill:
“An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will”
My birthday, May 1st (next Friday) is the Druid Fertility Holiday of Beltane. It is a very important Holiday and is also the Day of Mary Magdalen. It is the most important holiday of the year, save for Sahmain (Halloween). So next Friday, be sure to wish me Happy Birthday and a Happy Beltane.
But that is basically what Wicca is. As I explained, I love being a Wiccan. I wouldn’t be the way I am without it. I have been through a lot of things in my (so far) short life. Having something to believe in that actually makes my heart feel light isn’t a bad thing. Ever wonder why I am called Little Isis? It is because my Matron Goddess is Isis, the Egyptian Goddess of Heaven and Earth.
But while I am using this post to come out of the Broom Closet, so to speak, it is not about my coming out party. (Aside: I know you might have a stigma about the Da Vinci Code, but if you haven’t read it, you should. Only because of all the facts it has in it about female divinity and the Pentacle.)
Starhawk is one of the most well known Wiccan Activists. She has an “On Faith” column in WaPo, and it came to my attention recently that she is trying to get the Pope’s attention and force him, and by extension, the Catholic Church, to apologize for the “Burning Times.”
I have said this before. The “Burning Times” are what Wiccans call the Dark Ages. Nobility and the Elite in Europe were Christians. But most of the common folk (today we would call them the Middle Class) still practiced Paganism. The Catholic Church was dividing and a lot of people were breaking off to be Protestants. I don’t know what it was. Every Conflicted Era needs a Scapegoat. Let’s just say that Pagan Women-in general healers, herbalists, midwives, that sort of thing- became Ye Olde England’s Welfare Queens. Actually, it was much worse than that.
Women who thought for themselves. The Hillary Clintons, Sarah Palins, Riverdaughters, BostonBoomers, Little Isis’s, KatieBirds, Dakinikat’s, ect of the world. They were tortured, burned at the stake, killed, thrown into iron maidens, raped, beaten, publicly hanged…. it goes on. The most unspeakable horror. There are books about it. I’m sure most of you are aware of it.
Starhawk believes that around nine million men, women and children were killed during that period. More than the Holocaust! Well, I’ll admit even I think that’s a stretch. But at the very least, around 500,000. There is no way to really know the number. But it doesn’t matter. We say, “Never again, the burning times.”
They were my ancestors and I mourn and honor them. What kills me the most is the lack of acknowledgment in history. But after all, they were just women. Who cares, right?
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
A woman who thinks for herself- a strong woman- is always a threat. She threatens something deep inside powerful, privileged men. It can be traced back in their Ancestry. It is in their make up.
I remember during the primaries how all Hillary Voters were “Uneducated Racists.” That meant something to me other than the simple fact that it wasn’t true. She was sticking up for the country folk, the “Pagans” against the privileged Nobility.
That is a metaphor, FYI.
What I want to know is what Confluceans, particularly Catholic Confluceans, think of this. Should the Pope apologize? Or should Starhawk just forgive and forget?