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#16 Vampchick21

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 11:00 PM

While Wicca in and of itself is a MODERN neo-pagan faith, it very much IS based on actual pre-Christian religions (or what bits and pieces of pre-Christian religions that have made it down through the centuries). It's current form came to us from one Gerald Gardner in the 1950's, after the witchcraft laws of England were repealed. He claimed to have been taught/initiated by one Dorothy Clutterbuck, and stated that these things were being passed along from family to family and group to group for centuries. As to that, I have no real proof as to the truth or otherwise of that claim.

Your bit about 'romantic fantasies of certain 19th century mystics' mystifies me. I can hazard guesses as to whom you are thinking of, and they actually have zip/zero/nada to do with Wicca. This bit - 'These persons, usually men, seemed to be interested in what they perceived as a more sexually permissive pre-Christian Britain.' is just plain insulting to those of us who practice Wicca and Paganism. And may well show a lack of understanding of what some folks were trying to do. May also indicate that you are mixing up Crowley's activities after he left the Golden Dawn with the Golden Dawn themselves, who actually AREN'T Wiccan (although Wicca does use certain rituals from time to time and group to group). They were merely trying to consolidate a Western Estoric along the lines of the various Eastern ones.

You say '"Druidic" rituals were the basis for initial "rites". To my knowledge, no wicker men filled with human sacrifices were ever burned alive. What was used was very selective.' Um? What? Where the HECK did that come from? Seems to me that you have in mind certain Roman propeganda (and by Roman, I mean ACTUAL Roman, not Roman Catholic). Romans looking to conquer Gaul and Brittania claimed such things so as to make the drain on Rome's coffers look necessary to the Roman population. Got squat to do with 19th century occult and modern day Wicca or Paganism.

During the 20th century, Feminists latched on to paganism, accusing Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions as being patristic. At this point, "Wiccans" seem to have taken a definitely feminist tone. Insofar as I can discover, Wiccan covens today are universally led by women, and supported by a man, often their "significant other."


Is that a bad thing? While I question their ability to maintain the balance (God/Goddess, Masculine/Feminine) you make it sound horrid that some women actually DARED to solely worship a Goddess, and seem to think it's just a means of thumbing their noses at the establishment.

And if you utilized the internet and did a quicky search, you'd note that many a group out there does not fall along these lines that you have drawn.

There are solid historical basises for various Wiccan practices, but frankly, for me to give you proper examples, you'd have to be more specific in your question, since Wicca from group to group and practice to practice can encompass many different cultures, such as Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Teutonic, Celtic, African, etc, etc.

Remember that Wicca is a MODERN spiritual path. If you want to look into pagan faiths that attempt to reconstruct, you must go to RECONSTRUCTIONALST pagan groups, like Imbas (Celtic) or various Astru groups (Teutonic/Norse), Nova Roma (Roman), etc, etc.

I fear you have a rather cynical and pessimistic and not quite clear view of a VERY valid spiritual/religious path. And you've mixed up a great lot of stuff that has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with Wicca or Neo-Paganism or Reconstructionalist Paganism.

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#17 Markway

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 12:35 AM

For a fact I am not familiar with the last ten years of "Wicca". My researches date from the early 1990's and from my text-oriented studies of early european history. At that time Wicca represented itself as being the inheritor of the true Celtic, Pre-Christian tradition.

I hope that you have nothing against print media. I try not to make any negative remarks about online sources, although I believe that books provide a much more complete source of information.

During the 19th century there was a blooming interest in pre-Christian religions, perhaps an attempt to legitimatize rebellion against Victorian Era sexual mores. In addition to the Spiritualist movement there were ghostly walking tours across Britain, and dress-up parties with men and women dressing up as Druids and Druidesses. One of the earliest writers which I found as a Wiccan source was a 19th century Gentleman who claimed to be reinacting "druid" rituals which involved sexual excess with hired "dryads", in a state of nature in the nearby forest.

I perused the new-age section of the bookstore replete with treatises instructing the less informed in the wonders of new-age Celtic ritual. Even a brief examination revealed a very passing acquaintance with pre-Christian religious practice. Even you seem confused about the wicker men.

But if, as you tell me, Wicca is now a "make it up as you go along" sort of affair, all becomes clear. My objection to women running a Druidic religous group was on historic grounds, not social ones.
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
This much let me avow---
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream:
Yet if hope has flown away In a night,
Or in a day, In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

#18 Bobnoxious

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 02:52 AM

Wow. It pains me to do this, but I find myself agreeing with Markway to a large degree. The simple fact is, there just isn't any solid historical evidence for Wicca as it exists today dating any earlier than the 20th century. I'm not saying absolutely, positively there's nothing in Wicca that goes back further. Obviously goddess and earth religions did exist in the past. But there's not much evidence to show how much similarity there is between modern pagan/wiccan beliefs and those of people living centuries ago.

Was Wicca the invention of Gerald Garnder, the man who popularized it in its modern form, or was he passing along older knowlegde he had obtained from someone else? There's just no way to know based on the available evidence. How much influence did Aleister Crowley, the OTO, the Rosicrucians, and the Order of the Golden Dawn have on Wicca? Hard to say, but while people may disagree to the extent of the influence, most serious scholars on this subject admit that there was at least some.

I found a number of informative essays on the website Gerald Gardner.com that I think anyone seriously interested in this subject should check out. These are not short little blurbs, they are lengthy, annotated articles, so be forewarned.

I know a lot of Wiccans don't like to be associated with Crowley, but it's tough to deny the similarities between Crowley's "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" and the Wiccan Rede "An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will". Which came first, the chicken or the egg? All I know is that Gardner was involved with Crowley just prior to the publication of 'High Magic's Aid' and Crowley was at the time grooming him to head up an English chapter of the OTO. Of that fact, there really doesn't appear to be any dispute as it is documented in correspondence between Crowley and Garnder and other individuals.

I'm not going to speculate on Markway's speculations as to the reasons for this renewed interest in the occult, paganism, etc. He may be right, at least to some degree, but just because a number of bored thrill seekers gravitate towards a subject doesn't mean the subject is without merit. I doubt many of that sort stuck around very long once they found out how much work was required to advance in occult systems like the Golden Dawn or the OTO.

As far as Wiccans "making it up as they go along", I think that's the wrong way to put it. Just because most mainstream religions have very stringent dogmas doesn't mean a looser form of spirituality is completely lacking in substance. While I don't mean to equate Wicca and all the various pagan and occult belief systems with one another, I think they all have in common the idea of a direct spiritual experience being more important than having a big book of rules that you just have to accept.

In the end, what does it really matter if Wicca predates Christianity or if it came into being in the late forties? Why can't religious and spiritual ideas evolve? With the vast number of "mainstream" religious belief systems out there all claiming to be the one and only "true" path to spirituality, the only thing one can say with any certainty is that they can't all be right. I would guess that all religions are just different paths to the same end, and if Wicca works as a path to that end for some people, what's wrong with that?

And having now probably made EVERYONE angry at me, I'll take my leave.
"Future events such as these will affect you in the future." - Criswell, 'Plan 9 From Outer Space'

#19 Vampchick21

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 11:51 AM

Um....I guess folks don't actually read everything I say, which frankly is very irritating.

I very clearly stated that Wicca was a MODERN DAY religion, and even gave the decade for crying out loud. I also clearly stated where Gerald Gardner CLAIMED to get his information/initiation from. Seriously, what's the bloody point of my opening my mouth around here if people only bloody skim my words?



And Markway, I am so VERY NOT confused about the wicker men. I know that the concept was brought forth by Romans during the campaign in Gaul, and that is where our information came from, and that there is absolutely NO evidence that the tribal groups in Gaul and Brittania ever did such a thing, and I am very aware that the idea of the wicker men is highly likely to have been nothing more than Roman propeganda to make the campaign that much more a 'good thing' to the populace of Rome who were actually paying for it. I do have a copy of Ceaser's book you know. And I read it.

Seriously, why do I even bother? Ain't no one gonna actually read what I say anyway.

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#20 Bobnoxious

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 04:48 PM

Sorry, Vamp. I think the many glasses of wine leading up to my reading this thread may have had something to do with me missing some of what you said. My apologies.
"Future events such as these will affect you in the future." - Criswell, 'Plan 9 From Outer Space'

#21 Markway

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 08:17 PM

If there is no interest in historical origins, why did the discussion of same cause such a stir?

Roman discussion of wicker men and other social comment was indeed common. Describing these comments as calumny is pretty silly. Roman practice was not exactly gentle, and in the day, Celts were not famous for their "noble redman role" that they have been recast into today. Celts were major slave-takers and brutal warriors. Slave-chains have turned up in many of their archeological excavations. Comment upon their religious practice is not relegated to the Romans alone.

The wicker men were reported by more than the Romans. I could cough up the names, but for me that means, going back to "my ancient print media "after a lapse of 20 years or so. I'll do it if someone actually wants it, but for a laugh, I won't.

I want to understand this. If there is no reliance upon historical precedent, can I just make up any religous practice I want and call it "Wiccan"?
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
This much let me avow---
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream:
Yet if hope has flown away In a night,
Or in a day, In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

#22 yuma_no_ame

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 09:19 PM

no........you can call it pagen. Wicca acutally has a definition now. there are lots and lots of books out there that say what being wiccan means and what the rules are and what is not alowed. Wicca as Vampchic said is MODERN. People took some myths and old stories and turned it into a religen. Much the same way Christions strated theres so many years ago befor it was the most practised religen out there.

So saying that you can just make up some stuff and call it wicca after its allready an astablished religen is an insult......you would be pagen, not wiccan. To be Wiccan you would have to follow the Reed and reserch the religen.

#23 Harmony1215

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 12:22 PM

Well stated both Vamp and yuma_no_ame. I would like to add my two cents into this thread.

First I'm in a coven, and both the High Preist (HP) and the High Priestess (HPP) are considered "equal" in our group. In fact both the HP and HPP are not always involved in the actual ritual. Our group teaches that the only way you're going to learn about witchcraft is to actually pracitce it and experience it . So when we have our rituals everyone in our group takes turns being the "HP and HPP", while the actual real HP and HPP overseas everything. Now granted this isn't how most covens work, but for us (and this group has been around for more than 20 years) it works well. Our book of shadows has been passed down from group to group and the oldest ritual that we can date back to is from the 60's (yes I know this is considered "Modern")

As for our book of shadows and mine for that fact, I not only have a hardcopy of my book, but for me typing up my rituals/spells etc in my computer is better than me writing it all down by hand (my handwriting isn't the best). So in this day of age a lot of people have a book of shadows on their computer (which for me is a lot easier to deal w/ and I can find spells etc a lot faster and easier than the actual hardcopy). Of course my hard copy book I update a few times a year and I back up my computer book of shadows on a regular basis in case something happens to my computer.

Yes I'm sure that some people will say "well you're suposed to actually write in the book of shadows, use your own handwriting, that way a "part of yourself" also goes into the book. Well I feel that a part of myself still goes into the book, I'm still making up the spells/rituals etc, I just don't have good handwriting and I would think that generations after me would like to be able to read my rituals instead of them trying to dicipher (sp?) my chicken scratch. :Spaz: Besides our religion is always changing and conforming to the "times", who knows maybe in 2020 everyone will have their book of shadows on the computer.

#24 hawkerdriver

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 07:34 PM

Um....I guess folks don't actually read everything I say, which frankly is very irritating.

I very clearly stated that Wicca was a MODERN DAY religion, and even gave the decade for crying out loud. I also clearly stated where Gerald Gardner CLAIMED to get his information/initiation from. Seriously, what's the bloody point of my opening my mouth around here if people only bloody skim my words?



And Markway, I am so VERY NOT confused about the wicker men. I know that the concept was brought forth by Romans during the campaign in Gaul, and that is where our information came from, and that there is absolutely NO evidence that the tribal groups in Gaul and Brittania ever did such a thing, and I am very aware that the idea of the wicker men is highly likely to have been nothing more than Roman propeganda to make the campaign that much more a 'good thing' to the populace of Rome who were actually paying for it. I do have a copy of Ceaser's book you know. And I read it.

Seriously, why do I even bother? Ain't no one gonna actually read what I say anyway.







Stop being so crabby, Vampie. No one pays attention to me either! It's that Canadian weather that can cause crabbiness. Move to Dallas and become a Stars fan................ :)
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#25 Markway

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 05:02 PM

How does a Wiccan go about composing a spell? Do you rely on ancient Gods to make it work , or is it the power of your own private mojo?
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
This much let me avow---
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream:
Yet if hope has flown away In a night,
Or in a day, In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

#26 Bobnoxious

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Posted 04 February 2006 - 03:13 AM

How does a Wiccan go about composing a spell? Do you rely on ancient Gods to make it work , or is it the power of your own private mojo?


"Your Own Private Mojo" - wasn't River Phoenix in that movie?

Sorry, just couldn't resist the bad joke.
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#27 Dark Soul619

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Posted 04 February 2006 - 11:14 PM

How does a Wiccan go about composing a spell? Do you rely on ancient Gods to make it work , or is it the power of your own private mojo?


When u say our own private mojo, do u mean our own power? It depends, sometimes we dont call on a god or goddess, we just focus our energy into what we're doing. I use both, some might not, some might...that's one reason why Wicca is eclectic. I agree with Vamp and yuma_no_ame on what they said in their posts.

#28 Markway

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 06:37 PM

I'm just trying to understand the philosophy. Most religions claim to invoke powers greater and more powerful than any individual human. Other groups such as Thibetan Lamas, and Hindu Fakirs rely upon the development of their own personal potential for the development of power.

When I first studied Wicca during the 80's it appeared to be primarily an attempt to "discover" a goddess driven religion from the religious tradition of the Celtic past' rejecting Christianity, Judaism, and Islam as being too patristic for their taste.

Imagine my surprise when I saunter into the New Age section of Barnes and Noble, and discover dozens of books for wiccans of every cultural background imaginable! I guess that picking your god's sex to match your own wasn't enough, it had to match your culture as well. Maybe this is ungenerous, but it seems to set every religious principle I'm familiar with on it's head.
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
This much let me avow---
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream:
Yet if hope has flown away In a night,
Or in a day, In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.




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