Thursday, February 20, 2014

Which Wiccan is Wiccan?

Oh goodness,it seems the never ending topic of *which Wiccan is Wiccan* rises with a fevered pitch. I've touched on this a bit before but I'll do another light touch on it.

In days of old, there was much practice of folk magick and herbal medicine, charms and such. It was never called witchcraft in its earlier days -- it simply was what it was. Those who became well known for their arts were consulted by others and many made a nice living at it.
Eventually, Christianity in its aggressive movement to convert people, named these arts *witchcraft*. Wicca did not exist until recent years. The term Wicca was crafted by Gerald B. Gardner. Here is an excerpt from

"In Modern English, the term Wicca (/ˈwɪkə/) refers to Wicca, the religion of contemporary PaganWitchcraft.[nb 1] It is used within the Pagan community under competing definitions. One refers to the entirety of the Pagan Witchcraft movement, while the other refers explicitly to traditions included in what is now called British Traditional Wicca.[1]

Although pronounced differently, Wicca is related to the Old English word wicca, which referred to sorcerers in Anglo-Saxon England. In the early 1950s, English Wiccan Gerald Gardner, founder of the Gardnerian tradition, referred to the Pagan Witchcraft community as the Wica. He claimed to have learned the term during his initiation into the New Forest coven in 1939. By the late 1950s, Gardner's rival Charles Cardell, founder of his own tradition, had begun referring to the religion's followers as Wiccens, and possibly used Wicca in reference to the religion itself.

The inclusive use of the term Wicca—referring to the entirety of Pagan Witchcraft religion—has been traced to Britain in the early 1960s, when it was used by various groups and publicised through use in adverts, magazines, and other literary sources. It was later adopted by figures like Alex Sanders and Gavin and Yvonne Frost, who took it to the United States. There, practitioners of British Traditional Wicca adopted it exclusively for themselves as a means to differentiate their practices from those of other Pagan Witches. This exclusive meaning was countered by its popularisation as a generic term by prolific authors such as Raymond Buckland, Scott Cunningham and Silver RavenWolf. As it entered popular culture, it gained an increasingly eclectic character in its usage. During the 1990s, some attempted to distance themselves from it by utilising the term Traditional Witchcraft."
As you can see from the above, from the very beginning of the modern Witchcraft movement, there have been *Witch Wars* amongst various leaders and factions vying for power. Sadly, that has not changed over time and has perhaps worsened.

There are as many positions on the use of the word Wicca as there are people who utter it. It is sort of like the term *Xerox* that became synonymous with making copies. Once the term went into popular usage, there is no rolling it back. The sad thing is, it helps no one to get into a tussle over which Wiccan is Wiccan because all it does is create chaos. There is room for all of us to fit under the Wiccan umbrella. If you don't like being associated with the term or feel the need to validate it at the expense of disembowling another Witch, then you really aren't living the Wiccan path honoring Rede *an it harm none, do as ye will*.

For me, I do say I am Wiccan and no I am not part of a Traditional Witchcraft Gardnerian Coven nor have I ever been. I was part of a Coven that had ties to Raymond Buckland that in turn had ties to Gerald B. Gardner but what is the point of stating all that if not to puff myself? Because quite truthfully, that doesn't really vouch for who I am or what I practice. It just states a genealogy or pedigree and in my case it doesn't equal pedigree either.

Sadly I have run across Witches that totally disdain Wicca and call it *fluffy* because it includes *Harm None* which they feel is impossible to uphold. And yet those Witches will set up Wiccan sites so they can catch new comers and steer them away from Wicca to go totally the Witchcraft path absent of the *fluffy trappings of Wicca*. It is beyond me why these individuals feel spurred to such behavior.

If you are choosing the Wiccan path for the first time, just be ready to run into opposition and plenty of it. And most startling to you perhaps is that while you believe your biggest opposition will be from the friends and relatives you left behind in a prior faith that thinks negatively of Wicca and Witchcraft, you will find just as much opposition in the world of Witches. It deeply saddens me to point that out but it is quite true.

So, from my standpoint, I believe the word Wicca has been loosed into the world and taken on a life of its own and is not fully owned by anyone anymore, that is if it could ever even be said that it was owned by anyone at all. Just be wary of those who feel threatened by your self-identification as Wiccan-- some will rebel out of ignorance and lack of proper education whereas others will react out of arrogance and self-appointed authority. From some you will hear *only a Witch can make a Witch* and declare that you can not self initiate or simply label yourself Witch. My only response to that is, poppycock. I don't believe another Witch need have any power or authority over you to grant you *permission* to become a solitary Witch. IF they are speaking of being a member of the Coven, then by all means, they can then call the shots about who is and isn't allowed into their Coven. But that is it! That is where their authority and claims begin and end is within their Coven or Circle. Not beyond it. Granted being a Wiccan or Witch or Wiccan Witch is more than a label, I will agree with them there. It is a way of life and a path and journey forward. But for the solitary Witch it is a personal vigil that may or may not include others.

In summary, just go forth and be Wiccan and definitely be the best possible Wiccan you can be.

Bright Blessings,
Rayven Michaels

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