My Problems With Wicca

First off, this story is NOT intended to offend anyone or slander anyone's beliefs, so don't get upset and leave angry comments.

I was in Books a Million earlier today, browsing the New Age section, chuckling at the 2012 nonsense books, and to make a long story a little bit shorter, ended up talking to a fairly nice Wiccan lady. It started out innocently enough (who was it that said all evil stems from innocence?) with us talking about how difficult it is to find fellow Pagans in the South. I mentioned that I used to be Wiccan, but wanted something more historically accurate, and things degenerated from there.

She seemed extremely flustered that I had dared to say Wicca is not historically accurate, and responded with the usual stuff about how it was the secret survival of religion from stone age Europe, how the Celts believed "all gods are one god, all goddesses are one goddess" and how the mean old Christians had suppressed it for centuries. I smiled and nodded as she spoke, because it would have just upset her to take away those fantasies.

Wicca is NOT stone age religion. It is not a survival of anything. It isn't the "Old Religion".

We know next to nothing about stone age European beliefs. All we really have to go on is a few grave goods, some carvings, and cave paintings. Very little can be gathered from those kind of bare bones sources. Despite all the books about Neolithic Europeans being "peaceful matriarchal goddess worshipers" there is ample evidence of warfare and male leaders in stone age Europe. The idea of primitive people worshiping a "great goddess", though very popular with Victorians, has essentially been debunked. This idea stems from the outdated belief that primitive people are inherently Monotheistic, and Polytheism results from "corruption". If Wicca is the survival of an ancient tradition, there would be a record of those beliefs SOMEWHERE, and yet there is not. Not a single culture from pre-Christian Europe held beliefs even remotely similar to those of Wicca.

If the Celts were Monotheists of any kind, they did a great job of keeping it a secret. There are literally thousands of inscriptions to Celtic deities, most of them appearing only once, many tied to small areas. Surviving Celtic myths speak of their gods behaving as individual beings unto themselves, and not pieces of one super-god. The druids, often cited by New Agers as being Monotheistic, were actually of little importance to Celtic religion. Celtic religious practice continued on uninterupted after the Romans outlawed the druids. Druids are often viewed as something of a mystical brotherhood of priests and wizards. Upon closer examination, one finds they were more akin to a guild of bards and lawyers who acted as priests from time to time. Even if the druids were Monotheists, the average Celt was not. The evidence for Celtic Monotheism just isn't there.

The major sources of information on religion in pre-Christian Europe outside of the Mediterranean come from Christians. They generally wrote at great length about the "heathen superstitions" they had rescued the population from. Yet again, not a single scribe describes anything remotely similar to Wicca. Reports of "witches' sabbats" are a mix wild speculation and "confessions" extracted by torture.

Where did Wicca come from? A mix of the now outdated "The Witch Cult in Western Europe", Western ceremonial magick, Victorian ideas about nature worship, and a sprinkling of Hinduism and Spiritualism all put together by Gerald Gardner, or perhaps the group of witches he was contacted by. The claims of a surviving stone age cult appear to me as an attempt to validate Wicca by making it appear older and to give it the popular appeal "ancient and powerful mysteries" tend to have.

Does this make Wicca an invalid religion? Absolutely not! Mr. Gardner was a remarkable scholar for his time, and may well have been on to something. I've also seen Wiccans have their prayers answered and cast effective spells many times. Knowing the origins of something does not make it invalid or untrue. My issue with Wicca is the poor scholarship of most Wiccans, not the religion itself.
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5 Responses Oct 30, 2012

what you say makes so much sense. and If I may ask what are your personal views what is it you believe in. me I (it has a proper name yet I forgot it) worship five gods (all of them greek) and I believe that there are many gods not just the greek, celtic, egyptian etc. I dont know how seriously my beliefs are taken in the pagan community due to the fact that, I haven't had a discussion with many in it.But my beliefs do no harm to others so I will continue to do as I do. however I am open to comments and observations on it.

man you could definitly teach me a thing or two about the elemental and geographical offerings

lol yeah sorry that accidently came out as more of a demand than a request. I believe I stated before that I am more or less new to this, I have established my beliefs but some details would be nice, also my beliefs may change depending on what makes sense and feels more comfortable, Like I prefer older ways of worship but again I havent found any one who knows of them

You are so young,, how do you know all this?? I am still confussed.

I've written stories in Pagan groups, Witch groups and Wiccan groups, but, what I really am is simply a folk "witch" I call myself this because I adore the word "witch," I claim it, I embrace it. I do my own thing based on what inspires and moves me. I seek "The Divine" through the natural world, it's about that simple. I have found that for me the word "witch" just fits my personal belief system, not everything Wiccan necessarily inspires me or even makes sense to me. I have shelves filled with New Age books, some read like instruction manuals...but, I go with my heart, I do what feels right, what feels real.
I have had similar encounters in the New Age section of book stores and it never fails to surprise me how emotional (and CERTAIN) people can become over the particulars. I agree with your points here and I thank you for sharing.

Do you practice evil?

Cheryltoo, is that sarcasm I'm hearing. Or are you really asking that?

I did not reply that, don't know where it came from

Evil is in anybody regardless of religion

1 More Response

I agree with you. It is unfortunate that people become so emotionally attached to their beliefs that a differing opinion or view is met with anger and resistance instead of acceptance. Just because you accept it, does not mean you adopt it... but i feel it is a thing of respect when you consider someones words and the possibility of the truth lying therein...

Hi! well, let me say first of all, isn't it a shame when we meet people who we cant discuss our beliefs with, without them getting upset and falling apart! I practice the way I want! you might say I do a little kitchen magic, and believe me my spells have worked! If I feel something is right for me, I will do it! if I dont feel its right for me, I don't! but I always love to hear the way someone believes and why they feel the way they do. PS, excuse spelling and punctuation..

Go on

Merry Meet Thatone..dude.
You are right that there has been a lot of monotheism and Christianity mixed with Wicca by many. Monotheism is from Christianity, not Wiccan. What they end up with is "Jesus in a dress" which is neither Christian nor Wiccan, and some even try to be both Christian and Wiccan. There also has been a lot of late 20th century feminist misdirection and misandry claiming to be Wiccan. Their misandry also has no validity in any historical account. The Old Ways were always about family and fertility. None of the recent gay push has any historical basis in the European religion of our ancestors either. And of course "New Age" is pretty much trash.

There has also been a lot of nay-sayers who invariably toss out Margaret Murry's works out of hand even though she was a very well respected scholar and her scholarship cited many historical documents in several languages. Few of the nay-sayers have even read Murray and only a fraction of the knowledge of older languages to read her citations.

Since Wicca has no central Pope or other authority there is no way to just kick out all the ridiculous stuff that has claimed to be Wiccan over the past half century. They well deserve the sort of criticism you write. I suppose it was inevitable that Wiccans will argue much as Christian denominations argue over which has "the real" Christian.

It all makes life more difficult for those traditional Wiccans who do follow and respect the old ways and reject the new misandrist feminists or the Jesus in a dress nonsense. There is now so much of the recent nonsense that it has become difficult for seekers to learn the old ways. But lets not toss out the baby with the bath water.