Is Wicca a Religion?

Is Wicca a Religion?

This is an extension of the Aleq FAQ: 12 (More Pagans) from the 9th of Feb 2011.

This question tends to burn the noodle of a lot of pagans, not just the general public when they ask me:

1) Are you Pagan?

The simple answer is No.

Paganism has no core ethos. I do.

Paganism has no core credo. I do.

Paganism has no standards. I do.

Paganism has no fixed theology. I do.

Paganism has no fixed cosmology. I do.

So by simple definition – can we label ourselves what-ever the hell we like – no-one really gives a rats backside – but the fact remains paganism is getting very very big. This means that statistically speaking – the grey area gets bigger – mistakes get bigger and the degree of error gets bigger.

It doesn’t change the fact that paganism is a genre – NOT a religion.  That’s right boys and girls: Hindu, Shinto, Heathenry, could be called “pagans” religions – but paganism in of itself is not.

Neo-paganism isn’t a religion either:

The majority of western contemporary paganism is a melange of made up, bite sized consumerist nonsense marketed to the free-perfect-now generation that values nothing.

I blame the Americans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iOavbyDKSi0

And just so the boys aren’t left out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Z2S75ZQJTzY

There is also a strong reconstructionist element that does its best to find its way back to the way things were – yet draws short when faced with context – but history will do that and we don’t string up oathbreakers, and lousy politicians anymore.

Some people are alive because – well – we don’t want to go to jail.

Today attitudes are very different. Prejudices are very different. Just how far anyone will go to achieve their aims is entirely different. We don’t put gossips in a scold bridle anymore – mores the pity.

Furthermore thankfully modern academia has amended a great many wrongs laid down by previous authors that which was taken as gospel by the pagan population. Our culture is important and it feeds directly into how modern paganism has collectively evolved in the past 50 years. People want truth. The urban myths orchestrated by modern pagan authors sometimes defies belief but it goes to show just how gullible people will be and not question the tripe they are being fed to make someone else a fast buck. Caveat Emptor.

But on the other hand – some people don’t want to hear about how 9 million innocents died as a result of a religious purge to exterminate a witch cult that never existed, didn’t happen. There is only so much bullshit rational people will tolerate.

 

Because of the inevitable infighting and bickering it stands to reason people will stand apart and make their own way and this is really a benefit – it forces diversity and evolution and people will find their own truth in it. That said it will also draw a very distinct line between initiate and laity.

Paganism is a massive, nebulous creature with no core dogma, and a lot of people fighting for recognition to be seen as new-improved- with-added-lemon-juice,  and  for rights in a world where it really isn’t necessary. Some people just quietly get on with it. Others are activists. I take a quiet approach mostly these days but there will be times where I just have to say – enough – as enabling someones’ fantasy is not what I am here for.

I work on established mechanisms and techniques that have been around for a long time, coupled with common sense and no need to present the contents of my chamber pot to the world.

I also value greatly my heritage, my culture, my bloodline and will even invite the vicar to tea – just so long as he keeps the north door and the Lady chapel open.

This is why when asked my religion – is say: British (because this term encompasses a LOT of things).

People froth when I say this saying they don’t understand the answer which I answer with – no you didn’t understand the question.

2) But is Wicca a religion?

As a Gardnerian Wiccan I cannot countenance calling Wicca – a religion. It’s not. To do this would be to take a very small part of any cosmology – that part that is the mystic and relegate said mystic to religious nutter-hood. This is not the case.

Wicca isn’t even a century old. It is a complete magickal system founded on the working systems of others. A hybrid for a new age catering to an emerging middle class hell bent on finding their own way as educated individuals – on a path to enlightenment.

Religion requires followers.  IGNORANT followers. Religion requires laity. The congregation.  Religion does not provide a means to enlightenment for the common man. Only community, stability and the dogmatic answers to the simple questions. Religion requires obedience.

I have been told that some class the likes of the Golden Dawn, or Thelema, or Free Masonry as religion. A mystical order functioning within a defined cosmology – does not in of itself become a religion.

It’s a bit like saying the Society of Jesus –the Jesuits –  is a religion. No its not – it’s a part of the Catholic Church, the political wing as it were –  and yes it may have religious elements when it’s not about its seditious and treasonous duties – but fundamentally it might have religious people in it – but the order in of itself is not a religion.

Wicca is not a religion.

Consider other paths: Heathenry. A solid path for a number of people sick to death of the bullshit espoused by normal people – not initiates – calling themselves Wiccan. I digress. But lets look at an entire magickal system associated with Heathenry – Runes.

Are Runes a religion? Well they have gods associated with them, and mythology associated with them . . .so by the modern neopagan’s perceptions where they call another magickal system – Wicca – a religion – therefore RUNES ARE A RELIGION!!

Poppycock.

What about Tarot with its roots in Qabalah – another complete magickal system that has some judeo-christian roots and works as a means for people within that particular cosmology to attain a oneness with God. Is Tarot (a complete magickal system) a religion . . . .err no!.

Is Qabalah a religion?. Well it encompasses the entirety of the Universe in its teachings. It has a God in it. It has the entire host of heaven for that matter in it. Lots of associated mythology in lots of different books. Is it religion.

No.

WHY?

How many qabalists does it take to change a light bulb

One. He holds up the bulb and the universe revolves around him.  He is a minority of one.

Every Witch is a witch alone. Wicca is not a religion. It has no laity. Every single initiate has a personal experience of their connection to the divine. This is beyond the words in the Dogma of the neopagan trying desperately to define their world  – to label themselves – and thereby gain some intangible meaning – or worth – as they  say LOOK – I’m different along with all my pagan homeys who are also different but the same cos we follow the same dogma and you have to treat me as different because the LAW says so.

Who cares – Such laws already existed purely so anyone can think whatever the hell they like and not be bothered by others about it – but they can do so quietly. . . .and no you are not different at all. You’re just a person trying to find their way without the capacity to really let go of your dependence on people to validate you.

So you’re a pagan.

Who cares!?

Seriously – who the hell cares. Take away the population that you use to define yourself and validate your trip – and what have you got.  Think on it – what have you got left. If you have something then I suggest you cling to it – work with it – let it grow out of the light of pagan peerage and then realise your own worth without having to sing out to the world. Calling your spiritual path – a religion – happens ONLY when you need to be a part of a religion – a part of the herd.  Part of the same mind numbing spirit crushing godless soulless pointless existence of mutual validation in some twisted hive mind desperately clinging to community.alone

Or you could stand on your own – and just do your own thing.  Say: “Fuck the collective” and embrace the life of a mystic.

That simple reality is backed up by a British state of mind that caters well to its eccentrics. So you’re a bit odd .. . . oh really. But seriously who cares?

So the influx of Americana, dream webs, white sage, and Mabon to name a few over and above the merciless destruction of the Wytche Cult myth (oh thank you), or the 9 million witches murdered lie, or the Salem victims were all witches honest guv lie –   is an ever increasing tide of rubbish that will consume  any means to cut the legs out from underneath people utterly determined to dwell in fantasy – is essentially something that has the ring of inevitability about it like labour Governments,  death and taxes.

Am I angry – no – but disappointed in people so determined to exist in la-la land.

To be sure – being Wiccan is not special either – it’s not different, it’s not elitist per se except that the standards expected are no different to that of a well rated workshop.  You work to excel – to perfect your craft. You do not water down and disrespect the knowledge, your superiors, and ultimately that which you serve.

In Britain we are not directly faced with the same mind numbing spirit crushing all pervasive stupidity espoused by our colonial cousins – and their rabid need to rebrand their ingrained monotheism. From God worship to Goddess worship – damn the torpedoes, culture, reality and full speed ahead.  We do however seem to have put our cultural reserve aside and been infected by the same effervescent and religious zeal of said people and their determined efforts to embrace their 1st Amendment rights. STFU

But it doesn’t mean they have to curtail ours so they can have theirs. But the unwritten rules of political correctness – means they can force their views on you cos if you complain – you’re discriminating against them – you’re being a bigot. You’re “harming” them.  If you remind them the Wiccan tenet of “To Be Silent” – or at least to just please stop whining and shut the fuck up – this this is a crime most foul – this is worse than leaving the loo seat up  – this is commiting genocide – Godwins law is invoked and the emotional maturity of a 5 year old comes to the fore as they go into a tail spin oh so horribly victimised.
It’s pathetic. It inspires that same feeling when you go for a pee at 3am, and tread on a slug in bare feet.
Paganism – is an umbrella term that may include religions. It is not a religion in of itself

Wicca is not a religion. It is a vocation.

Wicca is not a religion. It is an entire workable magickal system.  But a religion it is not.

At worst Wicca can be described as an apprenticeship for the magickally inclined because it really does cover all the bases.

Yes Wicca can be loosely grouped within the pagan cosmology – but ultimately  there is no more veracity in calling Wicca religion because it has gods in it – than calling football a religion because fans pray to god before the match.

Wicca – not a religion. Get over it.

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