The Inherent Problems with Wicca

This is an ongoing thought of mine. Full disclosure, I was a secular Wiccan years ago and then drifted towards eclecticism and then Hellenic paganism.

Historical inaccuracy

The Burning Times are most often held up by Wiccans. I think there is a general trend, emphasized amongst neo-Wiccans, to not do any research or reading outside of Llewelyn (which is widely known as being inaccurate). Another problem is the assertion that Wicca is an ancient religion when Gerald Gardner created it in the 1950s.

Traditional Wicca vs. Neo-Wicca

There is also the issue of Wicca being an initiatory, secretive religion which has become warped and watered down into an appropriative mess. I will get more into that later, but due to this there are a lot of differences between ‘trad’ Wiccans and neo-Wiccans in theology and attitude, in my experience. This post will mostly be about neo-Wicca since that is what I was (and therefore am most familiar with) and the discourse that dominates the online pagan/witch communities.

All-too-common Racism

The distinction between ‘white’ and ‘black’ magic is racist, or eurocentric at best. The concept of black as a color being evil, dark and scary is a very culture-specific idea. I argue that the distinction between ‘harmful’ and ‘positive’ magic is nonexistent.

The more oft-discussed, obvious example of Wiccan racism is in micro- or macro-aggressions and violence, as well as cultural appropriation. Soft polytheism (seeing all Gods as facets or manifestations of the god or goddess) is harmful to marginalized communities because it devalues and deprioritizes their beliefs. Context becomes meaningless, history is negated and the Western, white theology becomes the only acceptable way to view reality (as opposed to accepting that some theologies or views are inherently harmful).

Inherent Misogyny

This is one I think about often and wish more people would critique. Wiccans and Wiccan-authored correspondences in magic tend to have very archaic sexist notions of gender. ‘Feminine’ crystals are receptive, emotional, nurturing. ‘Masculine’ crystals are active, aggressive, passionate. The harm in perpetuating these stereotypes in any other medium is shunned for good reason, so why continue it in Wicca? Or any magic, for that matter? Another part of this is the Blessed Be/fivefold kiss, and general Wiccan focus on fertility and birth, as well as the (artificially created!) roles of the goddess. Women do not exist to make babies – as many point out, often women can’t or don’t want to have children. Being able to have children does not make anyone a woman either. The focus on emotion and fertility is something that most Wiccans should want to veer away from (given how many feminist Wiccans I’ve seen), but for most it passes over their heads. For those who argue Wicca can be conducted without this — I posit that is difficult, if not impossible. The great rite and such are mired in misogyny and womb-worship such that it is hard to imagine a Wiccan without an athame (even if they don’t conduct ritual sex, there’s simulated hetero-sex!). I don’t think it is surprising given that a cishet man made the religion. He is rather obviously a creep who is obsessed with uteruses and sex, as can be seen in the Great Rite and so forth.

Inherent Transphobia/Homophobia

This one is a little less obvious. The founder of Wicca, Gardner, was a homophobe (google it!) and the emphasis on the womb and fertility is very exclusive to trans and gay people. Obviously the community itself has issues as well (see: Dianic Wicca).

 

Conclusion: I can’t tell people to stop practicing Wicca (although sometimes I wish I could) since it is a popular religion after all. But there needs to be serious research and reflection done by those who are Wiccan or are looking into it. Perhaps this way some more theological dialogue can happen as well.

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We Need To Talk About Astral Projection

So, something that’s been bothering me is how many people rely solely on astral projection for experiencing the Theoi. I don’t personally think it’s wise to use only one method to contact the Gods, although a primarily preferred method (i.e. tarot cards) is natural.

The more core problem is that astral projection has been unsupported by science. The accuracy of what you see is debatable if the mundane isn’t even viewable accurately. Experiments and individual cases have been disappointing on the ability to remote view via projection. It has been compared by scientists to imagination, or dreaming (I’d say daydreaming). Here’s a more rhetoric and logic-based rebuttal.

I won’t be the first person to say it’s not recon as far as Hellenismos goes. But it might not be valid at all, and for people in Hellenic Polytheism, science often matters, as it does for me. So for those of you who prize astral work, I urge you not to rely on it and to instead cross-check what you learn with any experience, both with other methods and with historical context.

Magick and Hellenic Polytheism

In light of recent events showing YSEE’s homophobia, I was looking into another major group, Elaion. On their Magic and mysticism page from 2004 by ‘Carolyn’, there are some interesting points made, often quite poorly. Here are my answers to them.

Of course one is always taught that magic works in the most natural way possible, so if you are performing a spell, be sure to also work for your goal in ‘mundane’ ways too. Apply for that job, and then work your spell. When the job is yours, do you have magic to thank or your other efforts? And if the spell only provided confidence, that does not support the reality of magic.

This is how magick works, according to a good chunk of witches I’ve spoken to. I’m somewhere near this mindset as well. If you expect levitation or such, then all Carolyn does is show her gullibility and lack of solid points. This is what we call a reach, in my opinion. Not to mention that there is more than one theory of magick, so her not knowing this means she’s criticizing something she only grazed the surface of!

In Homer (and in the Homeric Hymns), men do not know when they are being affected by Gods, even when the Gods are indeed directly in front of them. Only ‘divine Odysseus’ (as he is called by Homer) has knowledge of Athena’s aid, a testament to his true heroic nature. But not all men are heroes – that is what sets the hero apart is his greatness compared to most men.

This is a very uncritical way of taking the myths. Do the good people at Elaion make it a standard to take Homer word for word, even when he contradicts Hesiod or other writers? Even if I did take the myths literally, this seems to imply that Odysseus is the only ‘real’ hero. Sketchy.

 

I hope you all enjoyed this quick post!