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.

Shub-Niggurath; Racist? Lovecraft, Racism and the Etymology of the”black cloud”

WAR , POLITICS , CULTURE

Shub-Niggurath

Shub-Niggurath seems to be the source of a lot of debate regarding H.P. Lovecraft’s racist views and whether they had any influence on this deity’s naming. However, this debate seems to be missing the point. They are focusing purely on the name without considering what it actually is as an entity: “the black goat in the woods with a thousand young”. Each part of that name gives us some idea of HPL’s intentions and the influence of his widely-acknowledged racist/xenophobic views.

DISCLAIMER: I must admit, I haven’t actually read much Lovecraft. But I saw debate over Lovecraft’s racism and the name of the god ‘Shub-Niggurath’ and looked to explore the etymology of the name and whether – based on my very limited knowledge of H. P. Lovecraft – it had any connection to those racist tendencies. Don’t take this as definitive, this is just me throwing some ideas around.

Artist’s…

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