Youth or Truth – Will History Repeat Itself in Wiccan Witchcraft?
Several observations I have made about the religion of Wicca-witchcraft-paganism-neo-paganism or what-you-will have caused me deep distress and I fear for the viability of a path I wish to continue walking upon. Questions have come to me in reading works of the elders that I cannot put aside and I believe must be answered now or in the furtherance of the future.
The first is that Wiccan witchcraft has no mechanism for theocracy. In the tenets of a faith-that-is-many faiths in a faith among all faiths, there is crime and no punishment.
In the few common words of our faith “an it harm none, do what thou wilt, ” there is “harm” which is the acknowledgement of one of the two truths of the human condition — analogous to the building of a prison (along with the building of a cemetery) — yet there is nothing written which says what societal punishment harm shall yield.
Phrases such as “separation of church and state” and “the laws of God are higher than the laws of man” come into my recollection and I wonder why we have no punishments save banishment. Surely theft is a crime we acknowledge as a people, why then is it not mentioned by name? It does fit under the category of harm, and as such is a violation of out tenet “an it harm none”, but nowhere is it written so plainly as “thou shalt not steal” as it is written in the cannons of Christian, Jewish, Islamic and many other religions.
Is it sufficient to say, “harm none” and let it be the whole of the law? Aren’t we simply passing the buck, so to speak, to the state? And if that is so, what state: A state that demands remunerations and fines or a state that demands the hand of the perpetrator?
This and other questions occurred to me when I heard a certain Republican congressman talking about the fact that new and small businesses do not need to concern themselves with retirement benefits. I am concerned that the youth of our faith (or youth of our “organized faith” for those who believe their faith to be pre-historic) may blind us to reality.
Near the subject of crime and punishment, there is also the subject of heresy. To any monotheist’s query, we would flatly reply that we have no heresy, that all paths are equal, valid (for lack of a better term) and right.
Yet, when Christianity was less than a century old, it had no heresy either. Then Titus sacked the second temple of Jerusalem, the cult of Mary (J.C.’s mother) lost power in the city and the cult of Paul grew and flourished. Judeo-Islamism too, had no heresy before the schism between Isaac and Ishmael. I do not know the specifics, but Islam had no heresy before there was a falling out between the descendants of Muhammad. Monothiest-versus-polythiest aside, I believe the same “heretical” schism may befall witchcraft.
Already we have seen something like heresy when Alex Sanders began his own coven using the rituals of Gerald Gardner. Is it the inevitable fate of faith to split and if so, how long will it be before the followers of, for example, Gardner, call the followers of Silver Ravenwolf or Christopher Penzak heretics?
Yes, we believe that all Gods are one God and all Goddesses are one Goddess, but is the strength of our faith in the universality of our pan-fraternal/sororal kinship strong enough to supercede a dissention of faith? I wonder.
Again, I ask these questions because I have asked them of myself and I cannot find answers that do not assuage my fears. It is my hope that these questions are answered before circumstances demand that we answer them hastily.
All faiths, in some manner or another, must answer to one another: That is, what do “we” think of “them”? That question has taken many forms and has been the subject of many debates; such as “are all paths valid”. In the same way that English recognition of the United States in 1783 gave credence to the existence of a new country, one faith’s acknowledgement of another gives tacit approval of that faith.
An example of that is that Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus all consider the others to be “people of the book”; this suggests collusion if not camaraderie between them (despite infighting also between them). What do we say of the follower’s of Heaven’s Gate or the Moonies? We call them cults (in the derisive sense). But what does that say about our tenet “all paths are valid”?
I have been wondering on this subject and believe that no one law can encompass the outlook of our faith on other faiths. Certain paths of Christianity and Islam call us evil agents of the devil. Still others say because their path is right, our must be wrong. Albeit, a certain “sticks and stones” maxim comes to my mind, words other people use to describe us become valid as we all inhabit the same planet.
I thought for a time that the law “all paths are valid that do not contradict the law that all paths are valid, ” but this seems unusable to me. Must we then interview (as it were) each faith and draw our battle-lines in ink? Would we not then be the same as all other faiths?
Even though our faith does not require that others believe as we do in order for it to be valid to us, our inalienable rights as citizens of the world should require us stand up and declare that we are valid and here are our reasons.
The question that faces me is: Whether our faith of non-denominationalism and non-judgementalism allows us to even declare, as a faith, what is right and wrong?
The final question I posit is this: Can we not answer these questions because we are right (and potentially original in the history of religion) or because we are young and cannot look beyond the next ten generations? Civilization and state collapse: are we transplantable or are we flash-in-the-pan?
We know we are a different faith, but are we different because we are unlike any other faith in our acceptance of other paths or are we simply children who cannot accept the positions held by millennia-old religions?
Note: Inasmuch as I write this to flesh out my own thoughts, I write this to invite others to correct me if I have erred.