Is Wicca Dead?

Author: Helio

It seems like an odd thing to me, and I’m sure to many others, that some would claim that Wicca is dead or dying. But I have heard this from at least a few members of the Craft. Strange to think of Wicca, the fastest growing of the rapidly growing Neopagan religions, as being doomed to die in the near future. I have received different opinions for ‘why Wicca is dying’ and ‘what the fate of Wicca will be’.

More than a few Wiccan elders who have expressed this sentiment to me are just simply disheartened by what they view as a lack of progress made in and for Wicca over the past few decades. These elders, I think, believed that there would be a great unity in the Craft and that Wicca and Neopaganism would make great social progress. Many of these Wiccan elders have also seen the rise and fall of covens and friendships between witches. And so if asked the fate of Wicca, they would respond that there would be no future for Wicca. Neopaganism in general will fail as a religious movement.

I have heard from other Wiccans that Wicca is dying do to a lack of central authority. And this I have heard from Witches who are not members of any tradition! I’ve found that some of those I’ve heard this from have backgrounds in Catholicism, so perhaps they are used to the idea of the papacy as a central authority. But the whole reason why many come to the Craft is I>because of the lack of central authority. The Craft teaches self-reliance. I think some of my fellow Crafters have forgotten this.

I have also heard that Wicca has become too public. ‘No one wants to stay in the broom closet anymore like a good witch should’. Oh My! I think those who hold this sentiment may still be holding on to past life feelings of persecution. But if this is an age of religious tolerance, and Judeo-Christian beliefs are no longer supposed to operate in the secular domain, then we have no reason to hide or fear being burned at the stake. Wicca needs to be open if we are to show the world that we are not dangerous.

There are also those who see the rapid rise of solitary witchcraft and the collapse of covens as evidence of Wicca’s impending doom. I have never felt that it ‘takes a Witch to make a Witch’ but certainly there are some who could use a bit more experience before they declare themselves a Witch. I know there are plenty of solitaries who don’t really know the Craft as much as they should and that they may sometimes suffer from hubris, but it is the right of every Wiccan to explore the Craft personally and without a coven. I think covens are great, but for some people a coven just doesn’t work, and I feel there are some who use the coven structure to make themselves feel more important and powerful. We all know there is no place for tyrants in a coven structure.

Now unlike the belief that Wicca will die and cease to exist, I have found those who believe Wicca is dying but that it will develop into a new religion, or religions. I somewhat share this sentiment, but I don’t think Wiccan witchcraft will just cease to be. And if Wicca is to become something else then it is not dying, it is evolving. All religious movements evolve. There are many who would point out that modern Wicca is ‘not the Wicca of sixty years ago’, and this is because of a natural evolution in the religion.

I feel that part of the reason for this whole ‘Wicca is dead’ thing seems to be that Wicca and Neopaganism have failed in the last sixty years to supersede western society’s Judeo-Christian dominance. I know that there are many screaming at me after reading that last line. ‘The point of Wicca isn’t to supersede Christianity! All faiths lead to the same source!’ But I have not yet met the Crafter who didn’t hold some level of anti-Christian sentiment. I’ve found that much of the ‘Wicca has failed’ belief comes from those Wiccans who experienced the great social and spiritual revolutions of the late sixties and seventies. At the time it must have seemed like Neopaganism would become a powerful social force by the turn of the millennium. Its failure to become so has soured the movement for some.

It may not seem like it for many, but Wicca’s ability to suddenly go from a few dozen followers to thousands (or millions) of followers in only half a century is an amazing achievement. It is a direct parallel of early Christianity’s rise from a few dozen believers in 30 C.E. to hundreds or thousands by 150 C.E. Wicca has perhaps grown twice as fast in half the time thanks to television, the Internet, and especially, modern printing and publishing. Most new religious movements do not rise out of the underground in their first hundred years.

Is Wicca dead? Has Wicca failed in some way?

No one ever said being a Witch is easy. Some of my elders may find me youthfully naïve, but in the six years that I have been in the Craft, I have found a vast, vibrant, though mostly underground, community that is ever growing and evolving to meet the needs of its followers.

I can definitely say Wicca is very far from taking its last breaths.

The Wiccan Book of Days for Jan. 29th – A Swedish Spiritualist

Wiccan Images, Pictures, Comments
A Swedish Spiritualist

January 29th, 1688, was the birthday of Swedish scientist Emanuel Swedenborg. He trod a spiritual path, experiencing mystical dreams and visions, studying the Judeo-Christian scriptures and drawing his own conclusions. He eventually became convinced that the Last Judgment had occurred in 1757, that he was the prophet of the New Church that he subsequently founded, and that becoming a more spiritual being on Earth would result in an angelic existence in heaven. Swedenborg died in 1772, but his ideas and teachings remain very much alive.

“Pray for Peace”

Pay tribute to Irene and Pax, the Greek and Roman goddesses of peace, especially if hostilities are tearing your country or the wider world apart. Place a symbol of peace (an object that evokes a rainbow, like a multicolored ribbon, or a twig from an olive tree) on your altar and address the goddesses.

“Who is the Wiccan Goddess?” Just saying those words brings on a lot of feelings. A goddess is a female version of a deity, and the Horned God being the male version

“Who is the Wiccan Goddess?” Just saying those words brings on a lot of feelings. A goddess is a female version of a deity, and the Horned God being the male version of a deity. But let us step back for a moment and define just what a deity is, or if it is, and how one should go about dealing with one if its existence pans out to be real.

What is real is what is held in the mind of the individual, but that is questionable. After all, what is real to me may be imaginary to someone else. To an atheist, even talking about the potential existence of deities is absurd. I cannot please other people. I have to please myself and do what I feel is right, and what feels right to me is being able to make decisions on my own and experience the consequences of those decisions. I want a level playing field, not to live in a world where my actions are restricted or my thoughts expressed lead to a retribution of sorts or to authoritative action being brought against my person simply because I had a thought and spoke it aloud.

We humans do not speak haphazardly under normal circumstances and given that we follow some sort of mental etiquette; therefore, an organized mental system is implied, one that allows individuals to live as freely as possible, to be afforded as many freedoms as possible within reason, to have freedom of movement of the body in most every sense of the word. Our collective interpretations of “evil, ” always return back to one experience: the fact that some other person or persons acted on the person of another without their permission, leading to a loss of control over their physical body and entailing a gross loss of respect. Without this act or event becoming part of physical reality, we do not call an event “evil.” It may be characterized in a multitude of ways but with the term “evil” seldom so.

So what does this lead me to conclude? It leads me to logically conclude that if we could eliminate the possibility of another person or persons being able to affect another person in such a way that their permission was not granted or that respect for them was lost, or they were not required to subjugate control of their physical body to others, then I could negate all undesirable experiences and erase them from this world.

But to do that would require tampering with the entire energetic system we all live in, which is not feasible or practical or even probable, but could be conceivable were it done genetically. Nonetheless, none of these options being open to me, I am then puzzled as to why this is so, why the human condition lends itself to such tragedy and why we would choose to be so vulnerable?

Does this not give the atheist or agnostic the prime motive for doubting that deities ever existed in the first place? And if on graduation into the afterlife, as we Pagans call it, Summerland, why would a personality want to advance to the status of deity, only to see its subjects demoralize one another, physically slaughter each other, downplay the integrity and rights of others, ad infinitum?

These are valid questions and strike at the heart of most logical and simple thinkers throughout all eras of history. I feel free enough to write these words in the year 2010, without fear of being burned alive, or rebuked by my elders or societal influences, because I live in the United States of America, which is a republic based on a democratic form of governance.

Given that I live in America, I also am free to practice my religion, Wicca. This Pagan religion is based on two deities: The Wiccan Goddess and the Horned God, and can conceivably contain many other gods and goddesses depending on which pantheon is ascribed to, what peculiar beliefs any one individual may feel inclined to entertain.

Wicca has given me a nature-based love of life and myself that I did not find in other faiths, whether those be Eastern based or Judeo-Christian. My love for the Earth and for Nature itself and the Sacredness of all Life, lead me into a deep study of myself and my dream life and the interior universe that illuminates my thoughts, occupies my days and fills my nights with song and revelry, or quiet nights alone reading sitting in silence, listening to the purr of electronic gadgets in my home, or the refrigerator, or watching my cat nestled on the futon deeply enmeshed in her own dream universe.

And how is the dream of my cat any more real than my own dream? How is my cat’s dream any more real than the Wiccan Goddess? Subjective realities exist and always will exist, the domain of the mind is a fertile domain that has no ground or dirt or trees. The trees that grow in the mind are of a different variety, but you can rest assured they are as real, if not more real, than the trees in your own yard.

When we leave physical reality and rejoin the whole personality that exists in the dimension inside of yourself, then we will see the reality of our efforts in life. Quite often, I have majestic and wonderful thoughts during the workday, sprites of thought that bubble up and colorfully wisp across my mind and I feel satisfied, though only until the feeling subsides and again I’m back in the ego dungeon world, of my own accord. It’s only a dungeon inasmuch as it cuts out other data and can be restricting and even destructive if allowed to dry up and separate itself too much from the other parts of your whole personality. Nothing is more dangerous than allowing yourself to be ruled by the ego portion of your personality alone, with no input or influx from other portions of your sacred whole person who exists as surely as the birds singing outside, as surely as the ocean surf, as surely as trees.

Bounty and aliveness filled my being when I did my initiation ritual and filled the psychic air of my ritual room, the space of which also doubled as a workspace and a home gym. Raising energy in your ritual room is a good idea, and exercising in it all the better. But what good is it to raise energy or accumulate it, if you don’t know the outcome of the events of your life, or you don’t know if the Wiccan Goddess is real or not, and if you don’t know what tomorrow will yield? To this end, much speculation has happened, much writing and intellectual effort been penned out, and much exasperation and depression and anxiety been wrought, all in the name of certainty and of the unknown.

The one certainty is life is the unknown, and on it you can rely as a counterpoint to your questions, a foundation to base your knowledge on, a place to go to unleash yourself. Creativity and love and wonder come from the unknown like springs of water, their roots hidden, but feeding all the tributaries and valleys and ripples that go out and expand and make up a personality.

So we are still left with the question: who is the Wiccan Goddess? Where did she come from? The latter question is basically meaningless, as she came from the same place I did, and every reader of this text did, the unknown place inside ourselves that can be known in dark times, or even in solitude or quiet moments of reflection. She is alive in every cell of your body, and reminds you of the showers of nostalgia you have every day entertained in your mind and heart, ever seeking and yearning to evolve into more than it was.

The Wiccan Goddess is not a deity who is hanging out somewhere, in a state of readiness or beyond evolving. She is what you make her, and she lives in your heart and in the oscillations of your molecules and in the corridors of your mind. Meet her there, and you can evolve together and make a new pioneering world without the constraints of constant egoism, corporate tyranny or dependence on others who may or may not have your best interests in mind.

Focus on the positive, stay centered and aim for your highest dreams, because dreams really do become your world.