miércoles, 23 de febrero de 2011
What Wicca is Not FAQ
What Wicca is Not FAQ
I will not attempt to create a page which talks about what Wicca is, as there are a million of those pages out there (some good, some bad! See links below for some of the better ones!). Many of them include a few tidbits on what Wicca is not, but there aren't very many pages which are geared toward breaking the myths (negative or otherwise) of Wicca. How many times have we heard the nasty rumors, or had questions asked of us like "Do you worship Satan?" or "Do you sacrifice babies?"... sometimes those questions even come from people who are just starting to learn our religion, yet claim to be Wiccan!
For these reasons and more, this page was created. Bear in mind that these answers are mine alone, and are based on the teachings handed down to me in the traditions I have studied. While most traditional Wiccans have the same views as below, some minor differences may occur. Also note that this FAQ seeks to address the myths about Wiccans, and not about pagans in general.
I hope that at some point, this page will help to educate people and help to dispel rumors and misunderstandings of what Wicca is. Also I will be adding to this page as time goes by, and I hear of, or remember more myths about Wiccans, which need to be dispelled.
Before I get into what Wicca is not, here are a few links to some good pages which describe what Wicca IS:
Covenant of the Goddess: A national non-profit organization, which has a good "What is Witchcraft/Wicca" page
The Celtic Connection: A collection of links on the Craft and neo-pagan religions and practices
alt.religion.wicca FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions from the alt.religion.wicca newsgroup
University of Virginia: A website at the University of Virginia focussing on world religious movements
Religious Tolerance Webpage: religious tolerance.org's page on Wicca
US Army's Chaplain's Handbook: The section in the handbook which describes Wicca
1 General myths about the religion of Wicca and its practices
1.1 Do Wiccans raise the dead?
1.2 Do Wiccans sacrifice babies or animals?
1.3 Is Wicca a cult?
1.4 Do Wiccans fly on brooms at night?
1.5 Do Wiccans have green skin, wear pointy hats, and have warts?
1.6 Do Wiccans go out to try and convert people to their religion?
1.7 Do you have to renounce any religion, or desecrate any other religion's symbols to become Wiccan?
1.8 Can a Wiccan quote the Bible, or even touch a Bible or a crucifix?
1.9 Can Wiccans cry or fall in love?
1.10 Do Wiccans have a "witch mark" on their bodies?
1.11 Are Wiccans made of wood (or other such silly material)?
1.12 Are Wiccans only female?
1.13 Are male Wiccans called "warlocks"?
1.14 Is Wicca the only form of paganism?
1.15 Is Wicca a religion/path/discipline which stretches back for thousands of years?
2 Myths about Wicca and Satan (or the entity known as "The Devil")
2.1 Do Wiccans worship Satan?
2.2 Don't Wiccans use the sign of the Devil as their symbol?
2.3 Do Wiccans have sex with the Devil?
2.4 Do Wiccans have a hidden nipple with which they suckle the Devil?
3 Myths about Wiccan Spellcraft or Spell Casting
3.1 Do Wiccans go around cursing people?
3.2 Do Wiccans cast love spells on people?
3.3 Can Wiccans really change their hair color with a wave of their hand, like they did in the movie The Craft? Or stir their coffee magickally like in the moviePractical Magic?
3.4 Can I smite my enemies with a fireball if I become Wiccan?
3.5 Can Wiccans change themselves into animals?
3.6 Can Wiccans change other people into animals?
4 Myths about Wicca and sex, or Wiccan sexuality
4.1 Do you have to have sex to be a Wiccan?
4.2 Do Wiccans do their rituals naked?
4.3 Do Wiccans have orgies?
4.4 Do Wiccans use a naked virgin for an altar?
4.5 Are all Wiccans homosexuals?
1.1) Do Wiccans raise the dead?
Wiccans do not raise the dead. Wiccans celebrate those who we loved and those who contributed to our lives while they were in this plane of existence, and often seek communication with the spirit/energy of the person as they were known to us. But, Wiccans do not raise the dead.
1.2) Do Wiccans sacrifice babies or animals?
There is no part in any Wiccan ritual which calls for the sacrifice or the harming of any person or animal, living or dead. While many of the gods of old (including Yahweh!) demanded blood sacrifice, the gods seemed to have matured along with man, and no longer require the blood sacrifice/harming of another being, living or dead. Despite popular belief among some Christian fundamentalists, Wiccans do not practice ritual abortion, nor use the remains of a fetus for ritual.
1.3) Is Wicca a cult?
Wicca is a religion, not a cult. There is no "King/Queen of the Wicca" despite claims to the title in the past. Wicca is a religion with no papacy or ruler. It is made up of many small groups known as "covens" or "groves". Most of these are run in a traditional manner, as a matriarchal group... headed up by a high priestess with the help of a high priest. Traditionally, a coven can not be run without a high priestess, though there are occasional exceptions to the case where a high priest runs a coven. Becoming more popular is the "egalitarian coven", where all members run the coven. For more information, please see the Introduction to Isaac Bonewitz's Advanced Cult Danger Evaluation Frame.
1.4) Do Wiccans fly on brooms at night?
Wiccans don't fly on brooms at any time of the day or night. "Broom Flying", in reality, was a custom of the witch riding the broomstick through the fields like a child would ride a stick hobbyhorse (sweeping side up!). This act was a blessing on the crops, insuring their fertility.
1.5) Do Wiccans have green skin, wear pointy hats, and have warts?
Wiccans do not have green skin, unless they color it that way for a costume. Ditto for the pointy hats! And yes, I suppose sometimes witches do get warts, but no more then anyone else regardless of their religion!
1.6) Do Wiccans go out to try and convert people to their religion?
No, Wiccans do not try and convert anyone. Proselytizing by a Wiccan in any form is considered wrong by most traditional Wiccans. In fact, in traditional Wicca, there is a common law that teachers are to never approach a student... students must always ask the teacher to learn about Wicca.
1.7) Do you have to renounce any religion, or desecrate any other religion's symbols to become a Wiccan?
No. Wiccan initiations do not include renouncing of any religion, nor the desecration of any religious symbol.
1.8) Can a Wiccan quote the Bible, or even touch a Bible or a crucifix?
Sure can. Even the mistranslations, such as "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Exodus 22:18! And I still own a rosary from my Catholic days, and have no problems touching the crucifix on it!
1.9) Can Wiccans cry/fall in love?
Wiccans can fall in love and they can also cry. And they usually do both, just like anyone else, since they have the same feelings as everyone else!
1.10) Do Wiccans have a "witch mark" on their bodies?
Again, the answer is no. There is no distinguishing mark on the body of a Wiccan which states who they are. The only exception to this would be tattoos/body art which the Wiccan has voluntarily placed on his or her body.
1.11) Are Wiccans made of wood (or other such silly material)?
If we are, my doctor has not noticed yet in all my years. :-) Wiccans are not made of wood and are composed of the same materials as any other human being.
1.12) Are Wiccans only female?
While Wicca is a matriarchal religion, Wiccans can be either male or female.
1.13) Are male Wiccans called warlocks?
Yet another big myth thanks to Hollywood and cartoons. A warlock can either be a male or a female... but it is usually used in an insulting manner. "Warlock" is a word derived from Scottish Gaelic (there is also a close old German word where it may have come from as well) meaning "oathbreaker": A witch who has broken his or her oath to the gods and/or to their coven.
1.14) Is Wicca the only form of paganism?
Simply... no! All Wiccans are pagan, but not all pagans are Wiccan. Wicca is just one "branch" of paganism. For information on other pagan religions, you might want to read the book "Drawing Down the Moon" by Margot Adler.
1.15) Is Wicca a religion/path/discipline which stretches back for thousands of years?
This is a question which sometimes causes great controversy within the Wiccan community. Some would answer the question with a resounding yes... many others would not. I have my own opinions based on what I have read and heard.
While some of the information and practices which are passed down through traditional Wiccan teachings is very old (some a thousand years old, or older, as a guess) Wicca itself was created in the 1950's by Gerald B Gardner.
There is no doubt in my mind that Gardner practiced Witchcraft in England before the 50's, but the Craft he practiced then probably looked much different than what we call "Wicca" today. My belief is that Gardner borrowed from other magickal traditions such as The Golden Dawn, the OTO, the Freemasons and the Rosicrucians (all of which he was versed in and in some cases, a member of) to create a more interesting (to him) and structured discipline. So, many of the main principles are the same... but the structure is different.
2. Satan or the Devil
2.1) Do Wiccans worship Satan?
Wiccans do not worship Satan. Wiccans do not even believe the deity Satan exists. Satan represents total evil to most Christians who follow the Christian pantheon, and Wiccans do not believe in "good" or "evil"... only in neutrality. Since we do not believe in evil, there is no way to reconcile a belief in a god which represents the concept of total evil. There is also no relation between Wicca and the Church of Satan, which was created by the late Anton LeVey in the 1960s.
2.2) Don't Wiccans use the sign of the devil as their symbol?
The pentagram is not the sign of the devil. It is a magickal symbol which you can even find on some of the older Christian churches in Europe. While it is true that the Church of Satan adopted the reversed pentagram as one of its symbols, it is a mockery, just as the upside down Christian cross is a mockery. Wiccans will sometimes use the reversed pentagram to represent the second degree of witchcraft because of the self analysis (inward turn) the second degree makes.
2.3) Do Wiccans have sex with the devil?
Wiccans do not believe in a devil, so we can't have sex with him or her.
2.4) Do Wiccans have a hidden nipple with which they suckle the devil?
While it is not uncommon for any woman (and though rarer, men as well) to have a third nipple someplace on her body, Wiccans do not suckle the devil with anything. Again, the concept of a devil does not exist in traditional Wiccan theology.
3. Spellcraft/Spell Casting
3.1) Do Wiccans go around cursing people?
Wiccan ethics prevent us from casting "curses" on others for malice, or personal gain. We believe in the law of Karma (a variant is also called "The Three-Fold Law"), which states that whatever we do, for good or ill, will return to us magnified. A Wiccan knows that if they cast a curse on someone, they will also feel the sting of the curse, and will feel it even worse than their target. These are just a couple of reasons curses are typically not cast by Wiccans. Also, Wicca teaches tolerance toward perceived foes, and seeks to mend any ills between people. If amends can not be made for whatever reason, the religion still teaches loving all people and accepting them for who they are regardless of differences.
3.2) Do Wiccans cast love spells on people?
Simply put, no. First, see #3.1 about casting curses. Casting a love spell on a particular person is considered a curse, as you are changing the free will of an individual. You're going to pay the piper in the end for this. Second, the love you would be getting would be a false one... one created by the caster. Would you want to live in a lie? This too, will catch up to you. Third, as the old saying goes... "be careful what you wish for", as you may get it and it may not be what you thought it would be.
3.3) Can Wiccans really change their hair color with a wave of their hand, like they did in the movie The Craft? Or stir their coffee magically like in the movie Practical Magic?
No. Changing your hair color can not be done without the use of hair coloring products, and stirring your coffee must be done by hand with a spoon, straw, or other such implement of stirring. :-)
3.4) Can I smite my enemies with a fireball if I become a Wiccan?
Despite the silly sounding question, I *DO* get this one from time to time. The answer is plain and simple: NO. Wicca is not a role playing game. There are no such things as fireball spells, lightning bolts, or magic missiles to cast at your enemies.
3.5) Can Wiccans change themselves into animals?
In short, no. Wiccans stay human in this lifetime just like any other human.
3.6) Can Wiccans change other people into animals?
No. At least not without the use of computer graphics, or Hollywood special effects, anyway.
4. Sex and Sexual Practice
4.1) Do you have to have sex to be a Wiccan?
Absolutely not. While Wicca is a fertility (nature) religion in its basic form, having sexual intercourse with another person is not a requirement of the religion.
4.2) Do Wiccans do their rituals naked?
While this used to be the "rule", it is now the exception in most covens. You will occasionally find a coven that does all it's rituals skyclad (Naked: Clad only with the sky), and some that practice skyclad only occasionally. The majority of covens in recent days practice wearing robes, with nothing under them. This is usually done for practicality as well as modesty. Wiccans see nothing wrong with skyclad ritual, though, per se. It is done not out of lechery, but out of the belief that in Wiccan ritual, you leave behind all that is mundane, or that which could hold you within the mundane world. Wearing clothing in ritual chains you to modern society: i.e. the mundane world.
4.3) Do Wiccans have orgies?
Sexual activities are based on the individual, and not based on the religion. While the Wiccan view of sex may be more relaxed and open-minded than the average American, orgies are not a standard part of Wicca, and typically do not enter into a Wiccan ritual. Wiccans are just as likely or unlikely to have an orgy as any other group of people who are not Wiccan. On the same note, Wiccans are no more likely to have sex with you than someone who is not a Wiccan.
4.4) Do Wiccans use a naked virgin for an altar?
Wiccans typically use a piece of furniture for altars. I know of no case where a naked virgin female was/is used in a Wiccan ritual, nor called for in any Wiccan ritual, nor any reason why a Wiccan would want to use such an altar.
4.5) Are all Wiccans homosexuals?
While many bisexuals, gay men and lesbians feel comfortable in the Wiccan religion, there is no one preferred sexual status in the religion. Anyone can be Wiccan regardless of sexual lifestyle.