What’s wrong with Wicca? That’s what I’ve been asking for nearly four years now. I have yet to get an acceptable or plausible answer to my question. I arrived at this endpoint of being a practitioner of The Craft not through hasty decisions or following the novelty of a thing; I did much research and asked a lot of questions before I embarked on the road of the Old Ways. This was not something that I did or do take lightly. The step to Wicca was a very sacred thing for me.
I grew up in a Christian home the youngest of three girls with a single mother. It was required of us to attend church with my mother until we were 18-years old or we moved out on our own. Over the years I never questioned my mother’s religious or spiritual leadership nor did I ever question what church we would attend. I guess it could be said that I was following my mother along her spiritual journey without even a thought as to tending to my own. Throughout my life I’ve been a member of several different denominations; the Disciples of Christ, Baptist, African Methodist Episcopalian and, finally and most recently, I was baptized as a convert to the Catholic Church.
I’d studied religion quite a bit but I never really committed to one or the other fully. Of course with my upbringing Christianity was pretty much inherent in me even along my search for the perfect fit. I think that for too long I was caught up in the religiosity of religion more so than the looking for the satisfaction in my spirit and the relationship with the God I was searching for.
When my mother passed away prematurely I became very angry with God as I identified God at that time. I searched the Bible, televangelists, gospel songs, Eastern philosophy and anyone or anything else I could get my hands on for answers to why my mother would be ‘taken’ from me at such a crucial part of my life. At this time I was gravitating towards Eastern philosophy because it seemed to hold the most answers for me but, after a while, even that wasn’t working. I truly felt like a lost soul.
For many years after my mother’s death I claimed no allegiance to any sort of religion or philosophy or spiritual path. I gathered a hodgepodge of practices and did the best I could with my spiritual yearnings. Through my studies I had heard about Wicca but I had never given it much thought. Like many other people I equated it with little more than witches, magic and spells. I did know that it was a sort of nature religion but as for the other things; I couldn’t have been further from the truth.
I had a co-worker who I knew was a practicing Wiccan. I never thought to ask him about his beliefs until one day when we were having a casual conversation about religion/spirituality when I got the nerve to start asking questions. I was still a bit hesitant but I was curious. I started doing research and reading anything I could find about The Old Ways. The more I read and discovered the more increased my affinity to this path of spirituality.
To go back a bit, for a large portion of my life there was some sort of draw to the Catholic Church for me. I was drawn to the ritual; the way Holy Communion was shared, the act of confession, the reverence for the Saints and even the Rosary. I liked the observation of the different times of the Catholic calendar and the attention to the various Christian holidays. It wasn’t until I started researching and learning about Wicca that I found how closely the two resembled one another. When I got even deeper into my exploration of Wicca I learned why these two things looked so similar and why I was feeling Wicca in my spirit.
When The Church was organized there was a very large pagan population. These people were primarily agrarian and they lived their lives observing ancient practices and rituals that had been handed down to them from generation to generation. Being agrarian it was important for them to be in tune to the seasons, the phases of the sun and the moon and, more importantly, to the land. The ways handed down to them were a guide for their way of life. Not only were they a guide but they were also a systematic observance of the divinity in all things nature and man’s place in the world. The goal of this belief system is to live in harmony with the world around us.
The Church, in an effort to convert these people, revamped many of their holidays and festivals, known as Sabbats and Esbats, so as to draw them in while letting them still have a semblance of what they were used to. This is the reason there is so much similarity between the two.
One of the most widely observed holidays, Christmas, comes from the pagan Sabbat Yule or the winter solstice which takes place approximately December 20-23. This holiday celebrated Mother Earth giving birth to the Sun. It was a time to give gifts and lighting a Yule log and decorating with holly and mistletoe. All of these practices were adopted by the Catholic Church.
Another major holiday, Easter, coincides to the Pagan Sabbat, Ostara, which is a festival of fertility, new birth and a time to celebrate the earth coming alive again. It is also a time of new beginnings and a time to plant. This was a colorful and happy time of celebration.
Lughnassadh is yet another festival incorporated into The Church. This holiday is celebrated in August and is a time of baking cakes and harvesting wheat. It is also a time of feasting and a time to begin storing for the winter when the earth sleeps until Spring. Though originally celebrated in August this time was ultimately moved to November and became what we now know as Thanksgiving.
Halloween is also a holiday that has its roots in the Old Ways. Halloween comes from the pagan Sabbat of Samhain. During this time animals were killed to have food stored up for winter. It was a time of sacrifice and, according to pagan ways, a time to observe the death of God who would be reborn during Yule. It is at this time that the veil between the planes of the living and the dead is the thinnest and this is a good time to make contact with deceased loved ones.
Over the centuries The Church incorporated more and more of the pagan ways as a means to convert the people of the land until it was, eventually, unlawful to practice the Old Ways. It was, quite simply, because of this that these practices went underground due to fear of prosecution or even death.
When it was introduced back into society after being underground for centuries there were many misconceptions about the truth of Wicca, it is for this reason that clarification is necessary. Following Wicca does not mean bashing of other spiritual practices or religions. Quite the contrary, Wicca is about kindness towards all people and recognition that we are all a part of the divine in the world. Wicca is about reverence for nature and all of God’s creatures and elements. Wicca is about recognizing God in all things and in all people. Now, yes, some of us do practice spells however these are not directed to interfere with anyone’s free will or to cause any type of harm.
Wicca is not about worshiping Satan; it is not about animal or human sacrifices and it is definitely not a cult. Practiced in its true, original form it is about love and harmony for all and in all.
My spirit was never as content in my past as it is now. Wicca has taught me so much about love and tolerance and harmony with the world. Every day I grow closer and closer to the earth and all the creatures in it. I have a tolerance for other people and other religions and spiritual paths like never before and I have no need to be better than this person or that person or to try and put my beliefs above someone else’s. I am learning to be a better human being, a better sister and a better member of society.
So I ask again; what’s wrong with Wicca?