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Home > Article Library > Editorials > Escaping "Wiccan Escapism" Search

Escaping "Wiccan Escapism"


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by Esra Free

I cannot rightly say "all," or even "most," but certainly many of the Wiccans I have known or observed over the years appear to find in Wicca a unique brand of escapism from the travails of our modern world, a safe haven from the uniquely complex moral, environmental, social and political issues that define our era. They appear to seek to turn back the clock, to retreat into a pagan agrarian culture that no longer exists, or to "resurrect" a Medieval, "thatched-cottage-on-the-edge-of-the-woods" society that is far more a product of Renaissance festivals and paperback fantasy novels than of anything to be found in real, recorded history. This nostalgic (from the Greek nostos algos, or literally, "To look homeward with longing") brand of Wicca generally embodies an abdication of responsibility for the ills of modern society, rather than the conscious creation of resolutions to those ills and a brighter future for everybody.

But I understand those nostalgic feelings, I really do. Society, at this present moment in history, is frighteningly unbalanced in favor of violence, fascism, corporate hegemony, misogyny, the Industrial rape and pillage of the Earth and its parallel attack on the human spirit in the form of rampant consumerism, etc. We are clearly headed at break-neck speed toward almost certain disaster. Faced with our present real world situation, who wouldn't "Look homeward with longing?"

There's an episode of the old 1960s Star Trek television series in which Kirk and company beam down to help evacuate a planet whose sun is about to go supernova. But when the "away team" reaches the planet's surface, they find nobody home. The residents have all vanished, having used a historical video library/time machine to escape the destruction by slipping into their own past - years, decades, even centuries prior to the explosion of their sun. Faced with similar impending disaster (in our case, looming environmental collapse, prefaced by probable economic, political and social upheavals) many people would like to follow that imaginary TV example, to escape into the past and avoid the consequences of the last thousand years or so of Western history.

Some of these folks, as described above, are drawn to Wicca - but not only to Wicca! This exact psychological phenomenon is the force behind the empowerment of Christian and Islamic Fundamentalism in America and throughout the world, as well. Knee-deep in the drek of our post-modern, post-industrial, in many ways post-Christian, and our clearly post-certainty world, the "Golden Ages" of the past look pretty good, even if they have to be spun out of the whole cloth of our imaginations to grant us relief from the pain and fear of the present moment

But, unlike the lucky extraterrestrials in that Star Trek episode, we do not possess time travel technology, or even a truly accurate record of our past to escape into. For us the arrow of time moves in one direction only - forward - and the only thing we can say about the future with absolute certainty is that it is coming into being for all of us one day at a time, and all too often with the most frightening, "nostalgically" Fundamentalist elements of our species at society's helm. No global Goddess culture of the ancient past is going to save us from the self-fulfillment of their apocalyptic vision.

But a global Goddess culture now, today - a world in which "An' It Harm None, Do What You Will" forms the ground for all human morality, ethics and law - would make (pardon the expression) one hell of a difference! A gentle global culture that revered the Divine Feminine, that taught reincarnation, karma, self-responsibility and the spiral of constant improvement in circular time (as opposed to the prevailing Middle Eastern paradigm of life as a battleground of absolute Good and Evil, sin and salvation, and Humankind's downward spiral of continual decay toward Apocalyptic destruction) would send 90% or better of the dilemmas plaguing Humanity to the dustheap of history overnight. Just like that. Wiccans would not wage religious wars, or kill over access to natural resources. Wiccans would not hijack planes and crash them into populated buildings any more than they would bomb Third World countries out of existence in retaliation for such crimes. Wiccans would neither work to homogenize the world by "Americanizing" foreign cultures, nor destroy the biosphere of the Earth we all rely on for every breath, drink and meal in the name of corporate profits.

We are the good guys, and it's high time we stood up for that fact and put our collective shoulder to the wheel of history. It's time we stopped pleading with the larger Christian culture not to label us "Satanists," and started boldly defining ourselves to the world and advancing a Wiccan agenda that goes way beyond "Please don't persecute us!"

And so we must fight. We must work. We must struggle. We must abandon the inner nostalgia that has crippled our political power, and attack the outer forces of nostalgia that threaten to shape our reality into a post-nuclear-holocaust, Judeo-Christian/Islamic Apocalypse desert. In small ways and large ways - from "coming out of the broom closet" to our friends and coworkers, to legislating for the environment, to running for President and beyond - we must heed the call to action, take back the reigns of society, and, as those in possession of higher knowledge and clear vision have always done in times of great social upheaval, we must lead our species past this present moment of global crisis. We must use our minds and hearts, our bodies and magicks to create a world worthy of our Goddess and our highest ideals - not just as Wiccans, but as human beings.

About the Author

From WICCA 404: Advanced Goddess Thealogy by Esra Free, HPS Cosmic Goddess Coven. Find out more at:

Important Notice: The content and information in this article is the sole responsibility of the article's author who retains copyright. Publication of this article by The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum is not endorsement of the statements, opinions, or claims of fact made in the article.

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