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Author Topic: Getting Discouraged about Wicca (with questions)  (Read 14385 times)
SeaShine
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« Reply #15: June 17, 2011, 09:37:27 am »

I'm not Wiccan, but you sound to me like you're most interested in being a devotee of some sort, and having a close relationship with a divine being. If you want a relationship like that, then in my experience it isn't something you can find by researching until a story or description clicks. Instead, I would recommend paying attention to what's going on around you, look for signs and omens, pay attention to your dreams, and meditate - research comes later, to figure out who is contacting you. You might have more than one deity express interest, you might get chirping crickets, or you might find that some express interest and give you a really intense few days before you never hear from them again. That's all normal, and none of it is a judgment on you.

And above all, relax. The path opens on its own time, even if it's not always the route you expected to take.

I agree with the above.

Religion is a tool by which we understand the world, ourselves, and deity -- but not the only means.   Wicca might help you connect with deity, it might not.  For all you know, a god could come into your life and yank you towards a different Pagan path.  That's what happened to me.  I started out as Wiccan and now I'm Hellenic Pagan.  That's what works best for me and my gods.  And not just because my gods are Greek - the Hellenic worldview is a better fit for me also.  
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« Reply #16: June 17, 2011, 11:53:22 am »

there are a lot of self-identified Wiccans out there who really couldn't care less about Gerald Gardner or what he taught, which is a bizarre stance for the adherent of a religion toward their religion's founder, to say the least.

I agree with what was said and apologize for the pancake analogy I was just really hungry and there is a place up the street that makes some of the best pancakes.

I believe in not raining on anyones parade, not judging them or telling them they are wrong because you just don't know. Forums such as this play an important part in shaping our beliefs and helping us discover who we are and what we feel is right. I really appreciate people like Gardner who opened up a better path for myself and helped, as with many others, guide me on my own path.  I don't see the Gods as real living people so much but as the energy of the universe and symbols that help me focus that energy.  I believe in the duality as a part of nature and an important part.  In my backyard I have a pond and on the left is a willow tree and on the right an oak tree.  I built a stone firepit in front of the pond and this is for all purposes my altar.  I have a bench under one tree and a swing under the other and I sit here everyday and communicate with the gods.  That is what works for me.

I suppose to get back on track to the original purpose of this topic, don't get discouraged because the solution will come to you.  Never be in a hurry for it just let it evolve.
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NyteShaed
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« Reply #17: June 17, 2011, 11:54:49 am »

Er, except that Wicca is not a general term.

Wicca is general in the same way that Catholic is general.  There are branches of Catholicism and there are branches of Wicca, but Wicca is more specific than Pagan and it does include certain core beliefs, including initiation.  Someone who hasn't been initiated is no more Wiccan than someone who doesn't feel the Pope is Christ's Vicar on Earth is catholic.
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« Reply #18: June 17, 2011, 12:34:31 pm »

Wicca is general in the same way that Catholic is general.  There are branches of Catholicism and there are branches of Wicca, but Wicca is more specific than Pagan and it does include certain core beliefs, including initiation.  Someone who hasn't been initiated is no more Wiccan than someone who doesn't feel the Pope is Christ's Vicar on Earth is catholic.

Lol, so true about the catholic statement.  I know way to many catholics that don't believe in God or the pope which is very strange to me, I guess they just can't break the pattern they have been in their whole life. 

I know it is a dead horse comment but who sets the initiation and what is accepted Gardner, Buckland or any number of other branches?  If someone was initiated by Y--- Frost does that count?  Or a solitary initiation?  As I believe I stated there may be a group starting now using nothing but a collection of "Wicca" Books that in 50 years may be the standard, "only true" version of Wicca.  I want our peaceful religion to be above the constrictions and limitations of other established religions.

I have to say at an earlier age I was all for things being only a true this and true that, but as age does to many I am more open and accepting of anyone.  I am ok with a person sitting on the couch on a full moon and dedicating themselves to the gods.  I guess I have come to see the value in writers like Cunningham and feel that I would rather have new wiccans than hateful *christians (*...insert any religious belief). 

Because of these things I would take the statement out one step and compare the term wicca to the term Christianity instead of just Catholics.

Ok I am realizing that I am hijacking the idea of the original post again and that poor dead horse is nothing but bones now, I apologize I just enjoy these topics. 
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« Reply #19: June 17, 2011, 01:11:38 pm »

I know it is a dead horse comment but who sets the initiation and what is accepted Gardner, Buckland or any number of other branches?  If someone was initiated by Y--- Frost does that count?  Or a solitary initiation?  As I believe I stated there may be a group starting now using nothing but a collection of "Wicca" Books that in 50 years may be the standard, "only true" version of Wicca.  I want our peaceful religion to be above the constrictions and limitations of other established religions.

Here's the thing: initiation in initiatory religious witchcraft trads is about several things at once. I have an essay that lays it out in more detail over at http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/what-is-initiation/ but basically, initiation in initiatory religious witchcraft traditions generally does the following:

1) Connects a person (the initiate) to an existing community.

2) Provides a set of rituals, practices, and techniques that recognise, honor, and serve specific Gods, cycles, and goals.

3) Provides some experiences that challenge and test the initiate in a way that encourages particular kinds of growth.

4) Often includes some introductions to Gods or other entities that are somewhere between tricky and impossible to do in the same way entirely on your own.

(Because "Hi, entity, this is my good friend, X, who's been looking forward to meeting you. Don't worry, my friend's been taught what you like and don't like, you don't have to break him/her in." is a different interaction than the cold-call of "Hey, entity? You out there?" that someone does on their own. Even when it's connecting to the same entity, which isn't always reliable, the initial interaction changes the way the relationship builds.)

So, who gets to decide this? The people doing the initiation ritual get to decide who they're comfortable making that connection to, with some additional implications for the larger community of a tradition.

(I'm an autonomous 3rd degree priestess in my tradition - which I identify as initiatory religious witchcraft, rather than Wicca for a variety of reasons. If I decide to initiate someone, that's my call - but the rest of the tradition is going to have to deal with the fact that this person is connected to the tradition's energies and resources in particular ways, so if I make stupid decisions, that's going to affect me within the tradition, as well.)

The Gods, of course, also have a say - and this is one reason sometimes people talk about an initiation 'not taking' (in other words: did the ritual, but it didn't have the expected effect on connecting the person. This is not always the result of the Gods, but can be other things, too.)

Quote
I am ok with a person sitting on the couch on a full moon and dedicating themselves to the gods.  I guess I have come to see the value in writers like Cunningham and feel that I would rather have new wiccans than hateful *christians (*...insert any religious belief). 

Here's the thing: I think it's fine for people to sit on the couch on the full moon, and dedicate to the Gods. But I don't think they're doing the same thing as someone who goes through a training process to learn a specific tradition, is initiated by others in a way that challenges them to grow and learn stuff that might be (very) hard for them, and who commits to an ongoing cycle of rituals and other activities.

It's not that one's better than the other - a very low-key, personal practice might be the perfect thing for someone, or at a particular stage in their life. But it's sort of like saying "People who only ever eat microwave dinners (and who don't ever stretch beyond that) are exactly the same as trained chefs". Or that someone who walks for pleasure is the same thing as a marathoner. And that's something that can lead to problems.

More often than not, what happens is people get frustrated. People who are *looking* for challenging material that's going to stretch them in new ways, sometimes get turned off from Wicca because all they see is the "you can do anything you like" stuff that isn't what they want. Likewise, people who get into "I can do anything I like and call it Wicca" mode may get frustrated by not being able to find things that actually support them. (Or, they may try stuff that gets them into trouble, if a source has been written with assumptions about background they don't have. Though, thankfully, that's less common these days.)

If we use more words to describe this - initiatory practice version non-initiatory practice, group work versus solitary, traditional (to describe groups/communities with consistent practices over an extended period of time), etc. and so on, then it gets easier for everyone to find what they're looking for. If we lump it in all under Wicca, it doesn't. http://gleewood.org/seeking/basics/range-of-uses/ has my breakdown of some different uses, if it's helpful.

Personally, I think that more people shifting into "religious witchcraft" or even "Wiccan-based religious witchcraft" would help this out. (And that's part of why I describe what I do the way I do: my tradition has moved in a couple of directions that shift away from core mysteries and focus of traditional Wicca, so a new name helps people out who want to find that - or at least, it lets them know they should think about asking some different kinds of questions.)
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NyteShaed
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« Reply #20: June 17, 2011, 02:23:00 pm »

Lol, so true about the catholic statement.  I know way to many catholics that don't believe in God or the pope which is very strange to me, I guess they just can't break the pattern they have been in their whole life. 

I know it is a dead horse comment but who sets the initiation and what is accepted Gardner, Buckland or any number of other branches?  If someone was initiated by Y--- Frost does that count?  Or a solitary initiation?  As I believe I stated there may be a group starting now using nothing but a collection of "Wicca" Books that in 50 years may be the standard, "only true" version of Wicca.  I want our peaceful religion to be above the constrictions and limitations of other established religions.

I have to say at an earlier age I was all for things being only a true this and true that, but as age does to many I am more open and accepting of anyone.  I am ok with a person sitting on the couch on a full moon and dedicating themselves to the gods.  I guess I have come to see the value in writers like Cunningham and feel that I would rather have new wiccans than hateful *christians (*...insert any religious belief). 

Because of these things I would take the statement out one step and compare the term wicca to the term Christianity instead of just Catholics.

Ok I am realizing that I am hijacking the idea of the original post again and that poor dead horse is nothing but bones now, I apologize I just enjoy these topics. 

Wicca is a much narrower term than Christian though.  The analogous term would be Pagan.  Wiccans are a variety of Pagan, just as Catholics are a variety of Christian.

Wicca is a very young religion,  it's fractured into several traditions very quickly, but it's still very young.  It's definitely one of the more popular varieties of Paganism, but it's not an umbrella term like Christian.
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« Reply #21: June 17, 2011, 02:35:48 pm »

Wicca is a much narrower term than Christian though.  The analogous term would be Pagan.  Wiccans are a variety of Pagan, just as Catholics are a variety of Christian.

The analogous term is not pagan, because pagans include a large number of entirely unrelated religions.  Catholicism is a denomination of Christianity: a specific form of one religion.

Catholicism:Christianity::Alexandrian:Wicca
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UlsterYank
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« Reply #22: June 20, 2011, 05:16:26 pm »

Wicca is a very young religion,  it's fractured into several traditions very quickly, but it's still very young.  It's definitely one of the more popular varieties of Paganism, but it's not an umbrella term like Christian.
It's a fairly young religion, but was stemmed and influenced by the older grimoire tradition(which does have some roots in ancient pagan religion&cunning craft if looked beyond the association with Jewish&Christian mysticism) further complimented by Victorian ceremonial magick systems. 

Traditional(Gardnerian&Alexandrian) Wicca is an initiatory oathbound mystery tradition, and un-lineaged (neo, solitary, eclectic) Wicca is a personal spirituality. To me Wicca is very specific, as it's an orthopraxy that emphasises more with practice than belief(of which is initiation where the mysteries begin). Certain practices may differ in regards to tradition and coven, but the core elements remain the same. This may of course differ with that of a neo-Wiccan that identifies with outer-court practices and philosophy, but in theory one would expect these practices to resemble Trad Wicca's outercourt as closely as possible. No one of these traditions is 'better' than the other, they're just different, and Wicca was created with slight room in its praxis to adapt to circumstance.
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« Reply #23: June 27, 2011, 10:21:59 am »

1.  Are their Wiccan men? (I am a male.)

Yes

Quote
2.  Can you be Wiccan without having a connection to a certain Goddess?

Yes, I think so anyway. Perhaps you are meant to worship something more elemental, maybe start off with a both masculine/feminine 'god'.
or maybe just keep asking for signs and visions/dreams for your god/ess to come and approach you.

Quote
3.  Who do Wiccans worship.

anything and nothing!
well... technically, if I'm right, Wiccans worship a Goddess and God, or just one of those two.
Pagans are a more broad term that, If I'm right, might not nessicarily worship a godess or god, I think it's more of an Earth based religion.
I usually use it as a more friendly version of saying to others 'I'm wiccan/witch'
oh, now witches on the other hand, may or may not worship the gods, but they do spells and magickal practices more than anything else.
I'm thinking Wiccan is, to me, a mix between Pagan and Witchcraft, kinda like this... [Pagan - Wiccan - Witch/craft]

Quote
4.  Is it wrong to be jealous of my wife and want a connection like she has, knowing that maybe not all Wiccans experience what she has.

I think being jealous of her is a healthy thing, you strive to be like her, being connected to a god/ess. It makes you ambitious, wanting that connection. try not to feel bitter. Lots of people, including myself, have not really had any real connection with a god/ess.

Quote
5.  Anything else I should know about this area of Wicca?

Do lots of research; read books, go to events, meet people. Do what feels right for you, even if it sounds too crazy, it might work for you.
Have Fun! Celebrate life, Religion isn't supposed to be dull and boring!
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« Reply #24: June 27, 2011, 11:55:10 pm »

well... technically, if I'm right, Wiccans worship a Goddess and God, or just one of those two.
Pagans are a more broad term that, If I'm right, might not nessicarily worship a godess or god, I think it's more of an Earth based religion.
I usually use it as a more friendly version of saying to others 'I'm wiccan/witch'
oh, now witches on the other hand, may or may not worship the gods, but they do spells and magickal practices more than anything else.
I'm thinking Wiccan is, to me, a mix between Pagan and Witchcraft, kinda like this... [Pagan - Wiccan - Witch/craft]

Just to clarify...  Here on TC, we try to use the words "Wiccan", "witch", and "pagan" to mean specific things.  They are not interchangeable words, nor are they different points on one continuum.

"Wicca" (and its variants, like "Wiccan") refers to a specific group of religions including and descended from British Traditional Wicca.  I'm not Wiccan, so I can't speak about it in any detail, but I do think most, if not all, of the Wiccan trads worship a specific Wiccan God and Goddess, whose names are secret and oathbound.  Individual practitioners and individual covens might also worship other god/desses, in addition to the Wiccan God and Goddess.

"Witchcraft" refers to the use of magic, which can be within a religious context or completely separate.  AFAIK, most Wiccan trads incorporate magic, so most Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccans.

"Pagan" is an umbrella term that includes a huge variety of religious and spiritual paths.  The definition we use here on TC is:  "A Pagan religion is a religion that is not Jewish, Christian, or Islamic and self-identifies as Pagan."  Some pagan paths are very earth-focused, and others are not, so it is incorrect to define paganism as Earth-based or nature-based.

Wicca and other forms of witchcraft are usually considered pagan.  However, there are plenty of pagan paths that have nothing to do with Wicca or witchcraft.  F'ex, reconstructionist paths -- including Celtic Recon, Hellenic Recon, Kemetic Recon, Roman Recon, and others -- are focused on the religions of ancient cultures.  Some of those religions included forms of magic (often various methods of divination) and others did not.  And, to confuse things further, some recon practitioners choose to use magic for non-religious purposes, while others do not use magic at all.  So, most witches are pagan, but not all pagans are witches.

I hope this explanation helps.  IMO, discussions are much more productive when the participants are using the same definitions of words.   Cheesy

(Our Pagan Primer and Teens and Paganism FAQ both include a lot more info on these terms, as well as lists of some pagan paths with links to even more info.  Please note that, despite its name, the Teens and Paganism FAQ contains a lot of info relevant to people in all age groups.)
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« Reply #25: June 28, 2011, 07:38:34 pm »

Just to clarify...  Here on TC, we try to use the words "Wiccan", "witch", and "pagan" to mean specific things.  They are not interchangeable words, nor are they different points on one continuum.
...
whoops, I meant to write Wicca... Wicca is a religion, Wiccan is a person...
but yeah, I know they mean different things. since I'm a little rusty with the terms, I kind of group them all together, kind of like with Christianity...
It can get really confusing, for me, and I kinda just say, "hey, this is what I believe, this is what I like to do, and this is how I do it."
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« Reply #26: June 28, 2011, 07:56:59 pm »

whoops, I meant to write Wicca... Wicca is a religion, Wiccan is a person...
but yeah, I know they mean different things. since I'm a little rusty with the terms, I kind of group them all together, kind of like with Christianity...
It can get really confusing, for me, and I kinda just say, "hey, this is what I believe, this is what I like to do, and this is how I do it."

Anytime you're learning (or re-learning) new vocabulary and ideas, it can be confusing. I'm pretty good at explaining Paganism to interested newbies (those who have little or no experience to any modern Paganism at all), but that's because I've been studying as much as I can for the past five years. Smiley I've also got TC to thank - I've gotten tons of practice with learning how to express myself and defend my ideas.
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« Reply #27: June 29, 2011, 01:37:10 am »

It can get really confusing, for me, and I kinda just say, "hey, this is what I believe, this is what I like to do, and this is how I do it."

I understand.  That's why I took the time to clarify the meanings of those words.   Wink

~ Aster
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