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Author Topic: Questions about Deities, Rituals, and Adherence (Wiccan)  (Read 3918 times)
Icalasari
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Last Login:September 05, 2009, 05:29:48 pm
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Religion: Agnostic (No aligned religion, believes in a greater power)
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« Reply #3: August 05, 2009, 09:25:42 pm »

Out of curiousity - what book? (It's often easier to explain questions if we know what you've been looking at, since there's a *huge* variance in books about Wicca)

"The Wicca Bible," by Ann-Marie Gallagher. I was told that it is a bit of a difficult book after I got it from Chapters

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The first thing I'll say here is that the term 'Wicca' is used in a widely varying set of ways. You might find a set of essays I wrote up as a personal introduction to my religious path useful in explaining some of that. The index is here: http://jenett.dreamwidth.org/899941.html and it's part 2 that's most relevant to most of your questions in this post.

It answered a bit about the rituals, but not about the questions involving deities (unless I somehow missed that in part 2)

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Anyway, in brief, Wicca is used for everything from a initiatory mystery-focused priesthood tradition focused on very specific deities and with practices descended from a very specific location...

...(or oathbound, as the agreement to keep them private is part of a ritual oath.)

Alright. This is a little confusing, but I think I follow

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I'm not from a BTW trad, so I don't know the details precisely of how they interact in that setting, but a number of public-use forms make note of the Lord and Lady going through a cycle of the God being born at Yule, growing up, becoming a young man/lover by Beltane, the Lord and Lady becoming lovers, the Lord being a willing sacrifice for the land at the harvest, and then becoming lord of the dead until he's reborn again. The Lady's role flows along with this, from mother to lover to grieving crone.

Ah, I remember that part from the book. It confused me a bit, however. I guess it is due to me being more used to a deity never dying and having to be reborn

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In other groups (and my trad is one of these) that are further away from BTW practice, the group may work with two specific deities who have a different mythology between them, or they may work with different deities at different rituals (so, for example, the group may honor Persephone and Hades at one ritual, and Isis and Osiris at another, depending on the ritual focus.) This can, in my opinion, be done very poorly (picking names out of a hat, or doing it very last minute) or very well (by developing a relationship with the deities involved months in advance of the planned ritual, or slowly over the course of years.)

That was the most confusing part to me. When it said that they were different faces, well, I could understand that. But, when it said that one could also see them as separate, well, that confused me. After all, many deities from the religions and cultures they are borrowed from would conflict greatly, due to sharing the same roles or due to the very culture that they are from

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First, it's not so much that trad Wicca thinks there's only two deities in the universe - instead, it's focusing on those two, while recognising there are others. (And many BTW folks have relationships outside of their coven practice with other deities.)

I'll respond to this at the end of the post

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The other thing to remember is that in polytheistic settings *many* deities aren't all powerful/all knowing...

...Through this ritual (which is effectively posessary, somewhat akin to similar practices in the Afro-Carribean traditions like Voudoun or Santeria), they can speak directly to the people in the ritual, and give guidance, commentary, etc.

I understand this. I was going for simplicity's sake by grouping Wicca more with monotheistic when asking my question, as I was more curious about how the God and Goddess works. I understand that, say, Poseidon would be great for issues involving the ocean, but one would want to talk to Anubis when dealing with the passage of the dead (I am sorry if I got their roles grossly wrong somehow. I have more of a basic level of understanding when it comes to the roles of each deity in polytheistic settings)

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However, it's very much a relationship, like a relationship you might have with a parent, a friend, a boss, etc. They'll suggest things, and you have the choice to go do something totally different. However, some of your choices may mean that you'll damage the relationship with that person, or step back from it (if you go do something that offends or hurts them, for example.)

I'll respond to this at the end of the post

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The question of evil is also complex: Wiccan ethics has a big emphasis on self-responsibility and on what you do echoing back to you through the world, rather than a pure good/evil thing. In other words, if you are nasty to others, that nastiness will start showing up in your own life eventually. The good part is that you can make choices to change that.

Once again, I'll respond at the end

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It might be useful to think of a ritual like a recipe...

...(This is the equivalent of saying "Ok, so I have this pasta, and I know other people have liked adding these things to it..." and going from there.)

So spells and rituals are more like recipes in that one can go off of a set recipe, but as they get better, they can alter it to fit their style, leading to a more unique, more powerful spell/ritual in the end when applied by the person themself, thus meaning that the circle, candles, etc. may not actually be needed after one gets more skilled and can see what works and what doesn't work for them, correct? Or am I misunderstanding here?



As for the parts of the quotes I waited to respond to, I figured that they would go better together (also, it would be easier to see and pick out in this case):

So, if one sees the other deities as separate, then one could compare them more to, say, the angels of Jewish/Christian/Muslim/Mormon religions? Essentially, they each have separate levels of strength and ability, and as they go up in rank (e.g. Cupid would be lower than Zeus), they gain power, like how Arch Angels are not as strong as Angels, and do not have the same abilities, with the God and Goddess being at the top, like how YWH (I am almost certain I missed a letter there >.>) is at the top of the Judeo religions? (That always got me about them. They would all have to share the same name for God, if you think about it, since Judaism came first and the other ones were based off of it, yet they never do. It is kind of odd)

As for actions and how you treat a deity, it would be like how there are times in the Bible where people either treated an Angel well or badly, and the Angel reacted by thanking them and helping them, or scolding and punishing them, correct?

For the part about evil... So, the God and Goddess tend to remain neutral about that, then, allowing the person's actions to affect them in the end? Instead of a more, "I am all loving and powerful," figure, they take the role of, "We don't exactly care what you do, but we are warning you now that if you harm your fellow man, you are likely going to regret it"?

I'm not saying that I understand you as saying that they are apathetic, but more of that they will stand back and not have any set views on it, instead letting the universe dole out punishments and rewards



Once again, sorry if I am off with my understanding. It's just that, after being raised for so many years as a Christian, well, despite me no longer believing in said religion, it still greatly affects my understanding since it is the structure I am most familiar with
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