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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Witches (And Wiccans) Are Still Hunted

This struck me on a personal level, though I myself am not a Wiccan. Having at least two friends, probably more, that are self identified adherents of Wicca makes me concerned that they may be approached with this guide issued by the Catholic Church’s publishers in the U.K called Wicca and Witchcraft: Understanding the Dangers. However unlikely it seems, since by what we know, it would be propagated more in Europe than America, I think it’s important that Wiccans are aware of this and the relevant points of this issue.

The author, allegedly a former Wiccan, now converted to Catholicism, insists that 70% of Wiccans are just women searching for some kind of spirituality. This already seems to paint every Wiccan with a broad sexual brush. Not to mention this is from her own perspective as a former female Wiccan, so it already smacks of selective bias on her part. Her intent is supposedly to help parents and friends of Wiccans to evangelize them at public places, but her target is women like herself that she thinks are just starved for real spiritual experiences. I can’t speak for my Wiccan friends, they can do that well enough themselves; but to say that they are searching for spirituality in the wrong place seems a bit ironic with all the renewed interest in Catholic exorcism practices with movies like The Rite and a remake of The Exorcist. Catholicism has not been exactly friendly towards mysticism in its general sense. The only permissible forms seem to be isolated people, many who were accused of heresy, such as Meister Eckhart and Origen. For any Catholic to start pointing fingers at Wicca as the problem seems to forget that Catholic churches are, by my memory, losing adherents to Pentecostal and non denominational churches, as well as the obviously familiar but more inclusive Episcopal Church. Inner conflicts within the Christian tradition should be your prime concern for why people are leaving for Wicca and the like, not the other religions which you think you understand but may not.

There is some attempt to alter what might be seen as unseemly phrasing of the text’s mission of a modern day, less violent, equivalent of the Malleus Maleficarum; Hammer of the Wicked or more commonly translated as the Witch’s Hammer, a guide published in the 15th century by Heinrich Kramer, a Catholic inquisitor. The author suggests that since Wiccans are on what she believes to be a genuine spiritual quest, that journey should be viewed as common ground to make a Wiccan think about conversion. I don’t see how this former Wiccan gets the idea that Wicca is somehow so flexible as to make a person just flip flop between being a Christian and pagan because of persuasive anecdotes or spiritual experiences. A lot of this boils down to the individual’s disposition. If they think Jesus Christ is explicitly talking to them in some spiritual vision, that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily decide to surrender their life to him. In fact one could argue that simply having a vision of Jesus, recognizing his divinity, or seeing the value in his teachings does not make for persuading a Wiccan to exclusively worship the God that Jesus supposedly claimed to be. In fact, they could be said to just as easily use the very inclusive nature of Wicca to incorporate Jesus into the general pantheon as a wise and powerful deity, but one among many.

Part of the reason people find Wicca a genuine threat to Christianity is a concern that Wicca has been predicted multiple times to be one of the highest growing faiths in America, though this guide seems to extend that prediction to many religiously diverse areas, such as Britain to some extent. The main prognosis is something to the effect that Wicca will become the 3rd largest religion in America by 2012, but even one of my Wiccan friends seems not to care from what I discerned (which might not be much). This seems to have a connection in that there is some concern that people are growing further from the church as times get worse and worse. Though I wonder why they’d even bother if all they may end up doing is making Jesus part of a Wiccan’s pantheon and not by any logical necessity convincing them that they should become strict monotheists instead.

The book can be purchased for a bit over $3 at the second link listed, but that only shows how tiny it probably is or how little the writer was concerned for any manner of profit from the work she put into it. Though if it’s really as small as the price indicates, she could’ve done this over a week at her lunch break in her real job, assuming it’s anything relatively taxing on her time. All in all, this is more amusing than a genuine concern of mine, since people have been warning about the dangers of the occult and witchcraft, Wicca conflated and equated with the former two, for decades since the 50s at the earliest, though possibly around the earliest times when immigrants with very eclectic faiths came to America. If someone engages you, at the very least listen, but don’t take them so seriously as to be sucked into something that only seems to push more people into these faiths than pull them away. Until next week, Namaste and aloha.

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