This rant brought to you by the letter W, and is coming from Rowan Pendragon’s blog as a jumping-off point.
Why W? Because Wicca is not for Wimps! An Amazon reviewer wrote, in her trashing of Christian Day’s excellent book “The Witches’ Book of the Dead”, the following quote which flipped my switch:
“Wicca was meant to be a safe not a scary religion.”
Apparently, the reviewer is self-identifying as Wiccan and is frightened by skulls and anything to do with death. I’m guessing she practices a non-initiatory, straight-from-Llewellyn variety of Wicca that comes complete with glittery hearts and rainbows on her Book of Light (because Shadows are too spooky). I am *NOT* bashing Llewellyn at all. They make a lot of information available to people who otherwise might not have found it.
I’m Wiccan. I had my first experience with Wicca and Paganism in 1984, back in the dark ages before the Internet was in every home, before Starbucks was on every corner, and when any books on the Craft were hard to find.
My teachers included all aspects of the gods in their teaching, because leaving anything out would have crippled me as a witch and in actuality denied nature. I think the way one of them put it that stuck with me was “You may enjoy the gentle breezes in spring more than other aspects of the wind, but you have to deal with the terrible storms as well. We have to talk about all of it or we leave you unprepared to deal with reality.”
A lot of self-identified Wiccans today were apparently taught that everything has to be gentle and kind, and for the greater good of all, or in right alignment with the universe, or some such over-optimistic unrealistic trite expression. The reason this whole topic twists my knickers to the point where I’ve been verbally exploding expletives is precisely because these poor people have no idea how to deal with an entire half of their own nature.
We are light. We are dark. It’s just part of being human. Our gods represent all of our potentialities, magnified a thousand times. Death is a part of reality, and being afraid of it (or anything that symbolizes it) is appropriate for 3 year olds, but not for adults. If someone has their head in the magic sand filled with rainbows and glittery hearts, they’re not in touch with all aspects of themselves and are just begging for the universe to smack them upside the head. Any religion or spiritual path is supposed to be helping you explore who you are and how you fit into the universe around you, embracing the wonders and mysteries of life. Some of those are joyous, some are unpleasant, and some are downright frightening. If you can’t handle that, then you have no business practicing magic or calling yourself a witch.
By ignoring “..the Mother, darksome and divine..” you ignore part of the Goddess. Do you really think it’s wise to piss off a Goddess by ignoring Her? Mythology is full of examples of “dark” aspects of the gods. I can’t even count how many stories in Greek mythology include a god transforming some poor schmuck into some monstrosity. Anyone remember Medusa, or Scylla and Charybdis, or Arachne? Arachne just got the shaft because she was so skilled at weaving. How about the poor nymph Daphne who got turned into a tree to save her from being raped by Apollo?
Wicca includes witchcraft as part of its practices, or it did when I learned it and when I teach it. If you know how to heal, you can probably hex as well. You might choose not to, and that’s fine, but you know how. I’m going to say it again – we are light, we are dark, and ignoring that one simple truth will cripple you as a witch and deny some of your power. This is not a religion for sissies or cowards, folks.