A Conversation for Wicca - a Legacy of Persecution

Wicca is not ancient

Post 1

ZenMondo

Though witchcraft may be as old as humanity, Wicca is certainly a 20th Century innovation. Gerald Gardener introduced Wicca publicly with the publication of _High Magicks Aid_ in 1949. Though he certainly drew on older work it would be incorrect to label Pagans from before this time as "Wiccan".

So the persecution described in this entry was not towards Wiccans at all. Though it is appealing to claim victimhood of the "burning times" remember that Pagans totured (and burned!) Christians long before Christians ever did the same to Pagans. Just read the Book of Saints and you will see that early Christians were often martyred.

Religious intolerance is ugly no matter where it comes from.


Wicca is not ancient

Post 2

soeasilyamused, or sea

though the name "wicca" may be a 20th century invention, its principles and beliefs have always existed.

when did pagans torture and burn christians? i have never heard of this. please enlighten me.

i never said that religious intolerance was good in some contexts, thankyouverymuch. i believe we should all live together and love each other.


Wicca is not ancient

Post 3

ZenMondo

"though the name "wicca" may be a 20th century invention, its principles and beliefs have always existed."

Actually the term probably predates Gardener. though he originaly spelled it 'wica'. We will have to disagree on the origins of Wiccan principles and beliefs. There are some I will concede that are truley ancient. Others however are modern in invention.

"when did pagans torture and burn christians? i have never heard of this. please enlighten me."

There was a time that the Roman Empire had outlawed Christianity. To be outed as a Christian meant certain death. Usually in imaginitave and public ways. "Being thrown to the lions" was a common end for Christians. Another practice was to dip a Christian in pitch and use him or her as a torch to light a banquet. Then there was crucifixions and burning at the stake. These were done by the Pagan (actually Hellenist) Roman authority. Throughout the history of early Christianity there are many, many, many martyrs; Christians put to death for their beliefs.


"i never said that religious intolerance was good in some contexts, thankyouverymuch. i believe we should all live together and love each other."

I did not mean to imply that you did. I am sorry. I was just making a general statement. The point I was trying to make is that Christians do not have the monopoly on persecuting others. I do agree that we should be excellent to one another. smiley - smiley


Wicca is not ancient

Post 4

NYC Student - The innocent looking one =P

(1) Christians were put to death because they refused to respect other peoples' gods. The Romans let the Jews be, because they were rapping on the Roman dieties. After a while of sending the Christians to the lions, the Romans gave up making martyrs of them and started a don't ask, don't tell policy.

(2) There's no all-encompassing religion called "Paganism", Paganism is simply non Judeo-Christian beliefs. I'm Keetowah, I'm pagan. sea's Wiccan, she's pagan. We're not an organized force against those poor victims, those Christians.


Wicca is not ancient

Post 5

soeasilyamused, or sea

sorry for jumping to conclusions, i was attacked in another forum and i guess it makes me a bit hypersensitive...

and okay, i do remember hearing about that. but like NYC said, there is a difference between pagans and wiccans... like the difference between christians and catholics (to use my own comparison). all wiccans are pagan, but not all pagans are wiccan.


Wicca is not ancient

Post 6

NYC Student - The innocent looking one =P

...because they were NOT rapping on the Roman dieties, sorry.


Wicca is not ancient

Post 7

ZenMondo

I've actually written an entry on A Pratical Definition of Pagan

http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/A347708

that is waiting to be put in the edited guide. So I am a bit conversant on the subject. I like refering to the pre-christian Romans as 'pagan' because it illustrates that Christians were persecuted before they persecuted others.

"there is a difference between pagans and wiccans... like the difference between christians and catholics (to use my own comparison). all wiccans are pagan, but not all pagans are wiccan."

True indeed! And we can further say there were no Wiccans until after 1949...


Wicca is not ancient

Post 8

soeasilyamused, or sea

well... yes, that's true, but... i don't know. they EXISTED, they just weren't called wiccans.

but if they weren't CALLED wiccans, they weren't wiccans.

but they WERE wiccans, there just wasn't a name for it.

oh, now i've got me all confused... smiley - winkeye

but you see my point, right? i have been wiccan since i was born, but i didn't know what wicca was until i was 14. so you see, it didn't have a name, but it existed.


Wicca is not ancient

Post 9

NYC Student - The innocent looking one =P

Not that the persecution of a certain Judean sect for about 40 years is equal to the atrocies the followers of that same sect do for 2000 more. If I could turn back the sands of time, I'd BE one of those folks releasing the lions...

...but then again I might be a bit biased, being from those of copper skintone in this continent...


Wicca is not ancient

Post 10

Cooper the Pacifist Poet

Having read quite a bit on this issue, I am convinced that the worship of a single goddess on the Continent in Paleolithic times was at the very least a smallish cult.

Many of the archaeological sites offered as proof of Goddess worship have to be seen through a certain perspective in order to see the 'Wiccanity'. A depiction of woman seated is not always an enthroned goddess; a doll of a woman giving birth is not always a religious relic. In most of these sites the most common art depicts animals, yet no one claims that there was an Animal religion.

Also, there is a great amount of evidence that many of the goddess cults evolved from cults that worshipped male deities (ex: the worship of Dana). The ancient Europeans were most probably polytheists or animists; the notion of one Deity is a very foreign idea to Europe.

I have no problem with people being Wiccan. It's person's right to have his religion. But when people start changing history significantly, I must protest.

(for a general overview of this topic, see The Atlantic Monthly's recent article on Wicca)

--Cooper


Wicca is not ancient

Post 11

Cooper the Pacifist Poet

Having read quite a bit on this issue, I am convinced that the worship of a single goddess on the Continent in Paleolithic times was at the very least a smallish cult.

Many of the archaeological sites offered as proof of Goddess worship have to be seen through a certain perspective in order to see the 'Wiccanity'. A depiction of woman seated is not always an enthroned goddess; a doll of a woman giving birth is not always a religious relic. In most of these sites the most common art depicts animals, yet no one claims that there was an Animal religion.

Also, there is a great amount of evidence that many of the goddess cults evolved from cults that worshipped male deities (ex: the worship of Dana). The ancient Europeans were most probably polytheists or animists; the notion of one Deity is a very foreign idea to Europe.

I have no problem with people being Wiccan. It's person's right to have his religion. But when people start changing history significantly, I must protest.

(for a general overview of this topic, see The Atlantic Monthly's recent article on Wicca)

--Cooper


Wicca is not ancient

Post 12

soeasilyamused, or sea

the problem with history is that all we have left of it is what has been written and what scientists and historians tell us. which means it all is up for interpretation. *shrug*


Wicca is not ancient

Post 13

Cooper the Pacifist Poet

What I'm saying is... if you look at the archaeological evidence, you find nothing Goddess-oriented... unless you have the Goddess thing in your head already. And many Wiccans do quote 'experts' or 'historians' or 'archaeologists' to defend their beliefs.

--Cooper


Wicca is not ancient

Post 14

NYC Student - The innocent looking one =P

If you denounce all intelligensia as an untrustworthy source, you don't have a leg to stand on. What WILL you accept? Also, you must make distinctions between archaeologists, historians and other such experts in the matter. Bunching them up like that is blatantly wrong.


Wicca is not ancient

Post 15

Cooper the Pacifist Poet

I'm not denouncing them. sea-sXe was. I was pointing out the logical flaw in the argument.

--Cooper


Wicca is not ancient

Post 16

soeasilyamused, or sea

i think he was talking to me anyway.

allright, so even if there wasn't any evidence of goddess-worship, i've already stated that many wiccans/goddess-worshippers had to hide their beliefs to avoid persecution...


Wicca is not ancient

Post 17

NYC Student - The innocent looking one =P

She said their findings bring about debate in the matter and are up to interpretation. That is wholly different than you dismissing her beliefs by saying "And many Wiccans do quote 'experts' or 'historians' or 'archaeologists' to defend their beliefs." You come off as condescending and patronizing that way, and are trying to denounce her entire source of information, i.e. the intelligensia. She is not denouncing them, she's taking the information they come up with and finding her own meaning and rationalization with them. It's you who are wrong.


Wicca is not ancient

Post 18

soeasilyamused, or sea

actually, i should have said "witches" in the above post to acknowledge that they weren't all wiccans back then.


Wicca is not ancient

Post 19

Cooper the Pacifist Poet

I meant before the supposed Burning Times--when witches were free to worship (and it was a major religious thing) according to Wiccan lore. There are no archaeological sites from this period that scream out at me (or anyone who objectively looks at them, I think) as witch-related.

Again, as a general refernce I suggest [url removed by moderator](The Atlantic Monthly's article on the subject).

Lack of reference in the written history, I'll grant, cannot be used as proof of the religion's non-existence. But archaeological evidence can. Especially if many Wiccans use archaeological data to support their claims.

--Cooper


Wicca is not ancient

Post 20

soeasilyamused, or sea

possibly because wiccans respect nature fully- perhaps they did not paint walls or wreak destruction in the name of their goddess because of that.

wiccans don't need to create big shrines to their goddess- they view the entire planet as one big altar. hence the lack of archaeological stuff you mentioned.


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