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Myths and Misconceptions

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Forums -> Wicca -> Myths and Misconceptions

Myths and Misconceptions
By:
Post # 1
This is for the newbies.



There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about Wicca, most of which are perpetuated by people who (a) don't know any better and (b) have never taken the time to learn the truth. Let's talk about some of the most common bits of misinformation people hear about Wicca and modern Paganism.

Is Wicca some weird cult?

No, it's not, no more so than any other religion. Sure, there are some "weird" Wiccans, but there are also people in other religions who are "weird." Wicca is actually a religion, albeit a fairly new one, which is based on ancient practices. Although it was founded by a guy named Gerald Gardner back in the 1950s, it is still a legally recognized religion. Wiccans have the same religious rights as people of any other spiritual path. Some people do tend to get confused, though, because the word "occult," which means secret or mysterious, is often associated with the Wiccan religion.

Do witches worship the Devil?

No. Satan is a Christian construct, and Wiccans don't worship him. Even the Satanists don't actually worship Satan, but that's a whole 'nother conversation.

You guys have sex orgies, right?

Nope. However, most Pagans and Wiccans are pretty liberal when it comes to sexuality. We don't care who you sleep with, as long as everyone involved is a consenting adult. We don't care if you're straight, gay, transgendered, polyamorous, or anything else. Who you have sex with, and how often, and in what manner is your business. We just hope that whatever you're doing, you do responsibly. There are some Wiccan groups who practice skyclad, or nude, but that's not really sexual in nature.

How come you use that Satanic symbol with the star on it?

You mean the pentacle? That's a symbol, for many Wiccans and Pagans, of the four classical elements: earth, air, fire and water, as well as a fifth element of Spirit or Self.

Do Wiccans cast spells?

Yes. In Wicca, and many other Pagan paths, the use of magic is considered perfectly natural. It's not the same as the magic seen in Harry Potter, but for Wiccans, magic is part of the natural world. Some spells take the form of prayers to the gods, and others are based on direction of will and intent. Most Wiccans will tell you they use spellwork for a variety of things -- healing, personal empowerment, prosperity, etc. Magic is a tool that is typically used in tandem with the mundane, or non-magical, world.

What's the difference between a Wiccan and a Pagan?

Nearly all Wiccans are Pagans, but not all Pagans are Wiccans. As if that wasn't puzzling enough, there are some people who are witches, but not Wiccan or Pagan. Confused yet? You're not alone. Bascially, "Pagan" is an umbrella term for a group of different spiritual paths. For more on how this works, read What's the Difference?.

Why do people become Wiccans?

The reasons are as varied as the people. Some find themselves drawn to Wicca because of a dissatisfaction with other religions. Others study a variety of religions and then realize that Wicca is the most compatible with what they already believe. A few people who are practicing Wiccans and Pagans today were raised in Pagan families. Regardless, nearly every Wiccan will tell you that they came to Wicca because they knew it was the right path for them.

How do you recruit new Wiccans into your religion?

We don't. Although we'll happily share information with you and answer your questions, we're not interesting in collecting new recruits. Here's why: Do Wiccans Recruit?

Aren't you worried that you're going to go to hell?

Well, no. Much like Satan, the concept of Hell is a Christian one. It's not really even on our radar. However, there are a few people -- typically those who have come to Wicca from a Christian background -- who do worry about this very issue. For the rest of us, we know that the future of our soul does not depend on salvation or acceptance of deity as a savior. Instead, we focus on doing good things, because we know that what we do in this lifetime will echo upon us in the next.

Do you believe in God?

Wiccans and Pagans are typically polytheistic, which means we believe in more than one deity. If you look at "god" as a job title rather than a proper name, we believe in a variety of gods and goddesses, rather than One Single God. Most Pagans and Wiccans acknowledge the existence of thousands of deities, but generally worship or honor only the gods of their own tradition.

So what do Wiccans do and believe, then?

Excellent question, and not a simple one with just a single answer. To learn about what Wiccans do and believe, read Basic Principles and Concepts of Wicca and Ten Things To Know About Wicca.
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Re: Myths and Misconceptions
By:
Post # 2
Wiccans want to convert you

One misconception that some non-Pagans have is that roving groups of Wiccans are out to convert others. Evidently, contemporary Pagans gain some sort of Karmic Bonus Points for every new member they sign up, and travel around stealthily trying to recruit unsuspecting souls into joining the Wiccan Club. Nothing could be further from the truth, although I've often wondered what I'd do with those Bonus Points if I had them -- maybe redeem them for fun prizes, like Greenbax Stamps at Piggly Wiggly.

At any rate, cut and paste the following into your memory right now:

WICCANS ARE NOT OUT TO CONVERT YOU

We're also not out to convert your child, your mom, or your best friend. And here's why.

It's because although we don't mind sharing our beliefs with you, or answering questions if you have them, we also believe everyone needs to choose their spiritual path for themselves. I can tell you how empowering Wicca has been for me, or how it's helped me get through some really dark times, or even how I've used the knowledge I've gained to become a successful and happy person. But I'm not you, and you're not me, which means what works for me might be completely different for you.

Spirituality is an individual need. What Bob needs in a religion is not necessarily what Jim needs in a religion. Bob may feel called to a structured doctrine, with laws laid out very specifically for him, and clear guidelines as to what the deities want from him. Jim, on the other hand, may find that a more free-spirited approach works best for him, where he has just one or two basic rules that he can interpret in the way that works best for him. These are two very different sets of needs, and may be met by two very different spiritual paths. Wiccans understand that what's right for one person may not be right for the next, and they respect that difference.

Finally, understand that Wicca is a mystery religion. This means that while there's an awful lot of publicly available information, there's a whole lot more that you don't learn until you actually become Wiccan. We don't go around blabbing to strangers about what we've learned, because gaining that knowledge takes a lot of dedication, study, effort and hard work. Wiccans have no interest in signing up a whole bunch of new recruits because traveling the Wiccan path is something that shouldn't be taken lightly.

Wiccans are also not out to convert your child or teenager. That's because we believe religious upbringing is the job of the parents. It's YOUR duty to educate your child in spiritual matters, not ours. If a teen wishes to learn about Wicca, and asks questions, we'll happily answer -- but we'll never accept a minor into a Pagan or Wiccan group without parental permission. Even then, it's kind of iffy. We'll also never offer private study lessons to someone who is underage.

It's often said that the seeker must come willingly, on their own, or their search isn't really valid. That's the case here -- people who choose for themselves to learn about Wicca will be met with open arms. On the other hand those who are happy otherwise are free to remain as they are.

We don't have a recruitment club, we don't get Frequent Flier Miles, or free toaster ovens for every new member we rope in. We want to practice the spirituality that works best for us, and we respect that need in others. We believe that it's healthy to have religious diversity, and we know that people who are meant to follow a Wiccan or Pagan path will eventually find their way to one when the time is right for them.
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Re: Myths and Misconceptions
By:
Post # 3
What's the difference-

Question: What?s the difference between Paganism, Wicca and Witchcraft?
I met a woman who is a witch, but she says she's not Wiccan. Then there's some guy I know who says all Pagans are Wiccans. Even more confusing, this site says Wicca AND Paganism, like it's two different things. What's going on?

Answer:
Wicca is a tradition of Witchcraft that was brought to the public by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s. There is a great deal of debate among the Pagan community about whether or not Wicca is truly the same form of Witchcraft that the ancients practiced. Regardless, many people use the terms Wicca and Witchcraft interchangeably. Paganism is an umbrella term used to apply to a number of different earth-based faiths. Wicca falls under that heading, although not all Pagans are Wiccan.

The term ?pagan? (derived from the Latin paganus, which translates roughly to ?hick from the sticks?) was originally used to describe people who lived in rural areas. As time progressed and Christianity spread, those same country folk were often the last holdouts clinging to their old religions. Thus, ?pagan? came to mean people who didn?t worship the god of Abraham.

So, in a nutshell, here's what's going on. All Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccans. All Wiccans are Pagans, but not all Pagans are Wiccans. Finally, some witches are Pagans, but some are not.

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/faq/f/DifferencePPW.htm

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/wiccaandpaganismbasics/a/MythsMisconcept.htm

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/wiccaandpaganismbasics/a/WiccaRecruiting.htm
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Re: Myths and Misconceptions
By:
Post # 4
Excellent post SilverVixen, hopefully people will take the time to read and digest what they've read :)

I dont really like giving myself a label i'm one of those ones thats not Wiccan or really pagan..think I'm more of Pagan spiritualist Lol well that's the only name I can think of that describes me :)

Love and Light
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Re: Myths and Misconceptions
By:
Post # 5
Awesome post.

I love the questions & answers. It was extremely enlightening.

Blessed Be,

Dessi
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Re: Myths and Misconceptions
By:
Post # 6
thank you! finally someone actually posted what the word pagan means along with the etymology, I have tried to talk to people in threads and chat about this and ALWAYS get completely ignored! good post.
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Re: Myths and Misconceptions
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 7
I really liked the post, I had never heard about the karmic points you mentioned, never, and I have heard and read allot. It is good read correct information that guides the new practitioners, Goddess knows how many of them do not like to listen to our words and prefer to hear the other new practitioner.
Three thumbs up!
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Re: Myths and Misconceptions
By:
Post # 8
A marvelous post SilverVixen, this is very helpful to me as well as countless others. You are gifted with great wisdom.
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Re: Myths and Misconceptions
By:
Post # 9
it's amazing what google can find ^_^ lol
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Re: Myths and Misconceptions
By:
Post # 10
Great post clearing up misconceptions! Not to mention it covers the most common myths beyond the "Wiccan's don't eat babies" one.
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