Secret societies, underground witch-cult, hidden worship of pagan deities, clandestine initiations, ritual sex, skyclad covens, dark-magick, mystery religion, OCCULT – are these what you have been hearing all this while whenever you tried researching witchcraft and even Wicca?
Is witchcraft something that is learnt only through initiation in a coven?
Is the witch-power transferred only through either blood-lineage or coven-initiation?
Is Wicca a kind of occult ceremonialism?
Do you have to go through some secret ceremony to ‘become’ a witch?
Is Wicca just another word for the witch-cult?
These were questions that I have dealt with in my books but I still see a lot of darkness and ignorance being spread by certain ‘Wiccan’ traditions (also termed ‘fundamentalist’ Wiccans) who keep promoting Wicca as a secret, mystery cult that requires certain specific lineages and initiations by those who claim to have those lineages.
In the past people had several misconceptions regarding witchcraft and Wicca. These were owing to the fact that there was no open practice of paganism, witchcraft and magick in the western world not so long ago. The western world had been quite totally Christianised and any kind of belief that was not part of the widely approved Christian teachings would be classified as witchcraft and paganism and connected falsely to satan or devil worship. The only reason this was done was to establish a superiority of Christianity over any other faith, especially older faiths. The west, just like the east, had ancient pagan faiths such as the Celtic, Norse, Greek, Roman and other beliefs, deities, magical practices and folk-magic of the old-times. However these ancient faiths were so majorly suppressed and people so heavily converted that there remained hardly any who have a direct awareness of their ancient pagan ancestry.
Then came a host of secret societies who attempted to revive the ancient mysteries. These were perhaps inspired by travels of these occultists to the magickal eastern world that was still consisting of ancient pagan faiths and had not yet succumbed to conversions. Most of the occult practitioners of the west has some or the other inspiration from the eastern mystics for magic and paganism has been in a constant flow in eastern countries unlike the broken cords of the western paganism. At the same time in trying to somehow assemble the pieces of the pagan puzzle together, western occultists dabbled in various sources… Egyptian, Greek, Mesopotamian, Arthurian, Hindu, Jewish and many more mystical ideas all intermixed with the prevalent Christian views. Their fear of being exposed while they formulated and crafted their ceremonial cults led to the creation of obscure, underground movements that spread in esoteric circles into which entry was barred to but a few, especially in the inner circles.
Witchcraft is different. Witchcraft is nothing but the crafting our our life with spiritual wisdom. It can be as simple as basic folk magic practiced all over the world and not just the west. Its existed for centuries of human history much before such secret cults were formed in the west. Witchcraft is also be the timeless practice of spiritual realisation and higher mind-power such as practiced by meditators and preached by self-help gurus of today. There have been witches and wizards, shamans and druids, babas and yogis all over the world who have had magical powers since ancient times. These magical powers were not always passed genetially through the bloodline, neither were they conveyed through any special ceremonies in covens. Initiations if any were presented to students by teachers as a transfer of blessing of the master, whether in group or individualy, but in no way was initiation the only way of ‘becoming’ a witch or magical practioner. One could gain the power on one’s own through inner work. In many cases one’s self discovery was a part of several lifetimes of inner work carried forward from past to present and future lifetimes and soul’s often remembered their previous learnings and awakened their powers with or without any formal lessons or initiations conveyed externally. This is true today as well, and will always be.
Wicca is an evolving and growing faith or religion which is spiritually open minded and based on the Wiccan Rede or guidance of harming none. It may involve witchcraft especially as Wiccan traditions have temples where trained healers help people through counseling and healing spells, rituals or therapies. Wiccan healers are highly studied in various healing modalities and therefore called witches. But not all Wiccans choose to become professional healers or witches. It is completely possible for you to accept Wicca merely as a faith by aligning with its philosophy without getting too deep into the witchcraft part of it.
Some people who are stuck in the secret-society times and cling on to their deeply ingrained versions of the history and origins of Wicca, imagine that one has to be ‘properly’ initiated in a coven to become a witch, to belong to a hereditary or initiatory lineage by a specific British person who claimed to have such a lineage from some obsure source. Their insistence that such and such lineage is the be all and end of of witchcraft, and that British witchcraft or traditional witchcraft or the ‘craft’ is how Wicca began and will therefore will have to end is being totally ignored today.
People now realise that most of the covens that practice such ‘traditional’ witchcraft are not practicing the original witchcraft of really ancient origin, but something that was put together or assembled from various sources by British occultists. These occultists were indeed inspired by Margaret Murray’s witch cult hypothesis claiming that witchcraft is a religion of the horned god and moon goddess, carried out in secrecy in the western world through covens. Occultists who claimed to be initiates of such covens attempted an amalgamation of pagan mythologies with ceremonial magic which was in vogue then, and created their book of shadows full of rituals that were a mix-and match of several things. Many of these occultists were also perhaps high on substance abuse and indulged in a few ‘demonic’ practices to come up with rather kinky rituals involving harmful kinds of magical spells, sexual orgies, whipping initiates on the bottom, spewing ritual curses against those who angered them, offering animal sacrifices, harmful use of vodou dolls and secret skyclad or naked gatherings under the full moon. In the eastern world of magic too, there have been plenty of negative practitioners who focused on the left-hand path including harmful aghora to create fear of their power, sexual tantra to control women, rituals to curse and harm others and manipulative vashikarans that are equally abhorable. Practitioners of both eastern and western occultism who induldged in harmful rituals did not have especially pleasant, peaceful or happy lives of course, and had distrubed families, physical and mental health problems and complicated relationship or sexual lives as well as financial and legal difficulties to handle all the time. They clinged on to their covens and expanded their following to satisfy their shallow egos and to add something ‘special’ to their inner void. Some even took some sort of unusual prominence and a weird kind of respect in the world in which they would otherwise not be accepted very well if not for their interest value. Now to link Wicca exclusively to those kind of western occultists and claim that the real Wicca is what these people claim to be as their version of the rebirth of the ancient religion or craft is an absolutely outdated way of thinking.
Today witchcraft is not regarded as harmful sorcery but as a magical path of wisdom which is simple and meditative, using ordinary herbs, natural stones and crystals, positive thoughts and visualisations for healing and self help.
Today most people treat Wicca as something different from witchcraft in general as a spiritual path based on ‘An Ye Harm None, Do As Ye Will’ – the Wiccan Rede that is the main guiding philosophy making it one of the most positive of all faiths.
Today Wiccan witchcraft is not a cult, and not normally consisting of secret activities practiced in closed covens, but a spirituality which is an acceptable religion for the masses to easily follow.
Today there is not usually a need to get initiated in covens through any lineages, in order to ‘become’ a Wiccan, leave alone to become a witch. Thanks to the wide spread of knowledge and open spirituality through books, internet and the numerous teachers and institutes of spirituality in the new-age wave, we have a lot of people realising their inner-witch and also choosing Wicca as a faith on their own.
Instead of secret covens of those specific lineaged traditions who claimed to be the only type of Wicca, we now have many modern traditions that are promoting a positive and open form of Wicca to the masses without trying to control or dominate the Wiccan scene by proving their ‘legitimacy’ or superiority over other traditions or ideologies.
A lot of darkness and negativity has been lifted away from the entire gamut of Wicca, witchcraft and magick.
Today these paths have much more light and love, being free of rigid notions or narrow minded secret practices, free of harmful content and gimmicks, and welcoming to one and all regardless of your faith, your lineage or the lack of it, your ancestry or ethenicity.
Today while Wiccans worship pagan deities, they also realise that all deities represent their inner powers and instead of focusing on external idolatory or entity invocations, they focus on self-awareness and inner work.
Instead of focusing on ceremonialism and ritualism based on specific chants and rote-learned motions, Wiccans in the modern world focus on energy work, meditative spellcasting, inner healing and self-transformation with the aim of being happier, more positive people.
Today Wicca is indeed transforming the world for the better through an eco-consciousness, an awakeneing of nature loving spirituality and kindness towards all on earth. Wiccans are seen openly performing earth healing rituals that are fun and relaxing, and easy to participate in. There is a lot to learn, and even children can feel safe in these modern Wiccan events and gatherings where there are enlightened and loving souls who participate joyfully without any of the obsure mumbo-jumbo to puzzle, riddle and confuse the masses.
Indeed these are good times for spiritual seekers of the new Wiccan paths, and things are only getting better each day.
I hope that you will have the discretion to choose those teachers and guides who are truly helpful in your spiritual growth and will have the wisdom to understand that all teachers are ultimately here to guide you back to your inner-self.