In initiatory Wicca, there have been some fairly heated arguments over the years about what tradition means, and what aspects of Wicca can be creatively altered to be inclusive. When I started talking about making Wicca more inclusive for LGBTQIA+ people, the response from some people was “but what about the tradition?”
In this post, I propose a new approach to questions of tradition: more of a creative dialogue, and a focus on the real purpose of a tradition (which is the approach I have tried to take all along, but some people assumed that I was throwing away all adherence to tradition).
One of the highlights of my week is the Folklore Thursday hashtag on Twitter. I’ve not had time to look at it for a few weeks though, so it seems I missed the occasion when some völkisch fascists tried to hijack it, much to the horror of the regular participants.
One of them accordingly started a second hashtag, Folklore Against Fascism, and several participants tweeted about their opposition to fascism and commitment to inclusive folklore.
On Monday, we went to the Orange Peel Morris annual Wassailing at Spirit Tree Cidery, Ontario.
Michael asked, Am I a real priest?
Short answer, if you feel a calling to be one, then you probably are one, even if you’re on the beginner slopes.
My working definition of a priest or priestess is a person who can facilitate contact between the other-than-human and the human, and/or who can create meaning, community, and a sense of connectedness for others. Note that this definition includes atheists and animists.
How to make a New Year luck bag for first footing.
If you are looking for a clear explanation of lineaged, initiatory witchcraft, this is it. If you are looking for a coven, thinking of joining a coven, or merely curious, I would recommend reading this book. Even if you are an experienced Wiccan initiate, you could benefit from the perspectives offered in this book.
If your coven is open to seekers, this book should go straight to the top of your recommended reading list, for seekers, new initiates, and even old hands. It’s clearly written, engaging, well-structured, and scholarly.
It is often assumed that the purpose of religion is to shape its adherents into nicer people. However, a quick look at the number and variety of unpleasant people in every religious tradition gives the lie to this idea. If religion doesn’t make people nicer, what is it actually for?
It is a useful magical and intellectual exercise to examine each segment of your ritual structure, and ask yourself why you do it in the particular way that you do. Why do we sweep the circle, consecrate it with water, salt, and incense, cast it with a sword, and so on? What is the function and symbolism of each of these actions? Can they be improved – either in the sense of making them more magically effective, more reflective of reality, or more inclusive?
Why cultural appropriation doesn’t work
A culture, and a religion, is a massively complex system of interlocking ideas, philosophies, symbols, and practices.
If you take one of these ideas out of context and try to shoehorn it into another tradition, it’s like taking a complex part out of a clock, and trying to put it in a completely different clock, or even a completely different machine.
Prague Astronomical Clock. Photo by Steve Collis. CC-BY-SA2.0 (wikimedia)
Or it’s like an organ transplant – the new organ may be rejected and you need to take lots of drugs to get your body to accept it.
The New Age, which has lots of different parts cobbled together, is basically Frankenstein’s monster.
Or it’s like looking at a completed jigsaw puzzle and taking one beautiful rose from the middle of the picture and trying to put it in a completely different jigsaw. No two pieces are exactly the same, and it doesn’t fit the picture in the other jigsaw anyway, and so you have to hit it with a hammer and file off the edges to get it to fit in the other jigsaw.
Thanks to Bob for the ideas of the jigsaw and the organ transplant.