November 26, 2005


Wicca's World: Looking Into the Pagan Phenomenon (, 11/26/05)

Witchcraft is moving into the mainstream in the Netherlands. A Dutch court has ruled that the costs of witchcraft lessons can be tax-deductible, the Associated Press reported Oct. 31. [...]

The practice of witchcraft is attracting ever-growing numbers, particularly among young women. A recent attempt to understand its appeal is the book "Wicca's Charm," published in September by Shaw Books.

Authored by journalist Catherine Edwards Sanders, the book stemmed from a magazine article she was commissioned to do. Initially dismissive of Wicca, during her subsequent research Sanders came to appreciate that a genuine spiritual hunger was leading people into neo-pagan practices.

Sanders, a self-professed Christian, defines Wicca as a "polytheistic neo-pagan nature religion inspired by various pre-Christian Western European beliefs, which has as its central deity the Mother Goddess and which includes the use of herbal magic."

The book, which is limited to examining the situation in the United States, admits it is difficult to estimate the number of Wicca adherents. Sanders cites an estimate from one group, the Covenant of the Goddess, which claims around 800,000 Wiccans and pagans in America. A sociologist, Helen Berger, in 1999 put the estimate at 150,000 to 200,000 pagans.

Wicca is made up of many diverse elements, yet Sanders identifies some common beliefs among its followers. They are: All living things are of equal value and humans have no special place, and are not made in God's image; Wiccans believe that they possess divine power within themselves and that they are gods or goddesses; their own personal power is unlimited by any deity; and consciousness can and should be altered through the practice of rite and ritual.

In other words, they reject the bases of Western Civilization and the American Republic.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 26, 2005 9:24 PM

I sort of have this image of Wiccans as like people who are into Dungeons and Dragons, except they believe it's real, and they're girls. I've noticed some converts to traditional religions like Catholicism that give off the same sort of vibe. They REALLY get off learning the rules.

Posted by: RC at November 26, 2005 10:42 PM

Bravo! Well done! Great headline!

The libertines and other atheists don't get it. They would like to play off paganism against the Judeo-Christian Father-God concept, thinking they can pick up the pieces just because they are so much smarter than believers of any stripe.

If fact, they are not wise enough to understand that both the freedom and the material prosperity they enjoy are products of the religious traditions they would like to see undermined.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 26, 2005 10:52 PM

Wicca is not a revival of an ancient faith. It is a fantasy created by new agers. They don't need to be burned. Dope slapped, yes. Burned, no.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 26, 2005 11:17 PM

All living things are of equal value and humans have no special place...

And yet:

Wiccans believe that they possess divine power within themselves and that they are gods or goddesses; their own personal power is unlimited by any deity...

Apparently logical thinking isn't part of Wiccan philosophy.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 27, 2005 12:04 AM

Sorry, but you will never get me to believe that people need to be murdered for their relgious beliefs. You've said that the First Amendment only protects the Abraham-descended religions, but until you present some evidence for this I'm not buying it. Also, when you actually start practicing what you preach by going out and executing Wiccans like some kind of Christian Charles Bronson I'll start taking you more seriously on this matter. It comes down to the question I've asked you before: "Who DON'T you want to murder?" For someone who claims to be a part of the Culture of Life, the list is pretty damned short.

Posted by: Bryan at November 27, 2005 8:02 AM


Yes, they don't need to be murdered, just suppressed. Our ancestors had fewer options in that regard than we did so they were sterner. You, of course, reap the benefit of their repressions and aren't often seen marching for us to free Zac Moussaoui..

Posted by: oj at November 27, 2005 8:19 AM

I find the moral equivalence you've drawn between Moussaoui and some tubby Wiccan and her cats to be utterly spurious. Try again.
You have frequently said that Wiccans should be murdered (in the headline of this very post, as a matter of fact) so this statement, "Yes, they don't need to be murdered..." is false. Try again.

Posted by: Bryan at November 27, 2005 8:32 AM


Yes, witches are a defeated lot who we can now treat as a joke. Eventually we'll just laught at Islamicists the way we laugh at Farrakhan.

Posted by: oj at November 27, 2005 8:37 AM


If they stacked the D&D crew in the town square there'd be a brawl to see who got to light the fire.

Posted by: oj at November 27, 2005 8:39 AM

In the early 90s, I had several dozen New Age accounts in Vegas and the West coast which were Wiccan. Got to know the customers and owners quite well. At its heart, the movement is sexual and involves male domination/female submission.

Forget the female Goddess stuff. With the exception of Santa Cruz, known as a ladies town, Wicca is women who lust after the bad boys.

Posted by: David at November 27, 2005 9:42 AM

I thought they were lesbians?

Women are naturally attuned to goddess worship, they are nurturers, that is what they do. With the supression of pagan worship in Europe, many women Christians formed a cult centered around Mary. Even now Protestant and some Catholic conservatives would treat Mary worship as a heresy.

I'd like to see some of you modern day witch hunters parade around the town square with your torches and signs. You'd generate more ridicule than the Wiccans, that's for sure.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at November 27, 2005 11:18 AM


Would that be because Wicca is still so marginal or because you think it is essentially benign?

Posted by: Peter B at November 27, 2005 11:36 AM

Maybe I'm asleep at my post, but I just don't see the threat. I don't know any Wiccans, I haven't met any Wiccans. How will the threat materialize? What should we be looking for?

Maybe if the Christian churches would allow more leeway to the Mary cult, there wouldn't be as many defections.

I'm not a fan of the whole New Age movement, I'd rather deal with Christians who have an appreciation for science and empirical knowledge. The threat from the New Age movement is more from a collective dumbing down of society, and an irrational environmentalism that threatens our future economic welfare.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at November 27, 2005 12:45 PM

Even now ... some Catholic conservatives would treat Mary worship as heresy.

A link to an anti-Catholic website is hardly indicative of the thought and practices of any Catholic conservative.

Posted by: Benjamin at November 27, 2005 1:17 PM

If they were in prison, they'd be converting to Islam instead. It's just another way for the self-marginalized to show their contempt for the society that tolerates their anti-social tendencies. (Instead of, as suggested, burning them.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 27, 2005 1:26 PM


Yes, they aren';t a threat anymore or we'd treat them the way we do militias and Islamicists.

Posted by: oj at November 27, 2005 2:08 PM


As Christianity reconverges most Protestants are becoming reconciled to Marianism.

Posted by: oj at November 27, 2005 2:16 PM

How did Thomas Jefferson put it? Something like "It matters not to me whether my neighbor has one God, no gods, or many ..."

He had it right.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 27, 2005 2:32 PM


Don't be absurd. He owned blacks and repressed political dissent as President. Principle is cheap--reality quite different. For instance, the groups you seek to kill freely are fetuses and the infirm. everybody wants to kill some group or another.

Posted by: oj at November 27, 2005 3:01 PM

OJ: Wicca is not a religion. Its just silliness, like the tatoo fad. Like all fads it will go away.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 27, 2005 6:41 PM

"everybody wants to kill some group or another."

Does that explain why Canada is on the list, even if it's the very last entry? Just in case?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 27, 2005 6:44 PM

Robert D.: "Mary worship" would be heresy, and is of course a long-standing slur used by Protestants againsts Papists. "Veneration" is the term that should be used.

Posted by: b at November 27, 2005 9:22 PM


Regardless of you off point ad hominem, Jefferson had it right.

Beliefs are irrelevant, it is actions that count.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 28, 2005 11:17 PM


beliefs are irrelevant is the epitaph on every experiment you relativists have run. Of course, it too is a belief, just an evil one.

Posted by: oj at November 28, 2005 11:20 PM


It is actions that count. Your reply is self-contradicting.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 29, 2005 4:54 PM

Where is it you think actions come from? Oh yeah, they're programmed by biology....

Posted by: oj at November 29, 2005 7:16 PM

No, that's apparently where you think actions come from.

That's hardly an excuse to resort to might-is-right morality, though.

You claim God recognizes the dignity of all people, and you claim -- without a hint of irony -- the right to murder swaths of them.


Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 29, 2005 9:58 PM