Addressing other common myths and misconceptions
Because Wicca is so commonly misunderstood, and even more often misrepresented, I wanted to go a little further along the line of what Wicca isn’t. Most people believe even the most outlandish myths about Wicca, all the way from the serious misconception of devil worship to the ridiculous flying of the broom.
The downright wrong…
Q: Do Wiccans raise the dead?
A: Wiccans do not raise the dead. Generally we honor the dead more than other faiths, but we do not raise them from the dead. Death is part of life, and should not be altered.
Q: Do Wiccans make animal sacrafices, or human sacrafices for that matter?
A: I remember almost a year ago when there was an article in our local paper about a woman who was arrested on drug charges. When the police searched her house, they found a number of cats frozen in her freezer; she then protested that she was being persecuted for her Wiccan beliefs. I was dumbfounded, but one of my friends took the whole article seriously. When I tried to comment on how inaccurate the whole article was, she rationalized the situation away with the comment, “But she’s a witch. That’s what they do.” Wiccans do not make animal or human sacrifices. We hold life to be sacred. Further, harming others violates the Rede and incurs negative karma.
Q: Do male Wiccans refer to themselves as Warlocks?
A: The term warlock was applied to male Wiccans and witches by non practicioners. The definition of a warlock is a man who uses the black arts or practices magic, but it’s an uncomfortable term that male Wiccans don’t generally accept.
Q: Do witches look like sterotypical witches, complete with warts, green skin and straw hair?
A: Witches and Wiccans are everyday, ordinary people. They have brown, blond, red hair, are tall, short, average, beautiful, quiet, outspoken, normal. Most don’t want to drawn unnecsarily attention to themselves, but we also don’t need to dress eccentrically to gain attention to validate ourselves or our faith.
Q: Do Wiccans dance naked under the moon? Or perform their rituals naked?
A: Generally, Wiccans do not dance naked under the moon anymore. Some traditional covens may still practice their rituals skyclad, but nowadays it’s more the exception rather than the rule. Wicca honors the body and holds both the male and female to be sacred, so you can see where the practice of doing rituals skyclad came from.
Q: Do witches fly their brooms around?
A: No, witches don’t fly around on their brooms. It’s actually pretty hard to do. *Insert sarcasm* Have you ever tried? This common little myth has a grain of truth in it though. Straddling the broom and dancing around a field was part of a custom intended to bless the season’s crops. (To be detailed in a later post.)
Q: Is Wicca is very old or very young?
A: This question causes a lot of controversy within and outside of the Wiccan community, and though it does have a simplified answer, not everyone is satisfied with it. Wicca as a faith is based on ancient Pagan practices that are pre-Christian in origin. However, the faith Wicca has developed into today can be attributed in part to a man named Gerald B. Gardner. He was practicing witchcraft in England in the 1950s, though many believe that the Craft he practiced was a combination of a number of other occult faiths. So really no matter how you look at it, the “answer” is at least two fold.
Q: Is magic like in the movies, like The Craft and Practical Magic?
A: While cool, these movies function on the assumption that magic is somehow supernatural. It is not. Magic is a natural part of the fabric that makes up our world. Scott Cunningham explains it like this in A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner: “Magic… is a harmonious movement of energies to create needed change.” Magic as seen in the movies is very overt, but in reality it’s much more subtle. But it does exist.