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"For we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not of ourselves."

 Wicca: Is It For Real?Wiccan Pentacle

Wicca is not coming to a town near you - it is already there! Witchcraft, gods, goddesses, spells, curses, astral travel, fairies, elves, dead ancestors, animal guides - are these real spiritual realities or they just imagined? One way or the other, it is a growing phenomenon and not likely to go away soon.

Some months ago I was asked to comment on Santería, the West African religion that came to the New World due to the slave trade that flourished from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The Yoruba tribe of West Africa worshiped deities called orishas. In the New World orisha worship easily melted into the Roman Catholicism that was already present in the Hispanic Caribbean Islands. The new religion – really the old Yoruba religion of Africa – became known as Santería. While reading the story of this transplanted religion, I noticed how much its world view paralleled that of Wicca as I knew it. Having, then, completed a lengthy essay on Santería (it can be viewed at www.earthenvesseljournal.com), I purchased two books on Wicca to try to understand this religion that is growing in popularity, particularly in America.1

World map of Wicca

Since there is no official document that is the source of authority speaking to the central dynamics and principles of Wicca, the following are statements to which most Wiccans seem to subscribe, yet as is often said, not by all. These statements about Wicca, except those that are clearly historical and factual, are not what I hold to be true realities. My personal commentary on Wicca will comprise the last part of this essay.

Part I  Basic facts about Wicca

Part II Generalized Statements from Proponents of Wicca

Part III The Wiccan Deities

Part IV The Wiccan Ritual

Part V Summon, Stir, Call, Invite, or Request

Part VI Basic Wiccan Principles and Ethics

Most Wiccan practice can be divided into two categories - eclectic and traditional. Eclectic - This is where Wiccans compile their practices from a variety of sources. Traditional - Wiccans here use a system of practices that have been handed down to them and have a certain level of consistency, though the lines will sometimes blur. Some of the traditions are: Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Feri, 1734, Celtic and/or Celtic Reconstructionist, Minoan, Seax Wicca, Asatru, Church of All Worlds, Covenant of the Goddess, New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn, Central Valley Wicca, Blue Star, Dianic Wicca, and Reclaiming.

Wiccan Lord and Lady Polarity The Witch's Tools

Key ethical principles of Wicca:

             Wiccans point out that for them, nature is neither good nor evil – it just is. Witches recognize that it is in our best interests to keep the earth healthy and vital. While many religions have a holy book, Wiccans' book is the earth itself and all of her creatures.

Part VII The Threefold Law

Many, but not all, Wiccans subscribe to the Threefold Law. This law teaches that whatever you put out into the world or universe will come back to you three times. And this may be good or bad.

This is based on the principle of "like attracts like." The goal, therefore, is to put out positive energy and not negative energy. It is not necessarily dealing with good or bad behavior, since that would begin to evolve into rule-setting and then performance of that which was good and avoidance of that which was bad.

When the Threefold Law and the Rede, "An it harm none, do what ye will," are taken together, you see that if you are working your true will, if you are synchronized with the universe and the divine, then the positive energy you generate ripples out and affects everything around you, and it is a beacon for other positive energy to be attracted to you. This is the place where Wiccans strive to be.12

Part VIII Summerland

Summerland Beckons

Summerland beckons - it is not heaven and it is not hell. Some witches believe it is where spirits go after death to rest and reflect in the company of the god and goddess, and to decide how they are going to reincarnate. Each soul chooses who it will be and what lesson it will learn in its new lifetime. Once it is reincarnated, it does not remember what its lesson is, but must find out by living through all the experiences of its new life. If a soul does not wish or need to reincarnate right away, it may become a spirit guide. Ultimately, each spirit, after it has learned all it needs to learn and taught what it needs to teach, is reunited with the All. In each lifetime, the spirit advances toward this ultimate goal.
Though Wiccans believe that all animals have souls, these do not go to Summerland, since the souls of animals are so pure they have no lessons to learn in this life.

Part IX What is Energy and what is meant by Visualization?

For some Wiccans, energy and deity are the same thing. Or, some call such the “life force.” For others, deity is sentient, that is having consciousness and the capacity to experience things as humans do with their senses, but energy is not. Still others think that energy emanates from deity, or that it comes from the goddess.13

Others will say that energy is power, and that of three types: personal power, divine power, and earth power.
Visualization is the creating of a picture in the mind's eye of what it is the magickian wants to happen. Once visualization occurs, energy follows thought. If you can see something in your mind, then you can affect it or make it happen.

Trance state

Part X Trance and Pathworking

A trance is a gently-altered state of mind, somewhere between being fully awake and asleep. Hypnotism is a trance state, for instance. Daydreaming is a form of light trance.

During a trance, the conscious mind does not quite depart, though it may seem so, but it is occupied elsewhere, and the subconscious has freer ability to come to the forefront.

Wiccans deny that there is any danger in being in a trance, but do assert that a person in the trance state is more vulnerable to "ambient"14 energies, because the conscious mind, which would normally trigger you to tune out unwanted energy, sounds, or other distractions, is on a little vacation when you are in trance.

Pathworking depends upon the trance state. Trance states can be reached by any number of ways. Attempts at centering, balancing, grounding, relaxing, focusing on a single object, letting the mind wander, emptying the mind of all – these are some of the mechanisms commonly used to enter into trance. Drugs can be used, and extreme experiences such as in a sweat lodge, reduction of oxygen coming into the brain, and other esoteric practices can be employed.

"Pure Magick"

Once in the trance state, the pathworking can begin. Along the path, helpful guides may be encountered who can be asked for information. Likewise, your inner self (supposedly the personification of the subconscious) may be encountered.  Or an animal or human spirit that is associated with a sacred site may be found. Also, Pathworking can be used to meet with, talk to, and get information from the dead.

The advice given to one doing pathwork is to be polite to any being encountered, be they human spirits, gods, fairies, elves, animal spirits, ghosts, folklore characters, or other entities.   

Part XI Divination

Wiccans will rely on various forms of divination to work their craft. Astrology and numerology are two chief forms of determining the future and making decisions used in Wicca.

Divination is said to help with day-to-day decisions. Besides the aforementioned practices, the pendulum, runes, and tarot cards are commonly used.

Part XII Wicca viewed from a Christian's Perspective

Is Wicca real? After all, it has to do with fairies, elves, gnomes, ghosts, and far more. Is it a game of make believe? Do Wiccans really believe in what they are doing? Do they really think they are talking to dead ancestors and even communicating with gods and goddesses? Or is it something else or something more? Is its reality different than even Wiccans themselves understand?

The world view held by Wiccans is that energy, live energy, is supposedly  everywhere and in everything and can be manipulated by spells and rituals. If Wiccans are right, is science wrong when it sees energy not as spiritual or personal, but as something that can be empirically measured and observed?

Is there something unknown or at least unrecognized behind Wicca? Could there be a demonic element? Yes, Wiccans go ballistic when accused of being in league with the devil; but, how do they know they are not?
One issue that is simply ignored is: how is it that Wiccans can be so sure of what they are believing and doing? Or, to put it another way - What is the basis of their authority? They have no sacred book, no actual central authoritative doctrine, no revelation, no vision even. What they rely on is myths, fairy tales, and ancient concepts from a wide variety of cultures. If all the deities, gods, and goddesses were to be added up, the final total would be quite large. Wiccan beliefs are indeed a patch-work quilt. To accept all that is declared to be Wiccan would suggest that perhaps the mind was far too open.

Is it make-believe? A child's game not let go of? A form of rebellion against the teachings of the Bible? A demonic deception? Likely, in my view, all of these at once.

To put things bluntly - why should anyone accept what the Wiccans proclaim as the true reality?

Spirit of Samuel Appearing to Saul at the House of the Witch of Endor, Salvatore Rosa

From a Christian's perspective, Wicca embraces what the Scripture condemns. In Torah, Deuteronomy 18:10-12 lists those "pagan" practices that were ubiquitous in the ancient world and which the people of Israel were to reject as false.
There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a wizard or a necromancer, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD.

No, Wiccans do not burn sons or daughters, or anyone else for that matter, as offerings to appease idols, but the rest of it - well, you would have to say they routinely do the rest of it.

A witch might say, "So what?" I prefer to worship and practice my religion any way I want to. And I would heartily agree. However, it might be prudent to examine what else is involved.

This is not to say that Wiccans do not really communicate with spirits, angels, gods, and goddesses. They do, in a way, but these entities/deities are not what they present themselves to be. The short and quick answer is that they are unclean or demonic spirits in disguise.

Wiccans pretend to value Christianity, but in reality they hate it and fear it. They know that if the Scripture, the Bible, is correct, then they are in very deep trouble. Not only are they worshiping false gods, but they are fully engaged with and possessed by demons whose leader is Satan himself.

There could not be more disparate world views than Wicca and Christianity or biblically faithful Judaism, for that matter.

Whatever is gained in Wicca for the Wiccans, and there is something there of course, the unsuspected loss is too much even to contemplate. This life is not child's play; it is life and death, and not merely of the physical kind.

Jesus on the Cross

Wiccans may become trapped by the very religion they practice. It promises freedom and power, but in time, it proves to give neither. Inside them will likely be voices that shout at them to ignore the crazy Christians. The reason for this is that Jesus Christ is the only One who has power and authority over the demons who masquerade themselves as gods, goddesses, spirit guides, and more. A cosmic spiritual battle is underway here, and ultimately the real and true God will prevail. It is only a matter of time.

Hands outstretched in chains

For those Wiccans who read this essay, please see it as an attempt to speak a word of hope to you. Please apply critical analysis to the religion to which you have committed yourself. Perhaps locate a sympathetic and understanding Christian to engage with you in conversation.

If anyone wishes, please contact me by email: kentphilpott@comcast.net.

Kent Philpott
Mill Valley, California

See also another article on Wicca in this Journal:

1 These books are: Wicca for Beginners by Thea Sabin, Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury, MA, 2007 and Wicca and Witchcraft by Denise Zimmermann and Katherine A. Gleason with Miria Liguana, Alpha, a member of Penguin Group, New York, New York. 

2 This particular concept - the altered state of consciousness - figures large in religions like Santeria and Wicca, along with a number of other religious or spiritual practices. Another word for the altered state of consciousness would be "trance." Trance is particularly important in Wicca.

3 In many ways Wicca is a mirror, but reverse image of Christianity. Or, it might be said that Wicca is the flip side of Christianity. The parallels are exact to the point it might be said that one is a counterfeit of the other.

4 Magic is what magicians do, on the stage, in film, on television; magick, magic with a k, is what Wiccans do.

5 Zimmermann and Gleason, Wicca and Witchcraft, page 6.

6 Unlike the Hindu version of Karma and reincarnation, Wicca employs a dumbed-down version of the two concepts, making them more acceptable to the western mindset.

7 There is the tendency of Wiccans to be less than forth coming about what they actually do and believe. Full disclosure is not common among witches, which is a mark of a cultic mentality.

8 A familiar spirit is one that masks itself as someone familiar to you--a deceased grandparent for instance. The animal familiar will appear as a dog, cat, or other animal that one is familiar with.

9 The distinction between ancient animism and Wicca's concept of the force or energy in all appears to be but a quibble.

10 Gaia, in Wicca, is a female deity that can be involved in magick and ritual. Gaia theory, the concept of an earth, indeed a universe, that regulates itself in unknown ways, is not a part of Wicca and is more accurately seen as a scientific theory.

11 Interestingly, Wiccans tend to think that Christians, who believe in a heaven, are not living in the "here and now" and take little interest in the environment. This is a "straw man" device.

12 This is a concept that seems like wisdom at first read, but upon further examination, actually might lead one to question whether anything even approaching it might be possible at all.

13 Wiccans will capitalize "Goddess" and "God" but I usually use the lower case.

14 Ambient here means energies, especially supernatural entities, that might happen to be nearby and might not be friendly, might even be nasty. Wiccans would not be prone to describing these as being evil.

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Last Update: 2016-09-01 12:11