Magickal Mystery Cure

By Anna Sachse

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Posted May 14, 2009 in Mind Body Spirit

My first experience with the neopagan, nature-based religion of Wicca was in high school when I was riding a Greyhound bus from my hometown, Eugene, Ore., up to Portland to visit a friend. I ended up sitting next to a young carny named Billy who regaled me with tales of life on the carnival midway and then told me that he was a Wiccan and his religion was telling him he should kiss me. I told him I was an atheist and my religion was telling me not to let him. He didn’t argue and we amicably parted ways.

 

It may seem ridiculous, but I have to give young Billy credit because I actually don’t think he was lying about the whole Wiccan thing. One of the oft-quoted tenets of the Wiccan Rede (an eight-word statement that neatly sums up the religion’s key moral system) is “An it harm none, do what ye will.” In other words, it’s okay to engage in any carefully considered action, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone, including you. So, even if some folks would deem it inappropriate, Billy can try to kiss the hot girl he just met on the bus, but he has to respect her wishes if she says no.

 

First officially recognized as a non-profit religious sect in 1975, Wicca is actually a pretty rational, peaceful, loving and humane religion, and it’s worthwhile to point out immediately that it has nothing whatsoever to do with Satanism. Yes, many Wiccans practice witchcraft or “magick,” but they are limited to non-manipulative, consensual, positive magick. According to a summary of religions by Indiana University of Pennsylvania, it is estimated that there are more than 750,000 Wiccans in the United States, making it our fifth largest religion, behind Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism. To get a better understanding of its formation and principles, check out Wicca for Beginners: Fundamentals of Philosophy & Practice, by Thea Sabin. 

 

But in the meantime, here are five reasons why I’d argue that Wicca does it better than the rest.

 

1. It doesn’t assume you’re an idiot. Instead of providing you with a long list of rights and wrongs as determined by an angry, dictatorial God and his minions, you’re forced to use your own brain to determine what is moral—An it harm none, do what ye will. So, no baby raping or, one could argue, cigarette smoking (it harms you), but it still gives you a lot of leeway to do what you want without guilt.

 

2. It provides logical motivation. According to The Threefold Law, “All good that a person does to another returns threefold in this life; harm is also returned threefold.” Basically, doing good in the world will make your own life three times better, but doing bad will come back at you like a ton of bricks.

 

3. It isn’t sexist. Wicca is generally seen as a duotheistic religion worshipping both a Horned God and a Triple Goddess who are seen as complementary polarities akin to yin and yang. Both the masculine and the feminine are necessary and therefore equal.

 

4. It isn’t homophobic. In fact, there is a generally positive attitude about all consensual human sexuality, thanks to the traditional text, The Charge of the Goddess: “For behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.”

 

5. Wicca hearts the environment. All the components of existence (including animals, plants, water, rocks, etc.) are regarded as having a spirit, therefore many Wiccan rituals deal with bringing harmony and healing to nature. And with the mess we’ve made of our planet, a little magic sure couldn’t hurt. 


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