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PostPosted: 18 Jul 2008, 22:30 
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Problems Within the Pagan Community

Author: Scott, From WitchVox

The present-day Pagan community is a diverse and rich spectrum of paths -- or at least, it is supposed to be. There are so many varieties of different paths within the Pagan umbrella, ranging from Wicca to the many Reconstructionist paths, and everything in between. However, we do have our fare share of those who warp Paganism into whatever they want it to be with no respect for tradition, and spread the misinformation that seems to plague our community.

The popularity of Wicca is undeniable, and with a trend comes people who want to profit off of it. The new age section in any bookstore is littered with these “Pagan” books, some of which are good, some of which are complete garbage. The thing about Wicca is, it is a mystery tradition – and like mystery traditions of the past, it was never meant for mainstream consumption. Unfortunately, Wicca is becoming widespread in a generic and diluted form, lacking in the mysteries that are characteristic of the tradition.

There still are many traditional covens who keep Wicca alive in it’s true form, yet there are probably still more people (many of them teenagers) who read a few books and think they can call themselves Wiccan if they believe in “the Goddess” and cast a few spells.

...

I don’t mean to say that within a coven is the only acceptable way to practice Wicca, or insult solitary worship in any way. All I truly mean to say that it is less likely to fall upon misinformation if a person is trained by experienced individuals who know what they are doing, rather than being self-taught by reading books by dubious authors.

Perhaps another problem that arises within the Pagan community is the use of labels, and uncertainty about which beliefs constitute which paths, which makes for a lot of confusion due to the eclectic nature of mainstream neo-Paganism.

Many people claim the label “Pagan” to describe their religious beliefs, although that is equal to a person saying they are “Abrahamic”, which includes the religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as well as their offshoots. “Paganism” is a very general umbrella term that includes many VERY different religions, and of course, Wicca is the most widely known.

...

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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2008, 15:10 
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Acolyte
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Hex
The thing about Wicca is, it is a mystery tradition – and like mystery traditions of the past, it was never meant for mainstream consumption.

I don't get that point. If Wicca has something valuable to say, why shouldn't it be accessible to the mainstream?


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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2008, 23:01 
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Joined: 31 Oct 2007, 18:47
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Garrett wrote:
Quote:
Hex
The thing about Wicca is, it is a mystery tradition – and like mystery traditions of the past, it was never meant for mainstream consumption.

I don't get that point. If Wicca has something valuable to say, why shouldn't it be accessible to the mainstream?



Well, I'm not Wiccan, but I can speak a bit to the idea of an esoteric or mystery tradition. I'm not sure if Wicca really fits in this category, but many esoteric traditions involve practices which are not necessarily healthy for society as a whole or to be practiced without strict guidance, oversight, and possibly under specific conditions. Taking the most simplistic of these practices that come to mind, celibacy is common to esoteric traditions but really has no place in mainstream practices for quite obvious reasons.

Other practices may have a place in more traditional cultures while being not only considered dangerous in mainstream western culture, might also carry heavy legal repercussions for practitioners who would teach them on a mainstream level. Ayahuasqueros, for example, are South American shamans who take large doses of psychoactive substances repeatedly over the course of their lives. While this practice may or may not allow them to directly interact with the life forms filling the jungles which surround them in what seem to be very beneficial ways for their villages, someone teaching people to use such methods to communicate with a natural environment in our concrete and asphalt covered modern cities might seriously harm practitioners who have a strange desire to experience both lifestyles and unfortunately find themselves incapable of maintaining a "sane" set of behaviors in modern society.

I'm not exactly sure how Wicca fits into the set of "mystery traditions", as I'm mostly familiar with its mainstream traditions of celebrations of the Earth and rather mild seeming prayers and "spells" which all seem rather harmless. But most magical traditions which I am more familiar with which remain largely esoteric and take the ideas of magic seriously involve many diverse practices which are not necessarily healthy for the average person to simply "try out" on their own. These include many things, not isolated to but more off the top of my head, fasts (rather intense ones sometimes including fasting from even water), the sun dance or other potentially physically harmful practices, large psychoactive consumption (to separate potential mind damaging effects from physically damaging effects, though in reality there is not really a difference) (including some more innocent seeming practices which are considered dangerous to one's health in modern medicine such as tobacco and alcohol), intense meditation techniques, unorthodox group practices such as "unsafe" sexual practices, and many other diverse practices such as rebirthing which, while it is not really dangerous when done properly, there was a widely publicized death of a child resulting from this practice being performed improperly.

So there seem to me to be many reasons, which I only scratched the surface of here really, which would lead a tradition which might really be able to claim tangible magical results to keep its most sacred teachings somewhat secret.


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