In Wiccans we can Trust…or can we?

“Perfect Love…Perfect Trust..!”   Two passwords that every single Gardnerian or Alexandrian Wiccan initiate learns at the time of his or her first degree initiation!   And then, almost certainty, he or she forgets..well, almost!

The Pentacle – a Wiccan symbol
art ~Mani

Wicca is a neo-pagan religion, crafted using several strands of magical principles, traditions, beliefs and Witchcraft practices – by Gerald Gardner in the mid 1950’s, at a time the practice of Witchcraft was still illegal. (The Act was repealed in 1951). *Wicca is an initiatory tradition, in that a new member is `brought into the existing Coven of Witches (Wiccans)’  through the process of an initiation ceremony or ritual. At this Ceremony, the `Seeker’ (Postulant) is made to swear an oath of secrecy and loyalty – to keep the secrets of The Craft, and to also protect other Witches. In the back of the Book of Shadows, there are `Laws’ – many of which instruct the Witch on actions to take towards protecting his or her fellow Witches & the Coven.     *(I am not revealing anything here that has not already been written about by Witches, talked about in Festivals and Conferences, or debated in many an online forums!)

In modern times, experienced Wiccans often boast of the network of Wiccans, and the way initiated members of one coven may be accepted as guests in other covens – even far away- provided there as been the personal vouching for those members. It’s a kind of `trust currency’ that is used within such groups and networks.

And yet, from many a personal experiences, either my own, or by observations – I know that even Initiated Wiccans of related covens or branches of covens – don’t always practice this `Trust’ – even when they know that another person is `one of theirs’.

In recent history, there have been cases of people jumping to ill-conclusions,  judging another Wiccan without even bothering to investigate facts or giving the benefit of the doubt, or worse – condemning another Wiccan in public and cajoling other friends into a sort of colluded behavior that can be easily seen as bullying & harassing   It is simple  human decency and my own sense of ideals that prevents me mentioning names, and not some Wiccan secrecy oath.

There have been many debates online on this matter (facebook is full of it). Many are quick to say that we are all people..humans..and such behavior (mistrust, squabbles, in-fights) are all part of our human nature.

I disagree. I did not take such serious magical oaths, in the presence of my Gods & Goddesses and the powerful Elemental entities, and a coven of Witches- agreeing that my soul will be damned and the Curse of the Goddess may be upon me if I break these solemn oaths-  so that I can just throw away that oath when my `human nature’ asserts itself.

The Wiccan oath is not one of convenience, nor is it `an aspiration’ or  `just a guidance’ – to me. It’s a serious oath, one that goes deeply into my psyche, and entangles with my past, present and future lives! Yes, I have had in the past, and continue to have my `am only human’ moments. But at all times I have conducted myself with self-integrity and in line with the oaths I took.

But in a fast moving society —  when `internet covens’ do `internet rituals’,  cherished Wiccan Authors allow others to be harassed and vilified in their own `facebook profiles’,  other Wiccans suddenly seem to gain so much faith that the Goddess will protect and so they themselves need not interfere in any Wiccan-related unjust situations —   my `human side’ is fast growing stronger than my `Wiccan side’.  In the last few years, I have seen steadily increasing evidence of such Wiccan failings.  If Wiccan society has moved on so much with the times, then maybe it’s time I moved on too..  instead of holding on to some romantic notions & ideals of secrecy and protecting the fellow Witch!

It occurs to me..  perhaps we  need new `laws’ in Wiccan initiations?   or perhaps we just strike all such `conditional’ constructs out of The Books of Shadows?   What do you think?

Rules only have power, as long as the followers follow them and enforcers enforce them. As for Wiccan laws – well, I have yet to hear of some `personal psychic account’ that a Prophet of the Horned God Pan or a Messiah of the Moon Goddess came down from some mountain or rose from a Lake…to give us these `Laws’. What we use came from a Man! And man is..only human!!

I’d love to hear your thoughts and views..

-Mani Navasothy

ps. As we are moving towards `Halloween’ (Samhain) – traditionally seen as a very `witchy time’, I will be writing several thought-provoking blogs and articles on the subjects of Wicca,Witchcraft & Magic. be sure to subscribe or follow my blog to read more.  🙂

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14 thoughts on “In Wiccans we can Trust…or can we?”

  1. Mani, I don’t think it is ever that straightforward. So the oath is to defend ones brothers and sisters in the art…but suppose they oppose each other? It is childish to take sides, but we all have those we hold close to our hearts, and we have all been there too, when we desperately wanted to hold back in the name of justice, yet our friendship has made us act in a gently partisan way – even when we have wanted to say ‘By the gods, I love my friend, but I wish they would stop being such a fool!’

    Anyone who thinks a Wiccan can be trusted more than a person of any other faith deserves the shock they are bound to get. A liar will lie whatever spiritual path they claim to follow, and people are very weak; the coven is the weaving heart of power in Wicca, the group essence is core; this makes sense on an animal level because humans are powerful in groups, but the flaw is inherent; groups can be nasty, reflecting the lowest common denominator. Add to this the sudden inflation of self importance that can emerge from initiation, and we see why some lose the plot.

    Even such luminaries as Gerald himself were human, and yes, humans have faults that include changing the rules and making gods in their own image. So no human spiritual path will ever be perfect, nor will those who follow it be perfect,, as far as we can tell. But great things can and do arise from the attempt.

    XXX

    1. I Agree Debbie. Things are not straightforward. So why bother to put the initiates through these oaths and laws..which only sink a highly conditional constructs into their psyche at a very powerful, yet fragile moment in their life..ie their initiation?! On the one hand, at initiations, wiccans say they are reborn free..and yet on the other, they are absolutely loaded with all sorts of conditions..

      Yes, a liar will lie where ever he/ she is…. I already accept that. What I can’t accept is the behavior of some elitist-type Wiccans who pick and choose their interactions, based on if it is beneficial to them, their `empires’ or not, It’s those type of Wiccans who seem to want to censor or contain situations.. and then have the audacity to use the Goddess, community, greater good etc as all plausible reasons or explanations to condemn others.

      We agree that there are no perfections..it is a fantasy concept in itself.. My question again s…why then propagate such a concept?

      As for calling any human Luminary.. 😛

      1. I didn’t say perfection was fantasy. I said it wasn’t human. The gods aren’t forcing us to perfectly love and trust one another, are they? We aren’t damned if we can’t manage that, are we? Because if that’s the interpretation, all spiritual systems are damned.But perhaps the perfect love and perfect trust of which we speak is that of the gods, to which we aspire, and in aspiration, create greatness. it is the attempt that makes perfection.

        And the whole thing about protecting your brothers and sisters in the art. People should. They say they will. They don’t always manage it. This doesn’t mean the oath should be changed. It means that people fail, and that is all. Just my opinion of course! XX

  2. Rose>
    I have thought about the two Perfects over the past couple of years and have decided that it is a call to have perfect love and perfect trust in myself rather than others. I came into this world alone and I will leave this world alone. As far as other people are concerned I have to trust that they “know” what they are doing. It is romanticising it a bit maybe but I am getting to think that if everyone could trust themselves and the universe in which they find themselves, then they would be more likely live gently without the need to grasp, hold too tightly, fight for things, feel threatened by others, insult etc. I know that it is said that we learn to trust from others and how they are to us, but if that is the case, then with some of the people that I have known (and I have been no saint but usually out of fear, at the unconscious level it would be fear of being destroyed) I would not have trust. But I looked at the fact that I am here still and I looked back and realised that it is me who kept me here, so I can trust me. Sorry, went on a bit there. Time for a cuppa lol x

  3. Mark L>
    the fact that I voluntarily spend my precious time with other Wiccans, the fact that I talk with them about intimate things, the fact that I stay overnight at their places or step into their cars even though I do not know them – that is already trust enough.
    The problem is not the ‘trust’ but the ‘perfect’ as nothing is perfect apart from the divine. Humans are purposely designed to be imperfect by those who bring everything into its ‘perfect’ form and shape. That’s no excuse for misbehaving but the truth that humans are restricted in their capability – for a reason we ought to be thankful, even when it hurts.
    The same with love. Look at the tree of life and the two pillars on the right and left. You will need both aspects of everything, the positive and the negative, to be complete, so ‘perfect’ love does not exist without the opposite.
    With the Devine, those two phrases are the key, with humans they are too romanticised.

  4. Rose>
    Perfect is in the eye of the beholder anyway. One person’s perfect is another person’s could be better.

    Mark L>
    no one is perfect, and never meant to be.

    Rose>It’s subjective anyway. Perfect as compared to what?

    Mark L> the Devine, I think, I mean perfect means for me flawless, and even the Devine has many facets that are so beautifully imperfect. I gave up on thinking in perfection a long time ago, it is sterile, it is not alive

    Rose> Says who?

  5. Rose D>
    Oh I recall what I meant to say earler too. I think the two Ps would make more sense to me if they were an instruction as in the verb. Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. An instruction to work on developing more love and more trust. But that is in my opinion. So others might not think like that which is cool. I undertsand what you are saying Mark, about how you trust you intimacies etc with strangers who are Wiccan but For me that still comes down to trusting myself. I am going to be honest here and touch base. I might not automatically trust all people/strangers if they happen to be Wiccan. I trust my instincts. I think that Mani might, and note I say might, say that the Tree Of Life was designed by humans too or at least filtered by their subjectivity. I am interested and just using this space to ask questions. What is this devine perfection like?

  6. Rose>
    Oh I have just seen the rest of your comment. Perfect means for you, flawless. The difficulty for me would be what would your flawless look like and would I or others agree with your criteria. What are flaws but subjective attributes or the absence of something, a lack.. Yes, you might be right, perfection is sterile, not alive as everything is in constant flux, even perfection and a notion of perfection…

  7. Debbie>
    I put a comment on the blog and it disappeared:-0 It was a long one, so just as well. Anyone who thinks that a wiccan will keep to a perfect oath any better than someone of another faith is in for a shock! They were human before they were wiccan, and humans are not very nice. Even such luminaries as Gerald had faults that got in the way of their most solemn oaths. It is the heartfelt attempt to love and trust that makes the magic – and perhaps trusting in the perfect love of the gods too.
    [Debbie, your comment is now live 🙂 – Mani]

  8. Rose>
    Your comment might be “awaiting moderation” so might be captive in a holding bay at the moment. I agree, taking oaths does not guarantee anything. Yes, hearfelt attempt to love and trust and trusting my personal connection to what I perceive to be the god/goddess.

  9. Ishouldn’t have to point out that all oaths (which should always be respected)taken in the Craft are taken freely with no coercion. Anything else is just not Wicca. N

    1. Good point Nigel. All oaths are taken of own free will. I wonder though, what happens, if at the point of the oath, the oath-taker says no to it..? Would the initiation then be completed, or nullified? If it is nullified,then the process is a `conditional initiation’. This in a way loops back to `The Goddess’ saying “thou shall be free from slavery” and yet the Initiators imposing conditions (oaths) which the newbies are supposed to accept of their free will. The Craft as we know it has these `flaws’.. not surprising as it’s all human-made anyway. I think it is time to challenge such notions.. or it can become dogmatic.

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