“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!
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 (The Act was repealed in 1951).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..
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. 🙂