Okay – I am Wiccan. That’s right, sneer at me. Look down your nose at me. Roll your eyes and whisper around the fire at a gathering how you aren’t WICCAN but PAGAN then point with great conspiracy that I am Wiccan ~ and ~ GASP ~ have publicly admitted it.
Let me set you straight. Western Mysticism came from the likes of Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardner and even L. Ron Hubbard. They were all contemporaries and exchanged ideas about secret societies, the Masons, the Co-Masons, and the revival of mysticism and magick (both high and low) in the Western World.
Sure, Gardner allegedly coined the term Wicca. When I started Wicca; however, everyone was Wiccan of some flavor or another. There was a general understanding that Wicca was growing, developing and changing and had its roots in Western Mysticism. Seriously, when I met Celtic practitioners they were Celtic and still Wiccan.
Today – many newer pagans seem to break out in allergic hives when Wicca is brought up. They see absolutely NO relationship between paganism and Wicca. I am so sick to death of reading this Facebook question in pagan groups – “I see all these Wiccans but who are just Pagan?”
Holy CRIPES! WE ALL ARE. When did we decide that there should be some us versus them mentality within the universal sphere that we collectively call modern paganism? When did we decide that Druids and Asatru and Hellenistic and Reconstructionalists have no common link? When did our goals get set on division, separation, and exclusion? When did we decide that there are Wiccans and there are Pagans and they have nothing in common?
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?
The attitude I get from those who self-identify as pagan drives me up the wall. I AM PAGAN. I practice a Wiccan slant to my paganism BUT I AM STILL PAGAN. You don’t get to cut me off because of whatever preconceived issue you have developed about Wicca. Don’t take your issues with Wicca out on me. In fact, give me the courtesy I have extended to self-identifying pagans – ask me what I mean by Wicca. Goddess knows, I have taken lots of my time to try to understand every single pagan I have met and some magickal practitioners and other self-identifiers without a nice label. In fact, I have spent the past five years carefully not asking all you self-identifying pagans what exactly makes you different from self-identifying Wiccans. When I say I am Wiccan I get eye rolls and sneers and sarcasm all of which I would happily put up with IF I felt those were actually directed at me, the person, not “Wicca” the term. (In some cases I will grant, it may be me ~ the person.)
Mostly though, stop trying to act like Paganism and Wicca have nothing in common. There is just this long, long history that Wicca and Pagan have in common, whether you like it or not. Today’s paganism is just yesterday’s Wicca – changed, formatted differently and based in that Western Mysticism that was once universally called Wicca.
For a calmer explanation of this particular rant I defer to the better judgement of Marietta at Witchy Words. My only issue with her lovely post is that modern paganism, Wicca and witchcraft all are inexorably linked to the resurgence of western mysticism that started in the mid 1800s. It is from this common heritage that paganism has split itself from Wicca and Wicca has become the narrowly defined term that Marietta sites.