Did you ever wonder how Wiccans can be accused of some of the things for which
we are blamed in this modern age? How is it that we are called Satanists, and accused
of everything from "hexing" someone to killing children?
Maybe we are ourselves to blame........
Now I'm not saying that we didn't have some really good historical reasons for being secretive about what we do. After all, no one wanted to end up on the bad side of the Inquisition. Even today we have to fear loss of a job, loss of custody of our children, and possible physical abuse to ourselves or our property. It's real easy to keep quiet about what we do so that we are "safe".
It's also fun being a "secret" religion. You can walk around laughing inside because you know something that others don't. This can become a real power trip. Some of our traditions are so secretive that you don't go to circle at all until after you are an Initiate. You study for the traditional year and a day without ever seeing an actual circle ritual. You may even have to be a 2nd or 3rd degree Initiate before you are permitted to actually see a circle cast. Makes ya wonder what goes on that has to be so secret doesn't it?
Well, no matter what our reasons for being secretive, we are now reaping the results of our actions. By being in the closet about our beliefs and practices we have allowed others to define them for us. What does your neighbor know about Wicca? Does he know that we are a nature based religion that honors a Goddess and a God and believes that we must "harm none"? No, all he knows is what the Reverend Billy Bob tells him on the Sunday morning TV. He "knows" that we worship Satan, engage in orgies, sacrifice pets and children, and use "black magic". Well you can't blame him for being misinformed.... After all, who ever spoke up and taught him differently /
Our being secret more than just prevents us from teaching people the truth about Wicca. It suggests that we must have something we're trying to hide. That's why the Masons also get hassled by the religious right. Since no one will talk about what it is they do, it must be something really "bad".
Now I'm not saying that you should jump up and start shouting down anyone you hear telling falsehoods about Wicca. You have to indulge in a little common sense here. Some people don't want to hear the truth and may cause you harm if you try to alter their reality. Nor am I saying that you should tell just anyone exactly what went on in circle. What I am saying is that we need to stop hiding out in our broom closets and begin working on showing people what it is we are all about.
Participating in community service efforts is one useful way to get folks to know that Witches are not all ugly, green people with warts on the end of their nose. Try contributing in the mundane community..perhaps working with a group like Habitat for Humanity. It's real hard for someone to buy off on the evil Witch scenario when you spent last weekend next to one building the first house you ever owned. As you start to become people instead of a stereotype, folks will get curious and ask about your beliefs. Now is your chance to share the truth.....
Working with the local interfaith council is also useful. Because of the makeup of most communities, these councils generally contain more than just right-wing Christians. Even though they may not be initially comfortable with a Wiccan coming to their meetings (and some may never make you welcome), given time others will come to understand that we are a valid spiritual path.
Like the strands of a spider's web, each person we manage to teach the truth about Wicca touches others in the community and the knowledge grows. Eventually our voices of truth may be heard over the rants and raves of the ignorant.
copyright © Lark 1994
Main Index/ Lark's Nest
Last updated June 29, 1998