MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE CRAFT
NO, Witches don't worship Satan, silly!
Oh, there are many lies out there. I'll try to address as many as I can, and then I'll send you elsewhere to read what other slightly uppity Pagans have collected in lies.
It is likely I could go on and on, and chances are I will do so as more people annoy me with uninformed accusations that have no basis in fact. For now, you will have to content yourself with links. Try Misconceptions About Wicca and the list from Dani's Domain.
- "Wiccans worship the devil." You probably know by now that's not true, especially if you've already been to the Deity concept page that I wrote. There has not been a word mentioned about Satan until now. "The Devil" is a Christian concept. I'm not sure if Christians began to believe Witches worshipped Satan because the concept of God is often shown with horns . . . or if the Christians of the day decided to make their concept of evil so similar specifically so that people would believe that. I really don't know, since I wasn't there. The fact remains that the consort of the Lady does indeed have horns in most of the mythology. He is not by any stretch of the imagination any Christian fallen angel or anything like it . . . Satan is "evil," and the Great Horned God is NOT. There is no concept of evil in Witchcraft, really . . . there is acceptance of the dark sides of all life as well as the bright, but there is no "God of Evil," nor would we worship anything that we thought to be so. "Satanists" do exist, but Satanism is not another term for Wicca or Witchcraft. Some Satanists believe in some of Christian legend but don't believe they can really get into Heaven by the prescribed avenues, so they glorify the Dark Lord in order to be given preferential treatment when they do go to Hell. The majority of real Satanists, though, are more about glorifying earthly existence and also do not celebrate evil, although they do sometimes reverse and mock Christian rituals. We have nothing to do with any of that.
- "Wicca/Witchcraft and Christianity are opposites." Slightly different, but not opposite in the least. We hold a lot of the same beliefs, and you'll find when poking your nose into Christian mythology that about twenty BILLION things are the same. And I have heard plenty about Christians being "against" Wicca and Witchcraft, but there is no doctrine in our beliefs that outlaws Christianity. (Remember, we have no Bible, only somewhat individualized "Books of Shadows" which are not gospel but just informational.) Some people actually are practicing Wiccans or Witches that trust Jesus Christ as their Savior. They are obviously people who can pick what feels "right" out of any religion, and that is highly respected in the Pagan community. There is no renouncing of Christ at initiation into Wicca; there is no crusade against Christianity; at the most there is a bit of bad feeling. Since hostile Christians were responsible for Witches being persecuted in the "Burning Times" and because some hostile Christians still insist on picking on Wiccans, Witches and Pagans, many of us dislike Christians in general. I prefer to see people individually. I understand that Christians usually feel that they need to spread their word and feel there is only one "truth," but we believe all paths lead to Summerland (generally) and should not be "attacking" Christians, either in response or of our own initiative. Just as it is not basic Christian practice to burn Witches, it is not our basic practice to harass Christians or do anything else to them but let them be.
- "The pentagram, a symbol Witches use, is symbolic of Satan." No it isn't! Pentagrams are five-pointed stars, each point symbolizing one of the four elements and the "spirit." It is a very inspiring symbol because it is a shape that shows the interlocking nature of all five elements (the spirit includes the God and Goddess). Some say Satanists use it upside-down to indicate a reversal of the symbol; a putting of the earthly values above the importance of spirit. (Some Satanists are just subscribing to the philosophy that the so-called "seven deadly sins" should actually be embraced to provide a splendid and pleasurable earthly existence. Other Satanists actually worship Satan because they disagree with the Christian God's laws, and they use the upside-down cross for a symbol as well as the upside-down pentagram, which sometimes has a goat's head superimposed over it.) I don't think that the Spirit is represented by the top point because it is "above" the elements, because it is those elements with which we attempt a SYNTHESIS, but in a way it also resembles the body and the top point as the head, or will, while the other four points are like arms and legs, equally important. If you want to read more about the pentagram, click here.
- "Witches have naked dancing festivals under the moon, cast spells, and chant over fires to honor their gods." Yeah, sometimes. But I'll have you know that MOST Witches do not practice naked (or "skyclad"), that there are a LOT of Witches that practice by themselves and indoors (although it's great to be outdoors!), and though fire is often present it is only one of the elements. And no, there's not a big sex orgy after every one, either.
- "Female Wiccans are Witches and male Wiccans are Warlocks." Nope nope, especially that part about the Warlocks. See, sometimes the word "Wiccan" and the word "Witch" are used interchangeably, and some people don't like that but it's so complicated I'm not getting into it here. Whatever female Wiccans are, male Wiccans are the same thing; there is no division. There might be slight differences in how men and women understand the religion, but there are individual differences anyway in everything. The word "Warlock" is generally considered offensive! From what I've read it is actually from a Celtic word meaning "traitor." I can see why the definition got a li'l scrambled in translation but now that you know, don't go around using it.
- "Witches dress all in black." Well, some do, some don't. There are lots of gothic people around who wear all black who aren't Wiccans or Witches, and there are plenty of us around who are just as brightly colored as can be (now who can we be talking about here? Hmm now I wonder). Black is a "color" that is really not a color at all, but the blending of all colors. (I know that all put together all the colors are WHITE, but do you get white when you mix all the paint together? You see what I'm saying. Both white and black are kind of like symbolic of all the colors in a way.) Since colors are symbolic a lot in our practice, it seems to me that the "color" black is symbolic of "everything," or as a general magickal or ceremonial color. It is also sometimes the color of a candle used to represent the Dark Crone, which as you may know is synonymous with wisdom. Black can mean a lot of things, but it is not the only important color in Witchcraft, and it certainly isn't "evil."
- "Witchcraft is a cult, not a religion." Wrong again. It is a nationally recognized religion and you can be prosecuted for discriminating against someone for being Wiccan or a Witch. It is also not a cult, because . . . let's just say it's totally unlike the definition of a cult. (Cults usually focus around the fanatical worship of a central figure, hide away from the outside world and live just with each other in an attempt to be uncorrupted, and are encouraged to give their earthly possessions and other valuable things like time and services to the service of their organization. In this respect, Christianity is more of a cult than Witchcraft, though neither fits the definition.) Just because it is not a majority religion and you don't generally see cards for Yule in the Christmas card aisle does not mean it's really a cult.
- "Pagans and Occultists are forming organizations to stamp out Christianity." I've actually heard this one from someone in person, an old weirdo who insisted that there is a conspiracy, run by Pagans, to push the Christians out of their rightful place in the government, and that it is the fault of these mythical organizations that the church and the state are remaining unjustly separate. We are also being blamed for infiltrating churches and "invading" Christian society in an organized, secret fashion, and we are also supposedly the cause of any and all rises in bad behavior from children and whatnot, because our meddling is trying to keep the Ten Commandments out of schools and "Under God" out of the American Pledge of Allegiance. News flash: Pagans are one of the most sprawling, unorganized bunches of humans on the planet, some of them with so little in common that they wouldn't recognize each other's rituals. They generally want nothing more than to be left alone to practice what they believe, and there is NO Pagan organization with any kind of governmental or undercover power. We're not running the show, but if we were, getting Christianity out of the mainstream would not be high on the priority list, considering we generally believe everyone's free to pursue his or her own happiness. Our main priority would probably be stopping wars and feeding starving people, not dealing with stamping out rival beliefs.
- "Wiccans are into sacrificing. They kill animals and sometimes people." WHAAAT?? Um, can you say "harm none"? A disproportionate number of Wiccans and Witches are vegetarians (myself included!) and wouldn't even kill animals to eat, much less to sacrifice. And murder is out of the question. Sometimes "sacrifices" are made, such as burying part of a meal or burning something or even just symbolic sacrificing, but no one is hurt, not even animals. . . . Perhaps this comes from old practices in ancient times of sacrificing humans, but we get the bad rap for it because our religion draws so heavily on ancient practices in general. Every religion, if it's old enough, incorporated very primitive practices, and since ours is one of the ones that goes back the farthest, we seem to get stuck with a lot of those stupid misconceptions. Christians of the past were responsible for the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the Burning Times, but we don't pin on them the label of being bloodthirsty baby-killers. Give us the same credit.
Go back to Ivy's Pentacles