Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fractured Wicca?

As someone just seriously starting to examine this path, (though my interest was first piqued at age 13, many, many years ago), I'm starting to see and read and see more of the differences between wiccans than their similarities. I'm starting to notice some real serious rifts and jabs between the members of a complex, diverse, but supposedly unified religion. The more sites I visit and read, the more I see it. This does not bode well, and is leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

I'm especially referring to the so-called "Fluffy Bunny" phenomena, as denounced in several sites and blogs. While many of their "anti-fluff" points are well taken(!), some of it is also somewhat pedantic and dismissive.

For just one of the more colorful examples, the endless jabs at certain groups, as well as individuals, such as Oberon Zell Ravenhart, on the site "9 lives, many masters" is really a bit much. In fact, at first I thought the strip was pretty funny, (I also draw, and love comics) but it got heavier handed with each new strip - it wound up (IMHO) being preachy and superior, eventually beating the "message" to death. I think it's possible to take yourself too seriously, sometimes.

This isn't the only site and I didn't mean to single it out except as an example, one of many.
"Wicca for the Rest of Us" is another anti-fluff site, but there I think the viewpoint was delivered more constructively, and was quite educational.

Constructive criticism is a good thing; making jabs at others (and not just OZR) and belittling them is not taking the higher road or helping to educate others, however.
There needs to be that balance of keeping things "real" while not letting exclusivity and superiority stroke the ego.

Now, maybe few will even care if a newb is turned away from Wicca or not; after all, "mystery religions" are exclusive clubs by definition, and limited membership is part of what makes their members feel special. So why should any of you care what I think, or why this bothers me?
Well, young religions are vulnerable religions, and Wicca is still very young. They need growth and acceptance to survive and evolve. That suggests that acceptance of flexibility, within reason, should be tolerated. Then again I suspect a number of you do care about Wicca's image to initiates ( I use the term generally here)

Many forms of early Christianity could be considered "eclectic", as preexisting pagan traditions and Christianity were mixed together in curious combinations; I haven't read of any historical documents where the Church came down on people for mixing Christianity with paganism except one; where the Roman Catholic church fought with the Celtic Church and their way of doing things - but that took centuries before that came to be an issue. In the very beginning, the church was just happy to have converts! (They didn't usually force people to convert at sword point unless you want to buy into the old myths)

It took Christianity several centuries to break up into different rigid factions that wanted to kill each other, but some Wiccans seem ready to manage that in just 60 some years, with "Solitaries" vs. "Initiates", "Fluff Bunnies" vs "Serious" wiccans, Gardnerians vs. Alexandrians, etc...

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