You are on page 1of 12

Mosher 1

Daylyn Mosher
Andrew Burgess
ENC 1101
23 July 2014
Do You Believe In Magic?
Today, when people hear about magic and witches, they
usually think about Harry Potter or Harry Houdini and other
more modern magicians. When people think of witches, their
minds usually turn towards the Salem Witch Trials or The
Crucible. Then there is Wicca, a religion most people do not
know about, think they know, or have misconceptions. Wicca is a religion based around karma
and witchcraft that Christians seem to have the most skewed views about even though there are
similarities between the two religions.
The overall concept of the Wicca is An it harm none, do what ye will (Macaluso). This
means that you can do whatever you want as long as you do not hurt anybody. Wiccans believe
if you do anything that does harm someone or cast a curse, then it will come back with triple the
strength (Winner). It is similar to the concept of karma where the actions you perform,
depending on if they affect in a positive or negative way, will come back to you in an even better
or worse way depending on your actions. This concept is the Wiccan rede. This shows that
Wiccans cannot do any evil without facing major consequences.

Mosher 2
All Wiccans practice the art of witchcraft, also just called the craft. However, it does not
mean all witches are Wiccan. Wicca also falls under the category of Paganism, but not all
Pagans are Wiccan. Paganism is an ancient polytheistic religion that focuses on mother earth and
nature, while Wicca is a more modern form of the religion started in 1949, but still has the same
basic concepts and beliefs (Macaluso). The origins of Paganism lie within ancient Greek
mythology because of the worship of the different deities like Zeus, Athena, and Aphrodite
(Mosher). People still practice Paganism today; Wicca is just one of the religions that branched
off from it.
Many misunderstandings form about the Wiccan religion because the practice of
witchcraft is different from other religions so people misinterpret the concept of the actual
religion. The word Wicca comes from the word witch, but relates to the word wicker because of
the ability to bend and shape natural forces through magic (Wilkinson). There are two different
types of magic used within the Wiccan religion. There is magic used to improve your everyday
life like school, work, or your social network. This magic type is low magic, because it has an
impact on small things. Witches can perform low magic at any time because it needs to be suited
for everyday needs. Then there is high magic, which witches use to transform their individual
personality (Winner). High magic is more challenging to perform because of timing and
materials since it is a ceremonial type of magic.
Why is this religion receiving so much malice from Christianity? Wiccans cannot
perform curses or hurt anyone; it goes against the entire religion. A major reason that goes back
to 1692 during the Salem Witch Trials is fear. While most people were innocent of witchcraft,
these groups killed their own people out of fear for their own safety and the spread of something
they did not fully understand. Women would heal someone with herbs and automatically be

Mosher 3
called a witch because they did not go to the church and God for help. Natural remedies were no
replacement for the work God could do to heal. They would rather have someone die thinking
God will be their salvation than let natural remedies cure the person.
Another reason for all the deaths during this time was the Bible simply says all witchcraft
is evil. In Exodus chapter 22 verse 18, it says, Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live (The Holy
Bible 262). No matter whether a person was innocent or did not perform malevolent magic, but
only good magic, they were not worthy of living. In Leviticus chapter 20 verse 27, it states, A
man also, or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard shall surely be put to death:
they shall stone them with stones their blood shall be upon them (The Holy Bible 363). People
would be not only stoned if someone accused them of witchcraft, but also hanged, burned, and
even drowned.
The prejudice of Wiccans and witchcraft is still going on today. In September of 2005,
Sergeant Patrick Stewart was killed over Afghanistan. His wife had his memorial to look
forward to and was glad to see her husband honored, but shocked to find out the religious symbol
of Wicca was not on his plaque. The Department of Veteran Affairs refused to put a pentacle on
the plaque, while other soldiers who died were allowed to put their religious symbols on their
stones. Stewarts case was not the first to go up against the Veteran Affairs. There were three
other cases filed in 1997, 2004, 2005, and 2006. The suit filed in 2006 was from two Wiccan
groups and three other individual cases, which included Stewarts husband (Boston).
This case not only got the attention of the Veteran Affairs, but also the Justice
Department. The issue settled and made the Bush Administration acknowledge, That there are
no second-class religions in America (Boston). Even the president had malevolent notions
towards the Wiccan religion. The current president at the time, George Bush, held hostility since

Mosher 4
his he was governor of Texas when there was conflict of United States
Representative Bob Barr trying to block future Wicca event and even
the practice of the entire religion in the military. When asked to
comment on these events, George Bush said, I dont think
witchcraft is a religion (Boston). Because of his views on
the religion, it influenced more prejudice within the

A picture of Stewarts grave


after the pentacle is confirmed
by the Veteran Affairs
(Boston).

military and within the Veteran Affairs to not


acknowledging Wicca as an official religion for Patrick
Stewarts memorial (Boston).
A more modern example of this prejudice comes from an article by Stuart Goldman. He
believes Wiccans believe in things like fairies and that the difference between white and black
magic is an illusion (Goldman). People get preconceived notions Wiccans believe in mythical
creatures due to herb names used in rituals and prayer. Epimedium is an herb known as fairy
wing and there is another herb called dragon blood. These herbs are
not related to mythical creatures but are named after the appearance of
the herbs. The epimedium is a flower that looks like fairy wings while
dragon blood comes from a tree and is a red resin (Macaluso).
Goldman also claims that, [] sooner or later, they begin to
dabble in black witchcraft (WND). If you practice anything but white

The top picture is a photograph of


the Epimedium flower (Murawski).
The bottom picture is of a Dragon's
Blood tree (Moffett).

magic, you are not a Wiccan. The Wiccan religion performs white
magic only and does not permit Wiccans to perform anything causing harm, mentally or
physically, or anything manipulative to anyone. Another claim he states is, [] black
witchcraft is the work of the devil. In fact, all witchcraft is the work of the devil (Goldman).

Mosher 5
This is another false claim. Wiccans do not even believe in the devil, it does not exist in the
religion (Burns). It once again brings in the factor that black magic is not practiced because it
goes against the Wiccan religion. A figure Wiccans do not believe in cannot pollute their views,
especially when the religion is against doing things causing harm to others.
Witches are still being persecuted in other countries today. It is estimated there are over a
thousand deaths of accused witches each year and beatings of people in the millions. A young
mother in Papua New Guinea burned alive by a mob last year because she was suspected of
sorcery (Horowitz). Witch-hunts are still going on today in other countries. Women, children,
and men face severe punishments for accusations that may or may not even be true. They face
brutal punishments, such as being burned alive, beaten to death, stoned, or even beheaded. In
Central Africa, Nigeria, and India, witchcraft is viewed as an evil and demonic practice.
Children in these societies are victims. In Nigeria, a preacher believes if a child is younger than
two screams or becomes feverish at night they are serving Satan so people perceive that these
innocent children are possessed. The children are then cast out onto the street for witchcraft and
demonic possession (Horowitz).
Some peoples fears of witches are so strong they do gruesome things to them. A man in
Queens, New York was arrested for beating his girlfriend and her daughter to death with a
hammer. He told the police they were practicing voodoo, but there was no evidence that the
girlfriend and daughter had any ties to the practice (Horowitz). It is another false accusation due
to fear and misunderstanding.
Christianitys religion, holidays, and customs stem from ancient Paganism adapted by
Wicca. The Yule holiday is the Pagan version of Christmas and typically celebrated around the
21 or 22 of December. Many traditions taken from the Wiccan holiday are in the Christian

Mosher 6
version such as wreaths, evergreen trees, gathering with family and friends for a feast or dinner,
candles, and even gift giving (Macaluso). Holly, ivy, and even kissing under the mistletoe is
from the Wiccan holiday and is a part of the Christmas tradition (Mosher).
Samhain, another major holiday, is the Wiccan version of Halloween. It falls on October
31 and is the celebration of the final harvest of the year. For the ancient Celts, it was a feast for
the dead. The feast reflected in Halloween is going to peoples houses, gathering candy, and
dressing up as the dead. America modernized the holiday and now it is about causing mischief
and candy.
Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, and Litha also have connections with Christian religious
holidays. Imbolc, celebrated on February first or second, is a holiday of hope and renewal. It
corresponds Christian holiday in Ireland, the feast of Saint Bridget. This saint is a Christian
disguise for the Pagan Goddess Brighid (Macaluso).
Ostara falls on the spring equinox and is the Christian equivalent of Easter (Macaluso). It
falls around March 22 and both involve eggs and rabbits (Mosher). The Christian word Easter is
derived from the word Ostara (Macaluso).
Beltane falls on May first and is the time of fertility and love. The Germanic holiday,
Walpurgis Night, was a fire festival. It was celebrated from April 30 until May first when
witches would hold a ritual. To make the religion more Christian, the name was changed to Saint
Walpurga or more commonly known as May Day (Macaluso).
Litha is celebrated between June 21 and 25. The celebration depends on the Earths
rotation and honors the sun god. Christians named June 24 Saint Johns Day due to the fires that
burned around this time in respect to the Saint John the Baptist.

Mosher 7
Prayer is an important part of Wicca and Christianity. Both religions pray for health,
luck, friendship, finding themselves, and many other things. The only difference is how they
pray. Wiccans cast spells or say incantations to the Gods and Goddesses for specific reasons. If
they pray at Yule, it is to the Winter Goddess and praying to the sun it is to the Sun God, Ra.
Wiccans have many Gods and Goddesses because it is a polytheistic religion. Christians pray the
same way, just instead to a single God, because it is a monotheistic religion.
Ritual plays a role in both religions. In Wicca and Christianity, both religions use an altar
(Macaluso). Items placed on the altar are used to worship the deity during prayer. Similar
objects between these two religions that are on the altars are candles, a chalice, wine, and
statuary (Macaluso). In Christianity, the chalice and wine represents the blood of Jesus, while in
Wicca it represents the Goddesss womb. The statuary in Christianity is usually Jesus or Mary
holding a baby Jesus. In Wicca, the statuary can be any God or Goddess chosen to worship.
Candles in Christianity represent the Holy Spirit and in Wicca your internal energy. There are
many similarities in the practice and beliefs of these two religions.
From the basic concepts of Wicca and the skewed views of Christianity, there are still
many connections between the two religions. Not just Christians, but other religions and
countries need to be more open to understanding the Wiccan religion before they make
presumptions, statements, and actions on falsehoods. Wiccans are humans and like everyone
else, have lives, families, and futures just with different beliefs and practices. A man said, The
last time we mixed religion and politics, people were burned at the stake (Boston).

Mosher 8

Works Cited
Boston, Rob. Pentacle Quest Success! Church & State. June 2007. Web. 22 July 2014.
Burns, Jim. My Friends Bring Me Down. Ignite Your Faith. Sept. 2006. Web. 22 July 2014.
Goldman, Stuart. The Curse of the Wiccans. WND Commentary. 22 June 2014. Web. 22
July 2014.
The Holy Bible. Ed. Super Royal Octavo Stereotype. Cincinnati: Applegate & Co., 1860.
Print.
Horowitz, Mitch. The Persecution of Witches, 21st-Century Style. The New York Times.
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., 4 July 2014. Web. 30 July 2014.
Macaluso, Kim. Personal interview. 23 July 2014.
Mosher, Denise. Personal interview. 23 July 2014.
Muffett, Mark W. Dragons Blood Trees, Socotra. Photography Photo of the Day, Socotra.
National Geographic. Photograph. 1 August 2014.
Murawski, Darlyne A. 1741720. Creative, Winchester. National Geographic Creative.
Photograph. 1 August 2014.

Mosher 9
Single Pentagram Cross. Shining Moon. Photograph. 1 August 2014.
Wilkinson, Loren. The Bewitching Charms of Neopaganism. Christianity Today, 15 Nov.
1999. Web. 22 July 2014.
Winner, Lauren F. Good News for Witches. Christianity Today, 23 Oct. 2000. Web. 22 July
2014.

Mosher 10

Reflective Memo
I consider the thesis of my paper to be, Wicca is a religion based around karma and
witchcraft that Christians seem to have the most skewed views about even though there are
similarities between the two religions. The point of the paper is to show that Wicca is not an
evil religion and to prove that by connecting it to the religious group that usually claims that it is
evil. My issue in my paper discusses the maltreatment of people who practice the Wiccan
religion and show how they are abused for believing in something other groups do not
understand. My argument adds to it because people usually do not think of witchcraft and
Christianity of having any similarities, so by putting a new viewpoint on the subject may help
people understand the religion better.
I found that the conversation already happening about my topic was witchcraft and Wicca
was evil and nothing good came from practicing either of these topics. I hope that my paper will
show this is not true, help people better understand Wicca and the concept of Paganism, the
practice of witchcraft, and that it is not that different from other religions like Christianity. I feel
the conversation will not change much because this is a controversial topic because religion is a
touchy subject since it has to do with peoples beliefs but I think that it will offer different views
on this subject that they have not thought about before.

Mosher 11
I originally was going to use a survey, but after getting the results, I was not sure how to
use them. I then went and started looking at articles from the databases to get arguments that
were both for and against my topic because I needed to show both sides and prove the negative
side wrong. I also used personal interviews with people who practiced the Wiccan religion, and
they were the most helpful. They gave me background information on the religion, similarities
between other religions, and were an endless source for me to go to so I kept getting a lot of
good information. With the articles that talked negatively about Wicca, I used my own beliefs
and my interviews to prove the naysayers wrong and support my argument about Wicca not
being an evil religion. The Wiccan religion is my belief system so getting to learn more about
the religion, fully understand it since I did not know much about it, and be able to stand up for it
in my paper by throwing my own ideas in was fulfilling.
This paper was one of my favorites because it helped me reach an epiphany, as my dad
said when I was telling him I was writing this. I was going through some videos and found out
that in Wicca, you are the Goddess and the Goddess is you. I found myself finding more in tune
with myself, Wicca, and the earth in a different way than before I started writing this paper. It
gave me a spiritual realization and I have never had something like that happen to me before.
I think I could have argued my points better. It is hard with religion though because I did
not try to write this paper to convert Christians or any other religion to Wicca, but to open people
up to see what the Wiccan religion is. When you argue with other peoples religions, it usually
starts a giant conflict that results in them accusing you of trying to throw your religion on them.
I tried to avoid this in my paper but I think I avoided it too much.
This paper was the best research paper I personally think I have ever written. It was great
getting to voice my views on a topic meaning a lot to me. Many of my friends and parents

Mosher 12
friends on Facebook cannot wait to read it and I am so proud of what I accomplished in this
paper.