Why Wicca Isn't Celtic discussion - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 04-29-2004, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://rimcountrypagans.dreamscrying.net/whywicca.html

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The following is by no means an indictment of the religion called Wicca. Wicca is indeed a valid and powerful path for those who truthfully walk it and understand it. However, there is a body of people who believe that Wicca is the descendant of the religious ways of the Gaelic or other Celtic peoples (or 'Celts' as a general nomenclature). This simply is not the case.
Anyway, I'm NOT starting this thread to pick on Wicca. I actually would love to discuss the validity of the article. The part I quoted was just the begining and I know it's a long one. But I'd love to discuss at least these things.

Is the article accurate?

If Wicca isn't Celtic then why do you think that it has been perpetuated as being so for so long?

How do the issues of the different world views of Celtic culture and Wiccan belief mesh if at all?
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#2 of 15 Old 04-30-2004, 05:37 PM
 
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The more I've learned in the last few years, the more I see that that article is accurate.

The myth that Wicca is Celtic started when Gardner borrowed Gaelic terms for Gaelic holidays and applied those to the Wiccan holidays, and it went on from there. It's lasted this long because too many don't bother to do any research beyond books from Lewellyn Publishing--fine books in some cases, but NOT history by any stretch.

I think the two can mesh in that both teach valueing of Nature. Both value Honor, etc. Both share 4 holidays, though the meanings are not quite the same....

"What will you do once you know?"
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#3 of 15 Old 04-30-2004, 10:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Meiri
The myth that Wicca is Celtic started when Gardner borrowed Gaelic terms for Gaelic holidays and applied those to the Wiccan holidays, and it went on from there.
Beyond that, Gardner also relied heavily on the now-discredited writings of Margaret Murray , an Egyptologist who wrote two books (The Witch Cult in Western Europe, 1921, and God of the Witches, 1933) that presented the theory of an underground pre-Christian cult that survived until it was all but wiped out during the medeival European witch hunts. (The second link has the entire text of the 1921 book. Although it's pretty much a load of hooey, IMO it's important for any pagan today to have some knowledge of her writings because it is part of the founding mythology of Wicca.)
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#4 of 15 Old 05-01-2004, 12:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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good points ladies. The think that what's been most glaring to me about the difference between Wicca and traditional Celtic belief (also included in the article) is the influence of Jungs archtypes in The God and The Goddess vs the tribal Celts hard polytheism.
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#5 of 15 Old 05-01-2004, 01:37 AM
 
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Karen Ann, you're the queen of links today. I've got so much reading to do now....!

Arduinna, that hard polytheism is why I'll never quite be a Celt (besides the language issue). I. just. can't. do. that. *sigh*

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#6 of 15 Old 05-01-2004, 02:08 AM
 
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I'm ok with it until I get to:

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Wicca places little emphasis on mythology. Yet in Celtic religion, mythological stories are a central feature. These, in fact, form the core of magical practice, teaching and what ritual exists (manifested commonly in 'passion plays'). In Wicca there is no clear teaching of what is required to break past the cycles of rebirth. In fact, within Wicca there is no such concept at all. Yet in Celtic religion, the requirement can be clearly and concisely stated. To fulfill one's duty, to always be honorable and to stand for the truth come what may, while understanding *why* what is honorable is considered so. Students of Aristotle can clearly see the concepts of "personal excellence" within materials from various celtic cultures.
I'm not quite sure what it is about this paragraph that : me. I still can't quite get it into words.

Anyway, I have to agree, Wicca is the creation of Gardner. But that isn't to say that there aren't others out there who follow a more hereditary path (ie magic that has been secretly passed down in families or groups) be it Celtic or otherwise.

So I wonder how he would feel about the arguement that Celts are actually descendants of the Hindus?

Nissa
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#7 of 15 Old 05-01-2004, 02:32 AM
 
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Your response to polytheism sounds like my response to monotheism. I floundered around in Wicca for a while until I found the Reconstructionist tradition which felt right to me--Asatru. I.E., those Norse mentioned in the article.

I didn't read the whole article, but it could just as generally be written as Wicca vs. Any Reconstructionist/Traditionalist Neo-Pagan or Classical Pagan religion.

One thing about Wicca that didn't mesh for me was the whole "archetype" business. Another was the whole "Everybody is a Priest or Priestess" thing. I don't want to be my own clergy in order to follow my Gods.

I think Wicca is a wonderful thing--it's a movement with a lot of appeal to a lot of people, because it recognizes the Divine Feminine and reveres the Earth and doesn't really make any specific demands as far as spiritual and theological details, unless you go for a specific tradition, and it's okay to be Eclectic.

But for those not eclectically or dualistically minded, who want a personal God and/or Goddess and/or Gods and Goddesses, sometimes that calling towards a Pagan path is more a calling back to roots long forgotten during the Piscean age, rather than towards a new spiritual synthesis.

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#8 of 15 Old 05-01-2004, 02:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ravin beautiful post, and I agree with you it could have been written compared to any of the recon religions.
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#9 of 15 Old 05-01-2004, 04:40 AM
 
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Not a pagan, don't play one on TV.

That said, what I think is missing from the discussion may be the emotional end of this. The yearning. The desire for connection to the ancient, for history. If I were a pagan I can guarantee you that I would not want to dwell much on how disconnected my practice is from my desired spiritual ancestors. To do so would fill me with the kind of anger a recent poster (forgive me, I'm crap with names) chalked up largely to monotheistic backlash.

I'm not sure I am being clear at all... what I am trying to say is that while I do not know all the facts, I can certainly understand why some people would chose to live in willful ignorance/denial of them, if they are as represented above.
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#10 of 15 Old 05-01-2004, 05:57 PM
 
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The problem with that Kama, if I'm understanding you correctly, is that the person living in willful ignorance of the historical facts is still not making a connection to her real spiritual ancestors. Something based on a falsehood will not be a true connection. It will a fiction, nothing more. It will be claiming something is Celtic when it is not. Where's the Honor in that? How is that different from any other cultural appropriation issue in which the borrower changes the meaning or ceremony, then says their meaning or ceremony is the real thing. Where's the Honor in that?

The reason Wicca doesn't have the depth of mythology that Celtic culture has is that it is not itself a culture. Wicca is a religion, a relatively young one at that. As such it crosses cultural and national boundaries. This is different from the Celtic religious beliefs which are rooted within the Celtic culture(s) which are centuries old. That's not a bad thing, just different. Wiccans can draw on any number of mythologies for lessons and ceremony because Wicca itself does not set limits on following just one. For those following the Celtic path(s) it wouldn't make any sense to use...Russian myths...NA myths...whatever...as those are not Celtic. Make sense?

I haven't gotten to the point where I see the connection between Celtic and Hindu. Both may well have Indo-European roots, but the separation has been so long by now that I consider them quite different entities. Entities with a common root, but grown well apart by now. For all I know, as I learn more, my opinion on this will change...

"What will you do once you know?"
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#11 of 15 Old 05-01-2004, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I remember posting an article about 2 years ago maybe about the supposed Cernunnos/Shiva connection. If I remember the thing had been debunked for some reason, but I'm drawing a blank.

Anyway, Kama love that I don't play a pagan on tv thing :LOL

I think the problem cones from willfull ignorance. Inaccurate history is sadly rampant so you can only blame someone so much if they've been led astray. Willful ignorance is a whole nother matter. Just me, but I don't think my Gods take to kindly to such things.
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#12 of 15 Old 05-01-2004, 11:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kama'aina mama
(snip)
what I think is missing from the discussion may be the emotional end of this. The yearning. The desire for connection to the ancient, for history. If I were a pagan I can guarantee you that I would not want to dwell much on how disconnected my practice is from my desired spiritual ancestors. To do so would fill me with the kind of anger a recent poster (forgive me, I'm crap with names) chalked up largely to monotheistic backlash.
(snip)
while I do not know all the facts, I can certainly understand why some people would chose to live in willful ignorance/denial of them, if they are as represented above.
IMO, that willful ignorance is a big part of the problem with neo-pagan movements today. I fully understand a desire to connect with lost practices, but they ARE LOST. No amount of pretending "my ritual is just like the ancient (insert ethnicity here) rituals" will make it so. It will only make the practitioner, and the pagan community as a whole, look foolish. If we knowingly and intentionally base our faith on shoddy scholarship, we are doing ourselves, our belief system, and our religions a gross disservice. Some of the more vocal "I'm a Wiccan"'s are making the rest look like froot loops to the rest of society. (I could name names of "Who Karen Ann thinks is running paganism into the muck today" but I don't know that MDC has that much bandwidth.)
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#13 of 15 Old 05-03-2004, 02:40 AM
 
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I'm sorry if it seemed I was saying that choosing to ignore the truth, willful ignorance, is a good thing. I agree that it is problematic. I was simply saying that I can understand it. Having been raised Catholic I have certainly struggled in my Christianity with reconciling things I have learned as an adult that do not coincide with what I was taught as a child. It took a long time for me to be willing to look at these inconsistancies straight on and commence making sense of everything I knew rather than just the things I liked. It is a painful and emotional journey and one I can't blame people for being slow to begin.
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#14 of 15 Old 05-03-2004, 08:15 AM
 
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I think a lot of wiccans are coming to realize that Gardner created this stuff himself, and "borrowed" parts of old Celtic beliefs, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I know when I do a ritual that this isn't how the ancients did it, but I'm ok with that. I focus more on the end product, how I feel during and after the ritual. I am very ecclectic, but I do feel more affinity to the members of the Celtic pantheon. I've considered Celtic Reconstructionism, but it seems there is so little fact available to base anything on, we might as well make it up! (plus, I like the flexibility of being ecclectic)
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#15 of 15 Old 05-03-2004, 08:34 AM
 
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I think Wicca has been useful in bringing Pagan concepts.. particularly Goddess worship, into popular culture... and it has made Paganism much more accessible/acceptable in our culture.

And I think it is a good place for a lot of spiritual seekers.. it is ethical and benevolent and honors nature.. and you can get in a lot less trouble starting there than starting some other places, kwim?

That said.. and NO offense to any Wiccans here... it is not necessarily useful to those seeking deeper connections to their ethnic/religious roots... or who are interested in delving into serious historic research.

I personally have come to consider it a sort of Pagan-lite.
Ugh, I know that sounds disrespectful and I don't mean to be. I have no issues with Wiccans, and I have participated in many a Wiccan ritual.

But I had to move through and past it to find my true path.

Sure Recon paths are limited too. But for me, tapping into Canaanite polytheism and Kabbalah have been much more authentic for me as a born Jew seeking the sacred Feminine. I CAN follow history and see how the symbolism evolved and see how things are connected as religion in the region evolved.

And my husband too has journeyed through Wicca and now focuses much more on "hard" Celtic reconstructionism.

No, I don't know exactly how the real rituals for Asherah were conducted.
But I am learning enough to feel that real connection to my history.
And that matters to me.
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