Gerald Gardner

http://selinafenech.com/

D is for Divinity

So apparently the pagan Blog Project is up to the letter F, which means we should probably get to the letter D.  The first D word that came to mind would have made a smashing article because let’s be honest about it, it’s absolutely not oathbound and is freely available. But because we can already name several Americans who would shit a British Traditional Brick™ and throw it at us, we’ve opted to err on the side of caution. But let it be known that we do not appreciate our own desire not to ruffle feathers. It’s not in our normal nature.

So today, D stands for Divinity. D could also stand for duotheism, since our venerable Wiccan Jesus (who is quite obviously alive and tweeting from a cottage in France: you should follow him) wrote that our Gods are the little Gods of our cult, or our tribe.  He posits a rather henotheistic understanding that there are many Gods, but these two are the Gods of our people, who we venerate.

Divinity within Gardnerian Witchcraft is a very personal thing. We work with a God and a Goddess, but how we experience these Beings is unique to each witch.  How we internalize our experience of these Beings is also unique to each witch. One may understand Them to be duotheistic deities, one may understand Them to be henotheistic deities and one may see Them to be Jungian archetypes in the collective unconscious of humanity after reading Vivianne Crowley’s wonderful book entitled “Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Millenium.” This is perhaps the chief reason why Gardnerians agree that Wicca is orthopraxic, meaning we all practice the same, but not orthodoxic, meaning we do not all believe the same.  We don’t care if you’re any of the aforementioned terms, as long as you’re casting a circle, calling the appropriate beings in the appropriate directions, and maintaining a 2 drink minimum before ritual.  That is how the Wicca do it 😉

Divinity  within Wicca is seen as embodied within two Gods known as the Horned God of Death and Resurrection and the Goddess of the Moon.  Gardner was very open-minded in that he drew many parallels between the Gods of the Wicca and other ancient British Gods.  For instance, in The Meaning of Witchcraft, he writes, “Herne the Hunter, with his helmet crowned with stag’s antlers, his band of wild followers, his association with “fairies” [blogger note: Gardnerians associate with lots of faeries, let us tell you]… is the British example par excellence of a surviving tradition of the Old God of the witches.”  He writes further about our Horned Lord, “The dual nature of the Old God will be noticed.  He is the giver of fertility, both of the ground and of humans and animals; but he is also the Lord of the Gates of Death.” Our God has a specific name within traditional Wicca, which is bound by oath to never be spoken before those not initiated into His mysteries.

Our Goddess is commonly referred to as the Lady of the Moon.  Gardner writes that She is “the Mother of Fertility in all its forms, whether it be the fertility of the earth, of cattle and human beings, or the material prosperity of some venture, or those more subtle forms of fertility which germinate in the mind and bring forth poetry and the arts.”  Our Goddess has a specific name within traditional Wicca, which is bound by oath to never be spoken before those not initiated into Her mysteries.

The important thing to realize about divinity within traditional Wicca is that it is also seen as immanent within the world and within humanity, so that each witch, silently echoing the Indian greeting of ‘namaste,’ is able to recognize the divinity inherent within ourselves and each other.  In witchcraft, life truly is divine.

Our Three-fold Response

(If you haven’t read the Shove Your Three-fold Somewhere Else post, read it here first.)

Today, I learned that someone I’ve never met (or even heard of) had “a serious bone” to pick with me.  Apparently, she thinks that the members of my religion give out verbal lashings about some cockamamie (sp?) rule that originated at some point when a bunch of uninitiated witches half-assedly (is that a word? No? Well, I’m coining it.) attempted to culturally appropriate something from my cult and warped it into some nonsense about anything you send out being returned to you three-fold.

Without getting into the lunacy of that logic causing endless spiraling fractals of chain events to run amok through our world and the universe, let’s get back to this witch’s beef with me. She says that when we get called out on precisely what I just described above and how impolite it would be for me to jump down another witch’s throat for daring to practice witchcraft, we hide behind “karma.”

Girl, let me tell you something you already know about karma, because it will sound almost as condescendingly pedantic as most of your poorly researched rantings: karma is not a part of Wicca.  Karma has never been a part of Wicca. Karma belongs to Hinduism. While we mostly love Hinduism, being the good pagans that we are, most of us aren’t Hindu. The vast majority, even. Karma implies that Samsara exists.  Samsara implies that we are trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of reincarnation that we are attempting to free ourselves from by pursuing Samadhi, and let me tell you, as fucking fabulous and high on the hog I frequently feel because of how great it is to be one of the Wica, moksha is certainly not on the horizon for me. I love Brahma and all, but I feel no overwhelming desire to reunite my atman with Godhead, because I don’t think it was ever really severed from it.

Witches aren’t trying to escape rebirth; we embrace it. It’s one of our very few tenets. We want to come back again and again and party like rockstars with all of our loved ones as we attempt to be good shepherds of the Earth our dear Gods granted us for that very occasion.  So drop the karma thing already, k?

If you think that part of your purpose here on Earth is to scold people you’ve never met over some bullshit some other people are falsely applying to their religion, then you need to go back to high school and retake whatever classes on critical thinking they offered. You are doing to others what you are protesting having done to yourself. I dunno what your witchcraft has taught you, but mine has shown that to certainly not be the way to break a cycle.

I love your definition of traditional witchcraft. Mostly because it sounds exactly like everyone’s definition of Wicca from the 70s. Let’s see how that changes over the next few decades, shall we? You want to call yourselves pre-Christian? You go right ahead. You want to call yourselves traditional without any semblance of any unbroken line of praxis coming down through the centuries? You go right ahead.  The earliest “Trad Witch” I’ve heard of in my extremely limited and uneducated on who holds that title currently was Robert Cochrane. And wasn’t he, gasp, a Wiccan? (This may not be true. Look at us, learning things!)

Your explanation of what you do with your dead and the bumps in the night etc applies to any witch, and is something that we figured out before your first contact was made with each other. Hell, most of your first contact with each other was likely facilitated by us, because we came out of the broom closet first. So yes, please show us how great and smart you are by stating common sense, since everyone likes to accuse us of failing on that front because we’re way easier for the non-magical public to identify. Did I leave a ‘k’ out of that word there? Well shit, there goes that stereotype.

Now, to the Rede. I really like what you wrote here. Doreen may have been the first Wiccan to publicly utter the Rede, but she certainly didn’t invent it. I don’t care if it’s ascribed to Gardner, Dafo, Crowley, King Pausol or or a 4th century Christian saint (thanks, Wikipedia!). It’s good advice, and it prohibits nothing. The fun part is where you bring up cultural appropriation when someone tries to fling the Rede into someone else’s face. That’s not appropriation, yo. That’s proselytization, and das est verboten in Wicca. Cultural appropriation is when I decide that Yemaya is a Goddess of the Ocean and decide that she is a Wiccan goddess, and so I have circle around my toilet bowl (BECAUSE WATER) to venerate her and then design ads featuring cute white girls wearing her accoutrements in an attempt to sell fashion.

You’re also completely disallowing for the inevitable development of syncretization, but let’s not go there just yet, because it’s way more fun to have outsiders finger-pointing over disagreements between Yemaya’s depiction among Yoruban, Cuban and Brazilian cultures. There’s your hot topic right now. Cause Wicca has been culturally appropriated into oblivion, but people are hot as shit about fending off the same inevitable fate from the ATRs.  We Wiccans will be sitting up in the nosebleed section cheering our ATR brethren on to success where there were far too few of us to compete.

The fact that you state, full blanket statement here, that hexes, curses, jinxes, etc are shunned in Wicca pretty much sets you up for failure. That statement right there shows that you are not a Wiccan and do not have a copy of the BoS. I don’t even need to go any further here, but good for you for thinking you know it all girl. That’s a winning attitude. One day I hope I feel that way about ‘trad craft,’ because then I’ll remember to kick myself in the balls and get real.

Allow me to impart unto you the words of a witch named Terry, of Artemesia Botanicals in Salem, MA, who is not (as far as we know) a Traditional Wiccan in the BTW sense but who, as an ex-Cabot , is psychic enough to just flat out intuit something very, very obvious: “I’m not a Christian, honey. The only cheek I turn is this one!” She then slaps her ass. That woman is frequently brilliant, and that’s probably the most Wiccan thing she’s ever said.

So now that we’ve reached the point of terminal verbosity in this morning interlude of ecumenical lambasting, allow me to impart some knowledge about my cult, Wicca, to you, dear outsider. Wiccans can and do curse. We have lots of very, very detailed and specific ones that are nasty as shit and would be super, SUPER fun to share with witches we like. But we can’t because we swore not to.  Wiccans have ways of killing people. Wiccans have ways of killing other Wiccans. Wiccans have ways of causing your crops to blight and your cows to dry and all of the hilariously old school shit you would expect but never really see. Because we also have that fun little fourth part of that oddly named pyramid to adhere to. We keep silent about it. We don’t post altar pics of the nasty shit we do and then put up more pictures in an etsy shop and start selling that shit to the highest bidder.  That shit is between us and our spirits and our Gods.

And then, oh sweet culturally appropriated baby Jebus, you go ahead and admit that the majority of the idiots you are railing against under our name aren’t actually Wiccans! Why the huge diatribe then? And then you ask why we’re treating each other like the Christians! Well, it’s about perpetuating that cycle I mentioned above.  But please know; we love a good fight.  We’re kind of like the Irish in that regard (ps, I don’t care what the other half of us say, Wicca is fucking ridiculously Celtic). We have a shit ton of fun fighting with each other all the time until an outsider becomes an enemy, and then all of us bandy together despite years of feuding and have a very, very good time with our mutual efforts.

I’m not about to put you to the torch for being a protestant and failing to drink good Catholic whisky, so please don’t lend credence to a bunch of awful cultural appropriation of my religion by accepting it as fact, whole hog, railing against it to me and my cult by name, and in the same breath denounce exactly what you are doing. It kind of reeks of the hypocrisy that comes from a simple lack of awareness, and when someone comes at us, we prefer them to do it with something significant.

In love and light (lol),

A Gardnerian