We just found something horrifying on the internet. We know, we know, that never happens, ever, but OMGs, it just did. To us! Nothing horrifying EVER happens to us because we’re so magical and above it all. But alas, the human condition strikes even witches of the highest breeding, lineage, and caliber at times, and this is just one of those situations.
Now, everyone knows that lineages exist within Wicca. (Keep in mind that we’re speaking in the British sense of the word Wicca, meaning traditional, initiatory Wicca. You know, the way Jesus meant the word to be used.) Ostensibly, because we are the biggest, baddest, and loudest on the internet THAT WE INVENTED, the good old boy American line (coughcougholwencoughcough) is the pinnacle of Wiccan lineage on the gods’ dear earth, because once you get something right, you stop (or you passed away on a boat while near Tunisia. Rest in peace, but come back soon please). Either way, the epiphany is that Craft has been perfected, and obviously angels sing and pagans show up covered in gold (the Italian ones on Long Island anyway) with frankincense and myrrh and you can finally throw out your Christmas tree.
So, being of the one, true, right Wiccan lineage known as God’s favorite™, we are uniquely enabled to speak about lineages and which ones are better than others, which ones count, which ones are the result of bad training, and which ones are never really invited to any parties*. Let’s tell a story about various family members and their dynamics, and how younger siblings and cousins are oftentimes doomed to make the same mistakes as their older kin, possibly because of socio-economic, genetic, or cultural reasons (most of which probably involve a lot of booze and pub moots, because why not, right?)
Once upon a time, ‘Gerard’ invented/found/channeled-from-the-Pleiades-before-it-was-cool, his family, and their surname was Wicca. Gerard got around, clearly, and he had many wives who held the surname Wicca, including famous ones who wrote books like Dorothy and Pearl, and less famous but equally effective ones like Dana, Louise, Ellen, and Monica. (There was also Olivia, but we don’t talk about her.) Gerard had a lot of kids with these various women and they all inherited his family traditions and were seen as matriarchs in their own right. They didn’t always get along, but sometimes they bandied together to keep their ex out of trouble and one of them went so far as to go and have his grave site moved when needed because love, people. Love. It was a typical modern witchcraft family that would have made a hilarious dramedy on HBO or Showtime. Probably HBO though, let’s be real, even though Showtime has more nudity.
So, everyone lives on this little magical island that is smaller than California and floating in the Atlantic, which we will call Atlantis, because why not. When large families live in insular places, they tend to see each other, hear from each other, hear ABOUT each other, talk to and about each other, and otherwise continue to co-exist. Even when Lord Gerard has passed away and he leaves Downton Abbey to his last wife, Monica, the rest of the family is there to vehemently disapprove of what she does with the place, exposing the old renaissance paintings to light and otherwise selling off family heirlooms (some treasured ones on accident) in order to move to the mainland for perfectly understandable reasons. Also, she may have been French.
Now, Monica had the most grandkids. By a lot. Everyone had kids with Gerard, except maybe Dorothy (no one is sure) because she left and went to Oz to write weirder books about other kinds of witches using different cardinal directions or something (that show started January 6th btw. We hope it’s good but IMDB indicates that the witches are only in like 1 or 3 episodes, which sounds like a fucking terrible decision, but we digress…) but by far, Monica had the most grandkids. And the thing about Monica’s grandkids was that they were (apparently) all born in a foreign country. Before Brexit. And you know how the Brits like foreigners now that Brexit is on the books…
Anyway, the thing about families of a certain ethnicity or culture that are born in far away places outside of that culture is that they tend to cling to their identities and culture because they live in exodus from their roots. When they are large enough in population and they left under duress, like the Irish in America, we call it a diaspora, especially when the Irish in America far outnumber the Irish in Ireland, because there are clearly more potatoes here and Jameson exports splendidly. The phenomenon of diasporic cultures clinging to their traditions is called something in either sociology or anthropology, but our Google Fu is failing us at the moment. Suffice it to say that in certain immigrant cultures in America, they speak an older version of their native language than what is currently spoken in that modern day country. This will cause New York Italians and Italy Italians to argue over the pronunciation of mozzarella until the cows go dry (because witchcraft!) and we’re somewhat certain the same thing is going on with the Greeks over in Astoria. Cultures in their native countries evolve, and cultures in diaspora crystalize (hopefully not ossify) to preserve their identity and keep traditions from changing because OMG where are we…?
When the threat of losing your culture due to assimilation is apparent, people clamp down. Intentions are usually good, but when they come back into contact with the motherland because the internet said they could, they start to fight over the correct way to make grandpa Gerard’s pot roast. Arguments erupt on Yahoo email forums about whether the roast has the ends cut off because grandma Pearl’s pan was too small or because grandma Dana’s oven was too small or because grandma Monica was slim, and chic, and French, and didn’t want to get fat, who knows. The point is that you cut the ends off the roast. But great arguments about why and when and how ensue and that’s how families pass recipes and traditions.
Back to Monica’s grandkids: they outnumbered everyone else. They got dial-up internet first and dominated bulletin boards with their own infighting, setting the hard-line standard before their Atlantean cousins even logged on. And what do you do when you see people (especially relatives) infighting amongst themselves on a public forum in spectacular and embarrassing fashion? You grab popcorn, keep quiet, and enjoy the show, that’s what you do. Free entertainment is free entertainment, especially when you already know the proper way to make the roast and one of your cousins is calling another of your cousins a bastard and saying that she never had grandpa’s recipe in the first place and had to look it up online because someone leaked it. The drama! Omg they tossed out an entire state?! STAHP.
But then you remember that there is a line of cousins in Atlantis that was never even invited to the table. Apparently one of your aunties had a kid that had a kid named Alan out of wedlock, allegedly, and no one wanted to believe it, but when that baby was born oooooh it had the family nose and eyes and a penchant for publicity that would give grandpa Gerard and aunty Monica both a run for their money. They were obviously related, but no one wanted to admit it, least of all Aunt Pearl because it looked just like her. But that kid and his kids were all ostracized because they were different or not born right or whatever (because we’re all lords and ladies, oh wait, that’s America), but they shared the recipes and traditions anyway and after a while you tolerated them and then eventually people got together with them when the old people were dying off because family is family and eventually we all need to stick together. Just not in America.
America is different. America is a giant, scary place, with lots of orphaned kids claiming to be related to grandpa Gerard, even though they clearly aren’t, they just went to some of the same parties as some of his grandkids at some point, and learned a few herbs and spices and used it because why not? Cultural appropriation hadn’t been invented as a term yet, and everybody was European anyway, so it was easy. Then, that other, bastard offspring of Alan’s showed up. They had the audacity to claim to be related to grandpa Gerard, even though they most assuredly were not because no one was married at the time, even though they looked like us, talked like us, walked like us, circled like us, and sometimes did it in a prettier, more colorful, happy, and creative way, with all the same recipes and instructions. And they throw the best parties. Those assholes. So grandma Monica’s kin and cousin Alan’s kin started feeling each other out, even though back in Atlantis, the rest of grandpa Gerard’s family and cousin Alan’s family was getting along just fine and going to each others’ homes for the holidays and also omg having more kids because once it’s like 2nd and 3rd cousins that’s ok, because it’s Brit, er, Atlantis. Gross.
Flash forward to today, in America, where Donald Trump is about to be president and minorities are literally being shot with seeming impunity by the authorities. Grandma Monica’s family still outnumbers everyone else, but even they, the holiest of holy, final, and perfected line of the Wiccan family™, are starting to realize that their one-true-wayism is just one true way out of a few true ways that grandpa taught, because apparently he kept innovating, and holy shit you guys the real tradition he taught was innovation around a very, very few key things which we all share. And OMFG cousin Alan’s kids share those same things. And that same innovation! Fine, we’ll go to THEIR house a few times for Thanksgiving, and just not overly share.
So, we, the true and rightful heirs to the throne of Wicca who couldn’t stop infighting amongst ourselves for like 4 decades because that’s how superior we are, chill out and get our ecumenical family swirl on at the no-longer-bastard cousins’ place, sharing recipes and hanging out and innovating, on American soil even! Family grows apart and together, and we’re on a together kick and it’s great, and right when we show up, we hear cousin Alan’s kids start that age-old conversation that we basically invented: “Those other cousins of ours aren’t legitimate. They’re not doing it right. They’re fakes. They never learned how to cook properly. They’re basically tainted by great-aunt Monica’s cookbook. No, we don’t care if Pearl is our great-grandmother, we only care about grandpa Alan and grandma Marlene. In fact, grandma Marlene is still alive, so her recipes mean more than grandpa Alan’s recipes and everything she says supercedes anything he may have done, like that one time he asexually reproduced and had a kid without her, or any of the kids he had before her. They ain’t right.”
And Monica’s grandkids all groan and say “Here we go again,” and roll their eyes and think to themselves, “you know, for the branch of the family that was exiled by the rest of us for the longest, you’d think they’d not want to do that same thing to each other…” but alas.
So that’s what happened to us on the internet a scant 35 minutes before writing this. We found this website whose entire most recent at the time post is dedicated to describing in detail, how other Wiccans aren’t as legit as they are, aren’t proper, aren’t taught right, are tainted, etc… We mean, it almost sounds just like this whole article you’re reading, except they’re not joking when they say it.
If we were especially optimistic, we’d say “Cousin/grandpa Alan, they need you,” but sadly, this is a set of grandkids that already rang him up via Ouija board, and if even that can’t help, then we’re basically doomed to repeat Atlantean history all over again on these beautiful, unsullied, unified, and egalitarian American shores. With Trump. Let’s not ever forget Trump. Ugh.