Your Child and Witchcraft
Oooh, Wicca. Witchcraft. One of these words is bound to make your blood boil, if you are an upright Christian dedicated to their beliefs. Has your child uttered one of these words? Not to worry.
Wicca is, by summing up most definitions, a polytheistic, nature based, peaceful religion which focuses on the sacred nature of all living things. Wiccans and witches do not believe in the devil, nor do they believe that they are worshipping him. Indeed, many Wiccans will find themselves praying to God, and maybe even Jesus. It is considered to be the modern incarnation of many ancient pagan roots. There are people who can claim Witch ancestry well into the past. But, just as in Christianity, it does not take ancestry to be a part of the religion.
Witchcraft - that means magic...right? Absolutely. Magic is also not as scary as it seems. Magic is, in essence, focused action and prayer. The act of throwing a coin into a well to wish for luck is magic. Similary, the blessing of the wine as the blood of Christ, is what we would consider magic. Magic is action to achieve a purpose. Keep in mind also, that Wiccans adhere to the Threefold Law: Anything you do, comes back to you three times as strong.
Well, what about dancing naked in the moonlight? Don't those pagans do that, too? ...Some of us, yes. We are told through our religion that to be naked, is to be truly free. Wiccans have a deep respect for the body as God - or the gods - made it. We are proud of our naked bodies - old, young, white, black, fat, or thin. If there is one thing that Wicca will teach your child, it is respect.
What about rituals? Holidays? Well, the holidays celebrate the earth's cycles - they celebrate the different harvests, and the important times of the year, such as the day with the least amount of light (The Winter Solstice), the day with the greatest amount of life (The Summer Solstice) and the two days where light and dark are equal (The Spring and Autumnal Equinoxes). In fact, many of these holidays are close to Christian holidays.
Why haven't you heard of Wicca before? Wiccans have, mostly out of fear, stayed in the 'broom closet' for many years. Punishment for magic and witchcraft was harsh and continued even into this century. In the state in which I live, New York, it is illegal in state parks to engage in any type of fortune telling or games of chance. Often, 'fortune telling' - such as Tarot cards - is used as a way to meditate and make decisions about the future. Wicca is, however, considered by the US government as a valid religion - there are sections about the religion in the Army Chaplain's handbooks, and Wiccans have won several court cases over religious discrimination in schools, jails, and the workplace.
...Whats this about fortune telling? Well, tarot cards and other forms of divination are used as often as prayer, and as a way to interpret the world in which we live. It is our belief that God - the gods - speaks to us in many different forms, and if we try to be aware of these, we may be able to live our lives in better ways. While many will charge to provide readings of the 'future', it has always been a virtue of Wiccans to not accept money for services such as tarot card reading.
Still have questions? Feel free to email me, or visit any of the related websites to learn more about the religion itself. Do not be scared - Wiccans do not believe in the devil, or animal sacrifice, or most any of the rumors associated with Witchcraft. Wiccans can be anyone - your teachers, your coworkers, your neighbors, your doctors, your lawyers. Instead, talk openly with your child, and help them learn about all religions - that they can make the best decision about their own spirituality.