We’ve all heard it, noticed it, or even done it before. “I’m a Pagan – no, I’m not a Wiccan.” This sort of thing has upset a number of Wiccans. I’ll admit it, I’ve said it before; and the responses I’ve gotten from Wiccans is between, “What’s wrong with Wicca?” to “Wicca is the oldest religion! If you’re Pagan you’re Wiccan.” Well, friends, it’s time to put some things into perspective here.
- Wiccans are Pagans. Not the other way around. This may come as a shock to some of you Wiccans out there, especially the newer ones. Wicca does encompass many types of Wicca, yes. But not all Pagans are Wiccans. Wiccans are many in number and in type and belief, but generally speaking, if someone is a Kemetic or Slavic Reconstructionist or what have you, they are not Wiccan. (And many Kemetics and reconstructionists currently do not wish to be even called Pagan!)
- Wicca is new – not ancient. The religion we currently know as Wicca came into practice around 1930. An ancient religion would be the pre-Christian practices all around the world. Wicca is post-Christianity.
- High priest and priestess are easily-obtained positions. You may say, “But wait, you need to be a third-degree Wiccan for that!” However, there are courses online for these positions where you basically purchase that rank. Even if you decide not to go that route, starting your own coven automatically makes you the high priest(ess) of that coven. That’s whether or not you’ve had any formal training in your path, or any training at all.
- A lot of Wiccans don’t understand what it means to be clergy. Being a clergy person is more than a title and being able to lead a ritual or rite. Being a clergy means helping those in need when they need it (even at three in the morning), acting as an exemplary member of your faith, and being knowledgeable in your own faith as well as others. If you are unwilling to help someone of your religion when they need aide, even if you’re “busy” with your own life at the moment, then perhaps you’re not ready to be clergy. If you cannot live up to the standards set by your faith, then perhaps you shouldn’t be a clergyperson. If you are looking to be Wiccan clergy and learn only about Wicca or only so much about other religions as to say “Well, I had been an (religious practitioner here) but now I’m a Wiccan,” then perhaps you aren’t mature enough to be a clergyperson.
- Titles are nice, but should not be handed out like Halloween candy. A number of Wiccans believe that they are doing the rituals of the laypeople of the olden days. Even if this is to be believed, a title like “Lady” or “Lord” would not be awarded to a layperson.
- Not every Pagan religion has a triple Goddess, and sometimes, Pagans don’t like it when you try to make one when there isn’t one. For example, Bast, Isis, and Nephthys do NOT make a triple Goddess (although this person seems to think so). I have also heard of Hathor, Isis, and Sekhmet. Not all pantheons have a triple Goddess, and you should respect these deities by not trying to create one where it does not exist.
- Furthermore, not all religions have a Moon Goddess, and other Pagans probably won’t like you trying to make one of their deities a Moon Goddess when they are not one. In the Norse beliefs, there is no Moon Goddess. Freyja is not a Moon Goddess. In the Japanese beliefs (Shinto), there is no Moon Goddess. Tsukuyomi is a God. Sometimes, there just is no Moon Goddess in a pantheon.
- Covens are really a Wiccan thing – sometimes, a Pagan religion may have its own word for a gathering of people of that faith, and even if it doesn’t, Pagans may not want to have their group called a coven.
- Just because you celebrate the eight Wiccan holidays doesn’t mean that I do, as a Pagan. Some Pagans will, some won’t, but don’t assume automatically that someone who has said that they are Pagan is Wiccan, and do not assume that is Pagan celebrates the Wiccan Wheel of the Year.
- Not all Pagans follow or believe in the Wiccan Rede. In fact, some Pagans find issue with the rede. I have even found issue with it.
- A lot of Pagans don’t like having their religions mixed and matched; even more don’t like having their religions mixed and matched with Christianity. This can cause some (serious) dislike.
- Most of us Pagans are first-generation Pagans in our recent family history and chances are you are too. So please, save us the story about the Book of Shadows you inherited from your grandmother who got it from her mother and her mother and her mother going back to the times of Shakespeare.
Have any opinions? Feel free to drop a comment, as always.