Common Misconceptions About Wiccan, Witches and Witchcraft
Heretic, Satan-worshiper, seductress… these are the words that have historically been used to describe someone that was considered a witch. With many people becoming increasingly frustrated with organized religion, some of them are turning to Wicca or other forms of Paganism. Despite what people have believed in the past, being Wiccan or a witch is becoming “a more acceptable practice.” This is because as a collective, Wiccans and other Pagans are finally dispelling the previous misconceptions.
Satan- Worshipper: Wiccans and witches do not believe in the Christian’s Satan. While there are groups of people that do have ties to what is considered Satan, they are not, and never have
been Wiccan or witches. It is believed that this misconception may have come from the fact that the majority of witches do acknowledge the Horned God. One of his many forms is the Celtic deity, Cernunnos, the God of nature and fertility.
White and Black Magick: “Magick” is simply the act of directing energy into a specific outcome or desire. It isn’t good or bad, it’s neutral. The intent behind the spell is what is important. Most witches follow the “Law of Three”, meaning if you should seek to harm someone then it will come back to you threefold. Also, even a well-intended spell can backfire if the result of it is not meant to be.
Dancing Naked Under the Full Moon: Yes, witches do acknowledge the phases of the moon. While the new and full moon are both filled with powerful energy for ritual or spell-work, the majority of modern witches do not practice naked or “skyclad”. This misconception comes from the ancients when more Pagans were practicing nude because they felt clothing disrupted the energy flow. Most witches today wear simple robes during spell or ritual work.
All Witches are Female: There is a beautiful and also violent history for women and witchcraft. Many women have used witchcraft to tap into their own power and potential to survive the once very male-dominated society however, magick is genderless and there are many practicing male witches. Gerald Gardner is the founder of modern witchcraft as we know it, Gardnerian Wicca.
Familial Witch Lineage: You do not need to come from a long line of witches to be a witch. The energy of magick does not care about your family lineage. Witchcraft is a path you are drawn to and choose for yourself.
Religion: Wicca is a nature-based religion. The thought that one must be Wiccan to practice witchcraft is simply untrue. There is a newer concept of "Christian Witches". These witches hold on to their Christian roots and God but also practice magick. It is also untrue that someone that is Wiccan always practices witchcraft. One can be Wiccan, honor Pagan deities, and the Sabbats without ever casting a circle or spell. It is also a misconception that Wiccans have a "Dark Bible". Wiccans and witches have no bible. They may have a Book of Shadows which is simply a collection of their rituals, spells, journal work, and other such entries.
Animal Sacrifice: The Wiccan Rede states "And ye harm none, do what ye will," and since Wicca is a nature-based religion, it is encouraged to respect all living things. Witches typically follow this rule as well and thus would not practice the slaughter of animals for ritualistic purposes. Offerings may be made to chosen deities but are typically bread, fruit, wine, or flowers. Many witches include things such as bones or feathers on their altar but these would be items "gifted" by nature.
Joining a Coven and Training are a Must: There is a popular theory that all witches belong to a
coven and must have years of extensive training before calling themself a true witch and practicing magick. There aren't any exact numbers on the ratio of coven witches to those that are solitary but one does not need to join a coven to be a witch. While some covens require learning their particular practice, it is not necessary to have any type of "Witch 101" course to practice magick. It is, however, always advised to read and learn. Know the basics of circle casting, get to know the deities that are being honored, and be familiar with the Wheel of the Year. Plus, learning is fun, especially if this is one's true path.
As the misconceptions surrounding witchcraft continue to fall, you just might find yourself or that you have a friend stepping out of the broom closet.