The pagan police

witchWe don’t have a police force. My title is being overly dramatic. Heck, we don’t really have any authority to answer for that matter. I suppose this is why I’m curious when someone will take a stance of who can call themselves what, or try to dictate to others how they should practice their belief or spiritualism.

You see it on forums, in comments of youtube videos, debates online, etc. Some examples-

You can’t be a Christian Wiccan. Um…why not? Because the Bible tells you so? The Bible’s verse of ‘thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’ (Exodus 22:18) was translated from the word ‘m’khashepah’, which was a woman who uses spell for harm. It was translated in English with the word witch, which often mean a woman who dealt with demons. Neither of which includes Wiccans or modern pagans.

Christ was very much a ‘harvest god’ as he was born in a manger (where grain was fed to animals), and was sacrificed for his people. This is typical of harvest gods, dying each year to give life to people. His story also matches almost exactly the myth of Mithras that predates the birth of Christ by centuries.

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You can’t call yourself a witch because…. Whatever reason can include 1) you’re not in a coven or 2) you were not initiated by a witch, or 3) some other crackpot idea that dictates what a person can or cannot call themselves. Of course you can call yourself witch.

The word witch comes from Old English, Wicca, or Low German, Wicken (to conjure). Its said to be a person who practices magic. Although some might not work spells, they might deal with potions, brews, or other healing, divination practices, or some other ‘craft’.

I don’t have any issue if you call yourself witch, wiccan, or pagan. I will still ask you for more defining points to that label anyway. Winking smile But religion means more about your faith and belief, not your status.

You should, or shouldn’t, read this or that book. (or read certain authors) I think its important to read many books on the subject, including bad ones to compare to the good ones. The more you read, the more you know and understand. Of course, you can save yourself money by looking up the ‘good’ ones.

These are just a few examples of how I see Wiccans, witches, pagans, or whatever label you want to use will comment and even condemn others as a way of policing the community.

Its important to learn history and to learn about cultures to put what we know into proper context. Even more important to open dialog, rather than dictate to others, in a way of sharing opinion. We should try to understand another’s path, even if we don’t agree with it.

Just my opinion.

Share your own opinion in comments below, or post a blog and share a link back to your post. I’d love to read about it.

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6 responses to “The pagan police

  1. I think that works just fine as long as the flip side is true as well. That being, “While you are free to label yourself however you wish I am under no obligation to accept you as such”. In other words, call yourself a witch if you want but don’t be surprised if people ask for references.

    • What, by the definition of witch, would let them use the label? Is it working magic? Being able to use some form of divination? Owning a black cat? ( knew a girl years ago who said that lol)

      • To be clear, they can use the label, they simply cannot assume I will accept them as such. To do otherwise just shifts the tyranny into the hands of those deciding to call themselves something. If one group can’t invalidate another’s opinions that has to go both ways.

        As for the title ‘witch’…, for my money that’s anyone who conducts magical workings and self identifies as such. Mileage may vary and others will certainly have differing opinions and more restrictive criteria.

  2. That’s a good point. The debate certainly lends to some interesting discussion. Personally, I can’t recognize someone calling themselves ‘witch’ because their parents were. Its not in the blood. imho But they should expect some challenge from that claim, as you say.

  3. sorry i did not read this sooner, it’s been in my inbox quite a while but WOW, you have a really powerful message here. I agree with you on several points and have often thought it was foolish for people to try to get me to justify, or prove my religious beliefs. And I have also always thought there was no right or wrong way to worship, or practice the craft, although there are many who tell you there is only one way: their way. It was a pleasure reading your blog. Thanks for sharing your insights!!

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