Wicca and the Spring Equinox …
An article written by Antonia Blumberg for the Huffington Post (http://huff.to/19iroBy) published on March 19th of this year is a summary of how to connect with nature this spring as described by High Priestess Selena Fox, the leader of a group of Witches called a Coven. The Spring Equinox called the Ostara in Wicca is one of eight Wiccan holidays that celebrates the changing of the seasons. The Ostara celebration is dedicated to rejoicing in the change from dark winter to bright, fresh springtime. Emphasis is put on decorating, meditating, renovating, innovating, communicating and celebrating life and nature.
This account of Wiccan beliefs is refreshingly positive, considering the negative light that Wicca/Witchcraft has been cast under. For instance, Fox News actually made fun of the Wiccan belief system on national American TV stating that if someone were to choose a religion they should choose Wicca because they would get the most holidays. The full clip can be seen here (http://bit.ly/1HBwmZp). As well in 2013 in the UK, a Wiccan/Witch was actually fired because she had taken Halloween off (http://dailym.ai/1bOllTE). Although, Witchcraft is not always depicted damagingly in the media – books like Harry Potter, and movies like Practical Magic and The Craft show Witchcraft as an escape from the ordinary (Hammer et al., 2012:33-35). But again, these are not accurate depictions of Wiccan beliefs and just like all new religious movements (NRM) it is obvious that Wicca is surrounded by controversy. As with all NRM Wicca is criticized for being a cult. But a cult is simply something different than the ordinary, and brainwashing just does not exist – people possess their own free will and make their own choices (Hexham and Poewe, 1986:6). Brainwashing was actually ‘debunked’ by many religious scholars but unfortunately not by the general population (Hammer et al., 2012:44). What is great about the post by Blumberg is that is helps to break down these barriers that Wicca is a harmful ‘brainwashing cult’ or as a fantasy and portrays the core of Wicca. Witchcraft a religion devised from a man named Gerald B. Gardner in the 1950s, rooted in Paganism, the central beliefs are focused around harmony with nature (Hammer et al., 2012:152-55). Blumberg and High Priestess Fox demonstrate the peaceful, practical and ‘normal’ beliefs that Wiccans follow. High Priestess Fox explains how people in the modern Western world can take advantage of Spring by doing some cleaning or trying something new. Many Westerners fear Witchcraft because it is different from the traditional ideologies seen in Christianity, Islamic and Jewish religions (the Abrahamic religions), but if people were able to take a step back they would see the obvious benefits of begin a Witch. Nature based faiths are more crucial than ever in our modern world because of the environmental crisis and global warming. Witchcraft can be a catalyst for constructive change. The general public is filled with preconceived notions of Wicca being evil and worshipers of Satan but that is due to Christian ideals and a long history of colonialism. Witchcraft is condemned by the First Testament and because all North American holidays revolve around Christian ideas, it is no surprise that Wiccans are treated poorly since their views are different than the norm.
#uwreligions Signed: RBRELSPOLI