Fellow Wiccans, is it time to take our religion underground again?

Hello all:

I'm playing Devil's advocate here, so please bear with me. :-)

Fellow Wiccans, should we take our religion underground again? (Well, as underground as it ever was, and as underground as the Gardnerians are today.) Looking at the influx of "Charmed" and "Buffy"-inspired people, or those who presume that reading a book or two makes them an expert, would it be better to practice in the "old way", where a seeker had to work like the dickens to find a coven, take oaths of secrecy, and pass many tests and a year-and-a-day outer court to even be considered for membership? Would this result in a more consistent and higher quality profile (so to speak) for our religion?

Or is the current openness of Wicca overall a good thing?

As always, thanks to everyone who takes the time to respond.

Update:

ETA: To Wolfechu II... yes, dear, ad hominem attacks make you look very mature.

Update 2:

Some of the responses to this question are very good arguments why Wiccans should go underground again... it would mean dealing with a lot fewer fools.

21 Answers

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  • Devo
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    It's hard to say. i myself get frustrated with all of the misinformation on paganism in general, so I can understand why going back underground could be beneficial, because you have to actually work at the religion. Not just read some crappy webpage, and suddenly call yourself Wiccan. However, the more underground it is, the less accepted it is, and the harder it is to be open about your faith. Not to mention, people like me who found their way to Wicca (though it wasn't the path for me- I'm Kemetic) through books and modern sources that weren't around 20 years ago.

    It's a catch 22, and really, there is no good solution to the problem. In every faith you're going to have extremists and dingbats who say they belong to the faith, but really have no grounding in it.

  • There's not much that I can say that others haven't already said. It has its pros and cons, and I disagree and agree with taking it underground, but then again, it would still have those harry potter wannabes, whether you completely extinguish and conceal it or not.

    I never really paid too much thought to this subject until the other day, my brother rented the movie "He's Just Not That into You", and when they played out that little "wiccan/male witch" scene in the movie. It did make me start to think... Was it necessary for them to throw that in there and toss it around so lightly? They made it seem as though it was a joked up, band wagon hobby than a legitimate, serious religion, even if it was just a short scene. I wonder if it really changed or made any type dent in the reception of the Wiccan community.. Those are the types of things that make me want it to go underground and completely concealed.

    But then again, there are countless reasons as to why it would be disadvantageous if we did take it underground.

  • 1 decade ago

    Crow, the box HAS been opened and the winds HAVE been loosed amd there is no way that they can ever be put back into the box. The fact that Witchcraft WAS underground for so long is precisely HOW all of the evil stereotypes came about in the first place. Even the BACTs are beginning to see and understand that and are becoming more and more open, even to the point of releasing a few books (if you know where to find them they are available). In this day and age one simply should NOT have to hide their beliefs any longer. Yes, there always will be those who chaff at the bit and want to stuff us back "into our places", but even they are realizing that diversity IS a good thing. Many of the Christian mainstream sects HAVE accepted the fact that we exist and have developed the beginnings of decent relationships with us. Yes there are a number of holdouts but they also tend to veiwmany off the other sects of Christianity as being enemies as well.

    As for our OWN Fluffy Bunnies, well, we are going to be stuck with them forever, i'm afraid. The Wannabes don't REALLY want to learn what REAL Wicca is, for it means hard work. Hard work is the very thing that they are trying so hard to avoid. Like Ms Crone said, for every half dozen or so wannabees, there WILL be that one true spirit who truly wants to know and learn. It is for those that we must survive and grow and prosper. But one thing is perfectly clear, those of us who HAVE come out of the broom closet have done so for a reason. We are NOT going to willingly go back into it.

    Brightest Blessings,

    Raji the Green Witch

  • 1 decade ago

    I think it's a terrible idea to take a religion underground simply because of those around who feel threatened by it. By taking something underground, allows them to win.

    Yes, I understand that there is a large quantity of McWiccans and Fluffies around only interested in the religion because of what they see on "Buffy", "Charmed", and now thanks to shows like "Legend of the Seeker" and "Merlin". But I think the better thing to do would be to properly educate these wannabe's...once they see what it really entails...they'll either drop the entire thing and move on with their lives, or gain a genuine interest and continue to allow the religion to grow.

    What is desperately needed are authors (as well as hollywood movie/show makers) who are genuinely trying to help people understand, instead of continuously repeating the same tired drivel and stereotypical BS spewed for centuries about Witches and Witchcraft. However, it seems that publishing agencies and hollywood directors/creators are more interested in making a quick buck than providing genuinely interested people with proper info (thus leading to the McWiccans).

    But if you would rather let the opposition win, then by all means, go underground. It only proves their point that Wicca is not a legitimate religion, unable to withstand the push from those who find it a threatening religion, threatening to take away their followers.

    I've always said that Education is the key...you've just got to be interested in using it, instead of hiding it away.

    Source(s): Witch
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  • 1 decade ago

    having Wicca out in the open has it's pros and cons,as i've read here.

    I had thought that Wicca was always,in a sense, underground. 25 years ago,when I had first heard about it,it was very much so underground,in my small community.

    When i had heard about it moreso,it wasn't so much underground,in the States, but in Conservative Mormon Utah,it was very much underground.

    For to admit you were Wiccan,or even Pagan,meant losing custody of your children,because then Social Services would claim that Wiccans /Pagans, "danced naked beside a bonfire, making animal sacrifices to satan."

    I had seen this time and time again, with my friends,who were Wiccan/Pagan/ Other, and had been warned by the mormon church, ( of which I was a member of at the time) to get out of the "awful mess,that I was in" or risk losing my then 6 -year old daughter to the State.

    I left Wicca, and went back to the lds church, head held down,and confessed to the whole ward,that i was a witch,and had to "repent."

    This was 15 years ago. I was heavily agnostic,but went to church, for fear of losing my growing family.

    My hubby was/still is,closeted Wiccan.

    I am bold enough to stand on my own two feet and proclaim that I am what I am, if they don't like it, then bring it on. I am not the scared,mousy,afraid young woman of 25, but matured of 41. I am not afraid of negativity: I know what my Gods and Goddesses, are about.

    But no, it shouldn't be underground.Some of us wouldn't have been "set right" if it were left that way.

    Source(s): Wiccan and learning the steel from the fluff.
  • If it can make Llewellyn stop publishing crap, then I'm all for it.

    I doubt Buffy and Llewellyn will ever change though, so I don't see the point of going underground. If you guys became more secretive, then the only thing people would be exposed to would be crap and fantasy. Being out in the public has achieved things, like the pentacle on military gravestones. I highly doubt the usa government would have passed it if Wicca was more secretive.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I don't know. On one hand, it might be a good idea to go back underground for awhile. Then we don't have to deal with the unserious people or anything. But on the other hand, how can we educate people and show them what we're really about if we're not around to correct them? And plus, I know a lot of people would like it to become uber hard for people to become Wiccan and everything, but I think going underground like that would be a very bad thing for those of us who study and worship on our own. Many of us who either can't or simply don't like working with other people wouldn't be able to follow this wonderful path if it went underground. The information, which is hard enough to find for some of us, would become virtually nonexistent.

    Source(s): Solitary Wiccan
  • 1 decade ago

    i don't believe that it would be possible to take it underground. there are too many people making too much money off of it and too many people that want to help others to find the same happiness and joy that they have found.

    also, unfortunately, i don't think that the society is producing any fewer fools than it ever has and wicca will always get their fair share.

    in the interest of full disclosure, i am not wiccan, just a pagan with heavy thelemic leanings.

    there are good and bad points to exposure and one of those downsides is that all of paganism is going to draw people that are far more grounded in pop entertainment culture than in reality.

    when someone comes to us with some ridiculous notion that they picked up from charmed, buffy, the craft, wizards of waverly place, harry potter, or sabrina the teenage witch, it is the community's responsibility to remind them that we live in a world with certain physical laws and some things just aren't possible.

    the upside to exposure is that it makes resources readily available to those who otherwise couldn't get them. for example, when i first started on this path about 12 years ago, i had no regular internet access and had to rely on the limited selection at the local waldenbooks and the slim pickings at my local new age shop. i went to a small, rural high school so i was about the only alternative religion representative there.

    looking back at where i came from, i can only help but wonder how different things in my life would have been if i had access to more than just silver ravenwolf books or to people that i could talk to and get support from or access to forums where i could ask a "stupid" question and possibly get a real good answer.

    the hardest thing is getting folks to understand that they cannot have everything that they want when they want it and that respect is so incredibly important. we need to start emphasizing that there is general knowledge and that their is knowledge that can only be shared when you have accomplished certain goals because before those requirements are met, you are incapable of truly grasping them.

    Source(s): just a pagan that came to her path through The Craft movie, but was raised in a such a way that she knew it wasn't possible to change your eye color without contacts or hair color without a box of dye. also, just a pagan that would love to know some of those juicy, 9th degree secrets, but respects that there are oaths that shouldn't be broken.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Good question. Interesting topic.

    I believe that this is simply the sacrifice of having your religion/beliefs accepted, your beliefs an the meaning of your beliefs become mildly corrupted (especially by the young).

    As long as the human race keeps surviving, there will always be young and ignorant people/children, and they will mature or not as life proceeds.

    There will also, always be people who believe that fundamentalism is the answer to cleaning up their religion.

    Consider the major religions:

    Christianity has a huge diversity of interpretations, some of which seem very naive, literal, and childish even to other Christians.

    Islam, despite its reputation, has quite a bit of diversity as well. Many Muslims believe in Sharia which is basically a decision to keep the religion fundamentalist even if it comes off as severe and restricting.

    Source(s): Non-Abrahamic Theist
  • 1 decade ago

    It still is underground (well I am speaking as a BTW). I would like for my tradition to come out of the Broom Closet and be a counter to the FBNA (fluffy bunny, new age) we-cans. But Wicca is a mystery religion where teaching is done on an initiatory level and I don't want to change that. The hard part, right now, is to find that every illusive balance to portray Wicca in an honest light and not give away too much.

    Below is a link to an article that provides a good explanation on how we, Wiccans, got into this Fluffy mess.

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