By Jim Mosher

Jim Mosher distributed hand-outs and described some of the main elements of the Wiccan faith.

Wiccans work with lunar & solar cycles —8 major holidays that follow the solar cycle.

The people who were originally pagan were farmers. (Implies common, close to the earth)

A fairly recent addition to the faith structure. We’ve let them grow into what works best for the individual.

Gerald Gardner was a central figure in the mid-nineteenth century. In some ways, he re-organized Wicca. Since the 1950s, the laws against Wiccan have been repealed in most places. It’s difficult to know how many are practicing, because we have no hierarchical structure. Each individual and each group is autonomous. By-laws adopted by the Council of American Witches in 1974. Some of these are not as important as they were at the time.

Important – first one. Also “We see religion … The Wiccan Rede — the ethical code of the Craft Three-fold laws, everything we send out will be returned three-fold – similar to the law of Karma material, spiritual and the astral plane

Some of the things used in ceremonies: Incense, smudge sticks, two candles representing both God and Goddess. A simple feast We try to look forward. Do some divination – What will the impact be … Title of the play, “Bell, Book and Candle,” is taken from some of the things that are used in ceremonies.

Why did Wicca get such a bad press? A lot of the people practicing were the healers – herbologists. Jim: “When you have a new religion come in, the new religion has to make their way look the most appealing and so they may bad-mouth the old religion. This is what early Christians did with regards to Wiccans.

The Christians of the era were trying to make converts. In the 1400s, a pope wrote a bull that called for wiping out all other religions – The Burning times was part of the result The Witches hammer. (Get clarification)

Still a lot of people who fear that kind of thing today. Jim: “We’ve had people try to run us out of town.” A friend of Jim’s will not let co-workers know she is a Wiccan.

Don (Comment) I was surprised to learn about the origin of the word “pagan.” Whenever you hear the word pagan you tend to think they are people who don’t have any belief. But originally, the Roman army used the word in a derogatory manner. And the basis of the word heathen – commoners, someone who is uneducated.

Jim isn’t sure how far back Wicca goes, but back to early days when women were the nurturers and men were hunter-gatherers. Those roles change. Archeological digs have come up with artifacts. Traces of it have been found to have existed in German, Norse, Egyptian and (Asian) Indian cultures, and elsewhere throughout the world. Most of what we see in this country today goes back to Celtic.

Back to the Wiccan Rede – “harm none” is a fundamental instruction.

Many people who believe they know about Wicca go on hearsay or what they get from movies and TV – Hollywood hearsay. The TV program, “Charmed” – That’s not Wiccan.

Comments & Questions

Don – Given the status that Wiccans have, what draws people into Wicca

Jim – Speaking of my personal experience, I’ve been thru a number of faith communities. They didn’t satisfy my soul. The more I learned about Wicca, the more I felt at home.

Duane – Do you teach young people how to hide their interest in Wicca from their parents? (Referring to something found on another Web site.)

Jim – (Disagreed with this practice.) When you’re dealing with minors, we have to be extremely careful. I make sure they are being open with their parents. I don’t think anything should be kept secret. Teenagers can be frightened, when they are told that something they have begun to look into is bad. Part of it has to do with an individual’s fear of rejection – idea of hiding something. Something like, “I know what I’m doing is Okay, but they won’t understand.” There have been occasions of young people being kicked out of their parents’ house because they became involved with Wicca.

(Jim indicated that he was at a disadvantage in addressing questions pertaining to a Web site he may not know about.) There are a lot of sites. “How many groups out there claim to speak for Christianity? How can pick out one Web site and say that speaks for all of Wicca? There’s a lot of good stuff out there but also a lot of junk.” Most likely, the Web site was saying: “This is how you can look into it without them knowing.” We all do that; that doesn’t make it right.”

Duane – Do Wiccans worship Satan

Jim – No. This is a misconception. We are not Satanists. Satan is a Christian concept, Evil and good battling each other. Many pagans will say, “How can we worship something that isn’t part of our faith system? There are Satanists, but they are offshoots from Christianity; they are not Wiccans.

? – How do you regard the solar eclipse –

Jim – Today we understand it as a natural occurrence. In ancient times, eclipses were sometimes thought of as a dragon eating the sun away. Then, people would do things to scare the dragon away. Winter time – Yuling or singing to the sun, you bring it back by singing My group will have an all-night vigil on the longest night. We go out before sunrise and sing until the sun is up in the sky.

? – Are celestial objects are glorified?

Jim – No, but we see them as representative of deity. Some Wiccans embrace astrology. I don’t

David Beale – What about witchcraft, or magic, or supernatural powers that alter reality?

Jim – Wicca is the basic word that witchcraft comes from. Yes, many Wiccans are in reality talking about witchcraft. This is a way of working with the energy around us, trying to manipulate that energy to get a favorable outcome. Don’t you do the same thing when you pray?

David (comment) – But mention of witchcraft causes anxiety – hopes of connecting with supernatural powers that are not associated with God.

Christian (response to David)– What about those who practice out of the Kabala? Isn’t this much the same thing?

Jim – In part, this has to do with the power of positive thinking – As above, so below. True magical thinking is like wishful thinking – There’s no difference in my mind.

David – the idea of superstition taints almost any discussion of religion

Don – How we image other faiths and people from other faiths… can be very destructive

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