What Thou Wilt: Traditional and Innovative Trends in Post-Gardnerian Witchcraft by Jon Hanna
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wicca was introduced to the world by Gerald Gardner since then it has grown and new traditions have sprung up around it. This has given some rise to debate. The debate stems over new practices versus old practices. Traditional Wiccans don’t change much and look askance at some of the new practices. Check out some of the book and websites the debate is raging. This book covers the debate and does a thorough job to boot. Some of the ground is covered in other such books as Drawing Down the Moon and Triumph of the Moon.
While Traditional Wiccans may keep to the way Gardner has done it, the Innovative Witches are putting together their own tradition and practice. This has some unique causes and consequences. Let us look at causes. Most innovative will study books and pull their practice form those books. They may also pull from different strains of witchcraft and other religions to put their practice together . Innovative may also just come up with stuff from Unverified personal Gnosis. Let us not forget that public lectures, workshops and rituals are now becoming the norm as opposed to traditional covens. Take a look at witchvox and the number o books available. Some Tradtional Wiccans have crossed the line and become Innovative Witches.
Finding covens is rather hard, so if you cannot join a coven you have to learn this stuff and practice this stuff on your own. That means if a witch or wannabe wants to practice the craft they will not have access to the coven initiation. Some options they may pursue are self dedication, or self initiation. How valid these self initiations are remains a hot burning controversy.
The increase in Innovative Witches has led to some profound changes in the craft. One of several differences revolves around the Wiccan Rede which states harm ye none. Not all the Innovative buy into this. Many feel that if someone harms you or means you harm then it is ok to use magic against them that may harm them. Another difference is in the tools. Innovative which are more flexible in which tools they use an do not use. One controversial tool is the scourge. While it has been used in the past, many are denouncing it’s use because the tool could be abusive. This attitude is permeating the Traditional Wiccans as well. The Five Fold Kiss an the great right are not so up their either. It is too explicit especially for public rituals.
There are similarities though. Both groups are challenging the feminist view of history that has been taught, especially with the exaggerated accounts of the Burning Times which put the death toll at 9 million when the number was really much smaller and many of those killed were not even witches. Another historic item that is challenged is the view that humans were once matriarchal and worshipped one Goddess. The lack of solid proof and academic enquiry has lead less to believe in this.
Thanks to innovations witchcraft has become more accepting of gays, same sex coven and the craft has politicized around issues of human rights and the environment.. Remember that Witch craft and magick are practices an what you believe its not as important.
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