I came across this post on Patheos Pagan yesterday. At first reading, I thought it was a post decrying the current trend of infighting within the witchcraft “community,” which I’ve come to realize surfaces and peaks on a regularly occurring basis. But reading it for a second and third time, it strikes me more as the author meant it as a problem for the “real Wiccan” community, rather than a problem for the entire witchcraft community at large.
By “real Wiccans” I mean those indoctrinated into the path through a teacher or coven. While I agree with the premise that the bickering and crap that seems to be reverberating through online witchcraft these days is extremely unfortunate, I’m not sure that it is destroying the Wiccan religion.
The woman who wrote the piece has been practicing witchcraft since I was in middle school, so I won’t pretend I know anything close to what she knows about the Craft. However, I remember seeing lots of posts similar to this when I was beginning my path in 2004, except they were aimed at Wiccans who were self-taught.
Good or bad, most who have come to witchcraft in the last twenty-some years have done so as self-taught solitaries. I dare say, if Scott Cunningham had written his books and instead of calling it, Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner had titled his book, Green Witch: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, there would be lots of green witches out there instead of Wiccans. I think that Cunningham had that kind of influence through his writing.
Going back to the original referenced article, I would have to side with the author, except to say that I think the heightened bickering and infighting is driving people not only away from Wicca, but from witchcraft altogether. There have been times I was ready to chuck it all because of the internet infighting. My solution was to shift to cottage witchcraft, which I guess plays right into the author’s argument. Except for the fact that she was talking about indoctrinated Wiccans, rather than self-taught folks, so it wasn’t really me to whom she was referring.
The real answer to all this is to turn off the computers and smart phones, and just live your magickal life without the noise. The rub is that 90% of us don’t belong to covens, and we get lonely on our paths. We enjoy rubbing virtual elbows with others like ourselves. Unfortunately, some people can’t help being assholes, and starting shit online, mainly their way of jumping up and down, waving wildly and yelling “look at me, look at me!”
I enjoy the elbow rubbing, so I’m not going away. I’ve acknowledged that I no longer care to do elaborate rituals and magical production numbers, so I shifted my focus to cottage witchcraft. But there is always going to be that self-taught Wiccan in me, and I can’t completely walk away from it. So I’m not sure how long-time Wiccan elders can be driven completely away from Wicca by those jumping, waving Trump-like bullies. Just as I have learned to ignore the Trumpster, perhaps those elders should just look away.