Ask Your Local Witches
WCC Reading List
Welcome to the Temple's open forum.
We're sorry but life happened, as well as a few technical difficulties. If you sent in a question in the past few months which hasn't been answered, please try again. We have begun posting answers again as of today. Thankyou for your patience! - Dec. 11/01
With this page, your questions concerning the Temple, Wicca, any other subject concerning contemporary Paganism or related interests are welcome. Questions may be posted to us anonymously if you wish, or you may provide your name and email. Priesthood members of the WCC Oshawa Temple are happy to review your queries. Most responses will be posted here for the inquiring minds of all... if it is more appropriate to answer you privately, we will do so. The Webmaster reserves the right to edit questions when posted on this page. If you are not Pagan, we hope that you will find this page to be an informative and practical way for you to get answers to what be on your mind about us or our faith. Blessed Be.
None of these answered my question!
Q: What is Wicca?
A: Wicca is a nature-based earth religion whose spiritual principles are fundamentally based on the folklore of ancient European peoples, particularly those from the British Isles region. It is one of several contemporary Pagan religions. While the etymology of the term is often the subject of debate, it is almost universally accepted that the term derives from Old English wicce, meaning "to bend". What Witches 'bend,' in essence, is perspective, as Wicca is largely about personal spiritual transformation and growth in a 'mystery', rather than 'revealed', context. Presently, Wicca may be described as including any number of sects, or traditions, each of which apply slightly differing perspectives of practice and ritual celebration. Included in this summation might be any number of solitary and/or ecclectic practitioners who, for any number of reasons, approach the Gods in ways outside of a tradition-based framework. Most in the community celebrate these differences with respect, and mature practitioners enjoy discussing mutual ideas in a nurturing fashion. Even with its differences between individuals or groups, virtually all Wiccans share some central ideas in common, namely: (1) the sacredness of the earth, (2) a personal approach to the divine, (3) an appreciation of deity in both a female and male context, (4) respect for women as the social and spiritual equals to men, and (5) a sense of openness and tolerance for differing perspectives. In these modern days of the Internet, many websites currently exist that offer multiple interpretations of Wiccan spirituality.
Q: Is this a cult?
A: No. The Wiccan Church of Canada is a recognized faith group by the government of Ontario, and Wiccan representatives sit on various multifaith policy-making bodies in the province, including the Ontario Multifaith Council. Wicca, as a religion, is also recognized by multiple other governments throughout the world. While a "cult" is properly defined as any religious veneration (such as the Catholic "cult of saints"), the term has acquired many unsavory characteristics in the public mind that clearly disclude Paganism from it. "Cults," in this context, most often involve aggressive recruiting, inflexible dogma, censorship of opinion, sexual manipulation, and/or surrender of will and individuality. Not only are these not typically characteristics of Pagan groups, but it can be argued that the Pagan renaissance is in direct response to such behavior! It is also arguably true that the term is unfortunately applied by some religious groups to libel other religious groups, even within the same faith, they might disagree with on matters of principle or belief.
Q: Are you Satanists?
A: No. Satanism, real or imagined, is completely anathema with Pagan (including Wiccan) beliefs. We do not even acknowledge the existence of a devil, much less worship one. In fact, it could be argued that Satanism misuses both Christian and Wiccan symbolism jointly.
Q: What do you do in your rituals?
A: Details about rites may vary, but generally we meditate, sing, speak to the Divine, speak to the spirits of natural forces, tell stories, dance, and have fun. Sometimes we have large potluck dinners together. Our liturgies might differ from those of other religions, but in the big picture, we pretty much do the same thing lots of other religions do.
Q: Do the Harry Potter novels represent your religion?
A: No. The novels are the work of English author J.K. Rowling’s imagination, and are are works of fantasy fiction, not religion. While some Durham region families have evidently expressed some concerns about the novels, it should be understood that Harry Potter books do not represent the Wiccan faith group, its philosophies, teachings, or practices. Further, interviews with the author printed in Britannia magazine have made it clear that Ms. Rowling made up the whole thing, rather than basing it on research about Wicca (as some people may have suggested).
Q: Do you celebrate Christmas?
A: Not exactly, no. Most Pagans celebrate the winter solstice (Yule), and in various ways. Some Pagan families might celebrate the holiday with their relatives, and so might be said to ‘do Christmas,’ but it isn’t necessarily part of our spirituality. Other Pagan families have approached the popular holiday as “Santa Day,” which gives Pagan parents an excuse to spend as much money on their kids as other parents. The kids don’t seem to mind.
Q: Do you hate Christians?
A: No, not necessarily. Some of us work alongside numerous Christian representatives on various multifaith associations, and do so effectively and cooperatively. Many Pagans firmly disagree with some matters of philosophy or attitude that some Christian people might share (such as proselytization), and occasionally we might find ourselves differing on some social opinions, but to suggest that Pagans inherently ‘hate’ Christians would be entirely erroneous. We do not necessarily see ourselves as being ‘the opposite end’ of a religious spectrum with, or by nature opposed to, Christianity. However, it might be said that bigotry, ignorance, or prejudice espoused as doctrine from any faith group is everybody’s opponent, not because of religious difference but because of the very nature of prejudice and intolerance.
Q: I’m confused. Are you “Pagans” or are you “Wiccans”?
A: Paganism is a broad term that embraces several earth-based, animist, poly- or pantheist spiritual approaches. Wicca, also often called the “Old Religion,” is one branch from that tree, but not necessarily the only one. Other Pagan religions include Druidism, Asatru (Norse Paganism), Romuva (Slavic Paganism), as well as syncretic religions such as Santeria, which blend Catholicism and Yoruban tribal practices. Some might add the spiritual practices of some ceremonial societies, such as the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), or other earth-based spiritualities, such as native religions, into the mix but that is open to debate. In short, it might be rightly said that Wiccans are Pagans, but not all Pagans are Wiccans.
Q: I read in the paper that some cult activity in the area included animal killing. Is that you?
A: Absolutely not. The Humane Society of Durham Region (whose work we heartily applaud) has a policy by which they seek to protect animals available for adoption from potential abusers, and we here at Oshawa Temple think this is an excellent idea. We called the Society about this, and they tell us that in 1998 there was one isolated (though no less tragic) incident in Bowmanville where an animal was harmed in what appeared to have been someone’s attempt at a ceremony. In our view, this kind of crime is more indicative of someone who needs therapy, imprisonment, or both, than it is about Wicca or Paganism in general. The people we spoke to at the Society also seem to understand this. Wiccans have a principle “to harm none,” and this definitely includes furry brothers and sisters. (Incidentally, Wicca isn’t a cult.)
Alternately, submit your question by email to firstname.lastname@example.org