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Answering John on Wicca--- we should go off-list with this

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  • Lezlie
    ... John, I will begin this conversation here, on this list, but I would suggest that we take it to our personal e-mails after this. As you may know, Wicca
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 26, 2006
      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@e...> wrote:

      John,

      I will begin this conversation here, on this list, but I would suggest
      that we take it to our personal e-mails after this. As you may know,
      Wicca and Paganism as it has reemerged over the last 50 or so years as
      a movement has directly influenced fantasy & SF, so it does bear some
      relevance, but I am leery of bringing religion as a topic to any list.
      Especially concerning technical questions such as yours that have no
      pat answers.

      >
      > Hope this isn't a silly question, but (a) do Wiccan circles have
      > leaders who correspond to the priest/minister/pastor of Xian
      > tradition?

      No, not at all a silly question.
      In a word: yes. Some are even seminary trained and hold M.Div.s
      Th.D.s. from established seminary programs. Our closest ties are
      probably with the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Ca. -- but,
      I don't know a lot about what is happening in England or Canada on
      that level.

      (My degree, BTW, is a research degree in social science from a private
      Ph.D program in San Francisco, and is not directly related to my
      religion.)

      There is a Seminary in the mid-west called Cherry Hill that is
      attempting to create a fully independent Pagan/Wiccan
      curriculum-others are inside of larger programs in graduate schools
      with a spirituality track. (The adage is, BTW: that all Wiccans are
      Pagans, but not all Pagans are Wiccans.)

      I believe, personally, that we should avoid taking other religions as
      our "model" for clergy/laity relationships -- if we, in fact, choose
      to follow that notion of hierarchy at all. (Many of us think that's a
      very bad idea, both the-a-logically and politically speaking.) (Myself
      included.) Briefly: The idea of Deity within Wicca is not directly
      equivalent to anything found in Christianity, thus, the idea of
      leadership also does not follow within the Christian model. (It will
      become somewhat clear as I write.)

      There is, in addition, no "career path" in the Craft. No
      "congregation" will support a clerical leader with monetary return,
      sent, appointed, or otherwise. To wit: what we do for a living isn't
      religion.

      Granted, some folk are authors whose books sell well, some hold
      workshops and the like, a few do counseling and compassionate work in
      prisons, the military and hospices, and there are midwives and other
      healers (as in medical doctor) who are following a "clerical path"
      --if you will -- but, that is all little different than having a
      congregation support you as their appointed leader with a salary &
      benefits.

      Quite a few of us think that is as it should be.

      >If so, (b) what's his or her usual title and (c) are such
      > figures appointed, elected, or self-chosen?

      In most traditions I am familiar with (roughly equivalent to a "sect")
      it is an initiatory path. Some recognize apostolic descent. The
      "training" consists, at the outset, of a year and a day. The actual
      road to Priestess/Priesthood involving leadership within a group is
      much longer and more arduous. The personal work takes a lifetime. We
      also recognize a solitary path that has no true equivalency in
      Christian faiths. Titles vary accoring to Tradition and function
      within a Circle, however, everyone is Priest/Priestess and Witch upon
      initiation -- a title that describes our relationship with the Goddess
      & God, not the rest of the World.
      We don't have much truck with "official" titles, but do take a Craft
      or Magical name during the initiatory experience that some use all the
      time, some keep it private. (The "name-thing" is a little confusing,
      so I won't go into details here.)
      There is a marked difference between American-grown traditions like
      Dianic and Fairy (or, Feri) and the English Traditionalists, but we
      are in basic agreement about the need for proper training for those
      called to leadership. Now that we have been joined by the next
      generation, a very strong community in Australia and our Slavic
      brothers & sisters have begun coming forward, things are in a bit of
      an uproar concerning what is traditional, what isn't, what our
      relationship is to other faiths, and what leadership actually means...

      For much more information than you ever wanted or needed, go to:
      http://www.cog.org/ (There are many links.) If you have further
      interest, may I suggest a later edition of Margot Adler's "Drawing
      Down the Moon"?

      Of course, other Wiccans reading this will now enter the fray...


      > had special training (hardshell Baptist, some Pentecostal),

      We are represented in several international interfaith organizations.

      Mainly - at least here in the US - we would like the self-appointed
      authorities from other faiths to stop telling us what we are, and
      trying to legislate and harass us in ways both personal and
      impersonal. Christianity is a fine religion, I am in doubt as to
      whether some outspoken members actually practice it. (And, *that*
      brings up American politics, and I will not be tempted to go there on
      this list.)

      to a few
      > who have no designated person filling that role within a congregation
      > (Quaker);

      Possibly the Society of Friends-- but, there are very important
      differences that all revolve around initiation, the idea of Diety and
      the creation of ritual -- and, dare I say it? Democracy.


      I'm curious which Wicca most resembles, if indeed it's
      > parallel to any of them or standardized enough where such
      > generalizations are fair.
      > --John R. (Dr.)

      There are standardizations, of sorts.

      That is a *question* that is much debated within the community itself.
      I do not believe, as I said, that we should follow the conventions of
      other faiths. Others disagree. Lezlie (Ph.D.)
    • Mike Foster
      Count me in on this one, John & Lezlie. At ORC there was a very lively panel on this Sunday--of course--with self, Greg Wright, Lynette Porter, and Amy
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 27, 2006
        Count me in on this one, John & Lezlie. At ORC there was a very lively
        panel on this Sunday--of course--with self, Greg Wright, Lynette Porter,
        and Amy Sturgis. We ended up taking it outside, as it were, for
        subesequnt discussion with a few committed believers from atheist to RC.

        Mike

        Lezlie wrote:

        >--- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@e...> wrote:
        >
        >John,
        >
        >I will begin this conversation here, on this list, but I would suggest
        >that we take it to our personal e-mails after this. As you may know,
        >Wicca and Paganism as it has reemerged over the last 50 or so years as
        >a movement has directly influenced fantasy & SF, so it does bear some
        >relevance, but I am leery of bringing religion as a topic to any list.
        >Especially concerning technical questions such as yours that have no
        >pat answers.
        >
        >
        >
        >>Hope this isn't a silly question, but (a) do Wiccan circles have
        >>leaders who correspond to the priest/minister/pastor of Xian
        >>tradition?
        >>
        >>
        >
        >No, not at all a silly question.
        >In a word: yes. Some are even seminary trained and hold M.Div.s
        >Th.D.s. from established seminary programs. Our closest ties are
        >probably with the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Ca. -- but,
        >I don't know a lot about what is happening in England or Canada on
        >that level.
        >
        >(My degree, BTW, is a research degree in social science from a private
        >Ph.D program in San Francisco, and is not directly related to my
        >religion.)
        >
        >There is a Seminary in the mid-west called Cherry Hill that is
        >attempting to create a fully independent Pagan/Wiccan
        >curriculum-others are inside of larger programs in graduate schools
        >with a spirituality track. (The adage is, BTW: that all Wiccans are
        >Pagans, but not all Pagans are Wiccans.)
        >
        >I believe, personally, that we should avoid taking other religions as
        >our "model" for clergy/laity relationships -- if we, in fact, choose
        >to follow that notion of hierarchy at all. (Many of us think that's a
        >very bad idea, both the-a-logically and politically speaking.) (Myself
        >included.) Briefly: The idea of Deity within Wicca is not directly
        >equivalent to anything found in Christianity, thus, the idea of
        >leadership also does not follow within the Christian model. (It will
        >become somewhat clear as I write.)
        >
        >There is, in addition, no "career path" in the Craft. No
        >"congregation" will support a clerical leader with monetary return,
        >sent, appointed, or otherwise. To wit: what we do for a living isn't
        >religion.
        >
        >Granted, some folk are authors whose books sell well, some hold
        >workshops and the like, a few do counseling and compassionate work in
        >prisons, the military and hospices, and there are midwives and other
        >healers (as in medical doctor) who are following a "clerical path"
        >--if you will -- but, that is all little different than having a
        >congregation support you as their appointed leader with a salary &
        >benefits.
        >
        >Quite a few of us think that is as it should be.
        >
        >
        >
        >>If so, (b) what's his or her usual title and (c) are such
        >>figures appointed, elected, or self-chosen?
        >>
        >>
        >
        >In most traditions I am familiar with (roughly equivalent to a "sect")
        >it is an initiatory path. Some recognize apostolic descent. The
        >"training" consists, at the outset, of a year and a day. The actual
        >road to Priestess/Priesthood involving leadership within a group is
        >much longer and more arduous. The personal work takes a lifetime. We
        >also recognize a solitary path that has no true equivalency in
        >Christian faiths. Titles vary accoring to Tradition and function
        >within a Circle, however, everyone is Priest/Priestess and Witch upon
        >initiation -- a title that describes our relationship with the Goddess
        >& God, not the rest of the World.
        >We don't have much truck with "official" titles, but do take a Craft
        >or Magical name during the initiatory experience that some use all the
        >time, some keep it private. (The "name-thing" is a little confusing,
        >so I won't go into details here.)
        >There is a marked difference between American-grown traditions like
        >Dianic and Fairy (or, Feri) and the English Traditionalists, but we
        >are in basic agreement about the need for proper training for those
        >called to leadership. Now that we have been joined by the next
        >generation, a very strong community in Australia and our Slavic
        >brothers & sisters have begun coming forward, things are in a bit of
        >an uproar concerning what is traditional, what isn't, what our
        >relationship is to other faiths, and what leadership actually means...
        >
        > For much more information than you ever wanted or needed, go to:
        >http://www.cog.org/ (There are many links.) If you have further
        >interest, may I suggest a later edition of Margot Adler's "Drawing
        >Down the Moon"?
        >
        >Of course, other Wiccans reading this will now enter the fray...
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >>had special training (hardshell Baptist, some Pentecostal),
        >>
        >>
        >
        >We are represented in several international interfaith organizations.
        >
        >Mainly - at least here in the US - we would like the self-appointed
        >authorities from other faiths to stop telling us what we are, and
        >trying to legislate and harass us in ways both personal and
        >impersonal. Christianity is a fine religion, I am in doubt as to
        >whether some outspoken members actually practice it. (And, *that*
        >brings up American politics, and I will not be tempted to go there on
        >this list.)
        >
        >to a few
        >
        >
        >>who have no designated person filling that role within a congregation
        >>(Quaker);
        >>
        >>
        >
        >Possibly the Society of Friends-- but, there are very important
        >differences that all revolve around initiation, the idea of Diety and
        >the creation of ritual -- and, dare I say it? Democracy.
        >
        >
        >I'm curious which Wicca most resembles, if indeed it's
        >
        >
        >>parallel to any of them or standardized enough where such
        >>generalizations are fair.
        >>--John R. (Dr.)
        >>
        >>
        >
        >There are standardizations, of sorts.
        >
        >That is a *question* that is much debated within the community itself.
        >I do not believe, as I said, that we should follow the conventions of
        >other faiths. Others disagree. Lezlie (Ph.D.)
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
        >Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Lezlie
        I wish I could have been there... Can you send a bit of a run down...? these will be a panel at Pantheacon (http://www.ancientways.com/)this year (I think) on
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 28, 2006
          I wish I could have been there... Can you send a bit of a run down...?
          these will be a panel at Pantheacon (http://www.ancientways.com/)this
          year (I think) on all the questions and themes raised herein.
          Probably more than one ... I am sad to say that I can't go, but my art
          will be there. You can all write to me off list and continue this
          discussion all you like, I just don't want to clutter up the list or
          cause the ruffling of feathers.

          It is really interesting to see the influence of Pagan themes and
          Pagan wrieters on (especially) fantasy. Lezlie

          --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Mike Foster <mafoster@d...> wrote:
          >
          > Count me in on this one, John & Lezlie. At ORC there was a very lively
          > panel on this Sunday--of course--with self, Greg Wright, Lynette
          Porter,
          > and Amy Sturgis. We ended up taking it outside, as it were, for
          > subesequnt discussion with a few committed believers from atheist to RC.
          >
          > Mike
          >
          > Lezlie wrote:
          >
          > >--- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@e...> wrote:
          > >
          > >John,
          > >
          > >I will begin this conversation here, on this list, but I would suggest
          > >that we take it to our personal e-mails after this. As you may know,
          > >Wicca and Paganism as it has reemerged over the last 50 or so years as
          > >a movement has directly influenced fantasy & SF, so it does bear some
          > >relevance, but I am leery of bringing religion as a topic to any list.
          > >Especially concerning technical questions such as yours that have no
          > >pat answers.
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >>Hope this isn't a silly question, but (a) do Wiccan circles have
          > >>leaders who correspond to the priest/minister/pastor of Xian
          > >>tradition?
          > >>
          > >>
          > >
          > >No, not at all a silly question.
          > >In a word: yes. Some are even seminary trained and hold M.Div.s
          > >Th.D.s. from established seminary programs. Our closest ties are
          > >probably with the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Ca. -- but,
          > >I don't know a lot about what is happening in England or Canada on
          > >that level.
          > >
          > >(My degree, BTW, is a research degree in social science from a private
          > >Ph.D program in San Francisco, and is not directly related to my
          > >religion.)
          > >
          > >There is a Seminary in the mid-west called Cherry Hill that is
          > >attempting to create a fully independent Pagan/Wiccan
          > >curriculum-others are inside of larger programs in graduate schools
          > >with a spirituality track. (The adage is, BTW: that all Wiccans are
          > >Pagans, but not all Pagans are Wiccans.)
          > >
          > >I believe, personally, that we should avoid taking other religions as
          > >our "model" for clergy/laity relationships -- if we, in fact, choose
          > >to follow that notion of hierarchy at all. (Many of us think that's a
          > >very bad idea, both the-a-logically and politically speaking.) (Myself
          > >included.) Briefly: The idea of Deity within Wicca is not directly
          > >equivalent to anything found in Christianity, thus, the idea of
          > >leadership also does not follow within the Christian model. (It will
          > >become somewhat clear as I write.)
          > >
          > >There is, in addition, no "career path" in the Craft. No
          > >"congregation" will support a clerical leader with monetary return,
          > >sent, appointed, or otherwise. To wit: what we do for a living isn't
          > >religion.
          > >
          > >Granted, some folk are authors whose books sell well, some hold
          > >workshops and the like, a few do counseling and compassionate work in
          > >prisons, the military and hospices, and there are midwives and other
          > >healers (as in medical doctor) who are following a "clerical path"
          > >--if you will -- but, that is all little different than having a
          > >congregation support you as their appointed leader with a salary &
          > >benefits.
          > >
          > >Quite a few of us think that is as it should be.
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >>If so, (b) what's his or her usual title and (c) are such
          > >>figures appointed, elected, or self-chosen?
          > >>
          > >>
          > >
          > >In most traditions I am familiar with (roughly equivalent to a "sect")
          > >it is an initiatory path. Some recognize apostolic descent. The
          > >"training" consists, at the outset, of a year and a day. The actual
          > >road to Priestess/Priesthood involving leadership within a group is
          > >much longer and more arduous. The personal work takes a lifetime. We
          > >also recognize a solitary path that has no true equivalency in
          > >Christian faiths. Titles vary accoring to Tradition and function
          > >within a Circle, however, everyone is Priest/Priestess and Witch upon
          > >initiation -- a title that describes our relationship with the Goddess
          > >& God, not the rest of the World.
          > >We don't have much truck with "official" titles, but do take a Craft
          > >or Magical name during the initiatory experience that some use all the
          > >time, some keep it private. (The "name-thing" is a little confusing,
          > >so I won't go into details here.)
          > >There is a marked difference between American-grown traditions like
          > >Dianic and Fairy (or, Feri) and the English Traditionalists, but we
          > >are in basic agreement about the need for proper training for those
          > >called to leadership. Now that we have been joined by the next
          > >generation, a very strong community in Australia and our Slavic
          > >brothers & sisters have begun coming forward, things are in a bit of
          > >an uproar concerning what is traditional, what isn't, what our
          > >relationship is to other faiths, and what leadership actually means...
          > >
          > > For much more information than you ever wanted or needed, go to:
          > >http://www.cog.org/ (There are many links.) If you have further
          > >interest, may I suggest a later edition of Margot Adler's "Drawing
          > >Down the Moon"?
          > >
          > >Of course, other Wiccans reading this will now enter the fray...
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >>had special training (hardshell Baptist, some Pentecostal),
          > >>
          > >>
          > >
          > >We are represented in several international interfaith organizations.
          > >
          > >Mainly - at least here in the US - we would like the self-appointed
          > >authorities from other faiths to stop telling us what we are, and
          > >trying to legislate and harass us in ways both personal and
          > >impersonal. Christianity is a fine religion, I am in doubt as to
          > >whether some outspoken members actually practice it. (And, *that*
          > >brings up American politics, and I will not be tempted to go there on
          > >this list.)
          > >
          > >to a few
          > >
          > >
          > >>who have no designated person filling that role within a congregation
          > >>(Quaker);
          > >>
          > >>
          > >
          > >Possibly the Society of Friends-- but, there are very important
          > >differences that all revolve around initiation, the idea of Diety and
          > >the creation of ritual -- and, dare I say it? Democracy.
          > >
          > >
          > >I'm curious which Wicca most resembles, if indeed it's
          > >
          > >
          > >>parallel to any of them or standardized enough where such
          > >>generalizations are fair.
          > >>--John R. (Dr.)
          > >>
          > >>
          > >
          > >There are standardizations, of sorts.
          > >
          > >That is a *question* that is much debated within the community itself.
          > >I do not believe, as I said, that we should follow the conventions of
          > >other faiths. Others disagree. Lezlie (Ph.D.)
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
          > >Yahoo! Groups Links
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
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