meep commented...
9/17/2008 - 1:34
Really? Buckland's trad is not considered part and parcel to the whole thing? He was quite close to Gardner, if I recall, and was initiated by Gardner as a mutually agreed method for introducing it to the US. I guess I do agree that it wouldn't be true BTW in the sense that it's not British nor ever has been, but it's a pretty close lineage.

Eh, I digress. I don't actually care all that much about the intricacies and inheritance of initiatory Wicca anyway. Hard Gards drive me a bit out of my mind, actually. I generally use the term Neo-Pagan, myself. I'm a Wiccan by most non-fundamentalist views, but I'm borderline enough that I'm comfortable with avoiding the conflict.

That and I feel more and more that paganisms, both old and new, are quite similar in general theological tenets. I've felt that way for ages, but the book Pagan Theology really has cinched it for me. Envision Triumph of the Moon only focused more on theology and less on history. It's very non-dogmatic, while still having very valid points about paganism at large.

Traegorn commented...
9/17/2008 - 11:40
Buckland himself admittedly might still be considered a Witch by these people, but since Seax-Wica isn't British Traditional, there are some who don't consider those who follow it "truly Wiccan." It's ridiculous.
queenmab commented...
9/21/2008 - 14:00
This whole article is one big straw man argument, with some scare tactics and ad hominem thrown in for good measure.

"Fundamentalist Wiccans" are the biggest threat to Wicca? Really? How are they a threat? In that they disagree with you and make you fume?

You seriously misrepresent the position of a lot of trad Wiccans, which is that 1) religious groups get to make their own rules about whom they recognize as part of the group, really, yes they do, and 2) words mean things, and in the case of the name of a religion, there's an awful lot of identity and personal investment tied up in the name.

You also gloss over the fact that Gardner came up with the word, so it doesn't matter what other people would call him now.

I *personally* think that redefinition of terms is part of normal social development, and "Wicca" is evolving to mean something different from what it meant formerly. But I also understand the point of view of the people who think something important is being lost when people hear "Wicca" and think Willow on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." In any case, the issue is very much more complicated than you are presenting it here, and you do no one any good by oversimplifying it and insulting the people who disagree with you.
Traegorn commented...
9/21/2008 - 15:36
Fundamentalists from within are the largest threat to *any* religion. They bang on the drums and claim a moral superiority. They create division and mistrust. They create alienation.

It's the same reason Fundamentalist Christians make Christians look bad. How many Wiccans hold a negative view of Christianity just because a small percentage of them are over the top?

Gardner named the religion, but the word Wicca really does come from the Old English word for Witch. And of course it's ridiculous that people would think of Willow from Buffy when they hear the word Wicca -- the same with any popular fiction. But there is a percentage that defines it too narrowly, and that hurts us. Most importantly though, it's the people with the attitude that anything that isn't their tradition is inferior which hurts us.

BTW isn't the problem. I'm not BTW, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It's just that the most closed minded of Wicca flock to BTW since it seems more "established" in their mind. These are the people seeking moral superiority, and that is a problem.
meep commented...
9/22/2008 - 11:04
"This whole article is one big straw man argument, with some scare tactics and ad hominem thrown in for good measure. "

It's an editorial page, in essence, and not a formal debate. I do realize that the public at large isn't aware of the difference between the two, but if you are going to use logical falacies to tear down an editorial page, you're barking up the wrong tree on a fundamental level. Pick up a newspaper editorial page sometime and let me know how much of it holds to the priciples of logical debate. This, being an informal, personal page has even less obligation to stick to those principles, though actually does a pretty decent job given that it is editorial.

That said you do at least have a point that they have some claim to what the term does and doesn't mean. But keep in mind as well that the terms 'witchcraft' and 'pagan' were terms started in a different group at a different time. Most modern witches and pagans don't fit at all into some of the multiple definitions of those terms.

I think you miss the point, however, in that Trae is not arguing as to whether or not they have the right to do so, though when it comes to words, no matter how personal they are, they really don't have that right.

The dangers of fundamentalist thought are pretty profound. Not the least of which is in the realm of public opinion. Often the strict, exclusive, and occasionally 'holier than thou' nature of fundamentalism in any form presents a somewhat negative view on the movement as a whole, fundamentalism included. For instance, I was often credited on religious debate boards for converting people to christianity better than the fundamentalist christians in that I often apologized for their insanity and presented a fairer picture of the faith. A view I thought it deserved.

The other aspect, which Trae mentions, is fostering division in the group as a whole. There certainly is an argument to be made that wicca has come to be too broadly defined. I hardly imagine any Wiccan would disagree with that. But drawing the lines strictly on initiatory lineage or specific practices ignores an awful lot of realities in modern paganism. Trae even mentions them in the article. Valiente's self-initiation ritual, the existance of Seax-Wicca which is a Gardner-approved deviation from Gardnerianism, the list goes on.

And how about Alexandrianism, which claims a distinct lineage while containing similar structures and practices. Sanders was initiated, true. But similarities aside, his tradition clearly deviates from Gardnerianism and claims no heredity from it. How is it that Alexandrianism is so easily accepted as genuine and the rest are not? simply because it's older as Trae suggests (also a logical falacy, by the way)? Because it claims a heritage, though not Gardnerian? Several trads claim that as well.

So the final point is that clearly the initiatory lineage doesn't seem to be a hard and fast rule and clearly strict BTW practice is not either. So how are we to accept lines in the sand and the inevitable problems they cause when it appears the line doesn't universally apply?

I argue that we can't and we shouldn't. I think it's important to discuss it as it's important to understand what we mean by Wiccan, but it is not a black and white issue and shouldn't be made out to be that way. It wasn't then and it isn't now.

I think a better approach is to recognize the spiritual practices generally assumed to be Wiccan and realize that all Wiccans adhere to most of them yet most Wiccans, BTW Wiccans included, do not adhere to all of them. There are definitely some definitive quid pro quo beliefs that are non-negotiable, but aside from the very core characteristics I think it does a disservice to the body that is Wicca to canonically define it much further than that.

meep commented...
9/22/2008 - 11:06
sorry to post such a ridiculously huge reply on your page, Trae. I'm too often guilty of that.
Traegorn commented...
9/22/2008 - 11:48
Oh, I have no problem with it. Y'know, if you ever feel like submitting an article to the section, I'd be happy to put it up too, y'know. :P
meep commented...
9/22/2008 - 14:31
I may, but as you may have noticed I'm more of a reactionary poster on the web. I write very little original material and mostly just reply to posts I don't agree with. I'll definitely think about it.