Witch Wednesdays Podcast Episode 3 - Witchcraft and Religion

Witch Wednesdays Podcast Episode 3 - Witchcraft and Religion

Episode 3 can be found here and on YouTube here.


S: You're listening to episode three witchcraft and religion. We have already touched on this in the last two episodes and we were talking about how Tara follows the Wiccan religion while I don't follow any religion at all, but since the terms witch, witchcraft, wicca and pagan are all highly confused, especially by beginners, we thought it was worth an entire episode completely on it's own so when we talk in the future about pagan holidays or the wiccan wheel of the year, you will understand exactly what those terms mean.

T: Yes

S: So I thought the best way to do this with start with the basic summary and then we'll break it down to make it completely easy to understand. Basic summary that paganism is the umbrella that covers all non-Abrahamic religions including wicca but paganism is not a religion itself. Wicca falls under this paganism umbrella and it's a dualist religion based on a god and a goddess and the followers of Wicca are often called witches. Witchcraft itself is not a religion or a faith, it's a practice that requires no deities at all and therefore not all witches considered themselves wiccan. Let's let's break that down a little bit in case you're still super confused starting with paganism. So it is not a religion, if it means that they follow one of the hundreds of non-Abrahamic religions. There are only three Abrahamic religions, which is Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. So if you are not one of those three, you are a pagan. It's every other religion including Buddhism, Hinduism and Wicca.

T: And just to be clear the Christians are the ones that came up with the name paganism so they basically were trying to separate themselves, the early Christians, and this is one of the few ways they can figure out how to do it there were the Jewish people and everybody else in Europe basically.

S: That's exactly how that went down. So yes, all religions outside of those three are considered pagan. So yeah that's it let's jump into Wicca and I will do a brief summary and then hand it over to Tara because Tara is the one that is actually Wiccan so she can tell you a little bit more. So a lot of people think that Wicca is ancient or pre-Christian given all these pagan associations but that's just not true. It's a modern religion started by a man named Gerald Gardener in Britain in the 1940s, and officially released as a religion in 1951, making it actually one of the youngest religions in the world but also one of the fastest growing. This misconception comes from the fact that it does try to draw on pre-Christian beliefs and we say try because we don't really know what things were like back then we just make educated guesses. So Tara can correct me on anything I'm wrong on here, wiccans believe in a god and goddess exactly which two these are varies by person but you can't be a wiccan without following both the masculine and the feminine since it's a dualist religion if you just stick with either a masculine or feminine deity, you would be pagan rather than wiccan. And within wicca,  there is something called the wiccan rede R-E-D-E which is like the key moral statement of wiccans so if you follow the God the goddess and wiccan rede you can call yourself a wicca. 

T: You did pretty well. Just to give you guys a bit more detail though on Wicca that is the over arching belief system is the God and Goddess and celebrating eight holidays that fall on the wheel of the year but there are many many different sects of Wicca and a sect may have particular traditions and ways that they celebrate the holidays as well as a focus on particular aspects of the god or goddess when they worship so there are so many different sects. So one, I'm terrible pronunciation so you'll realize that as we go on if you haven't already and two I don't wanna offend anyone by not remembering a particular sect so I'm not gonna name them all but they all celebrate the eight major holidays but they also may celebrate the lunar cycle or they may celebrate a particular aspect of the goddess during a particular holiday and we'll go into all those in later episodes so I don't wanna get into that now but there are many many different ways to be wicca, wicca is the over arching belief system but all the different sects are slightly different than one another one way to think of this is if you know Christian belief systems you know that there's Catholics and there's Baptists and there's Methodist and there's there's quite a few different sects that celebrate for instance Christmas. They all celebrate quite differently depending on what sect you belong to and none of them are better or worse than another they're just different. So a lot of wiccan people do you end up falling into a particular tradition or sect and it's just what they're more comfortable with but it's their believe system what works for them. One thing that I really enjoy about Wicca it is very very customizable to what you believe what works for you and I am all about that so that is how I fell into the religion as it were and how I've been continuing in that religion for so many years as I've changed as a human being overtime because all of us do and having said that we will talk more about Wiccan holidays and particulars on that. I just wanted to give you we wanted to give you a really brief overview on what it is and this and how it is different than witchcraft. There are a lot of times are used as synonyms and I often use them as synonyms because I am both Wiccan and a witch but that is not necessarily how it always has to be.

S: So witchcraft and witches. Here's where I am a lot of confusion comes in because witchcraft is an integral part of Wicca, Wiccans are also called witches. Now it is technically possible to be wiccan and not actively practice spell work but since there is magic inherently in the rituals and worship it's hard to say that you're a wiccan and not a witch, but you can be a witch without being wiccan. As we mentioned before Tara is a Wiccan which I am just a witch. Witchcraft itself is a completely secular practice that requires no deities at all. You can practice without any belief system or you can practice with any of the pagan beliefs systems like wiccan, Buddhism etc. You can also practice if you are Christian or Jewish but that's something you need to reconcile for yourself. The Bible does call out witchcraft as something that is evil and needs to be eradicated but it says the same thing about gays and mixing fabrics, so a lot of Christians interpret those older rules for themselves in modern times. Since Tara and I are not Christian, we can't really explain how this works so if you are feel free to call in with a voicemail and let us know if you listen to the end of the episode it will explain to you exactly how you can do that.

T: Actually my biggest thing with the Bible that you shouldn't take everything exactly as it says is it says shellfish is bad and I love shellfish so that really started me on my I don't think this is right.

S: Another good reason. People have a lot of different interpretations about the Bible in the different things so if that if you are a Christian witch please call him and let us know and explain your belief system we love to hear it.

T: We really would. 

S: So the very last thing that we want to touch on...

T: Oh before change over to that, so when we're talking about witchcraft we're talking about our belief system in how we use witchcraft it does vary culturally and by country so if you are in the UK, yes it is the practice of magical skills and abilities but it may also have different connotations for you. So I don't want to downplay that the meaning or significance in your life may be different than it is in ours

S: Correct this is all just what we think I mean a lot of it is based on generally excepted traditions and we are going to try to incorporate as many broad things as we can and explain how we incorporate those you know in our lives but it is what we think and believe. And that's a good segue into the very last thing that we wanted to touch on because it is going to come up a lot in the future podcast and it's just comes up in relation to witchcraft in general is the idea of closed religions. So a closed religion is one that you need to be born or invited into and they are most often indigenous oppressed religions like Native American spirituality, Mayan, Aztec, voodoo and the Romani religion. Which means we try very hard not to appropriate any of their traditions or answer any questions about it because we clearly don't know the answer. So we just want you to be mindful of this for future podcast episodes, like when we talk about animal spirit guides or cleansing your home with palo santo. We don't use the term spirit animal or smudging with sage because these are defined terms that belong to native American traditions not to be appropriated by witchcraft. PSA over.

T: well the only thing I have to add that is the big thing about a closed religion versus an open religion and most people that grew up in a Judeo Christian type environment whether or not they were raised in that tradition even growing up in Iowa as I did you learn certain terms and you learn certain things like Christmas. Everyone I know celebrates Christmas I'm talking about the Jewish people I'm talking about the Muslim people I'm talking about everyone in the area celebrates it because it's a cultural phenomenon not just a religious one where I was growing up. Yes it's also has religious connotation but a lot of areas that have these kind of pervasive religious traditions that turn into a cultural tradition is that they are very open and they go out and recruit. They are very much welcoming to outsiders but a lot of the traditions that wicca is based on or witchcraft kind of kind of incorporates as it were it's based on closed religions that the people couldn't join so they took what they could from it and they kind of made it their own and so as she said there's certain terms that we're gonna try not to use and in popular culture they may be used just because that's how they are commonly known but...

S: Yes it comes up a lot, you hear spirit animal a lot like Jennifer Lawrence is my spirit animal that's not that's not how it works and it's not inappropriate thing to say so we use the term animal spirit guides we will have a whole podcast episode on that but yes we are going to be very mindful of that so please if you have any questions about Native American spirituality or voodoo or anything like that, if you want to ask us we will direct you to the right people to ask. We just can't tell you because we are not part of any closed religion.

T: and we're really if you're part of a closed religion I'm not saying you can't listen to it but you're gonna have way more knowledge on that then we could ever offer you anything even touching on it because our entire knowledge base would be TV which sorry it's wrong. 

S: yes but of that wraps up our podcast then for this episode on witchcraft and religion if you have any questions please send us an email or a voicemail listen to the end and it will explain all the different places that you can reach us and we will see you next week.

T: all right bye!

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