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Author Topic: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.  (Read 13718 times)

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BronwynWolf

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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2012, 07:38:51 AM »

I had a reply all set to go and my computer decided to eat it :::le sigh::: I will try again.

Yes, there are a lot of people who claim they are Solitary Practioners of Wicca. Cunningham was the first to write a book for them. HOWEVER, I think I know where GW is coming from....

"Wicca" as a term for a specific path was coined by Gerald Gardner in the 1940s.He CREATED it, no matter what bits nad pieces he borrowed from where. And the path he created was initiatory...A female had to initiate a male, and a male had to initiate a female. That was the way it was, period. Alexandrian Wicca is a direct spin-off of Gardnarian, because Alex WAS first a Gardnarian Wiccan. So, by the original use of the word, if you are NOT initiated into one of those two, you CANNOT call yourself Wiccan...

Times change and so does word usuage. What we called "Wiccan-based" in the 80s and 90s is now simply "Wiccan", and abounds with Soliataries who borrow from the original, and from other sources, but do not have the direct connection to either Gardner or Sanders. If someone claims to be Gardnerain or Alexandrian Wiccan, but have not been initiated into a direct-liniage coven, then no, they are not what they claim to be. Specific paths DO have rules and rituals specific to them, and those need to be followed to actually claim that path.
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2012, 08:00:56 AM »

:yeahthat:

I don't have a problem with Solitaries calling themselves Wiccan but they cannot be initiated except by another Wiccan who was previously initiated themselves. 
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2012, 08:14:16 AM »

BW - thanks, that will come in handy to remember. Wiccans in my country are quite rare, but I do think I can close the mouths of some of them with that. "You can claim to be Wiccan, but not real Gardnarian or Alexandrian, unless you have been initiated by their followers" pretty much sums it up. I like it.
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2012, 08:20:22 AM »

I think it might be more accurate to say that one cannot claim the title of Wiccan priest or priestess unless one has been properly initiated.  One can dedicate as a Wiccan either solitary or in the community and never be initiated and they are still Wiccan IMO.
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2012, 08:30:43 AM »

I think it might be more accurate to say that one cannot claim the title of Wiccan priest or priestess unless one has been properly initiated.  One can dedicate as a Wiccan either solitary or in the community and never be initiated and they are still Wiccan IMO.


Works to close the mouths of the coven leaders who have a bunch of mistakes in the translation of the Wiccan rede on their homepage.
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2012, 08:40:32 AM »

I think it might be more accurate to say that one cannot claim the title of Wiccan priest or priestess unless one has been properly initiated.  One can dedicate as a Wiccan either solitary or in the community and never be initiated and they are still Wiccan IMO.

 :yeahthat:

As a solitary myself I still call myself Wiccan since my faith is based very heavily upon Gardnerian Wicca as filtered through all the resources I've found for solitary practitioners. And I likewise do not have a problem with others who say that they are Wiccans even though they are self-dedicated and not initiated.

I'd be one hell of a hypocrite otherwise.

I also have no problems with isolated groups who have formed their own groupings, what many have termed a "learning coven" or a "non-traditional" coven. I've been in one and my wife and I took the position in the rituals as the priest and priestess. Someone after all had to drive and since we were the only married couple our friends nominated us.

But at no point would we ever make a claim to *being* a priest or priestess, high or otherwise as we have not been initiated nor have been trained. The most we admit to is having to take up the part as needed in ritual.

Most people understand the distinction. Especially in light of the fact that I fully intend on being initiated and start my path to learn how to be one once I can move out of the Bible-Thumping-Belt I find myself stuck in.

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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2012, 09:27:15 AM »


Mongo states it well. I call myself "Wiccan" among the mainstream types because they wouldn't understand any finer distinctions, and the image evoked is close enough for most purposes. Among fellow Pagans, I add modifiers or don't use the word at all out of respect for Gardner and Alexander- I have not been initiated, nor do I wish to be, as I have some differences. Being dedicated is another story, however; one can self dedicate. Actually, dedication is always self dedication- you can initiate me, but you can't dedicate me! At most, you can only recognize my dedication.

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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2012, 11:06:39 AM »

From what I have read, some solitaries (and Wiccan authors) do make a distinction between self-dedication and self-initiation and there are probably very many solitary Wiccans who have "self-initiated" (despite how legitimate the practice, or the terminology, is viewed by others), and possibly more than have been traditionally initiated.  This discussion highlights the disagreement there is among the pagan community regarding initiation, but I'm still sticking to my guns with the way I have characterized the differences between Wiccan and shamanic initiation.

Wiccans could find their path along similar lines-- the proverbial giant cluex4 whacking you upside the head repeatedly-- though usually the physical illness is not a component for Wiccans and some Wiccans are initiated by other Wiccans rather than by spirits.

At the core, what we're talking about is how a person finds their spiritual calling-- did you chose it or did the spirits or deities chose you?
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #33 on: February 03, 2012, 11:17:35 AM »

You can't initiate yourself.
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #34 on: February 03, 2012, 11:21:28 AM »

That is your belief, yes. ;)
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2012, 12:48:45 PM »

It is not simply a belief - it is the accepted definition by Wiccans who undergo formal training in the Craft.  I am curious as to why someone who does not identify themselves as Wiccan would argue the point with those who do. 

I understand that there are authors who say otherwise - most authors write to appeal to a certain audience.  I would think stating that initiation requires formal training might not appeal to an audience of Solitaries.  There may be some form of initiation that can be done as a Solitary but it is NOT a Wiccan initiation.
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #36 on: February 03, 2012, 01:00:17 PM »

An initiation is a passing down of lineage. That is why one can not self initiate.
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2012, 01:05:20 PM »

I agree. It's the accepted definition by Wiccans who undergo formal training in the Craft. I'm not arguing the point at all. I'm saying there appear to be other viewpoints by people who identify themselves as Wiccan. In my comparison of Wicca and shamanism, I was attempting to draw a comparison between Wicca as a whole, which would be more inclusive than traditional Gardnerian Wicca or even other traditions with covens, and shamanism as a whole, which would extend beyond traditional native shamans to include modern shamanic practitioners. The argument over whether solitary Wiccans are valid in calling whatever steps they take to become Wiccans, to begin and follow their paths, an initiation seems to me to be tangential to the topic of the essay.
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #38 on: February 03, 2012, 01:11:46 PM »

Yeah, this did get a lot off-topic. I think we can all agree that shamanism isn't even half as much about initiation as Wicca is, and just stop it here.

I stick to the Call being the most important thing that distinguishes the path, though. Really the coolest thing about shamanism in my opinion. Plus, according to Siberian shamanism, there were three types of shamans, invokers, priests and healers, or something like that, according to which shamanistic trait they were tasked with. I may have the terms messed up and there being a priest, invoker and warlock, but I am definitely sure there were three types.
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #39 on: February 03, 2012, 01:12:33 PM »

True, it may be tangential to the essay but it was brought up.  There are many people trying to learn here, I believe clarification was required in regards to Wiccan initiation.  Wicca is not a religion where "do whatever feels right" applies to everything. 
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2012, 01:14:46 PM »

The plethora of "Wicca 101" books out there, beginning in the 90s, is both a blessing and a curse. Much misinformation has been circulated, which it is our duty to dispel when we can.

(BTW Muffin, you brought the initiation issue up originally ;))
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #41 on: February 03, 2012, 01:19:47 PM »

Pft, I messed up on my facts very bad, not sure where I got the invoker thing from. The shaman had three primary functions, Priest, Healer and Prophet, while the three types of shaman were by primary skill Estatic, Prophet and Incantation shaman.
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Eer aan die gode en hul oordeel.
I am the type of person who could tear you into pieces just to be the one to sew you back together.
Those that are best with the blades rarely let them leave the sheaths.

earthmuffin

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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #42 on: February 03, 2012, 01:27:48 PM »

Meh, I don't have a problem with the Wicca 101 books. To me, spirituality is an extremely personal path and each to his own, whatever you want to call it. Wicca will evolve whether traditional Wiccans like it or not. Maybe eventually the differences will be great enough that everyone will start calling solitaries something else.

I agree the calling is an important characteristic of shamanism, but like I said some shamans have the title passed on by their relatives so it doesn't characterize all shamans. And I think most shamans would agree it really isn't cool. It's pretty horrid actually. My question about do you choose it or are you led to a path by spirits or deity should have been revised to "or dragged kicking and screaming in the case of shamanism."

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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #43 on: February 03, 2012, 01:33:14 PM »

Hehehe, EM, I like your way of expressing your opinion. Kicking and screaming is quite correct, even if I judge by the few times I was saved from death I can imagine the call being pretty darn horrid, but truth be told, that is, what in my opinion, makes it distinguishably special and different from Wicca. By "cool" I meant what makes it damn unique; because all spiritual paths share some similar traits, but this one I find to be the main trait no other has.

Scratch that, "most other" doesn't sound better, nothing springs to mind that is close to the shamanistic call in my head, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2012, 02:16:43 PM by Rovay »
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Eer aan die gode en hul oordeel.
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earthmuffin

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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #44 on: February 03, 2012, 01:52:11 PM »

A mystical conversion might be similar. There is also spontaneous kundalini awakening, which some describe as being similar in some respects. Then there's being abducted by aliens and sent back down to earth to teach the alien religion... (I'm getting silly now in case that wasn't obvious).
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #45 on: February 03, 2012, 02:18:36 PM »

A mystical conversion might be similar. There is also spontaneous kundalini awakening, which some describe as being similar in some respects. Then there's being abducted by aliens and sent back down to earth to teach the alien religion... (I'm getting silly now in case that wasn't obvious).

Obviously was, and I find it funny. Yet, I do think I should end my part in this conversation for tonight, because I actually wrote "don't sounds better", and now have the desire to shoot myself. I have the feeling that ever since I came to the conclusion that it'd be a good career move to become an English teacher, I'm making dumber and dumber typos...
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Eer aan die gode en hul oordeel.
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Those that are best with the blades rarely let them leave the sheaths.

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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #46 on: August 09, 2016, 01:02:58 PM »

An initiation is a passing down of lineage. That is why one can not self initiate.

OK, so I have a question here that I'm a little hesitant to ask: no matter which way I'm trying to phrase it, it's coming across as rude or confrontational, yikes!  :hairpull:

I'm just going to go ahead and ask it, and heavily disclaim that I only ask out of honest curiosity. It isn't meant to hurt or rile anyone up- incredibly sorry if that's what I end up doing anyway.

From what I know, an initiation into a Wiccan coven is about lineage, like GW points out: so in very practical terms, being initiated into a Gardnerian coven (for example) would mean getting access to the Gardnerian way of doing things, the BoS's and rituals and so on....outsiders would not have access to the same materials or training. (In fact, a time honoured way of making sure that only initiates knew the full details of a ritual or system was to deliberately mess up a few details in publications meant for the general masses)

So from this specific knowledge, the initiate would get the privilege to call himself/herself a "Gardnerian Wiccan".

My question is this:  would you say there are observable differences between the "skill sets" of people who are initiated properly into a wiccan trad versus the ones who come from a wiccan-like path but aren't actually initiated. In the context of energy work, I mean.

Edited to add: I realised while typing this that I'm making the basic mistake a lot of folks make, in that I'm assuming all wiccans necessarily practice Wicca for the witchcraft.  :whistle: Regardless, I'll let my post stand anyway. :)

I guess what GW said corresponds exactly with the sacred thread ceremony of Bramhin hindus; so I'm trying to make sense of that through this context.
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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #47 on: August 09, 2016, 05:17:06 PM »

Hi, T! Wow, you have dredged up an old one here.  :whistle:  I think the only people who could answer this would be those initiated into a traditional Wiccan coven and I am not sure there are very many here who can lay that claim.

But I would hazard a guess that yes, there would be a difference in the skill set because the traditional Wiccan initiate would have access to specific training the solitary would not. That's not to say the solitary could not get possibly comparable energetic training or experience through different sources such as study with a tai chi, reiki master, yogi, or other such mentor, or even just through their own experience of trying different things. I think that in any discipline, secular or spiritual, it is quite possible for some to achieve very high levels of competency through years of self-teaching. Having an experience person or group of people to train you, of course, takes a more direct route to the same end.



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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #48 on: August 09, 2016, 07:19:42 PM »


Yes, there would be a difference in *GARDENERIAN* skill sets, or whichever tradition the initiation is in. Not necessarily in magic skills, or or meditation skills, or any other such specific instance- but if you're not initiated into the mysteries, you're not a (fill in the blank).

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Re: Why I don't consider Wicca a shamanic religion.
« Reply #49 on: August 11, 2016, 05:33:31 PM »

I have been initiated into two formal paths. Initiation is the work you do to learn about a specific path and remake yourself as a spiritually practicing human. The ritual is a celebration of what you have already done. It provides a reason for further training and a hope that you will learn the mysteries of that path. I didn't have access to the covens BoS until I reached the third degree but I had learned a great deal about the path and the way to practice. As for energy work, it is taught as you progress in your own growth. An initiate does very little energy work outside the circle or other group work. Learning to recognize energy and manipulate it are lessons given at the latter stages of the second degree work.

The above was true in the mystery tradition I first initiated into. It was not a Wiccan path but I believe that in Wicca the mysteries are revealed slowly throughout your learning process culminating in your third degree ceremony.
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