What’s real, what isn’t, and why it DOES matter.
History is a valued commodity within Western culture. Ideas which have “withstood the test of time” gain credibility with some on that merit alone. In this environment, a new religion feels particularly vulnerable, and the instinctive reaction is to find some history. The problem is a great amount of information that Wiccans pass off as “history” has no credible basis in fact, and that makes us look amateurish at best, or even an outright sham.
Wiccans have become much more sensitive in the last couple of decades to the reality of history. Nevertheless, many others still circulate grossly erroneous recollections of events, often because they simply read the same information elsewhere and take it at face value.
The biggest problematic claims proceed as follows:
- Matriarchal Societies – When the Goddess was supreme.
- The Old Religion – A single all-encompassing belief system incorporating the beliefs of all the pagan people of Europe, and perhaps more. This system, often equated with Wicca or witchcraft, is frequently traced back 25,000 years or even further.
- The Power of Pagan Women – Within these ancient pagan cultures, women were held in high regard, wielding religious, magical and political power.
- The Christian Church – Christianity was manipulated, developed or even invented as a tool of men as a means of subjugating these women. Through a series of clever deceptions, however, Old Religion followers continued to practice their arts long after Christianity had seized Europe.
- The Burning Times – The apex of the Church’s persecutions, in which tales of demonic involvement were invented to turn the people against the women they feared and the last defiant followers of the Old Religion.
Don’t take my word on these. Research the subjects if you find my words unlikely, but be aware of your sources. Solid historical scholarship is based on historical documents, while Wiccans tend to most often just quote other Wiccans. Historians also tell you what they base their conclusions on, frequently through footnotes. Many Wiccan authors do not even have a bibliography. Instead, they simply make claims and expect readers to believe them.