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Wicca

Is Wicca a form of Satanism? Part 1
Overview. Various views of Satanism & Wicca

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Quotation by Otter and Morning Glory Zell:

"It seems to be necessary to preface every discussion of Witchcraft with an explanation that, no, Neo-Pagan Witches aren't Satanists." 1

There has been an enormous amount of confusion and disagreement about the beliefs and practices of both Wiccans and Satanists. This is particularly true among some conservative Christians, partly because of mistranslations in some of the older English Bibles.

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Overview:

Although the words "Wicca" and "Wiccan" are relatively well defined at this time, such terms as Satanism, Paganism and Witchcraft have many contrasting meanings.

Confusion over the definitions of religious terms is quite common. Even the term "Christian" is defined differently by various groups. For example, consider the following comment heard on an evangelical Christian radio program:

"Ann was raised a Roman Catholic, but became a Christian later in life."

This might be quite understandable to an evangelical Christian, but wholly confusing and probably quite insulting and distressing to a Catholic.

There is no right or wrong definition in these cases. Groups simply assign very different meanings to the same English words. The sentence: "Wicca is a type of Satanism" is neither right or wrong. It is a true statement to one group and false to many others, depending on the definitions that they use for various terms. Debate is useless. Only agreement on a single definition of terms will help.

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Satanism, as viewed by Satanists, etc.:

Satanism consists of one main faith group -- The Church of Satan -- and many smaller religious groups. Many of the latter tend to be very short lived.

We have concluded from studies of Satanism by specialists in new religious movements and from discussions with individual Satanists that the vast majority of Satanists do not recognize Satan as a deity. They are, in fact, Agnostics, Apatheists, or Atheists.

  • Agnostics believe that one cannot prove either the existence or the non-existence of a god or gods.

  • Apatheists regard the existence of god(s) or supreme being as a relatively meaningless and irrelevant question. Even if a proof for a god or gods existed -- or for that matter, a proof that no god existed, -- they wouldn't really care.

  • Some Atheists simply have no belief in any deity; others actively assert that there is no deity.

One illustration of this is that the largest Satanic group, the Church of Satan was founded by Anton LaVey, an Agnostic. After his death, it is now led by two Atheists.

Satanists generally regard Satan as a pre-Christian symbol, representing pleasure, virility, and strength. He is not viewed as a living entity.

Their prime symbol is the Sigil of Baphomet. This is a goat's head, drawn within an inverted pentagram (5-pointed star with one point downward and two up). It is surrounded by a circle. Some Satanists conduct individual rituals; some meet together in grottos.

Various behavioral codes are followed by Satanists, including:

  • Aleister Crowley: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law."
  • Anton LaVey:
    • "Responsibility to the responsible," and
    • "Do unto others as they've done unto you."

They permit Satanists considerable freedom of action. Some occasionally engage in black magic rituals with the goal of retaliating against those who have previously hurt them. Turning the other cheek is not their style.

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Satanism as viewed by many conservative Christians:

Many fundamentalists, other evangelicals, and some other Christians derive their beliefs about Satanism largely from the teachings of the Catholic Church during the burning times in the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. This was a time when the Catholic and Protestant Churches were torturing and burning or hanging religious heretics whom they charged with Satan worship.

Many conservative Christians view Satan as a totally evil quasi-deity dedicated to harming people, who is able to inject demons -- a.k.a. unclean spirits -- into people's minds, and who roams the earth seeking whom he might destroy. Further, they believe that Satanists hold a view of Satan that is similar to their own, except that Satanists worship and follow Satan.

To further complicate matters, some conservative Christians consider all non-Judeo-Christian religions to be Satanic. They believe that when followers of these religions worship their Gods and Goddesses, they are really worshipping Satan and/or his demons. For this reason, they consider Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Wicca, and hundreds of other religions to involve the worship of Satan, or of his demons.

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Wicca, as viewed by Wiccans and other Neopagans:

Wicca is unrelated to Satanism. It is a group of religious traditions. Some are highly structured, while most are eclectic. Many, perhaps most, Wiccans are solitary practitioners. Wiccans are, in many ways, directly opposite to Satanists:

bullet

Most Wiccans worship a Goddess and her consort, a God.

bulletThey do not recognize Satan or any other all-evil supernatural entity.

bulletTheir prime symbol is the exact opposite to the symbol used by Satanists. It is the upright pentagram -- a 5-pointed star with two points downward and one up. Sometimes it is enclosed by a circle to form a pentacle.

bullet Their groups are generally called covens, not grottos or temples.

bulletTheir rule of behavior is called the Wiccan Rede: "An it harm none, do what thou wilt." i.e. do whatever you wish, as long as it harms no one, including yourself. Wiccans are not allowed do dominate, manipulate, control, or harm others. 

Wiccans believe that they worship neither the Christian God nor the Christian devil. They worship a Goddess and a God. Neither is at all similar to Satan. Wicca, and other forms of Neopaganism, are as different from Satanism as Hinduism is from Christianity.

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Wicca as viewed by many conservative Protestants and other Christians:

Christians view other faith groups, including Wicca and Satanism, in many different ways:

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Some Fundamentalist and other conservative Christians believe that if a person recognizes a god but does not worship the Christian Trinity, then they must be worshiping Satan or a demon controlled by Satan. They are, by definition, Satanists. These Christians view all other religions, and perhaps even some Christian denominations, as forms of Satanism, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, etc. In fact they might perceive two thirds of the world's population are Satanists. To them, the term "Satanist" can simply means "a non-Christian." Some might include as Satanists: Mormons, Unificationists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other persons who consider themselves to be Christian.  This belief is largely based on a biblical text which implies that the gods of other religions are really demons. 1 Corinthians 10:20-21 says:

"But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils."

bullet

Others feel that all religions other than the three main Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam and perhaps the Baha'i Faith), are inspired by Satan and are thus a form of Satanism. About 3.5 billion humans (50% of the world's population) and about 30 million Americans would be Satanists by this definition.

bullet Still others feel that the major non-Christian, major, world religions are not Satanic. However, a wide variety of unrelated, benign smaller religions (such as Santeria, other Caribbean syncretistic religions; New Age; Druidism, Wicca, other Neopagan religions, etc.) are forms of Satanism. Satanists would then total a few million in the North America. It is common for people at one end of the religious spectrum to lump together faith groups at another end.
 
bullet Many Christians believe that the entire "Occult" is part of Satanism. Books sold in conservative Christian book stores often define the Occult as including Wicca, other Neopagan religions, Satanism, fantasy role playing games, tarot cards, Ouija boards, astrology, horoscopes, heavy metal rock music, and some men's spiritual organizations like the Masonic Order. They suggest that the main purpose of the Occult is to trap people and draw them into Satanism. Wicca is thus viewed as just a type of anteroom leading to Satanism. People are induced to become Wiccans only to be later converted to Satanists.
 
bullet Finally, some Christians -- particularly from the mainline and progressive wings -- accept the definitions used by academics,  Satanists, and Wiccans themselves: that Satanism implies some direct acknowledgement of, and respect for Satan, whether as a living entity or principle. Wicca worship a Goddess and a God and perhaps other pantheons of deities, none of whom are an all-evil, demonic spirit. There are a few tens of thousands of Satanists in the U.S., by this definition; none are Wiccans.

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This topic continues in the next essay

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Reference used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. Otter and Morning Glory Zell Editors, GREEN EGG magazine, "Satanism vs. Neo-Pagan Witchcraft: Confusions and Distinctions." Online at: http://www.holysmoke.org/wicca/satvnp.htm

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Copyright 2000 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2000-SEP-11
Latest update: 2012-JAN-31
Author: B.A. Robinson

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