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Wicca

Is Wicca a form of Satanism? Part 2: Contributing
factors. Similarities. Conclusions. Recommendations

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay

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Contributing factors to the confusion of Wiccans with Satanists:

The Burning Times took place during part of the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Europe and the Americas. Christian organizations -- both Protestant and Catholic -- hunted imaginary Satan worshippers who were believed to have signed over their souls to the devil and worshipped him. Many tens of thousands of innocent victims of this original "witchhunt" were convicted of "Witchcraft" by civil and religious courts  Three centuries of burning convicted "Witches" at the stake, and hanging others, imbedded the concept of the Satan worshipping Witch in the public's mind. This image has been perpetuated through nursery rhymes and horror movies to the present day and is still taught in the Sunday schools of some conservative Christian denominations.

Since the ancient Churches and modern-day Wiccans both use the terms "Witch" and "Witchcraft," many people have linked Wiccans with Satan worshipers.

There are good reasons why Wiccans preserve the use of "Witch." Many Wiccans feel that to abandon the term would be to also ignore the memories of those who were unjustly executed in past centuries. It would diminish the tremendous injustice inflicted upon them.

There are several additional reasons which add to the confusion:

bulletThere is much confusion over religious terms. Many have multiple definitions. For example, we have identified 17 unique meaning to the term "Witchcraft" of which many are mutually exclusive. Similarly, there are at least five unrelated meanings to the term "Paganism."

bullet The Wiccan community frequently adopts ambiguous terms to describe themselves and their faith. As mentioned above, terms "Witch," "Witchcraft," and "Paganism" have many different and often unrelated meanings. Many in the Neopagan community prefer the term "Pagan" (which is also ambiguous) over the term "Neopagan" which has a generally accepted, unique definition. They also frequently use the terms "Witch" and "Witchcraft" (which are ambiguous) in place of "Wiccan" (which is well defined).

bulletSatanists sometimes identify themselves as "Witches."  Anton Szandor LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, titled one of his books "The Satanic Witch." 

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Three superficial points of similarity between Satanism and Wicca:

bullet Both use a five pointed star as a symbol. Satanists align it so that two points are upwards. Wiccans orient their star with two points downwards, except in special cases.

bullet Both often perform their religious rituals within a circle marked on the floor or ground.

bullet Most Wiccans and Satanists engage in magick; however, Wiccans are limited to non-manipulative, consensual, positive magick.

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Conclusions:

Lumping together the followers of a wide diversity of religions (e.g. Buddhists, Druids, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, New Agers, Santerians, Taoists, Wiccans and other Neopagans, followers of Vodun, etc.) as Satanists creates massive confusion in the public mind. Most of the public reserve the term "Satanist" for people who identify themselves as Satanists. 

Such definitions create great confusion, and stir up religious animosity against followers of benign faith traditions. During the late 20th century, these beliefs trigger lynching, attempted mass murder, fire bombings, shootings, common assaults, etc. in the U.S. They have induced at least one Senator, one member of the House of Representatives and even George W. Bush when he was Governor of Texas, to call for an end to religious freedom for Wiccans in the U.S. military.

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Recommendations:

We strongly recommend that the terms "Satanist" and "Satanism" be used only to refer to religions that involve a belief in Satan. In other words, the terms should be restricted to describing those individuals who regard themselves as Satanists, and who identify themselves by that label.

While reading an essay on religion, you might find it useful to ask yourself what the author means by some of the terms that she/he uses. Words like Christian, cult, occult, Satanist, and Witch have many different meanings to different groups. It is quite possible that you and the author attribute a very different meaning to a specific term. If these ambiguous words are not clearly defined within the essay, you might consider sending the author an Email asking that they modify future editions of their writing to include a clearly definition of any ambiguous terms used.

We prefer to use the names Wicca, Wiccan, Neopaganism, and Neopagan in this web site, because they are least ambiguous to the majority of our visitors who are neither Wiccan nor Neopagan.

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Related essays on this web site:

bulletWicca: main menu
bulletSatanism
bulletThe Occult
bulletDefinitions of Pagan and Paganism
bulletDefinition of Witch and Witchcraft
bulletThe Satanic Ritual Abuse hoax
bulletChristian web sites that describe Wicca

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Some essays describe Wicca and Satanism as very different religions:
    bullet"Wicca vs Satanism: The big lie," at:  http://www.puertasdebabel.com/

    bullet "What Wicca is Not FAQ," at: http://www.mdpagans.com/

    bullet Rhonda Carswell "Historical aspects of Wicca," at: http://chuma.cas.usf.edu/ (apparently offline)

    bullet Patti Wigington, "Do Wiccans and Pagans Worship Satan and Have Sex Orgies,?" About.com, at: http://paganwiccan.about.com/

  2. Some essays describe Wicca as part of Satanism. Most have gone beyond providing information and mainly disseminate religious hatred and misinformation. Some are probably honestly deluded by copying misinformation from other hate web sites; others intentionally tell lies in the hope that people will be diverted from Neopaganism to the only true relgion -- theirs:
    bullet"How can witches worship Satan if they don't believe that he exists?," Chick Publications, at: http://www.chick.com/

    bullet "Wicca verses [sic] Satanism," Jesus is Savor. See: http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/

    bullet David J. Stewart, "Wiccan and Satanism." See: http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/

    bullet William Schnoebelen, "Satan's hoof prints are all over Wicca," See: http://www.fillthevoid.org/

    bullet "Wicca and Satanism," Blessed Quietness. See: http://blessedquietness.com/

  3. Charles C Haynes, "Witches test our religious tolerance," Freedom Forum, 1999-JUN-27 at: http://www.freedomforum.org/

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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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