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Switch to Forum Live View Wicca in the Shallow End?
4 years ago  ::  Jun 07, 2010 - 10:51AM #1
KeaErisdottir
Posts: 222

www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/web/06/07/carr.int...


Has the advent of the internet made Wicca the shallow end of the pool, lacking depth and substance because so many of its adherents are increasingly incurious and bombarded by reams of 'information'?

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 07, 2010 - 11:17AM #2
Brownowl33
Posts: 443

Not anymore than anything else.  People have long been claiming that the internet has made us all selfish/dumb/stupid etc, but I'm not really sure there's any evidence of that.  One could easily make the same claims about Christianity/Buddhism/etc.


If anything, the internet can make some thing easier.  Books and research that, previously, would have taken months or hundreds of dollars to get hold of are now available at the click of a button.  It's easy to meet like-minded people (like, say, on the Beliefnet Wicca boards) and exchange information with them.  We're now exposed a number of opinions and beliefs that we might not have been otherwise. Sure, some of them aren't worth much, but we're free to accept/disregard as we see fit.


Like it or not, the internet is here to stay.  Certainly it's been a big help to me; I have health problems and cannot always get out to go shopping/meet people/etc.

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 07, 2010 - 12:57PM #3
KeaErisdottir
Posts: 222

Arguing that convenience trumps substance is not going to prevail here.  The fallacy is that the mere presence of a pile of information is equal to knowledge, which simply is not the case in a Mystery Religion.


In fact, there is a very fair argument to be made that the glut of nearly-worthless occult information available to the average self-identified Pagan/Wiccan actually stunts their spiritual growth.  Certainly, in the face of the ever-present whatever-you-want crowd, this is especially true, and I increasingly find very much less in the way of religious substance, and much more focus on the political and social.  That does dumb down religion over time, and especially dumbs down any path where magic is a specific vehicle; solutions are less often proactive, and much more often reactionary. 


Further, much of that information that is so readily available is often useless to an unprepared mind.  I have a number of amazing things in PDF form that are little more than curiousities in the hands of people unprepared to fathom the breadth of what they represent.  They have, however, become the shreds of this and that which build a fine cookbook wicca for the consuming public.


It's easy to meet  like-minded people (like, say, on the Beliefnet Wicca boards) and  exchange information with them.  We're now exposed a number of opinions  and beliefs that we might not have been otherwise. Sure, some of them  aren't worth much, but we're free to accept/disregard as we see fit.


Of course you can accept or disregard, but that also supposes that the average person is capable of telling the good from the bad.  It seeks to say that everyone in the discussion is equal, and no such equality exists in the Wicca I was initiated into.  Seekers fall all along a continuum from those on the outside, to those taking their first steps, to those who have achieved more 'advanced' levels.  The difference between the former and the latter is experience and discernment that allows them to accept/reject effectively.



Like  it or not, the internet is here to stay.  Certainly it's been a big  help to me; I have health problems and cannot always get out to go  shopping/meet people/etc.


Convenience-based arguments really don't answer the question posed.  in fact, they rather support what I'm getting at.


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4 years ago  ::  Jun 07, 2010 - 3:09PM #4
Brownowl33
Posts: 443

I just want to make two points, which people are free to take or leave as they see fit.


1. Gerald Gardner invented Wicca, borrowing from a number of other traditions.  Theosophy, ceremonial magic, nudism (some say his own sexual interests played heavily into the nakedness and scourging that went on) and his association with Aleister Crowley formed the main basis for his new religion.  His first followers broke off and started their own covens, changing (somtimes radically) the rituals and beliefs in their version of "Wicca."  Many of the founders, Gardner included, made fraudulent claims (Gardner tried to pass off the Book of Shadows as ancient, though he wrote it himself; Alex Sanders claimed to be intiated by his grandmother, which is almost certainly untrue.)  There were a number of fights, conflicts, etc among the early practitioners.  None of them were what you'd exactly call "normal."  Check out a picture of Gerald Gardner and you'll see what I mean; he was kind of the Laurie Cabot of his time.  How the internet can in any way "cheapen" or make shallow something that, let's face it, already looked pretty dodgy to begin with is beyond me.


2.  Someone once told me to be cautious of people who claimed special knowledge, or flaunted having "secrets" or special wisdom.  When I hear people claiming to have a special hold on "the truth," or implying that they have some kind of discernment not possessed by mere mortals, I am reminded of both cult leaders and those religious types who assured you that you had to agree with them to be saved, or else you were wrong/sinful/bad etc and hellbound.  I also would like to suggest to everyone that people are genuinely secure in their beliefs and themselves do not need to boost themselves up by putting other people down, or claiming to be right while everyone else is shallow and wrong.


Just something to think about......

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 07, 2010 - 3:14PM #5
Brownowl33
Posts: 443

Incidentally, we should probably ask the moderator to move this to "Discuss Wicca" since it's clearly turned into more a debate than an average discussion about the religion.

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 07, 2010 - 4:34PM #6
KeaErisdottir
Posts: 222

I really am not sure how the "internet", or being  "spiritual but not religious" can cheapen or make "shallow" something  that really was based on running around naked and whipping people while  casting spells. 


How on earth do you reconcile self-describing yourself as part of a religion that you can express this kind of outright contempt for?  Even better, what can anyone possibly hope to gain in terms of respect or connection to people that might hold such practices sacred, when statements like that are flung about?


Do I think there's something spiritual to be gained  from Wicca?  You bet I do, or I wouldn't do it.  However, like all  religions, at it's heart it's got a lot of silly stuff.  Religions ALL  change, and I doubt the Wicca 100 years from now will be the Wicca  today.


So, your premise is not only that you don't understand the topic of the thread, but that you also think you have the right to redefine a religion that you really know nothing at all about, save for the salacious gossip you've heard, because of what?  Some moral authority granted by some hot-under-the-collar moment because there's been no coven invitation or opening of the made-up BoS? 


In the meantime, I am not sure people running around in capes  give Wicca any more of a "black eye" than do fundamentalist types who  use their self-described "authority" to lecture and condemn anyone who  doesn't follow the exact same path they do.


The mark of a true fundamentalist is the degree to which their incuriousity, ignorance, and fear lead them into emotional excesses and condemnation of supposedly immoral behaviors.  Frankly, I see a lot more outright fundamentalism spouted from the whatever-you-want and don't-judge-my-path crowd than I've ever seen out of a pack of hardline Traddies.


Wicca has been dumbed down substantially because of the insistence of  folks that holding to a standard equates one with violent Bible  thumpers--when the people being angry and pitching the purple fits  really don't know anything, don't really read anything that challenges  them or what they think, and look a lot more like Christian Fundie  Mushrooms than they'd ever admit.  Falwell is dead, Robertson is  failing, Humbard is gone, Swaggart is discredited, and Baker did his  jail time.  Rick Warren wrote a fabulous book that empowered a lot of people to try and be better--while the supposed wiccans sat in the corner and whined.


Instead of taking cheap pot-shots at each other, we whould be  banding together.  Mainstream religion doesn't care if we're Gardnerian  or eclectice or Laurie Cabot; all they see is people pretending to have  magical powers.


Most of the people who so desperately want all this 'banding together' crap are pretending to have magical powers.  Hard to exercise your Will when you're endlessly in your own way.  End of the day, they want to be like Protestants, but with special powers and spookiness.  In fact, there is such a self-esteem issue in the Pagan Community on the whole, that commentators have blogged and done podcasts asking why everyone needs to do this.


But more to the point, the 'banding together' types usually either crave the spotlight or just want to throw money at the problem--they can't put on the suit and go glad-hand people at the  Interfaith luncheon, because they have no connection to or knowledge of anything but themselves and their opinions.  It is hard to cultivate much social, ecumenical, or spiritual depth when your religion is about you and only you.

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 13, 2010 - 3:11PM #7
BrotherFada
Posts: 15

I've always been concerned about the role of the internet on a practice that is esoteric.  Sure, one can be literally swamped with 'information' about Wicca, but we all should know that in it's self does not make one Wiccan.


I think the internet provides access to more information and provides this with more rapidilty.  It also can carry along in its wake incorrect information.  Sure people can learn all the didactic information they choose to find on Wicca, yet because of who we are and because we are an esoteric practice, no one can ever 'become' Wiccan by reading anything on the internet.


I do have to disagree with the statement below however:


"The mark of a true fundamentalist is the degree to which their incuriousity, ignorance, and fear lead them into emotional excesses and condemnation of supposedly immoral behaviors.  Frankly, I see a lot more outright fundamentalism spouted from the whatever-you-want and don't-judge-my-path crowd than I've ever seen out of a pack of hardline Traddies."


While that may be the poster's personal experience.  My experience actually holds that the exact opposite has been true.  But then again, we are only talking about personal experiences on this point.

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 13, 2010 - 4:46PM #8
BrotherFada
Posts: 15

I think the premise of the original post in this thread may be a bit suspect and provided more to encourage simplistic debate than it was to speak to the larger issues of propogation of vast amounts of fairly pedestrian offerings regarding 'wicca-ish' neopagan pop literature and webgroups.  In it's current wording it already surmises it's own answer to a purported hypothesis.  To be a bit more objective, one might ask the open question simply, without adding the superfluous characterisations of pro or con.


 Asked with an answer already seen as the only excepted response, the question then sounds like, "I say things are thus and to say they are not thus, one must prove to me my hypothesis is wrong"  It is an egocentric manner of questioning.  To be sure, the more objective philosophical manner to ask the question might be something more akin to: "What role, if any, do you see the internet having on awareness of the traditions and teachings of British Traditional Wicca?" But I defer.  Perhaps this question may be posted some time in the future for readers to ponder.

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 13, 2010 - 10:31PM #9
KeaErisdottir
Posts: 222

Jun 13, 2010 -- 3:11PM, BrotherFada wrote:


 


"The mark of a true fundamentalist is the degree to which their incuriousity, ignorance, and fear lead them into emotional excesses and condemnation of supposedly immoral behaviors.  Frankly, I see a lot more outright fundamentalism spouted from the whatever-you-want and don't-judge-my-path crowd than I've ever seen out of a pack of hardline Traddies."


 


 


 


While that may be the poster's personal experience.  My experience actually holds that the exact opposite has been true.  But then again, we are only talking about personal experiences on this point.


 






 


Are we?  I have historically rejected the misuse of the word 'fundamentalist' by elements within religious communities to describe people whose view they simply disagree with.  It is frequently misused by pagans and neo-wiccans to describe people who simply tell them 'no', or who fail to embrace them sight-unseen in the internet. 


Further, as religious fundamentalism is largely based on strict interpetations of laws and beliefs, usually in the absence of room for discussion, how do you come to the conclusion that the fundamentalism is coming from the Trads(which would be what you are implying here)?  A healthy Traditional Wiccan environment is filled with discussion and debate, because it is an Orthpraxis and not an Orhtodoxy.   The average non-Traditional environment is actually stacked against discussion and debate, and is observably moralistic in its assumptions about things like the meaning of the last 8 words of The Rede, the nature of the Lord and the Lady, the nature of tolerance, and increasingly angsty about the sexual nature of Wicca.


When we talk about wicca as a religion increasingly being seen as a religion that lacks depth and substance, and realize that a huge amount of the 'information' on the internet encourages the very behavior that leaves that impression, then it doesn't take much to connect the dots.


Does that mean that someone cannot overcome the limitations and go on to practice wicca as defined by Innerpoint's Core list?  No, but it is also not easy to do so.

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 14, 2010 - 6:41PM #10
BrotherFada
Posts: 15

I believe you answered your own query in this statement:


"Further, as religious fundamentalism is largely based on strict interpetations of laws and beliefs, usually in the absence of room for discussion, how do you come to the conclusion that the fundamentalism is coming from the Trads(which would be what you are implying here)?"


Furthermore, you state, “healthy Traditional Wiccan environment is filled with discussion and debate”.  So in the continued support of such a healthy debate, I continue to suggest that the initial question left no room for intellectual or conceptual nuance other than something akin to if one disagrees with the postulation one is wrong. 


Thusly I stated, “Asked with an answer already seen as the only excepted response, the question then sounds like, "I say things are thus and to say they are not thus, one must prove to me my hypothesis is wrong"  It is an egocentric manner of questioning.  To be sure, the more objective philosophical manner to ask the question might be something more akin to: "What role, if any, do you see the internet having on awareness of the traditions and teachings of British Traditional Wicca?" But I defer.  Perhaps this question may be posted some time in the future for readers to ponder.”   


I think the salient point of the question is to what extent has the internet and plethora of other methods of receiving information about Wicca, outside of its esoteric teachings, impacted upon the awareness of the teachings of British Traditional Wicca? 


And yes, I am speaking of personal experiences.  I stated thusly and have no reason for subterfuge on this point.


 

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