"Wiccan – No Broom or Pointy Hat Needed!"
A Final Essay for the Master of Wiccan Studies Course
By Daniel L. Moore
This completes my personal journey in exploring the "earth religions" (Druidism, Shamanism, Paganism were the others). My goal was simply to understand and get through the popular notions to what is really practiced. Flying on brooms sticks, bubbling cauldrons, and pointy hats may be entertaining through the lens of Hollywood. The truth is that modern Wiccan is form of an ancient religion.
I liked the approach of this instruction. The lesson on consequences was important. Responsibility plays a big part in the practices of the followers of Wiccan. The spiritual forces are powerful. As a pilot of a jet fighter must be responsible in control of the jet and its systems, so to must the Wiccan be in all he or she does.
The tools and symbolism lessons were valuable to me. it is I who would give meaning to the tool. Again, I see a lot of sense in this approach. The stone, the salt, the fire, the wand…will have representation of what I see to use it for. They are tools to be used to help me concentrate, focus, divine energy. It is like a four foot stick I find in the woods. I can clean it up and use it as a cane or walking staff. The stick by itself has no power. I bring my imagination to it and then … the possibilities are many.
Over and over again, the instruction teaches that behind the altar, tools, and rituals it the "personal touch." This is something we all do to a degree. I buy a truck but I will "personalize it" by putting in a new pickup bed lining, a tool box, and custom tires.
I also note that use of the objects help in another way…it is one of familiarity. There is power in this. I can relate. I go fishing and though I have several rods and reels…I have my high confidence ones. They are the ones I reach for first. In my tackle box I have lures that also are tried and proven. I can't explain it, but there is energy in those I have high confidence in and it would be the same in the objects used in the rituals, ceremonies, and spells.
Another strong point of this course for me was the interaction – homework – in some assignments. I had to define the names of the holidays, I would write a ceremony, I was encouraged to practice a couple of rituals. This is plus. It is one thing to read about a subject but it is another to be actively involved. I can read about preaching a sermon but it is quite another to do all that is involved from research, writing, practice, and finally delivering the sermon. It stretches one!
I was really challenged with the exercise of lessons 14 and 15 dealing with mythology. At first I was stumped to find a "modern myth" but remembered some of my favorite characters as a child – Tarzan! As I look back on that lesson, one can also find modern myths in the stories of various movies and television shows today.
Finally, I liked the instructor's ability to question. In lesson 17, he asks concerning Catholic rituals, "Where do they get all their rituals?" When we accept blindly without asking a ritual or tradition, that action fails. Why? I believe that in the beginning a ritual or traditional practice was designed to be a teachable moment. What has happened is that the story or event behind the ritual is forgotten.
For any student seeking to understand the early religions in a modern context, this is a good one. It also helps to round out the courses on Druidism, Paganism, and Shamanism in a complementary way. Well done!
Rev. Daniel Moore
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