Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Righteous, Man.

I read a blog post today, which is a response to the Reuters article on how Wiccans think the characters in True Blood are "giving Witchcraft a bad name." If you haven't seen the Reuters article, you can find it here.

The blog post, also entitled "A Popular TV Show Finally Depicts Sorcerers and Witches Properly," defends the idea that the Wiccans portrayed on the show, as well as the necromancer, are accurate (if sensationalized), and also defends the idea that we need to embrace and use what some call our "dark" or "negative" side. I've addressed this topic in the past in the post "Darth Strega." The "dark side of the force" should be embraced as much as the "light" side. Luke should have used his anger instead of denying it, and accomplished his goal of saving his dad. The two could have flown off into the suns-set together and made sequels. But back to this blog post.

He throws down a lot of smack talk about Wiccans, and of course not all Wiccans are as he describes, but there is an overwhelming contingent of practitioners out there who have diluted and polluted the concept of Wicca to the point of "anything (happy) goes." It's become the new catch word for "Pagan;" It's a safe word to hide behind to make the neighbors happy. Ellen Cannon Reed writes about this in Heart of Wicca. She defends her Wiccan practice as an "initiatory mystery tradition" while acknowledging that there are those out there who call themselves Wiccan who are "crystal-hugging, air-headed veganazis who believe (at high volume) that their way is the way all pagans should be."(page viii Introduction). I believe the blog's author is talking about the later. Here are a few highlights from the article which resonated with me. I encourage you to read the entire article even if you're not a True Blood fan.

Nothing less than the truth about us will ever serve to heal what divisions slice deeply into the blood and body of this world and our cultures. New-agers help to create those divisions by continuing- ironically- the same "witch hunt" started by Christians- except now, the witches are "negative" emotions which must be "banished" or driven from the body as visualized dark clouds, and replaced with visualized "white light" that enters you and "heals" you. This isn't healing; this is amputating half of our own humanity and our natural power. 
Our experts want to be as non-threatening to their neighbors as they can, and truly, who could blame them? But I feel I must suggest that what their neighbors need to know isn't that historical witchcraft really was “all lovely”- all those neighbors need to know is that what our Wiccan friends are doing isn't historical witchcraft; it is, instead, a new-age brew of goodness, peace, pop-culture cabbalism, light, so-called "shamanism", ceremonial magic, and karma, which couldn't harm anyone, at any time, ever- unless you consider massive confusion to be "harm"
Far from misrepresenting historical necromantic sorcery, Antonia embodies it. Women (and men) like her once really existed. They commanded the shades of the dead, made them give omens, divinations, and do favors for them- they threatened them, cajoled them, offered to them, seduced them, and held power over them. It doesn't sound pretty from a Christian or white-light New Ager perspective, but it is the historical fact of the matter.

He recommends the book:  Arcana Mundi: Magic and the Occult in the Greek and Roman World. This book is full of win. It's not epic win, but win nonetheless. A last quote to ponder:

The term "witch" refers to a region of the Western/Indo-European consciousness which, for whatever historical reasons (and there are many) has survived into our modern day loaded with power. Sure, most of that power is tied into sensationalism and smacks of villainy, but there is something standing behind it- the legitimate image of hedge-crossing, boundary-crossing sorcerer/sorceress who once interacted with the underworld and other more-or-less frightening or forbidden reaches of this reality, for the purposes of power-gaining, divination, and wisdom.

Yeah, I'd agree with that. I have one last note on the idea of embracing your "dark side" or "negative emotions" to share for you Christian readers who are lurking: Jesus did it too.

Matthew 21: 12-13: And Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, ‘It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer; but you make it a den of thieves.”

Righteous anger is righteous.

Tomorrow? Mercury in his many forms is a-callin once again! I'm reading Trials of the Moon! Perhaps a discussion on Arcana Mundi!

1 comment:

  1. FYI - Robin Artisson, the author of the blog, Tracks In The Witchwood and author of the article you refer to is male. He did an excellent job with this subject and I agree with him. I have followed him for some years and highly recommend his books.