Why do people always say wiccans are pretentious and just trying to shore up their self esteem by engaging in roleplay?


Everyone I know seems to have a terribly poor opinion of wiccan people, I just wonder why this is. I mean I know they're not really witches but does it really matter after all they're quite harmless, or are they?

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NachoMahma7 years ago
. My guess is that they do it for the same reason(s) that ppl ask questions like this on a DIY site. ;)
woodle (author)  NachoMahma7 years ago
Boredom and a desperate hope of recognition?
orksecurity7 years ago
It's easier to dismiss than to try to understand.

Yes, they're harmless, unless you're one of those who believes that failing to follow your own religion means automatic damnation. (Personally, I believe that anyone who believes this is automatically damned for intolerance, but ... sigh.)

Having said that: I know someone who has a _legitimate_ family history of following The Way (which is what wicca translates to), and her opinion is that most of the neopagans *are* extremely ill-informed about the traditions they claim to be adopting. She finds them as annoying as a Jewish individual finds the Jews For Jesus. She has no objection to their inventing a new religion; she does object to their trying to take over the name of an existing religion.

And, fact is, many of the neopagans I've known *were* playing at it -- or exploring it -- rather than taking it completely seriously. Not all by a long shot, but enough to make the skepticism legitimate. But if we dismissed a tradition because there were some people interested but not convinced, we'd have to dismiss them all.

woodle (author)  orksecurity7 years ago
What is this automatic damnation you speak of? Some sort of Calvinist predestination?
[insert Comparitive Religion course here.]
Well, to be fair, some wiccans are pretentious and just engaging in roleplay to shore up their self-esteem.
Others are sincerely engaged in a religious practice that they find deeply meaningful and relevant to their experience of how the universe works (or should work, anyway).
It is my experience that those of the first type tend to fade away or toddle off to pursue other interests when they discover that (like any other religious practice of value) effectively following a neopagan tradition requires dedication, committment, hard work and self-sacrifice. Contrary to popular misconceptions, it's not all about dancing naked under the full moon and giving yourself a cool witchy title.
Unfortunately, the dabblers tend to be much more visible than the other type before they fade away, which can lead those outside the neopagan community to think that we're all like that. The majority are not. Also, misconceptions about what wiccans actually do and believe can lead to fear, as jeff-o says.
As to whether wiccans are "really witches", I suppose that depends on how you define "witch".
Are wiccans are really witches? She turned me into a newt! ;-)
...I got better.
Well, as long as she doesn't weigh the same as a duck, I say we let her off the hook.
I agree. If there's no harm, then no fowl. ;-)
woodle (author)  RavingMadStudios7 years ago
How would you define a witch?
I would define a witch as "a practitioner of a magickal tradition who has chosen that label to identify him/herself". YMMV
"There are ways of telling whether she is a witch..."
;-)
From the  "Witch Village" scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail :

woodle (author)  Jack A Lopez7 years ago
Yes this is a most useful resource. Thank you very much.
I'm glad you like it.
...I think you'll find the ones demanding "self-sacrifice" have brief, short lived congregations.....
LOL
seandogue7 years ago
um k, I'll take a crack,since you broached the subject.

Um, 'cause so many wiccans are pretentious?

Seriously. as in dripping with it. I live in an area where wiccan has been the rage since the late 1960s, and wiccan women are almost without exception some of the most boorish, droll, supercilious people I've ever known. They cast off knowledge and intellect as quickly or quicker than any other fundmentalist, in favor of fantastical explanations....

Harmless is a dubious distinction.

Were they actively changing the laws of the lands in fundamental ways to the detrimental of the cultural stability of the prevailing group, like certain other fringe groups have been doing in concert with their media allies and placed government cohorts in the US and elsewhere over the past few decades to re indoctrinate the youth to acceptance long dead Roman traditions and norms, well, yes, then threat would be a good word to describe what they are. Especially if they were using the same old world tactics that these other groups have been using. Wiccans, however, are simply a sideline and off growth of the psychodramatic Gaiea cult that grew during the Hippy days as part of the Women's lib movement..

FTR, I hold some beliefs that come from the same cultural source as this manufactured NOW Me Generation religion, as I do for many other religions. I'm just as Scottish/welsh/Irish/English as anyone else for whom the wiccan traditions would actually make sense (oh, I forgot Brittans) to subscribe to. So ok, I can see some of the allure.

But I suppose for me, it boils down to this:

Personally I find the idea of a matriarchy as patently offensive as a patriarchy.

Go play your roleplay games. Seems kinda silly to me and imo represents just one moreina long list of wasteful, 60s generation inspired, neo-Romanesque maturbations that goes a long way to explaining the present intellectual downturn in Western society. As long as Gaia dictates who gets smeared by a tornado or hurricane, we're all living in stupidville. Just as if it were Zeus or Yahweh or any other name for a supreme God who dictates who gets smeared by a natural disaster.

Let live. I don't bother them as long as they don't bother me, ie, don't try to force your feminocentric Gaia cult down my throat and I'll keep my trap shut about your ridiculousness. Failing that, well, it's CultureWar! and the gloves come off....

But before you get all hot and bothered, remember... you asked a question that can only really be answered by one's own personal bias, so there it is. There's mine. Open and plain for all to see. Judge me, vilify me to your role playing pals, burn stupid little effigies and cast your spells against me... call me a prick for saying what so many would say if they had more courage in this pseudo-pluralistic PC world. As If I care.  but, please don't try to use this as an opening for a cultural debate. I guarantee I won't play nice.
My daughter is a Wiccan and she dont do any of the crap your talking about you must have some weird people where you live, My daughter works with nature and medicen, and shes very good at it she's helped alot of people here where I live, but there are alot of I want to be a witch and these make the the true wiccans look bad.
Well, when I meet one who doesn't sneer when the word "Christian" is used in a sentence, who doesn't go out of their way to tell me how I should be living my life, Who doesn't in one sentence villify people for not being pluralistic towards the Wiccan experience and then turns around and acts oppositely in regards to other competing religions to what they just reprimanded people for doing, who doesn't act as paternalistic as any fundamentalist Christian, etc, I've let you know. Hain't seen one yet in several hundred I've met over the past 40 years.

This from someone who has little love for the institutional Christian, Judaic, Muslim, etc "Churches", where "little love" equates to "in general despises", so it's not like I'm a foot soldier for the Holey Crutches of the world.

I've learned from all the religions of the world I've come into contact with, sometimes indirectly, sometimes, like when I was young (~6-16 years old) when I purposefully sought out experiences in various religions, going so far as to attending services in various churches, synagogues, and temples.. I've taken what good I could from them to help develop my own personal morality and brand of religion, (which all hinges to one sentence my grandmother told me when I was about three "God is in all things"), but there's one other subtle thing I learned about all the "players" in the religion game. They're all egotistical and quietly as bigoted as anyone can be. Should I not have the same right? or do y'all just think you're better than me? lol, as if that was really a question.
Twelve hours and counting to Best Answer.
woodle (author)  seandogue7 years ago
Why would I get all hot and bothered at someone trying to answer my question? Thank you for that it seems to have some good points.
Phew. An excellent polemic with which I see little to argue.
jeff-o7 years ago
Fear, mostly. That's what drives most people's opinions. Well, fear and pride.
woodle (author)  jeff-o7 years ago
Fear of what?
jeff-o woodle7 years ago
Anything different than what they're used to. Fear of the unknown. Fear of change.
woodle (author)  jeff-o7 years ago
I cannot speak for all mankind of course, but are people frightened by wiccans?
jeff-o woodle7 years ago
Sure they are. People are frightened of everything - dreadlocks, tattoos, goth clothing, darker skin. You name it, and a group of people will be afraid of it.
karnuvap7 years ago
Because there is no such thing as magic.
woodle (author)  karnuvap7 years ago
But does one consider an Haitian practitioner of voodoo, for example, pretentious? I wouldn't have thought say, perhaps mistaken or even quaint.
That depends on just whether they believe in it or not I suppose.
woodle (author)  steveastrouk7 years ago
I don't believe in voodoo, or at least I do not believe it is effective, however, I would not consider it pretentious. In the same way that though I am not inclined to believe in Hinduism I cannot see any affectation about that topic as a whole.
The loudest members of any community always get the most attention and set the standard for stereotypes.  There are wiccans who don't draw a whole lot of attention to themselves and look/act unexceptional in their wiccan-ness.  It's true of right wing republicans, hippies, feminists, communists, women, men, etc.

For more info:  Schema and Memory
woodle (author)  AngryRedhead7 years ago
But do people commonly consider, 'right wing republicans, hippies, feminists, communists, women, men, etc.' to be pretentious?
There are other stereotypes about all those groups.
woodle (author)  AngryRedhead7 years ago
For which there might be some basis in fact, it is always possible, where there's smoke there's fire and all that.
There's a stereotype that Star Trek fans are largely men, but in reality, the majority of Star Trek fans are women.
woodle (author)  AngryRedhead7 years ago
Funnily enough I would have thought they were mainly women at least the only people I know who seem to like Star Trek are female, well, that's not entirely true, most of them anyway.
But whenever you see a Star Trek fan in the media, the person is nearly always a man which perpetuates the stereotype.  I only know 2 Star Trek fans, and both are men.  One of them researches science fiction fan culture which is why I know that particular bit of trivia.

Many times, stereotypes are created by outsiders because insiders can see and experience many of the nuances within a group.  Still insiders will also create and perpetuate stereotypes.  For instance, some women will say, "I don't like women because they're catty bitches who will stab you in the back," which perpetuates that particular stereotype about women.  Then you can find some women who say, "The best caregivers are always women," which perpetuates a conflicting stereotype about women.
frollard7 years ago
"why do people always" -- bad statement. You're judging those same people. "I know they're not really witches" -- do you? DO YOU?
woodle (author)  frollard7 years ago
This seems a trifle pedantic.