There is not only a difference between Wicca in the United States and Europe, but there is also a difference between present-day Wicca and that which the ancients created and practiced. Where the latter is concerned, a lot was lost during the times of persecution and, what wasn’t lost, might have been influenced by the changing times and cultural influences of those who helped hide practitioners of the Old Religion.
The difference between what is called Wicca and practiced in the United States and what is called Wicca and practiced in Europe has to do with tradition and lineage. Based on what I have been told over the decades, Europeans who practice Wicca look at Wiccans in the US and shake their heads. To them, we have no discipline and cannot see the purpose of tradition. After 37 years following and teaching my tradition of Wicca, I can’t say I disagree with them.
After having had the wind knocked out of me from learning about my Wiccan teacher, that inner sense that had told me early on that this was important and I needed to get serious kicked in full force. At that time, there were no alternative teachers to turn to physically so I turned to every book I could lay my hands on and I turned to the Heavens, asking help of those we call Gods and Goddesses. Little did I realize that this really was a very big lesson in faith and in belief.
Fear and doubt, in my opinion, are the two most debilitating energies that exist in this physical reality. Both cause us to hesitate, thus impeding our progress and too often result in regret from never reaching for our dreams and our goals because we feel inferior. I wish I could say these “evil” twins were never present in my quest to be as authentic a High Priestess and practitioner of Wicca as I could be. Such was not the case.
With so little physical information available, how was I ever going to practice my Craft, let alone teach others what they were searching for? O me, of little faith! When you sincerely ask for help from the Universe (no matter what name you address it to), I learned someone does listen and answer your request in the way the information can best reach you.
Remember B. Dalton Bookstores? Well, those wonderful stores used to be filled with books on the occult in the 70s and 80s. I used to be a regular customer and it was like invisible helpers would go with me almost every time. I’d spend lots of time in front of those shelves wondering which books would have the best information to help me. In answer to my quandary, books would fall off the shelves at my feet! Yeah, I know, I thought the same thing the first time it happened. “The book was just ill-placed on the shelf.” After that happens repeatedly, and each book you pick up to replace on the shelf is one that has information you could use, you begin to realize that “someone” really IS trying to help! There were times that this would happen two, three, even four times in one shopping trip! Nope. No coincidence here.
Was this my only source of information? No. The other main source challenges ones faith even more than falling books from shelves in book stores and it would be years before I had proof that it wasn’t coming from my imagination.
Some of the experiments in the psychic realms had revealed an ability with automatic writing which would eventually lead to “automatic typing”. I believe that happened because I could type faster than I could write and when you got connected to the other side, they could become quite chatty! During these sessions, I would often be given information that wasn’t in print anywhere, being told that this was valid information that had been “lost”. Or they would tell me about something I had read and say that there were pieces missing and then give me the pieces. There was even once or twice (maybe more) when they directed my attention to one piece of information and then a separate piece of information and told that those two pieces go together.
Like I said, I had the company of fear and doubt, often. My doubt especially would dissipate as more things concerning Wicca became published over the years. I remember one of those incidents where I had been told that two separate pieces of information where actually all one. I was reading a newly published book on Wicca and there it was! The author even said that people often mistakenly used only the first part when in actuality, to be correct, you needed to use both parts as a whole. It was almost as if the Universe was saying, “Time to dispel your doubts about what we are giving you.” Amazing.
The final “proof of the pudding” happened to me when I attended my first Pagan gathering. I had been a High Priestess for seven years and heading a Coven for about four. The area I lived in was a virtual occult desert. Other than some Satanists in a small, neighboring town, there were no known Wiccans within about a fifty mile radius. Going to this festival was supposed to help us expand our horizons, but I was scared. Not from meeting new people, but from the fact I still didn’t feel authentic. Many of these people had actual teachers – valid ones. I had only my books, intuition and invisible guidance.
I had planned on attending as many workshops as possible and the rituals, not only to worship and celebrate but to learn. My eyes were so opened. Here, again, the details aren’t really important. What is important is that, in many instances, during my stay there, I was shown that I had been shown things that were true and important. In other words, there was absolutely no reason for me to feel anything other than authentic.
I realize we live in a world that is still very left-brain ruled and in a society, that due to its own propagated fears, both requires and demands proof of authenticity – that you are who you claim to be – after all, there are many frauds, phonies and snake-oil salesman out there. My friends, I’m here to tell you that authenticity lies within. It’s made up of your honor, your integrity, your intentions and your desire to be all that you can be in whatever field of endeavor you choose. Paper credentials are a nice perk, but even those have assisted many a phony in their quest to “put one over” on the populace. It still comes down to what’s in your heart. That can’t be framed and hung on the wall. It is displayed by your words and deeds.
May you think well of yourself and proclaim this to the world with truth in word and greatness in deed.