Fighting With Stereotypes

As I mentioned before, I’m working my way through Roderick’s Wicca: A Year and a Day. Days 2 and 3 go together and deal with exploring words. The “hot button” kind of words, like “Wicca”, “Witchcraft”, “Pagan”, “Magic” and so on. The exercises for those days deal with confronting our understanding of and feelings toward these words. He asks that you choose one emotionally charged word that captures your “theme” regarding these words, inscribe it on a candle, and reflect on transforming the feelings you have towards this word/concept. You should “vow to remain aware of your feelings during your learning” period. As the word melts away with the candle, you should imagine your feelings/concepts toward it changing as well.

Stereotypical Witches - from The Craft

The word I ended up choosing was “stereotype” because I think that is the one aspect of my faith that I’ve never wanted to confront or embrace.

On the one hand, stereotypes are often negative or focus on the flamboyant/ostentatious members in groups. And these members rarely are the majority. But stereotypes aren’t always negative, sometimes they are positive or (more likely) neutral; for example the stereotype that “all Lutherans like Jell-o” isn’t really positive or negative. Stereotypes can help us, psychologically speaking, understand, classify and approach other groups.

I have a lot of negative feelings attached to the stereotypes surrounding Wicca/Witchcraft/Paganism. On some level I want to embrace them. I want to be the person who says “yeah, I’m unorthodox; yeah, I’m different; yeah, I think ‘strangely’ according to society; so what?” Sometimes I really want to be that person. Sometimes I kind of hate that person – those are the “crazy” people that the media latches onto and portrays for the world to see – I sometimes wonder if they realize the trouble they cause for the rest of the community.

As this year and a day progresses, I’ll be sure to tackle my issues with the stereotypes that surround Wicca and Paganism.

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One thought on “Fighting With Stereotypes

  1. I think that many of us in the Craft struggle with labels and stereotypes, both those imposed upon us by those outside the Craft, and our own internal, self-imposed labels. I’ve actually started, then discarded several blogs, struggling myself with the label “Wiccan.” Wicca is something of the whipping boy of witchcraft these days, and I worry that non-Wiccan witches and pagans might not take me as seriously because of that affiliation. Then, of course, you have the general public thinking that you are either a “tree-hugger,” consorting with Satan, or that you are just plain nuts.

    I decided to put Wicca in my blog title, and to stick with this blog, because that is the path whose general concepts I most identify. Is my practice strictly Wiccan? Probably not, but then again, what is strictly Wicca? Since we have no central unifying scripture or leaders, and unless one belongs to a coven, it is up to each of us to define and live a path we believe exemplifies Wicca.

    Hey, thanks for subscribing to my blog! I have enjoyed reading some of your posts. I see that you have been involved in this path from a young age, and I’m always fascinated by those who grew up within the path. Having come to witchcraft somewhat late in life, I often wonder how my life, or at least life outlook, might be different had I discovered this at a young age.

    I look forward to reading more of your writing.

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