Scouts-L Mail Archive for September of 1999: Re: Question about Wicca
Re: Question about Wicca
Mon, 6 Sep 1999 11:35:21 -0400
William, that is an interesting question.
I don't know how much you know about the religion, but let me start off by
saying that it is a religion. Wicca started out being called that back in
the 1950's when Gerald Gardner started this branch of Paganism. Since then
there have been many other traditions that have started along the same lines
and have branched out from the simple start of Gardner. There currently are
many groups out there covering many different religious backgrounds.
Wicca is generally the first step for a person to discover what path they
wish to follow in the pagan religions. Some people turn to the Druid ways,
other to the Norse, there are still others that go the ways of the Greeks
and Romans. If you can think of an ancient religion/culture, there probably
is a pagan group for that religion.
One thing that is common with most groups can be summed up in what is known
as the Wiccan Reede, "If it harms none, so be it." This is similar to the
Judeo-Christian's Golden Rule. Modern pagans therefor do not believe in
sacrifice at all. They also do not believe in breaking the laws either.
What they do believe in though varies from tradition to tradition, sort of
like how different branches of the Protestant churches have different
beliefs. The common belief among pagans though is that there are 2 or more
gods and goddesses that effect our daily lives. They also believe that it
is possible to speak directly to the deity without having to go through an
ordained person. A third thing that is common in their belief is that magic
is a real thing, and in general whatever you do magic wise, it will come
back to you three fold. For example if you do magic to hurt someone, then
you will eventually be hurt at least 3 times as much.
I also want you to know where the term Wicca came from. Supposedly it has
come from old the old English word for Witch. Yes, in the simplest terms,
Wicca is the practice of WitchCraft. This is not a bad thing. If you
happen to se the scout wearing odd jewlery, it probably is religious. The
three most common ones are an Ankh (looks like a cross but the top part is a
loop), a Triskle (3 spirals starting from a common spot), and a Penticle (a
5 pointed star inside a circle). This last one has had the unfortunate
association with Satanic groups. Wiccan and the vast majority of Paganism
do not believe in Satan, therefor how can they worship something they don't
believe in? The proper way to wear the pentacle though is with the point
up, and it represents the 4 elements plus spirit.
Enough for the background. There are plenty of books out there that you can
pick up that will explain it better. The best one I have found is "To Ride
a Silver Broomstick" by Silver Ravenwolf. This will give you all the basics
of Wicca and then some.
As for the answer to your question. Branches of paganism is a recognized
religion in the USA. The military recognizes Wicca as a religion, and in
Fort Hood TX, they are actually allowed to hold rituals (their equivalent to
the Catholic Mass, but it occurs every 6 weeks instead of every week). The
requirements for Eagle state "Demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout
Oath (Promise) and Scout Law in your everyday life." Within the Scout Oath,
"Do my duty to God", within the scout Law "A Scout is Reverent". As long as
the boy believes in a higher being, be it either one God, the Great
Spirit(s), the God and Goddes (Lord and Lady), or a number of Gods and
Goddesses, then he is fulfilling the requirement to do his duty to God and
being reverent. What also goes along with this is respecting other's
opinions and belief systems, something that unfortunately many people in
many religions do not do.
I must warn you that if this boy does not get his Eagle because of that, the
media will pick it up quickly and it will be a big mess. When Bob Barr
(senator from TX) tried to stop the military from having rituals on base,
the media picked it up and he now looks very much like a fool. If you want
to talk further on it, I would be glad to speak to you. I live in the
Albany area and my phone number is (518) 456-6870. I hope this has helped
Robert M. Lewis
>I have a question for the list. There is a Scout in our Troop who has
>changed his belief from Catholicism to Wicca. Can anyone out there please
>tell me if this is a recognized religion for the rank of Eagle.
>Thank you in advance
>William Wolf, Jr.
>ASM Troop 25 Red Oaks Mill NY
>Hudson Valley Council