Wicca and Neopaganism

Or, if you want to argue semantics, neo-Wicca. Wicca by way of Scott Cunningham, mostly. His Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner was another early book for me, and while I never really considered myself a (neo)Wiccan, the basic concept did affect my early ritual creations. To this day the broom and the athame (which I now just call a ritual knife) are integral parts of my ritual structure, and I still cast a circle, though I call on directional totems rather than watchtowers. And that’s really about the long and short of the influence Wicca has these days—a few ritual components.

Now, neopaganism in general is another story. I’ve been a neopagan for over a decade, and the eclectic combination of both old and new myths, rituals and other material has been a strong influence on the general “feel” of my path. Granted, I do take care as far as scholarship goes, and I’m not blind to the fact that we do have our fair share of nuts and flakes. However, I do sometimes think that “neopaganism” gets a bad rap, particularly by people who are doing their damnedest to try to prove their paganism is older, or more correct, or less flaky, or has fewer artificial additives and sweeteners, etc.

Personally, I like being a neopagan. I have no problem with it. I am under no delusion that what I’m doing here is some sort of paleolithic reconstruction–how much can you really rebuild out of a few cave paintings and artifacts and the mythological equivalent of a few burnt sticks? Additionally, since I’m not working within any culture except that which I live in now, I don’t have to worry about the constraints of any other culture or society.

I am, however, careful about what I apply to my path. I don’t accept just anything that sounds good. I realize that a good bit of what I’m working with here could be considered fluff by the uber-non-fluffies. Foo on that. I’m honest about my sources, and my personal spirituality and magical practice aren’t dependent on what someone says on teh intarwebz. I figure as long as I’m not running around saying “Hey, I’m a Neanderthal Pagan!” or some silly thing like that, then I can work quite safely within a neopagan (and neoshamanic) framework.

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