Wicca and Discrimination

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Running head: DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THOSE WHO PRACTICE WICCA

Discrimination against those who practice Wicca
Kimberly Lange
Capella University

Abstract

Wiccans represent the 7th largest organized religion in the United States. Wiccans are fired from jobs, lose custody of their children, are discriminated against in housing, and are forced to make other painful sacrifices because of their religion. Counseling professionals need to be aware of their own prejudices and beliefs toward this religion if they are to be successful in treating their clients. Formulating a plan to educate and inform themselves of this often misunderstood religion is an essential component of the counselor’s professional responsibility. Discrimination against those who practice Wicca

I chose to research Wicca and discrimination against those who practice the Wiccan religion. This is a group I am not familiar with and have heard many negative comments on in general and from professionals. I believe from the research I have completed that this is another religion that is feared and misunderstood. Discrimination against Wiccans trace back to before the colonization of America. The Salem witch trials are a famous part of American history for their open brutality. Wiccans have been and are feared, discriminated against in multiple areas of their life for their beliefs. Though not as obvious and apparent today, religious discrimination is still present and affects those of the Wiccan religion. Trying to define Wicca and one who is of the religion can be very difficult for anyone. If you ask different persons you will get different answers, even among those who practice the religion themselves. The term Wicca derives from "wicce", a Norse word meaning "wise one" (Raven-Wolf, 2004, p. 38). Wicca and Witchcraft is not the same thing, though they are sometimes used interchangeably by those in and out of the religion. Practitioners of Wicca and those of witchcraft are often called witches. All practitioners of Wicca are witches, but not all witches are practitioners of Wicca (Jorgensen & Russell, 1999). Wicca refers to the religion. This can be a reference to both the initiatory tradition, where initiates are assigned a degree and generally work in covens, and to solitary Wicca, where practitioners self-dedicate themselves to the tradition and generally practice on their own. Wiccans often refer to themselves as Neopagan. The term "Neopagan" includes all faith groups which are based on attempted reconstruction of ancient, extinct religions (Godbeer, 2003). Once again, not all Neopagans are Wiccans. The term "Neopagan" includes followers of many other earth-centered faith traditions, including Druidism, and Neo-Shamans (Elliott & Hayward, 2007). Wiccan beliefs and practices are not Satanism. Wiccans do not recognize the existence of an evil being similar to Satan who is found mainly in Christianity and Islam, nor do they believe in the concept of a hell or purgatory (RavenWolf, 2004). Wiccans believe that the spirit of the One, Goddess and God exist in all things. Wicca emphasizes the balance of Male and Female energies, with the God as much a vital part of the religion as the Goddess (Coco & Woodward, 2007). Wiccan respect nature and part of their religion is celebrating the cycles of the sun, moon and seasons.  Wiccans draw inspiration and insight from nature, science, and personal experience. Wiccans main rule of behavior is the Wiccan Rede which forbids them from harming people, including themselves. The Wiccan Rede is central to the understanding that personal responsibility, rather than a religious authority, is where moral structure resides (Elliott & Hayward, 2007). Wicca is a belief system and way of life based upon the reconstruction of pre-Christian traditions originating in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales (Jorgensen & Russell, 1999). Wicca is based on the symbols, seasonal days of...
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