Theological and Other Controversies Within Wicca

No religion lasts long without controversy and dispute arising. I think this is a feature, not a bug. Basicly, when a large number of people -- say, 2 -- are trying to establish common ground on their most personal experiences and beliefs, there's bound to be overlap and disjunction. That's an intellectual and spiritual manifestation of the diversity written into our very genes.

It's how we handle those disagreements that are good or bad.

Here, I'm going to list some of the issues which are controversial within Wicca. I'm also going to attempt to give a fair presentation to both -- or all, if there are more than two camps -- sides of the argument. Finally, I will present my own beliefs on the matter.
Self Initiation Objections to the validity of Self-Initiation tend to take a few forms:
  • A belief that Wiccan Priesthood relies on connection to a specific thought-form that can only be conferred through an Initiation performed by someone with a connection to the thought-form.
  • Concerns about the education and knowledge about those who have not had someone sign off on what they know.
Proponents of the validity of Self-Initiation tend to take several forms as well.
  • The First Witch had none but the Great Ones to Initiate them.
  • One does not need to link with a specific, closed-access thought-form to be a valid Priest/ess. It is certainly not the case that the closed-access thoughtforms proponents refer to are the Great Ones themselves.
  • If Doreen Valiente, Victor Anderson, and Starhawk all recognize the validity of Self-Initiation, who is anyone else to argue?
I Self-Initiated into Faery Wicca in 1987. In 1988, Francesca DeGrandis went out of her way to make it clear that she recognized that as a valid Initiation, and that her source for this was Victor Anderson, and since it's his Tradition, who's anyone to dispute it? I've yet to see someone make a convincng argument that I'm not a Priest and Witch. Later in 1988, I entered more formal training, but even then the validity of my Initiation was never questioned by those with whom I practised.
Dianic Practise I've heard all of these variously cited as reasons some women (and some men) were called to a Dianic (Goddess-only or Goddess-dominant) practise.
  • Hearing the Goddess call to one, and not similarly hearing the God.
  • A belief that the Wicca is "women's religion," and that men ought not participate.
  • A belief in the spiritual superiority of women.
  • An inability to work magickally with men arising from encounters with contemporary sexism.
I've heard all of these variously cited as reasons men and women have adopted an equalitarian Wiccan theology.
  • Hearing the God call to them.
  • A belief secular in equality of the sexes requiring an equality in Dieties relative to their sex.
People interact with the Great Ones in reaction to how the Great Ones reveal Themselves. The Great Ones also reveal themselves in reaction to how they are sought out. This is not contradiction, this is iteration. I've seen this conversation go in many directions, starting from many places and leading to many places.

The conclusion I have reached is that just as it is not our place to proselytize for Wicca amongst those not called to it, it is not our place to proselytize for any particular Divinity. If the God wants a Dianic to pay more attention to Him, or give Him more weight, He'll let them know in an unmistakable manner. If anyone's wondering, the Goddess can be similarly blunt.

Intersection with Christianity Some people feel one cannot worship Jesus at all and be a Witch.
Some people see no reason for other people's interpretations of Christianity to stop them from worshipping Jesus as they hear Him tell them He wishes to be worshipped.
I can only understand as hubris the notion that any human being is qualified to tell the Great Ones which names and faces they may use when revealing themselves to us.
Matriarchal Theology and Coven Structure
Teenage Wiccans Those bothered by the recent upsurge of teenagers coming to Wicca generally feel that teenagers aren't mature enough to take the practise seriously or respectfully, or to grasp the ethics involved.
I think it depends on the individual teenager, like anyone else. Certainly, it is a bad idea to give religious instruction to a minor without their parents' written permission.

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