Why Wicca? Investigating a Rise in Wicca Membership from a Cultural Perspective Essay

Why Wicca? Investigating a Rise in Wicca Membership from a Cultural Position

Harmonizing to Haviland, Kilmurray, Fedorak and Lee ( 2013 ) , faith is cosmopolitan across civilizations, and it serves several intents for world, both psychological and societal. It meets human demands by explicating the unknown, advancing group rank, denoting right from incorrect, and shriving answerability for persons by puting duty on God ( s ) . In recent old ages, nevertheless, involvement in mainstream faiths has declined. In its topographic point, Haviland et Al. ( 2013 ) explain that there has been a revival of heathen faiths, now referred to as neo-paganism. The most followed, harmonizing to Jorgenson and Russell ( 1999 ) , is known as Wicca, and they say that most Wicca practicians are white, Western in-between category adult females. Arthur ( 2008 ) says that Wicca is a matriarchal, Goddess based faith, and its focal point is on Earth, nature and the environment. It includes patterns such as white thaumaturgy and rites that are said to mend the organic structure and the Earth. He says that it is hard to do any averment about Wicca that would be relevant to all followings ; this is because aside from the nucleus beliefs that “…the ‘Earth is a divinity ‘ and ‘All life is sacred’…” ( p. 202 ) , Wicca comprises a diverse mixture of beliefs. However, while every individual’s concluding for following Wicca is alone, as a group this demographic’s involvement in Wicca is related to efforts to fulfill human demands one time fulfilled by mainstream faith, including pacifying revelatory frights and supplying a sense of individuality and group belonging.

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First, Haviland et Al. ( 2013 ) say that faith and the inquiries it answers, like explicating life and decease, have ever been cosmopolitan across civilizations. In add-on to offering replies, comfort, and consolation to persons, faiths offer persons and groups a system of ethical motives and values. Mainstream faiths like Christianity, Islam and Judaism have historically filled this niche, but involvement in these faiths has declined. Altemeyer ( 2004 ) says that in 1945, about 70 % of Canadian respondents in a Gallop Poll said that they had attended a spiritual service in the last hebdomad. In 1985, nevertheless, merely 35 % of Canadians said that they had done so. Noting that the diminution has been approximately 1 % per twelvemonth, Altemeyer ( 2014 ) goes on to state that in 1998-89, merely 20 % of Canadians said they attend services on a regular basis. He explains that one ground for this diminution is disenchantment with tenet like the anti-gay stances so many mainstream churches profess, and says that disenchantment because of sensed lip service in other church members has besides contributed to the diminution. Finally, he goes on to state that societal alteration besides negatively impacts church rank ; in many countries, there is no longer a societal stigma attached to non go toing church, so people do non experience compelled to be church members. Canadians are no longer placing with the ethical motives and values that mainstream churches offer, and when that is the instance, they can non happen the replies, comfort, and consolation that they seek within the churches.

However, as Altemeyer concludes, despite the diminution in mainstream faiths, faith in some signifier will go on to be, because there is still, across civilizations, a human demand for, “explanation, reassurance, transcendency, community, and identity” ( 2004, p. 89 ) . The current rush of involvement in pagan religion is in portion, harmonizing to Haviland et Al. ( 2013 ) , a response to the nothingness left by the diminution of mainstream faiths. Manning says that pagan religion is characterized by “a focal point on nature-venerating spiritualty ; the observance of pre-Christian divinities ; dynamic single belief system ; deficiency of institutionalization ; concentration on the development and transmutation of ego ; and credence or encouragement of diverseness and equality” ( Manning, 2012, p. 103 ) . She goes on to explicate that followings are attracted to paganism because its deficiency of tenet gives members liberty to believe freely. In add-on, Haviland et Al. ( 2013 ) say that the natural-based nature of neo-pagan faiths is attractive to the educated, urban demographic, and explicate that, “As people search for replies to the “big” inquiries, such as the significance of life, but besides question the worlds of their day-to-day lives, neo-pagan faiths are progressively run intoing their needs” ( p. 292 ) . Unable to deduce that comfort from mainstream faiths, disciples find consolation and replies in nature-focused neo-pagan faiths likeWicca.

Furthermore, Haviland et Al. ( 2013 ) say that scientific cognition, now widely available to the general populace in Western society, has contributed to frights related to environmental concerns. Ecological frights, harmonizing to Arthur ( 2008 ) , are related to Western society’s displacement to industrial society which entails pollution, inordinate waste, and resource depletion, and the concern among Wicca disciples is that if these issues remain unbridled they will take to apocalypse. He says that while Wicca does non in itself express beliefs about apocalypse, this issue is of import to its disciples, he explains that a belief has emerged and spread—through unwritten tradition—among Wicca followings that outlines an apocalypse followed by a mass technological failure and so worldwide pandemonium. Wiccan rules like autonomy, environmental consciousness, and self-awareness ( Arthur, 2008 ) aid disciples to get by with their frights, feel that they have power to forestall the apocalypse through an ecological life style, and believe that they are capable of lasting and wining in a post-apocalyptic universe. Wicca’s latitudinarian values welcome persons from a assortment of backgrounds point of views whose frights can change widely. For those who are alienated from mainstream faith and are fearful about a sensed approaching environmental calamity, Wicca with its accent on nature, self-care, and healing is peculiarly appealing.

Furthermore, Wicca besides offers consolation to its followings through belief in Gaia, a matriarchal, loving Goddess who personifies the Earth. Some of this comfort is elicited from executing specific rites and patterns that are purported to mend Gaia and convey practicians closer to her. However, harmonizing to Arthur ( 2008 ) , in garnering together to execute these rites, Witchs are besides organizing community groups. Harmonizing to Haviland et Al. ( 2013 ) , in order to work out jobs that household groups can non work out entirely, people across civilizations tend to group themselves together within a figure of classs ; groupings can be, for illustration, by age, gender, or societal place, or people might organize groups based around a common involvement. Haviland et Al. ( 2013 ) say that common-interest groupings are related to the societal alterations associated with urbanisation, and that in seeking out these groups, persons are seeking to carry through societal demands. Common-interest groupings can include those groups formed around spiritual organisations, and the groups formed by Witchs are evocative of the group dynamics one would happen among members of a mainstream spiritual community. Harmonizing to Hope and Jones ( 2006 ) , while heathen groupings are more variable in size than are other common involvement groups, runing from little private groups to larger public events, group individuality is still seen as of import within these groups. Even with the diverse point of views among the latitudinarian Wiccan community, rank in such a group gives persons the chance to be lending, welcome members of a wider group and take part in rites and festivals, while still keeping their ain positions and beliefs. These common-interest groups offer Wiccans a sense of belonging, and the incorporate societal individuality that used to come from designation with a spiritual group.

Finally, Minkjan says that experiential security is the effort to understand the universe and one’s topographic point within it, and says that Western society itself is doing experiential insecurity through issues like cultural losingss of tradition, and globalisation ( Minkjan, 2008 ) . Giving as an illustration the battalion of picks available to the person in about every facet of Western society, she says that these issues, when unsolved, can take to psychological jobs like depression and diffidence. She goes on to explicate that these issues lead these adult females to seek out neo-pagan faiths like Wicca. Harmonizing to Jorgenson and Russell ( 1999 ) , early scholarly research described heathens as disfranchised, anomic, socially stray, middle-class, white adult females who held chiefly fringe businesss. However, more recent research has shown that Witchs are chiefly immature to middle-aged adult females of European descent, good educated, and non socially marginalized ( Jorgensen & A ; Russell, 1999 ) . Furthermore, Minkjan says that in secular Dutch society, extremely educated middle-aged adult females have the most trouble happening experiential security and are overrepresented in Dutch mental establishments due to what she calls, “existential anxiousnesss and insecurities” ( 2008, p. 62 ) . That a higher rate of this demographic than any other follows Wicca indicates that Wicca might carry through demands and ease experiential insecurity for these persons by supplying heat and replies through the loving, matriarchal Gaia, every bit good a sense of individuality and group rank in a society where mainstream faith is all but absent.

In decision, due to cultural alteration, Western society seen a diminution in association with mainstream faith, and an addition in industrialisation. A demand therefore evolved for something that could make full the human needs that faith one time did, and neo-pagan faiths, Wicca in peculiar, have emerged to make so, capturing the attending and imaginativenesss of Westerners who needed something in the nothingness created by the drastic alterations in Western civilization. Where mainstream faith would one time hold given comfort and consolation by giving way in the thick of revelatory frights, supplying replies to the unknown, and giving persons a sense of personal and group individuality, people, peculiarly adult females, are now turning to neo-pagan faiths like Wicca to make full those demands.


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