Tuesday, 16 August 2016

But what do you actually do?

Some people have expressed confusion about what inclusive Wicca does that is different from other Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wiccans (despite the fact that there is massive variation among covens and lineages in the rest of Wicca).

But Wicca is not just about the words we use in ritual - many covens within the Gardnerian and Alexandrian communities use different words for casting the circle, calling the quarters, consecrating and so on. The point is that we are orthopraxic - we do the same actions and we use the same techniques.

Gerald Gardner gave five different books of shadows to five different priestesses - consequently there is quite a lot of variation between and within the lineages descended from them.

There are also various different texts available for creating sacred space. Different covens will use different versions of these within Wicca as a whole. Some covens use words based on the Key of Solomon; some use other words.

What is the same as in the rest of Wicca?
  • The initiation ceremonies. These are the same as what we were handed by our initiators. You might be surprised about variations between lineages in the rest of Wicca, actually, but the basic core ceremony is the same. Some of us do same-sex initiations, but the actual ritual will be the same.
  • Casting the circle and calling the quarters. We use the same words and procedures that were given to us by our initiators. We don't tend to say "Lords of the Watchtowers..." but then lots of covens don't do that.
  • Making magic. We use the same methods of making magic that other covens use.
  • Celebrating festivals. We celebrate the Wheel of the Year, the eight Wiccan Sabbats. (Some covens in the USA use the same words for every Sabbat; most covens in the UK create new rituals for each festival using a combination of words from their BoS and newly created words. Some covens use a story about the God and Goddess that fits the festivals; some do not.)
What is different from the rest of Wicca?
  • Polarity. We believe that polarity can be made by any pair of opposites. 
  • Consecration of participants.  This can vary - but we don't divide people up by gender.
  • Invocation: any person of any gender may invoke a deity of any gender onto another person of any gender (other than that, it's the same).
  • Cakes and wine. We do the same actions, with slightly different words, which emphasise that the symbolism of the chalice and athame encompasses all acts of love and pleasure.
  • Degree of flexibility. Many covens are prepared to flex things to accommodate differences - but how far they are prepared to flex can vary widely. In inclusive Wicca, we try to accommodate disability, gender variance, sexual orientation, and so on. 
Conclusion
Given the huge variation between and within lineages in Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca, adding a bit more variation to the mix shouldn't be in the slightest bit controversial - but strangely, as soon as you mention including LGBT people, disabled people, and people of colour, it becomes controversial. I wonder why that is?

Further reading