GaianGuy posted the following comment in reply to the section of my Theistic Satanism site To Wiccans and other Pagans and occultists. The comment was originally posted below my post Deities and element correspondences?, where it is off-topic. So I’m moving it to a separate thread here. (GaianGuy also posted an on-topic comment below my post Some of my history of challenging prejudice (mainly anti-Satanism by Pagans).)
You asked: “Why reconstruct an “Old Religion” this way, rather than just going back to the records of actual old religions? Other forms of neo-Paganism, e.g. Asatru and neo-Druidism, which do base themselves more on what’s known about actual ancient religions, are far less likely than Wicca to be confused with Satanism by outsiders. Why do Wiccans insist on using words like “witch” and “coven” when they could easily use other, more respectable-sounding words?”
But your question is rhetorical – you answer it a little later: “…at least some of them are using words and images popularly associated with Satanism as a way to attract attention, and/or because they themselves enjoy feeling naughty” – and you are absolutely right about that! – in my opinion, based on my experience. I’ll be more specific however – some Wiccan witches want to believe they have magical powers, and very much want OTHER PEOPLE to believe that being a Wiccan witch means they have magical powers. They don’t, of course…no one does. There is no divine/supernatural causation.
“Wicca is not “the Old Religion”…” – true.
“Much of Wicca’s self-image is based on the Paganized re-interpretation of alleged Devil-worship, rather than on actual ancient religion” – true.
“Much of Wicca’s terminology and imagery, e.g. the words “witch”, “coven”, and “sabbat”, are used because of the Wiccan myth that Wicca is the survival of an underground medieval religion that was the target of the witchhunts. (Regardless of the linguistic origin of the words themselves, this constellation of terms comes from the witchhunts.)” – true.
“The related idea that modern Wiccans too are in continual danger of being confused with Satanists is at least partly a self-fulfilling prophecy” – true.
“Far fewer people would confuse modern Wicca with Satanism if Wicca didn’t use so many witchhunt-derived words and other trappings popularly associated with diabolical witchcraft” – absolutely true, and I’ve been saying the same thing since 1978 or so.
“My point here is not that Wiccans shouldn’t use the words “witch”, “coven”, and “sabbat”. My point is that if they do use these and other diabolical-witchcraft trappings, they should accept responsibility for the consequences. For example, when explaining that Wicca Is Not Satanism, they should acknowledge the main real reason for the confusion: that modern Wiccans have chosen to identify with the victims of European witchhunts and have chosen their terminology accordingly. Wiccans certainly should not blame Satanists for Wicca’s own public-relations difficulties, as some Wiccans do” – yes, yes, yes, that’s all true.
“Many Pagan Witches have said, in their “We’re not Satanists” disclaimers, that Satanists are “Christians” or “Christian heretics.” The point is that the idea of Satan is derived from Christianity (and Judaism), whereas Neo-Paganism aims to revive more ancient religious concepts”.
No, that’s not the point.
I’ll ‘fess up here…I’ve made these kinds of statements “that Satanists are “Christians” or “Christian heretics”, or that “you have to be a Christian to be a Satanist” – many times since 1976 – in personal conversation & correspondence, on television, on radio and in print. What you consider to be “the point” of saying those things, might be true for Bonewitz or others, but that’s not the point for me.
“Calling Satanists “Christians” or “Christian heretics” is an insult to both Satanists and Christians” – that’s getting closer to the point, but I still suspect you don’t really “get it”. And, I certainly have no wish to “insult” MOST persons who call themselves “Satanists”, nor MOST persons who call themselves Christians.
“…nor am I willing to engage in private email discussion or debate about the topics discussed on my website or blogs”
What a shame.
If I don’t “get it,” would you care to explain?
As for private discussion, after we get to know each other a bit via public correspondence, perhaps we can exchange phone numbers. But I need to limit my private interaction with people I don’t know. When I do have private interaction, I usually prefer phone to email.