Witch dispells fear, clarifies misconceptions

                                                                                                                                                                 PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS WICCANS GATHER around to celebrate the earth and the blessings found throughout nature in dance.

PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / WICCANS GATHER around to celebrate the earth and the blessings found throughout nature in dance.

Published: October 30, 2015

Staff Writer

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “witchcraft?” I would predict that you think of the Salem Witch Trials of the 1600s, or even some Disney classics such as “Hocus Pocus” or “Halloweentown.”

Despite modern societal presumptions, witchcraft remains an active lifestyle today in 2015. In fact, according to the American Religious Identification Survey, around 400,000 United States citizens currently identify themselves as practicioners of witchcraft.

In the 1930s, a British man named Gerald Garder founded Wicca, a type of pagan religion. Wicca is a present-day religion based on belief of the power and value of nature and humanity’s ability to generate magic through it.

Wiccans do not believe that we are “better” than environmental creation or have any power over it. Rather, we must use intelligence to live in complete harmony with the natural world.

Perhaps what makes Wiccans especially unique is their ritual practices. Their rituals take place in an outdoor setting, with all participants creating a physical circle. Rituals are typically centered upon magic, or witchcraft.

They follow a lunar calendar by allowing the moon to determine appropriate timing of ritual practices. Often, Wiccans even utilize magic tools such as a dagger, pentacle, chalice and incense burner.

Wiccans do not perceive the world of the dead as a dimension that is disconnected from our lives today on Earth. Wiccans believe that the two worlds are constantly collaborating, and this is the true foundation for the existence of magic.

In the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, there are two local witchcraft fellowships. Every first Sunday of the month, the Fellowship of the Spirit Messengers meets at Viewmont Mall to share in discussion their common interest in witchcraft.

One participant in the group, Karl Kurtz, explained in an email, “Merry Meet. I am Karl, about 10 years running. About 3 or 4 members show up every month. Some members only show up when they need something. I am not sure of that anymore.This group serves mainly as an in-between group, between us and main street society. Most of my life. Witches are real but cannot do most of what people think they can do. Blessings.”

The Grove of the Ancient River Coven is a community Wiccan group in Wilkes-Barre that offers church services such as blessings, affirmations, cleansings and rites for all witchcraft members. They are always accepting new members.

As is commonly said among Wiccans across the globe, “Blessed Be!”

Contact the writer: marie.mactigue@scranton.edu

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