Bewitched by Wicca
"... the sin of witchcraft..." -1st Samuel 15:23
"Ye that love the LORD, hate evil..." -Psalm 97:10
Wicca Witchcraft is Evil | Wicca exposed! | Principles of Wiccan Belief
Wicca Religion attracts girls in particular
Toronto Sun/March 22, 1999
By Cathy Stapells
If you have got a teenage daughter at your house, chances are she's a Sabrina fan.
Each week, she probably tunes in to watch the bewitching antics on TV shows like Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Charmed.
Whether it's just a fad, teen rebellion or a genuine curiosity, there's a resurgence of interest in witchcraft or Wicca, particularly among teenage girls.
"In a poll of the top 60 interests of teenage girls, witches are No. 1. It's the fastest-growing spiritual practice in the United States," says Phyllis Curott, a New York City civil rights lawyer and Wiccan high priestess.
"There are lots of teenage girls and young women in the crowds at my book signings," she says, referring to her recently published Book Of Shadows (Broadway Books, $35.95), which tells of her 20-year exploration as a member of the Wicca religion.
Witchcraft is a pre-Judeo-Christian religion, which recognizes the sacred in the natural world and experiences the divine in a feminine goddess. A witch, like a shaman or priestess, is someone who has discovered the goddess both within the world and within her/himself.
However, mainstream religions remain skeptical that Wicca can deliver real meaning to people.
"Young people often have to go through their own search for life's meanings. But are they asking the ultimate truth questions and finding real answers?" wonders Suzanne Scorsone, communications director of the Archdiocese of Toronto.
She likens people's interest in Wicca to a fascination with fairytales. "The problem is when fantasy is taken as reality. The shows are okay as long as people don't take it too seriously," she says.
"Judaism has two attitudes to witchcraft," says professor Martin Lockhsin, associate director of the Centre of Jewish Studies at York University. "One group believes witchcraft doesn't exist; that its powers are the result of trickery. The other camp says the powers do exist, but Jews aren't supposed to use them. We're to relate to God through the Bible."
"I got into learning about Wicca because of Sabrina. I also like Charmed," says Megan, 19, of Mississauga, who has checked out Web sites and read books on the subject.
She's found the Wiccan religion has very little to do with hocus pocus and casting spells. "After reading some stuff, I realized they really overdo it on TV," she says.
Wicca is part of the New Age movement, as many people search for alternatives to traditional religions.
"Teenage girls are attracted to Wicca because it offers a feminine perspective. If they don't belong to a formal church, they seek a model to provide dignity as a woman," says David Reed, professor of theology at Wycliffe College/U of T.
Some parents are concerned their kids will be putting spells on people or worshiping Satan.
"We don't believe in a devil, we certainly don't worship one," says Curott.
"Adult fears are overstated because of response to the word 'witch', which is linked to the demonic," says Reed. "However, while white Wicca is good, we have to be careful about people opening up to a dimension of the spiritual world which is demonic."
There are "tens of thousands" of Wiccans across the country, says Tamarra James, high priestess of the Wiccan Church of Canada.
"Whenever there's a new movie, we do get a spurt of interest from teenagers, but most of the increasing membership I see is from 20 to 30-year-olds," says James. "They find out about Wicca and say, 'Yes, that's what I'm looking for.' "
Although men make up about 40% of membership, Wicca is particularly attractive to women.
"What it offers is a very strong emblem of the divine feminine. Women in our faith are not second-class. They can have a calling and answer as priests," says James. "It's good for men, too, who are trying to get out of the old stereotypes."
Do these TV shows help remove misconceptions about witchcraft or reinforce existing stereotypes?
"From a witch's standpoint, they do have positive qualities because they portray witches as basically good, not Devil-worshippers. But the negative side is that witchcraft is seen to be anything from a cool hobby to a way to get a cute guy to notice you. They use witchcraft in silly ways, which degrades my religion," says Chad, a member of the U.S.-based Witches League for Public Awareness.
Wiccans say casting spells doesn't involve women wearing pointy hats or putting a hex on someone. In fact, it's a form of meditation and prayer which draws upon divine energy.
"Everyone's always interested in love spells," says Deborah Levin, a Toronto witch and psychic who recently entered the real estate business, because so many people asked her for advice on buying the right home. But it's not like TV portrayals, in which a girl puts a spell on the gorgeous football player so he'll fall in love with her.
"Maybe it would work if he's already got you in his thoughts. The best thing to do with a love spell is put a general call out to the universe to send somebody your way," she says.
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"Ye that love the LORD, hate evil..." -Psalm 97:10