This Sunday, Hearthfires, the Mid-Missouri Pagan Spiritual Alliance, Ozark Avalon Church of Nature, and Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride presented a panel discussion titled “Which Witch is Which?” at the Columbia Public Library. Several members of the local pagan community spoke about the reality of witchcraft as opposed to the ugly evil old hags depicted in popular culture. They also spoke about some of the origins of Halloween traditions. The discussion was focused on Wicca, and it is important to note that, while all Wiccans are witches, not all witches are Wiccan.
I attended the panel, which was very interesting, and came away feeling as if I knew a lot more about witchcraft. Here’s some of the more interesting and important things that were discussed:
FALSE: witches always dress in black, witches are ugly old women, witches ride around on broomsticks, witches worship the devil, witches perform (or think they perform) extraordinary magic such as portrayed in TV shows like Bewitched and Charmed or movies like Harry Potter.
TRUE: Wicca is modeled on traditional European practices and pre-Christian beliefs, Wiccans celebrate eight festivals, called Sabbats, which are based on the lunar calendar and correspond with the historical agricultural system in Europe, witches perform magickal rituals. Magick is spelled with a “k” to make a distinction from the stage magic performed by a magician pulling a bunny out of a top hat. Magick is using the energy in your mind, using your consciousness to altar your reality – it is, in simplest terms, techniques to help you make an inner change so that you can accomplish your goals.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT SAMHAIN, the Pagan version of Halloween:
- Samhain, pronounced “so-wen”, is the start of the Celtic new year, and is celebrated in October 31
- Samhain recognizes the third harvest in the fall when animals are slaughtered for meat
- Samhain is the time when the deceased are honored
- Wiccans believe that the veil separating the living from the dead is thinnest on October 31
Here’s a short video about the history of Halloween:
To read the full article on the Columbia Missourian’s website click here.
To learn more about Wicca, click here.