Wicca / Monothiestic ?????

Discussion in 'Pagan' started by Child of a New Day, Jul 1, 2005.

  1. Child of a New Day

    Child of a New Day New Member

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    Ok I have a question, could some Wiccans be monothiestic. If (some) Wiccans believe that alltough the God and Goddess go by many names they still are the same devine being, and if they believe the God and Goddess are acually one. Could that be belief in one God and a monothiestic religion in theory? What do you think?
     
  2. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Hi--Peace to All Here,

    Hello, Child of a New Day.:)

    Interesting question, I think. I am not very well-versed in the Wiccan tradition(s), and so my ignorance is bound to show here. But I am compelled to respond because I do know and very much love some folks who express their beliefs in this very way. I certainly cannot answer for people who have other and more knowledge in this area. I think that probably the Wiccans in my family are (I may flub this up a bit--forgive me, please) more like "solitary" practitioners. And I think they see the "gods and goddesses" as more symbolic of the characteristics of nature than actual deities. And, for all I know, they may even be confused about the actual concept of Wicca--I don't know. I am sure you will receive more educated replies than mine, and I look forward to reading them.

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  3. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    I, too, am not very educated in Wicca. I'm sure soon you will receive replies from folks that are. I will say that as a Druid I can also be monotheist, although it is a nature-centered religion/spirituality. I see the Divine One (God in a genderless, transcendent sense) as encapsulating both God and Goddess. I don't believe all gods/goddesses in all traditions are necessarily God (I think some stemmed from running into nature spirits, for example) but I do think many of them are various folks' perceptions of God. Recently I came to some interesting ideas about the union of God in various forms (trinity and god/goddess) and the energies and symbolism of the elements and directions. Maybe I'll post and get some feedback... but I'm not sure where since it interweaves Christian concepts and earth-based/Druidic ones. I guess Alternative would be best?
     
  4. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    I think the answer to many questions containing the term "do some Wiccans" or "are some Wiccans" is usually Yes, no matter what the rest of the question is.

    There's been a hot debate recently on the newsgroup alt.religion.wicca.moderated on what the "minimal definition" of a Wiccan is. It's quite amusing...

    They started off focussing on beliefs, and after a while someone came up with the minimal "believes in the Lord & Lady" definition and got shot down as well - there are groups that are solely oriented on one or the other.

    So then they got started on practices rather than beliefs... even more fun - someone suggested the minimum definition being celebrating the sabbats and esbats, and blessing the cakes & ale, and someone else chimed in with their coven doesn't do the blessing... others do full moon, but not new moon...
    and the only thing anyone could agree on after all that is following the Rede (Do what you want as long as you don't harm anyone) is core. You don't follow that, (or more specifically the latter half), you shouldn't call yourself Wiccan.


    One Wiccan friend of mine sees deity as a disco ball - one thing, but with lots of facets representing the various Gods people worship. Does that make her monotheistic? She'd argue differently...but also she doesn't worry about labels you place on her, she only cares about her own.
     
  5. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    There are many Wiccans (including some Gardnerians and Alexandrians) who do not consider the Wiccan Rede ("An it harm none, do what you will") to be particularly central to their religious philosophy. The Wiccan Rede was expressed in a number of ways including in Gardner's book "Witchcraft Today," but it wasn't really considered central until after Doreen Valiente gave a speech in the mid 1960s where she uttered the now-common eight word phrasing. I suspect that she had just put it in such a poetic way that it really hit a chord with people and moved to the central place that it now holds for many people.

    But this just points out that we can't really consider the Wiccan Rede to be one of the universal core pieces of what makes Wicca -- since not all Wiccans (particularly not all Gardnerians, the first Wiccan sect) don't count it in their systems as important.

    On the topic of whether Wicca is really monotheistic, it bears repeating what some others have said that there isn't a central authority structure in Wicca (no Grand High Wiccan, no Pope, no Council of Wiccans, no infallible Holy Scripture that all use) so there is a lot of diversity and not much that can force conformity. There is a lot of diversity among Wiccans regarding how they perceive the Divine -- some are very clearly monotheistic, but many are polytheistic, and many are polytheistic but believe in the idea that all deities are manifestations or aspects of a Supreme Unknowable Deity. Wiccans aren't unique in this regard though -- Hinduism is another example of a religious group that has a lot of diversity, including some variation in how the Divine is described. Some Hindu philosophies sound pretty monotheistic, some come across as very polytheistic, and some talk about all the gods and goddesses as being manifestations of a Supreme Unknowable Deity.
     
  6. Uriella

    Uriella New Member

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    I, personally, see the God and Goddess as being representative of the divine in each and every one of us. However, to answer your question, beliefs regarding the divine among Wiccans, solitary and coven, are many and varied. Some are even atheists, so no doubt there will be those who consider themselves monotheists.

    Blessings, Uriella
     
  7. Child of a New Day

    Child of a New Day New Member

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    Thank you for the feed back. I asked the question because I have read and heard many say that wiccans are not and can not be monothiestic. I have never really challnged anyone on it. I guess I felt that if that is how they see it let them be. I guess I still do. But it just did not make sense to me.

    P.S. Off Subject= I like what the mods have done to the site since the last time I was here. :eek:
     
  8. Chalice

    Chalice I am the Grail

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    I have wondered this and here is the answer I came up with. I am Christian and Druid at the same time, but love to study Wicca as well.


    When you do some comparison of the "notes" of Christianity (monotheism) and paganism you find that in paganism, the God (male deity) usually resides in the heavens, as the Sun God, or such. The Goddess is usually an earthbound deity, like Gaia. To cross reference this to Christianity (monotheism) you find that Christ is the Heavenly Deity who comes to earth to interact with the Goddess, who resides upon earth. Together they form new life in the souls of mankind, along with making the earth a living and breathing, healthy place (supposed to anyway). And who in Christianity is "the Goddess"? - well for me that is obvious - Christ's Bride, the Church (genuine believers, not the hipocrites) has the position of Goddess because the God marries his Bride, the Goddess, and in christianity, Christ marries his group of genuine believers, making them "the Bride/Goddess". So While the Church is many people it is "one" organization that forms an entity of "Goddess". In this monotheistic faith, they will marry at the "marriage supper of the Lamb" (i.e. Christ). In Paganism, this is the "Great Marriage" - Christians expect this in the future, but do not call it the Great Marriage, but that is essentially what it is.

    On Pantheons and monotheism: if you read Genesis 5,6, and 7, you find that it states clearly that since the days of Adam the "Sons of God" (heavenly angelic beings) married with the daughters of earth and that their children became the "men of renown, heroes of old", Noah obviously being one of these, which is why this is mentioned in his story between his patriarchial geanology and the rest of the story (apparently Noah's mother was a descendent of the Heavenly "Sons of God", and Noah had a divine and human heritage, making him a hero of old, a man of renown). These offspring of "Sons of God" and earth women became what we now call gods and goddesses/pantheon deities, and had real supernatural powers. The "Giants" (nephilim) are also mentioned along with "mortal men". Therefore there were three groups in those days, Angelic beings, whose offspring were the heroes and renoun men of ancient times/pantheon of gods and goddesses, Giants, and mortals. The flood only wiped out the mortals and maybe the giants, according to the Genesis account. The pantheon remained and no mention is made of the Giants. Noah and his family (the pantheon of gods and goddesses) remained...They had miraculous powers and were semi-divine...doesn't this strike you as the first pantheon in our era? Everything prior to Noah died...he and his half-divine heritage continued and his descendents remembered his mountain top dwelling place that functioned also as a temple (he made a sacrifice at the ark)- sounds like the Greek Mount Olympus or the Mountain where Valhallah existed, doesn't it-where gods lived and sacrificed at the same time? and for those cultures that think the pantheon resided underwater, like Atlantis, or on an island, well Noah's dwelling place "did" exist in those places depending on the stage of the story, for the ark was on/under the water, and on a mountain top surrounded by water for a time (an island). After the Noahide story, the Tower of Babel happened, the languages divided and the supercontinent (Pangea) divided into many (during the time of Peleg, says the Bible) - so it makes perfect sense that people remembered this pantheon of semi-divine humans who lived under the water, on an island or on top of a mountain top in different languages, which is why the pantheon deities have different names depending on what language/culture you speak of them in, even though they have basically the same functions. While Noah never forgot the "All-Father", his descendents did, remembering only him and his supernatural family, who I suppose formed the Atlantean society when they first resided on a mountain-top island surrounded by mists, and using miraculous powers. By the way, for info, the word "god" in hebrew, with a small "g" means "ruler, magistrate, governor, priest, king, heavenly messenter and sometimes idol". Noah had all these positions over his descendents, making him a "god" (small g), but not a "God" (big G). The word "God" (big G) means self-existent, uncreated being who brings salvation, i.e. the logistical first being who created all other things (all cultures, even pagan ones, believe this being had to exist logically). God told Moses in Ex 3:13 that his name is YHWH (Jehovah) which means "all saving being" - one who saves the day in all circumstances. Jesus' name means exactly the same thing which is why Christians believe that God and Jesus are "one" and the same, but "triune" with the Holy Spirit.

    I personally think that it makes sense to worship ONE God, who came to earth as Christ, and is betrothed to his people (genuine believers in him), and will marry that group, making it his "Bride/Goddess". Together they will bring new spiritual life to other people, and restore the earth to it's original beauty. I also think that the pantheon is not mythical, but historical, and that instead of the pantheon being above us, we are descended from it and are actually a part of it /equal to it- you are a god or goddess by your genetic descendency from that group, and will become "The Goddess" if you choose to be part of the "Great Marriage" at the Marriage supper of the Lamb (i.e. Christ). The Egyptians revered Lambs as the highest deity as well, not just the hebrews or Christians, so this is a pagan idea as well as a Judeo-Christian idea.

    For me this "theology" teaches me that I can be Monotheistic towards God with a "Big G", while revering my ancestor gods and goddesses (little g), and recognizing that I am one of them and have the same supernatural powers they had genetically. Because of my relationship with Christ, who said that if I believe in Him, I will have "more" power than he had while on earth, I can super power my Magickal/miraculous abilities, and can look foreward to becoming his full fledged Bride and Goddess at the Great Marriage which is predicted in Christ's own teachings.

    Any way, that is how I look at it, and so for me personally, I am a monotheist who believes in a very real, historical and supernatural pantheon of which I am a descendent. Instead of worshipping the Goddess, I feel I am in the Goddess position, and must ask myself, "what do I do with that position for my God and Lord?" Your response to this would be interesting, as I know of no one out there who has thought of this as a religious system...
     
  9. WicceDiva

    WicceDiva Solitary Practioner

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    I think what I love about people asking questions about Wiccans like we are all one mind... is the fact that I do not think they consider the fact that the Christian religion is so different from one "demoniation" to the other. Catholics use the Trinity, Baptists just Concentrate on God and Jesus and so forth....


    Wicca is similar in that it depends what "Tradition" you are part of, then which Coven you belong to. In my case, being Solitary and using a merge of many traditions... I believe in the God and the Goddess as together being "The All" or one entity. No part more important than the other and each needing one another to be complete. I call on other Gods or Goddesses depending on need, but I see them as parts of "The All".. Kind of like Catholics use Saints.

    BUT... that is just me. lol.
     
  10. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Welcome to Comparative-Religion, WicceDiva!

    Your view of the Divine is one that is shared by some (but of course not all) Wiccans, including me.

    (By the way, I loved that Freudian-slip misspelling in your post: "demoniation" instead of "denomination." It betrays how some denominations portray their competitors...)
     
  11. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Hi WicceDiva--

    Again, welcome to CR--

    Glad you are here--I have many questions--I have a great need to understand. (Not here to argue--just to learn:))

    Do you see other gods besides God and Goddess as manifestations of the same, or as actual separate deities?

    (by the way, most Baptists place a great deal of importance on the Trinity--just thought I should throw that in:))

    Look forward to hearing from you, as well as others who want to comment.

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  12. Child of a New Day

    Child of a New Day New Member

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    Hi Wicca Diva and thank you for your reply.I think you may have assumed that I was a Christian when I asked this question. I actually consider myself to be an Eclectic Wiccan. Some may consider me in the beginning stages of studying the religion. I have been exposed to it for over 10 years but have really began to study the history now. My aunt was a Wiccan High priestess and I grew to love and gain more and more interest in it. Some know that unfortunatley she passed away. I want to learn as much as I can to honor her teachings and ultimatly the God/dess. I am aware that there are several traditions and beliefs of Wicca. That is what I was trying to point out . Some people of have told me that it is impossible to be Wiccan and monothiestic and I disagree. I just wanted to hear what others had to say. I always assume there are many different views on the subject. Anyway I look forward to what you have to say perhaps I can learn from you as well. Merry Meet.
     
  13. WicceDiva

    WicceDiva Solitary Practioner

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    Thanks for the welcomes!

    I am going to pretend I meant that typo as well as the faux pas in the other thread and not tell anyone I was drinking when I decided to chime in, so I am sorry if I misunderstood. lol.

    I see the other Gods as simply aspects of the God and Goddess and therefore part of The All. I feel like if Catholicism is considered Monotheistic then Wicca, under these views, can.
     
  14. queenofsheba

    queenofsheba New Member

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    Witches definitely come from polytheistic religions. Otherwise, it's a kind of syncretism between christianity and remnants of popular, polytheistic beliefs.
     
  15. Barefootinthegrass

    Barefootinthegrass New Member

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    Hey all!:)

    I'm Wiccan. There's a saying that goes a bit like this-

    'Ask ten witches a question and you'll get ten different answers.'

    So this is just my humble opinion, ok?


    I feel around me a divine force. It is in every thing and everyone. It is the earth, the trees, the sky, even the nasty folk who live upstairs from me! I understand this force to be both genders, which are both part of the divine. To decide that it is only male or only female, I feel, is unbalanced.

    Some Wiccans focus only on the female (eg, Dianic Wicca), some Wiccans believe in the various mythological Gods and Goddess's as seperate deities, not part of a whole divine being at all. Some Wiccans see these Gods and Goddess's as aspects of two main deities (the Lord and Lady), and some see them as aspects of a one whole divine force. That doesn't make them a Christian throw over, by the way! I am not a Christian!:)

    And, just to confuse you some more, not all witches are Wiccans. Witchcraft in itself is not a religion, it's a practise, a craft. So you can have a Christian witch, a Buddhist witch, an atheist witch.

    But Wicca is a religion which incorperates witchcraft. You cannot have a Christian Wiccan, or an atheist Wiccan. Wicca is a modern religion. Witchcraft reaches back thousands of years. It appears all over the globe in various cultures and faiths. Many of those cultures will have been polythesistic. But Wicca, as a religion, incompasses all the views of the divine that I mentioned in a previous paragraph. There is no 'right way' in that respect.

    Blessings!
     
  16. Druweid

    Druweid Sage ~ Student ~ Servant

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    Greetings!

    I know exactly what you are talking about because my veiw of the Divine is very similar (though I, myself, am not Wiccan).

    What you are describing is called "Archtypalism." It's drawn from the definition of "Archtype" as presented by Carl Jung, and although technically it is more a literary term, it is still an accurate and apropriate description of one's system of beliefs.

    To elaborate, an Archtypalist sees the Divine more as an abstract spiritual energy (i.e., no describable physical characterisics) than a physical being, and accepts that physical forms are used to represent the apsects of that energy in order to better commune with the Divine. It is also acceptable that multiple forms can be used to represent multiple, usually complementary, aspects.

    Since all these archtypes lead to a singular central source, technically, an Archtypalist would be considered monotheist.

    Now, as far as a Wiccan being a montheist? Gerald Gardner, credited as being the founder of Wicca, once said himself that is was not beyond reason to believe a person could be both a witch and a Christian, albeit an unorthodox Christian to say the least. That having been said, it can be reasonably inferred that, from the beginning, it has not been considered altogether inapproriate for a Wiccan to be monotheistic.

    Brightest blessings,
    -- Druweid
     
  17. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    However as Bruce pointed out, being a witch and being Wiccan are not neccessarily the same thing. He states one can be a Christian and a witch (or any other faith and a witch), but being Wiccan and Christian (or Wiccan and any other faith), is like attempting to blend two distinct religious faiths into one. Can one be a Jewish Muslim, or a Jewish Christian, or a Jewish Buhddist? He wasn't sacrasanct on the issue, but posed a valid question. When conflict arrises, which "faith" rises to the forefront?

    Also, I think Wicca is a bit older than Mr. Gardner (by about 3000 years, at least). The phrase may have been coined by Mr. Gardner, but the practice is much older, infact it is older than most mainstream religions of the world today, as history is rift with expressions of said faith back to the beginning of time (secular and scriptural).

    my thoughts

    v/r

    Q
     
  18. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    The practice of witchcraft, and specific cults that focussed on witchcraft such as Charles Leland apparently discovered in Italy certainly predate Gerald Gardner. However, the religion of Wicca did not appear until Gerald Gardner. Wicca and witchcraft are not the same thing -- Wicca is a religion and witchcraft is a loose collection of magickal practices. Witchcraft exists across the globe throughout history in all sorts of religious contexts. Witchcraft itself is not a single uniform system of practice, let alone a single uniform religion.

    Gardner claimed that Wicca was an intact ancient Pagan cult. Historical research to date has not supported this claim. We have lots of evidence of witchcraft being practiced prior to Gardner but no evidence for anything like Gardner's Wicca. Historians like Ronald Hutton, in his highly-regarded book "The Triumph of the Moon," and Isaac Bonewits in "Witchcraft: A Concise Guide" and "Bonewits' Essential Guide to Witchcraft and Wicca" provide pretty solid arguments for Wicca originating in the twentieth century, very likely at Gardner's hands.

    The worth of something though is not necessarily dependent on its age. Wicca is a vibrant, meaningful religion for many people (me included) regardless whether it is seventy years old or hundreds or even thousands of years old.
     
  19. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    I stand corrected...

    v/r

    Q
     
  20. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    The history of Wicca is one of those things that is still being worked through by historians. It's possible that Gardner's claims were true but at this point the evidence is stacked up awfully high against it. Some authors such as Raven Grimassi are doing a lot to try and uncover evidence to support Gardner's claims but to date I haven't personally found it very convincing (too many logical problems with the arguments, too many speculative leaps required, too much cherry-picking of evidence and careful twisting of evidence to make it fit a theory.)

    Philip Heselton is another author to watch as he's providing some valuable evidence that deserves attention. However, he has a long way to go to prove that Wicca as a religion predates Gardner. He's uncovered some compelling evidence regarding who likely influenced Gardner, but hasn't proven that any of these influences were bona fide Wiccan religious witches, or that Wicca itself was an established pre-Gardnerian religion.

    There are also a lot of books on Wicca that still just repeat the old Gardnerian claims without mentioning any of the more recent research (which has been published since at least the late 1990s.) Some might be repeating the old claims because they want to believe them, but I'm sure some repeat them because they are just not as aware as they should be. A lot of the popular books that are published on Wicca are not scholarly texts and tend to be sloppy in their research.
     

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