Is Wicca a form of Satanism? Part 2: Contributing
factors. Similarities. Conclusions. Recommendations
Contributing factors to the confusion of Wiccans with Satanists:
The Burning Times took place during part of the
Middle Ages and Renaissance in Europe and the Americas. Christian organizations
-- both Protestant and Catholic -- hunted imaginary Satan worshippers who were believed to
have signed over their souls to the devil and
worshipped him. Many tens of thousands of innocent victims of this original "witchhunt" were convicted of "Witchcraft"
by civil and religious courts Three centuries of burning convicted
"Witches" at the stake, and hanging others, imbedded the concept of
the Satan worshipping Witch in the public's mind. This image has been
perpetuated through nursery rhymes and horror movies to the present
day and is still taught in the Sunday schools of some conservative Christian denominations.
Since the ancient Churches and modern-day Wiccans both use the terms "Witch"
and "Witchcraft," many people have linked Wiccans with Satan worshipers.
There are good reasons why Wiccans preserve the use of "Witch." Many Wiccans feel that to
abandon the term would be to also ignore the memories of those who were unjustly
executed in past centuries. It would diminish the tremendous injustice inflicted
There are several additional reasons which add to the confusion:
There is much confusion over religious terms.
Many have multiple definitions. For example, we have identified 17
unique meaning to the term "Witchcraft" of which many
are mutually exclusive. Similarly, there are at least five unrelated
meanings to the term "Paganism."
||The Wiccan community frequently adopts ambiguous terms to describe
themselves and their faith. As mentioned above, terms "Witch," "Witchcraft,"
and "Paganism" have many different and often unrelated meanings. Many in the
Neopagan community prefer the term "Pagan" (which is also ambiguous) over the
term "Neopagan" which has a generally accepted, unique definition. They also
frequently use the terms "Witch" and "Witchcraft" (which are ambiguous) in
place of "Wiccan" (which is well defined).
Satanists sometimes identify themselves as "Witches." Anton Szandor LaVey, the founder of
the Church of Satan, titled one of his
books "The Satanic Witch."
Three superficial points of similarity between Satanism and Wicca:
||Both use a five pointed star as a symbol. Satanists align it so that two
points are upwards. Wiccans orient their star with two points downwards,
except in special cases.
||Both often perform their religious rituals within a circle marked on
the floor or ground.
||Most Wiccans and Satanists engage in magick; however, Wiccans are limited
to non-manipulative, consensual, positive magick.
Lumping together the followers of a wide diversity of religions (e.g. Buddhists, Druids, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, New Agers,
Santerians, Taoists, Wiccans and other Neopagans, followers of Vodun, etc.)
as Satanists creates massive confusion in the public
mind. Most of the public reserve the term "Satanist" for people
who identify themselves as Satanists.
Such definitions create great
confusion, and stir up religious animosity against followers of benign
faith traditions. During the late 20th century, these beliefs trigger lynching, attempted mass
murder, fire bombings, shootings, common assaults, etc. in the U.S. They
have induced at least one Senator, one member of the House
of Representatives and even George W. Bush when
he was Governor of Texas, to call for an end to religious freedom for Wiccans in
the U.S. military.
recommend that the terms "Satanist" and "Satanism" be
used only to refer to religions that involve a belief
in Satan. In other words, the terms should be restricted to
describing those individuals who regard themselves as Satanists, and who
identify themselves by that label.
While reading an essay on religion, you might find it useful to ask yourself
what the author means by some of the terms that she/he uses. Words like Christian,
cult, occult, Satanist, and Witch have many different meanings
to different groups. It is quite possible that you and the author
attribute a very different meaning to a specific term. If these
ambiguous words are not
clearly defined within the essay, you might consider sending the author an Email
asking that they modify future editions of their writing to include a clearly definition of any
ambiguous terms used.
We prefer to use the names Wicca, Wiccan, Neopaganism, and Neopagan in
this web site, because they are least ambiguous to the majority of our
visitors who are neither Wiccan nor Neopagan.
Related essays on this web site:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Some essays describe Wicca and Satanism as very different religions:
Some essays describe Wicca as part of Satanism. Most have gone beyond
providing information and mainly disseminate religious hatred and
misinformation. Some are probably honestly deluded by copying misinformation from other hate web sites; others intentionally tell lies in the hope that people will be diverted from Neopaganism to the only true relgion -- theirs:
Charles C Haynes, "Witches test our religious tolerance,"
Freedom Forum, 1999-JUN-27 at: http://www.freedomforum.org/
Copyright © 2000 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2000-SEP-11
Latest update: 2012-JAN-31
Author: B.A. Robinson