TEENS AND WICCA
Why (and how many) youth are drawn to Wicca
Why are so many teens drawn to Wicca?
Youth often go through a period of spiritual searching. They sometimes
abandon the religion of their parents, and seek a different
religious group or spiritual movement that is more suited to their beliefs. Some
of the factors in Wicca that they might find attractive are:
||Lack of sexist beliefs and practices: A common principle in many
Wiccan traditions is the equality between the sexes. Both men and women are
viewed as having their female and male side. Each person has the task of
balancing the two. Within Wicca, the female principle is considered as powerful and
sometimes even more important than the male. |
Wiccans commune with the Goddess and the God. Many teens reject the male
domination seen in many Christian denominations -- particularly in Roman
Catholicism and in some faith groups within the conservative wing of
Protestantism. Here, positions of power and authority are reserved for
men. Wiccans view the female and male principle in balance everywhere in
||Concern for the environment: Like all other aboriginal and
aboriginal-based religions, Wiccans are deeply concerned about the
environment. They strongly respect and care for the earth itself, and all of
its species of animals and plants.
They feel closely tuned to the cycles of nature and to the earth itself.
They reject the concept, mentioned in Genesis 1:28, that mankind is to
subdue the earth and to dominate all of its living creatures. They feel that
humans should live in cooperation with other species and with the universe.|
||Public perception of Wicca: Wicca is becoming more acceptable to teens
because the public's perception of
Wicca/Witchcraft has improved over the past centuries:
||In the period circa 1450 to 1792 CE, the Christian
churches committed a great deal of their effort into obtaining a religious
monopoly in Europe. This involved rounding up individuals that they
thought were Witches and burning them alive.|
||Over the next two centuries, the concept of the evil and dangerous Witch
was preserved in many children's nursery rhymes and taught within many Christian
denominations. This continues today.|
||More recently, a series of TV programs have shown women
involved in various magical pursuits:
||Bewitched showed an attractive mother and her daughter using
their magical powers for positive purposes. It is now in
||Melissa Joan Hart plays Sabrina, the teen-aged Witch.
||Sarah Michelle Gellar plays Buffy the vampire slayer.
||In the initial cast, Shannon Doherty, Holly Marie Combs and Alyssa Milano played three young
adults who are sisters in Charmed -- a program "that
weaves daily life with the supernatural." One episode was
titled "Something Wicca This Way Comes" Shannon has
since been replaced by Rose McGowan.
Although these programs have very little to do with Wicca. they do
include positive portrayals of women practicing various forms of magic.
||Portrayal of Witches in Hollywood movies is generally negative.
However, a few movies have scenes that contain accurate
segments. Two Witches in the Wizard of Oz were shown in a positive light.
The Wicker Man portrayed a Pagan island off the coast of
Scotland. Although much of the story shows Neopagan themes, it ends with
a human sacrifice which is definitely not Wiccan! A popular recent
movie, "The Craft" (Columbia, 1996), accurately showed the Wiccan owner of a New Age/Magic store. The
rest of the movie, involving teen age women engaging in domination and
manipulation, was totally unrelated to Wicca. Still, it probably generated a great
deal of interest in Wicca (a.k.a. The Craft) among teenagers.|
||TV documentaries and news items involving Wicca have supplied the public with
more-or-less accurate descriptions of Wicca and other Neopagan traditions.|
||In recent years, Wiccans have been coming out of the [broom] closet and
demanding the religious freedom guaranteed by the U.S. and Canadian
constitutions. Conflicts over Wiccans in the military
and the wearing of Wiccan religious jewelry
(pentacles) in public high schools have been well covered in the media. With
each article and program, more cowans (non-Wiccans) learn aditional details about Wicca.|
||Morality: Many young people view traditional moral beliefs of the
dominant religions to be excessively restrictive. This is particularly true in the
case of sexual morality. Remaining a virgin until marriage was easier to accomplish in previous eras when the time interval between the onset of
puberty and marriage was only a few years -- perhaps only a few months. But, in recent decades, the
menarche and its resultant hormonal overload has occurred earlier, while the average age at
marriage has increased greatly. The gap between puberty and marriage is
approaching 15 years; less than 10% of brides and grooms are virgins at
their first marriage. Most have lived together before tying the knot.|
The Wiccan religion does not have a list of
"thou shalt nots." It has a single, universal rule of behavior: the
Wiccan Rede. This states "An it harm none, do as thou wilt." i.e.
do whatever you want as long as it harms nobody including yourself. The
decision whether to become sexually active before marriage is thus not banned by an absolute
prohibition. A Wiccan makes her/his decision is based on an analytical process
which determines the potential for harm to either party. Instead of pre-marital sex being
prohibited, it is can be seen as a morally positive activity in some
circumstances, as long as precautions are first taken to
avoid pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, health problems, negative effects on the
relationship, and damage to each person's self-esteem.
||Personal involvement: Some youth are unhappy with the church of
their parents because direct participation is lacking. They view the minister
performing rituals and the congregation passively watching. In Wicca, they have
the opportunity to perform rituals either alone as a solitary practitioner, or as
a member of a coven. They often create rituals of their own --
a function that is inconceivable in many other religions.|
||Lack of discrimination: Many teenagers are repulsed by the
current level of discrimination within some Christian churches in the areas of
gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, and marital status. They see
Wicca as being more tolerant, more accepting of diversity, and promoting a
higher standard of morality than many Christian denominations.|
||Flexibility: A Wiccan can cast a circle and perform other rituals
either alone or within a group. They can do this in any location on earth.
It can be performed inside
or out of doors, at any time of day and any day of the year. They can concentrate on whichever
parts of Wicca that interest them. Some stress spells; others divination. Some concentrate on healing rituals; others on worship.|
||Quest for power: Many teens are at least initially attracted to Wicca for all the
wrong reasons. They believe some of the propaganda in movies about
||They expect that they will learn spells that will enable them to gain
control over their lives; they will be able to dominate, manipulate, and
control other people.
||They assume that Wiccans all wear all-black clothing and scare their
friends with threats of curses.
Many teenagers with these beliefs drift away from Wicca as soon as they
learn what it is truly about -- that any form of manipulation or harm to
others is forbidden. However, some to stay long enough to realize that Wicca
is a religious and spiritual path with a lot to offer a minority of people.
They learn that Wicca path is for personal spiritual growth, and not for
How many Wiccan youth are there?
There is no method by which an accurate estimate can be made of the number of
Wiccans in North America. Phyllis Curott, author of an autobiographical Wiccan journal "Book
of Shadows" is reported as estimating the number in the U.S. as 3 to 5 million. 2 This
seems high. Because of the decentralized nature of the
religion, no records are kept of the Wiccan population. However, various
attempts to estimate the number have been based on book sales and the
numbers of visitors to Wiccan festivals. U.S. estimates of 250,000 to
Estimating the number of Wiccan youth is
even less accurate. However, there are some indications that the total number of
members is large and is
Ashlynn's Grove has reviews of selected films with Pagan and/or Occult
Phyllis Curott, "Book of Shadows: A modern woman's journey into
the wisdom of witchcraft and the magic of the Goddess," Broadway
books, (1999). This book is written in the form of an autobiographical
Wiccan's journal as she transitions from her legal world of facts and
evidence into the Witch's world of imagination and spirituality. You
can read reviews or buy this book.
"Teen Witch: Wicca for a new generation," Llewellyn,
(1999). If you can get past the book's truly awful cover, the contents give
an excellent introduction to Wicca for youths, and some guidance for
can read reviews and/or safely order
this book from Amazon.com
Catherine Edwards, "Wicca casts spell on teen-age girls,"
Insight Magazine, 1999-OCT.
Spiritual Counterfeits Project has a web site at: http://www.scp-inc.org/
They have a counseling hotline at [email protected]
or (510) 540-5767.
The Witch's Voice has a website at: http://www.witchvox.com/
Copyright © 1999 to 2005 by Ontario Consultants
on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2005-FEB-12
Author: B.A. Robinson