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Jan Phillips article The Craft of the Wise tells of how she came to
learn of one of her ancestors who was hung during the Salem Witch Hunts. This
lit an interest in her mind to further research the subject of Wicca, the craft
of the wise. By consulting many books about witchcraft, she learned that Wicca
is more of a nature and imagination based religion than the spellcasting voodoo
practicing stereotype it has been made out to be in the past. Through her
research, she finds out that Wicca and Paganism have become the fastest growing
religions in the United States. She then goes on to tell the differences
between magic and the supernatural. She closes by stating that we should try to
see ourselves in other people instead of focusing in on our differences.
The second article I found concerning Wicca emphasizes Jan Phillips that
despite peoples personal preferences we are all human beings. The article Do
You Believe In Magic tells the plight of two practicing witches, the Riley\'s,
who chose to open a pagan shop in a predominantly Christian town. Due to
differences in religious views, their land lord refused to renew their lease.
Many townspeople, including several town ministers, publicly voiced their
objections to the couples business venture. The Riley\'s gathered fellow Pagans
from surrounding areas and marched down the towns main street publicly
displaying their beliefs. People began to compare this incident to the Salem
Witch Hunts. Just as Jan Phillips ancestor was tortured because of she
allegedly chose to practice her beliefs, so were the Riley\'s for choosing to go
public with their beliefs.
The third article I read was about an average American woman who is also
a High Priestess of a Boston area coven. She tells of how traditional
Protestant beliefs were not for her, and how Wicca seemed to fit her ideals
better. Like the Riley\'s, she too has been the victim to discriminations due to
her religious choice. Ms. Ralph, the witch mentioned above, describes an
incident when a coworker was bothered so much by her religion that she went to
Ms. Ralph\'s superiors. The coworker claimed that Ms. Ralph was performing
animal sacrifices and was threatening to cast a spell on her family. Ms. Ralph
couldn\'t understand how someone could be so opposed to another\'s personal
beliefs. In the end of the article she goes on to say that her boss saw through
the whole scheme, and listened to what her religion really entailed. To her
surprise he was very open-minded to her religious practices, and she wondered
why others couldn\'t be the same. Unlike the previous article, Ms Ralph was not
made to give up her career. Her main point was that just because she was a woman
and a practicing Wiccan that she wasn\'t evil or to be feared.
This final article has to do with an author who was researching for her
next book, and came across an interesting reference book. She came across a book
titled Malleus Maleficarum. The book was an old reference guide for the church
in the late 16th and 17th century. This very book may have been one of the
pieces of evidence used to prosecute Jan Phillips ancestor. It used the words
woman and witch synonymously. She then began to look into how women were
perceived as the creators of evil. Everything listed in this book blamed women
for the evil in the world. It also gave guidelines for the criteria needed to
burn someone at the stake and publicly hang convicted witches. The article
basically showed how people perceived witchcraft in the past compared to now,
and that even now, people still refuse to believe that evil is not created it
just is. This article basically combines the problems of the previous three
articles. The fear and unacceptance of the religion called Wicca is an age old
one. It can be seen in almost any part of our nation. Though we no longer
burnpeople at the stake or hang witches in the town square, people today still
try to segregate Pagan followers and persecute them for their religious choice.
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Witchcraft, Wicca, Magic, Neopaganism in the United States, Etymology of Wicca, Contemporary witchcraft, Modern Paganism, Witch-cult hypothesis, Stregheria, Doreen Valiente
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