Wicca: Not As Good As D&D?

Blogcritic Al Barger lays into modern Paganism and Wicca in his latest post. His main point seems to be that the game Dungeons and Dragons is a better-thought out system for worship than modern Wicca is.

“But the thing is that this whole modern pagan flourishing is so groundless that they may as well be worshipping based on the Complete Divine Dungeons and Dragons book of religious pantheons. As Brother Blogcritic the Elitist Pig expressed it in the comments on Ceruleans column, “Calling Wicca syncretic is being generous. It’s completely fictitious, made up of fairycake and wish-icing.” D&D does have by rights a claim to at least having a more consistent, thought out and documented set of rules than any Wicca I’ve seen. You can at least buy a comprehensive box set of D&D rulebooks. That seems at least slightly more credible than just plucking stuff absolutely from the air on an a la carte case by case basis, whatever feels good.”

This thread of conversation feeds into countless Wiccan debates as to what is Wicca. Spawning counter-movements and harsh criticism from fellow travelers. Those on the outside seem to see Wiccans as simply the latest permutation of the dippy New-Age crystal-hugger and that Wicca itself is simply a incoherant jumble of beliefs. I keep waiting for more stock “Wiccan” characters to appear in sit-coms. Perhaps a “wacky” neighbor or some-such.

Where did this image of a Wiccan come from? From media coverage of course. The somewhat tame coverage nowadays is nothing compared to what used to happen. Remember when Laurie Cabot was the go-to for what modern Witchcraft was about? When the only coverage modern Pagans got was during Halloween? When every article got edited into the narrow perceptions of the editor? No wonder Wiccans looked bad, we were a joke, a filler story for the “local interest” section. This image like it or not shaped a whole generation’s perceptions of the modern Pagan movement (much to the chagrin of the more serious-minded Pagans and Heathens), to the point that a lot of modern practitioners believe that Wicca is “whatever feels good”.

Things are improving and turning around now, but the image lingers. Why? Because we usually stick with our first impression until someone or something goes out of our way to change our perceptions. Despite our growth many people have never met a real live modern Pagan (except for maybe that “strange” aunt with all the cats). So the dogma of media (and church propaganda) stays intact. It doesn’t help that usually the ones most eager to get in front of a TV camera are the ones that most likely shouldn’t, but in a way we have won already. This article was on a media review site on the Internet, not a newspaper, not TV or cable, the views of the writer won’t likely influence the generally improving picture of what modern Paganism is about.