Monsters, Madness & Mayhem: Witches
Triple Goddess and Horned God

Monsters, Madness & Mayhem: Witches
Triple Goddess and Horned God

In England, a coven of witches is gradually accepted into the community. Wicca is a Neopagan religion and it is a form of modern witchcraft. It is often referred to Witchcraft or the craft by Wiccans or Witches.

Wiccans generally worship a goddess or a god who are traditionally viewed as a triple goddess and horned god. Wiccans views can vary from tradional viewpoints but some beliefs may be the same such as theology, the afterlife, magic and morality.

There are various different denominations within Witchcraft, which are referred to as traditions.

Some, such as Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca, follow in the initiatory lineage of Gardner; these are often collectively termed British Traditional Wicca, and many of their practitioners consider the term "Wicca" to apply only to these lineaged traditions.

Others, such as Cochrane's Craft, Feri and the Dianic tradition, take primary influence from other figures and may not insist on any initiatory lineage.

Some of these do not use the term "Wicca" at all, instead preferring to be referred to only as "Witchcraft", while others believe that all traditions can be considered "Wiccan".

Wicca emerged in a predominantly Christian country, and from its inception suffered opposition from certain Christian groups and from the popular tabloids like the News of the World.

This has continued till this day, and some Christians have asserted that Wicca is a form of Satanism, despite important differences between these religions, such as the lack of a Satan-like figure in Wiccan theology.

Due to negative connotations associated with witchcraft, many Wiccans continue the traditional practice of secrecy, concealing their faith for fear of persecution.

Revealing oneself as Wiccan to family, friends or colleagues is often termed "coming out of the broom-closet".

In a similar way, some people have accused Wicca of being anti-Christian, a claim disputed by Wiccans such as Doreen Valiente, who stated that whilst she knew many Wiccans who admired Jesus, "witches have little respect for the doctrines of the churches, which they regard as a lot of man-made dogma".

According to the history of Wicca given by Gerald Gardner, Wicca is a survival of the European witch-cult that was persecuted during the witch trials.
The use of the inverted pentagram by the Church of Satan has led to the misidentification of Wiccans as Satanists.

In the United States, a number of legal decisions have improved and validated the status of Wiccans, especially Dettmer v. Landon in 1985.

However, Wiccans have encountered hostility from some politicians and Christian organizations, including former president of the United States George W. Bush.

Modern scholarly investigations have revealed, however, that these trials were substantially fewer than claimed by Gardner, and seldom at the behest of religious authorities.

Theories of an organised pan-European witch-cult, as well as mass trials thereof, have been largely discredited, but it is still common for Wiccans to feel solidarity with the victims of the witch trials.

Some have asserted that Wicca is an off-shoot of the New Age movement, a claim which is fiercely denied by most Wiccans and also by historians such as Ronald Hutton, who noted that Wicca not only predates the New Age movement but also differs markedly in its general philosophy.

Would You Believe - Wicca Ways

Reporter - Anna Nolan
Producer/Director - Geraldine Creed

Barbara Lee, a white witch for 30 years, allows us into her suburban her home in Killiney where she shares her experience of becoming a Wiccan.

Barbara firmly believes that Wicca has been hugely misrepresented in the media. Wicca ritual is about celebrating the earth, channeling positive energies and creating healing.

Barbara did not take her decision to become a witch lightly. With her father a former Anglican preacher her upbringing was strictly conventional.

Indeed her own two children were raised within the church of Ireland faith. But at 19 years of age, Barbara felt that there was something missing from her religion - it was the recognition of the feminine and the celebration of the cycle of life.

Today, she presides over a coven of witches that meet once a month to perform rituals and initiations. The coven also celebrates the Celtic festivals; Barbara estimates that there are 150 witches from the Alexandrian tradition in Ireland with another 2,000 pagans, druids and shamen.

To become Wicca is not an easy process; firstly one must have a wide knowledge of comparative religion and mythology and undergo a nine week course before initiation can even take place. Initiation also involves performing three rituals before one becomes a member of a coven.

In 2007, Barbara's world was turned upside down when her eighteen year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Barbara believes that her Wicca faith helped her through the long year of nursing Rhiannon. Sadly Rhiannon passed away in Sept 2007.