Tonight, a Canadian TV news magazine called 21C reported on the story of the Correllian Tradition of Wicca’s attempt to open a “witch school” in Hoopeston, IL. (It was actually part of a larger story about changing adherence to religions, etc, which you can read about here.) I was happy that the Wiccans were presented in a good light, and didn’t look all that freaky. Even the obligatory ritual scenes weren’t so bad, relatively speaking. What bothered me was the way they were continually referred to as witches. Not all Wiccans are witches, nor do all Wiccans want to “reclaim” this label. Some of the reasons for this were obvious in this story, as the townspeople couldn’t get beyond that fact that witches cast spells. Wicca isn’t about spells. It is about spirituality; honouring nature and the divine. We do ourselves a disservice, I think, when we take on a label with so many negative connotations.
One part of this piece touched me a great deal. The words of a 22-year old novice nun named Sister Antoniana reflect a lot of what I feel: