Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Gothic Wiccan

I had a couple of readers ask for a post on Goths and Wicca; but before we begin, the usual disclaimer. Goth is not a religion, you do not have to follow any particular religion to be a Goth, Goth is not anti-religion, it is not about black magic or devil worship.

Source: Silver-Pistols (Tumblr)
Model: Ewelina Walecka, wearing a shirt from Restyle
By this point I'm hoping everyone's clear on what Goth is and isn't, so what's Wicca?

Wicca is also known as Pagan Witchcraft, and is a peaceful religion involving the ritual practice of magick (with a 'k' to distinguish it from stage magic and pulling rabbits out of hats). Many of its followers, known as Wiccans, Witches or Crafters depending on their personal preferred term, adhere to a morality code called the Wiccan Rede, which is often phrased in different ways but summed up thusly: "And ye harm none do what ye will," which is a far cry from stereotypical assumptions about curses and such. If you think that witchcraft is about warty-nosed hags and flying about on broomsticks, you're very wrong. (For a more detailed description of what Wicca is and what its followers believe, please read this article on Wikipedia.)

Many Goths are attracted to Wicca because of its peaceful nature and because many aspects of Wiccan ceremony and culture are also important or interesting to Goths, such as the cycles of the moon, the celebration of Samhain (aka Halloween, known as the Witches' New Year, one of the main 'Sabbats' (seasonal festivals) in the Wiccan calendar), and its associations with nature. Many of the Sabbats and deities associated with Wicca have folkloric and historical roots that are often intriguing to Goths (for example, Celtic folklore is as interesting to some Goths as Egyptology is to others).

Stereotypically, it's often assumed that Goths who are Wiccan became interested in it because they thought that practicing witchcraft would make them seem more SPOOKY. Whilst there are probably a few misguided younglings who want to feel oh-so-wicked whilst waving about a Book of Shadows and a pack of Tarot cards, on the whole a Wiccan Goth has chosen such a path because it speaks to them on a spiritual level, just as someone might choose to become a Christian, Jew, Buddhist or Muslim. Not because you HAVE to do magick or practise witchcraft to be a Goth, or to enhance their Gothy image in any way.

Interestingly, some of the bands appreciated and loved by Goths are also popular amongst Wiccans, such as the Pagan rock band Inkubus Sukkubus, and the bands Dead Can Dance and Mediaeval Baebes. And the magazine Witchcraft & Wicca frequently features articles on alternative fashion (perhaps because those who are open to alternative fashion are also open to alternative religion, hence the crossover between the two).

If you are a Goth who's interested in Wicca, here are some resources you might find useful.

Witchcraft & Wicca Magazine
Available from the website or from your local occult bookshop (probably).

Konstantinos is a Goth musician and occult author, whose books Nocturnal Witchcraft and Gothic Grimoire focus on a darker, Gothier take on Pagan magick (which he calls Dark Neo-Paganism).

Raven Digitalis
A radio and club DJ of Goth and Industrial music, who also penned the books Goth Craft: The Magickal Side of Dark Culture, and Shadow Magick Compendium. (Goth Craft, somewhat intriguingly, contains a section on how to express spirituality through clothing, hair, make-up and body modification).

Goth Magick: An Enchanted Grimoire
This book by Brenda Knight is 'packed full of DIY ideas, spells and rituals', and 'a fair look at darker and indulgent [Craft] ideas', according to Amazon reviewer L. Martin.

WitchFest is the largest Wicca and Witchcraft festival in the world, and has featured such performers as Inkubus Sukkubus and Eleanore and the Lost. It also boasts the Witching Hour club, playing 'the best in Goth rock and alternative music'.

Goth gossip: You may already know that The Cruxshadows are suing their former label Dancing Ferret over the small matter of unpaid loyalties; Siouxsie Law keeps us updated on how the lawsuit is progressing (and you can also check out their new single Valkyrie).


Stefanie said...

Found an article on Daily Fail thought you might be interested :)

The Spider Stratagem said...

thank you so much for your support!
Your blog is simply lovely!

Kamyria Magdalena Mourn said...

Thank you for yet another great and informative post! :) Simply love your blog!

Leena said...

I am a wicca so this was really nice. It's cool you tell about people that we don't do curses and stuff XD And it is not same thing as being cool goth..

Chloris said...

Great post Amy! I happen to of the Wiccan persuasion myself :)

Interestingly, I know more non-Goth Wiccans than Goth ones. Most are extremely Goth-friendly, of course, since Wiccans are by and large a very peaceful, encouraging, and accepting bunch.

I actually converted to Wicca because it sounded LESS scary than Catholicism, the religion I was raised in! How ironic can you get.

Wiccans also have a bit of trouble with overenthusastic neophytes who read one book or watch one movie and decided they are going to be hardcore witches. I think most subcultures have similar occurances where newbies throw themselves in with gusto - it's all a part of the learning process. The trick is to be compassionate and helpful, even when all you want to do is shake them silly!

CNGB said...

I loved this post, Amy! Like each and everyone of your other entries, this one taught me so much about Wicca.

The earliest thing I ever heard about Wicca was when I seen one of the Scooby Doo movies, and a group of the girls said that they were Withces. ^_^'

Lately I've been wondering exactly what Wicca is, so I'm really happy that you made this post!

P.S. Thanks for the follow. :)

akumaxkami said...

I'm not a Wiccan, per se, but I'm a practicing witch and a pagan. Wicca doesn't always involve magick - I know quite a few Wiccans who don't use spells at all. Also, not all witches and pagans are Wiccan. There are thousands of religions that fall under the umbrella term of Paganism. Wicca is just one of many.

Otherwise, quite informative and I like how you stressed that most Goths aren't wearing the Wiccan badge as a shock factor. ^_^

Tenebris In Lux said...

I love Wicca, and touched on it for a little bit. I'm afraid I am not the most spiritual of people, but I could possibly return to it since I loved it so much (but didn't have time/dedication to it).

Marilyn Jay Freak said...

Thanks for writing this... I get harassed at school, and people say 'Don't give me a curse'. I honestly am happy someone knew (or looked up what Wicca is). Great article!

Anonymous said...

Great post. I enjoyed it, and thought it had some good points. While I am both goth and wiccan, it's not to be more "spooky" as some outsiders think. As @Chloris said, I know more wiccans who aren't goth than are. PS Chloris and i are in the same coven.

Anonymous said...

Love the post, but there is one thing... Raven is a name of a T-shirt, a girl's name is Ewelina Walecka ;)

ultimategothguide said...

Anon - I THOUGHT it looked like her! Oops, my bad. Will edit, thanks. ^^

Sakara said...

Wicca is a branch of paganism and is a structured form of Witchcraft. Not all witches are wiccan though.
Wicca was created around the 1970s as a structured way to perform witchcraft with nods to ancient mythology and some people like that as it gives them an easy way to understand what isn't an easy belief system

Also many Witches use the word Magic. Many find the Americanised word magick hilariously gimmicky.

For example for a while i was a hedgewitch*, a term used for those who felt drawn to witchcraft but were solo practioners (wiccan tends to be a team sport, with a high priest and priestess, covens and levels of witchery with their own little secret symbols!) and who felt Wicca was too organised (many who follow witchcraft/paganism are drawn to it because it isnt an 'organised religion'.)
I used to help out at Witchfest and met many witches, pagans and wiccans, so learnt alot from talking to them and hearing their views on what their beliefs were. Best way to find out about this stuff is to go to one of these events.

* I'm no longer following the witchcraft path, although i still have interests in pagan idealogies. I've finally settled on an set of theories based around Pantheism, which is a form of atheism that also sees some form of wonder in the universe as a whole.

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