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The Wicca That Never Was

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icymist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 03:18 PM
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The Wicca That Never Was
Like any good family reunion, this year's Pagan Pride Day celebrations across the country featured picnics, games, and plenty of frolicking children. But there was serious business to attend to, as well. Between the rituals at sunrise and sunset, there were video presentations and discussions of religious tolerance. In some cities, revelers brought canned goods to donate to local food shelves, and sponsors set up information booths, offering the uninitiated an easy way to learn more about the earth-centered religions known (sometimes interchangably) as Wicca or neopaganism.

While American Wiccans are busy peeling the warts off their public image, a controversy over the origins of the religion threatens to undermine that image and divide adherents. In Gnosis Magazine (Summer 1998), John Michael Greer and Gordon Cooper discount the long-held belief that Wicca is a religious tradition surviving from pre-Christian times. Rather, they argue that modern witchcraft has its roots not in ancient Europe but in turn-of-the-century Connecticut.

Modern Wicca's true origins, Greer and Cooper theorize, are in the Woodcraft Tribe, a nature organization established in 1902 by naturalist and writer Ernest Thompson Seton that in 1915 became known as the Woodcraft League of America. In an effort to placate the rowdy local boys who lived near his wooded estate in Cos Cob, Connecticut, Seton created a lodge called Woodcraft Indians, a nature club that by 1910 boasted some 200,000 American boys and girls as members.
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