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Myths about witchcraft
Wiccans are a misunderstood group, they say. Those who consider themselves witches often adhere to Wicca, which was recognized by a 1986 Court of Appeals as a legitimate religion. Even so, several commonly held beliefs about the Wiccan religion are outdated or plain false, say national Wiccan and pagan groups. Here are six misconceptions of witches and Wiccans.
Witches are evilSlide 2 of 13
Witches are evil
The negative connotations of witchcraft have led its followers to stop referring to themselves as witches and go by "Wiccans" instead, according to "Wicca A to Z" (Citadel Press, 1998).
Wicca opposes the use of negative, harmful magic and discourages people from hurting others physically or emotionally, according to "Wicca for Life" (Citadel Press, 2003).
Wiccans believe in the ethical guideline called the "Threefold Law," which states that whatever a person wishes upon someone else returns to them three times over, according to "Wiccan Spirituality" (Green Magic, 2002).Slide 3 of 13
Wicca is an ancient religionSlide 4 of 13
Wicca is an ancient religion
Although it's based on ancient beliefs, including aspects of paganism and nature-based spirituality, Wicca was founded by anthropologist Gerald Gardner in the early 1950s, according to "Magico-Religious Groups and Ritualistic Activities" (CRC Press, 2008).
"Wicca is a new religion that combines surviving folk traditions and more modern elements. It is loosely based on Western European pagan rites and rituals that have been performed for centuries — before, during and after the time of Jesus — such as reverence of nature, observance of the cycle of the seasons, celebration of the harvest, and doing magic," according to "Wicca for Beginners" (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2006).Slide 5 of 13
Wicca isn't a real religionSlide 6 of 13
Wicca isn't a real religion
Wicca is recognized by the U.S. government as an official religion, with the observation of Wiccan holidays varying from state to state.
For example, the New Jersey Department of Education recognizes eight Wiccan holidays (including Mabon, which marks the beginning of autumn and is celebrated Sept. 23) and excuses Wiccan children from attending school on those days.Slide 7 of 13
Wiccans worship the devilSlide 8 of 13