This made me think of the old school term "fluffy bunnies." I am at least glad the term has evolved to something that sounds less like elementary school kids on the playground. As a Wiccan myself, I find the term "Wiccanate" somewhat offensive and derogatory. I am an eclectic and have never been initiated nor do I follow a specific tradition so I suppose I am a "Wiccanate." Or is it an adjective? I'm Wiccanate. However, my intuition told me maybe it isn't about being a "fluffy bunny." Turns out I was right. There's so much more to it than that.
While the term "Wiccanate privilege" was initially off putting to me, when I did more research about what it means I started to understand why it is such a hot button issue. And it is a valid issue at that.
It seems the issue came up at this past Pantheacon. The concept of “Wiccanate privilege,” was named by Ruádhan McElroy. Within the community, pagans are getting frustrated because public gatherings tend use “Wiccanate” practices. That is practices that are found only in Wicca like casting circles, calling quarters, evoking the Goddess and God are alienating non-Wiccan practitioners such as the Heathen community and other “hard” and devotional polytheists. (As described from the blog Intersections.)
I'm not surprised. I have been seeing a serious unrest among the Heathen community and polytheists because they are tired of people seeing the word "pagan" and immediately thinking "Wicca." I have been aware of this issue for some time now and I have done my best to explain to people on my blog and Facebook page that they are not interchangeable. I understand their frustration and anger. It is justified and an issue that needs addressed.
However, I can't help but wonder if some are doing more harm than good. It feels a little a like they are making a valid point while dissing Wiccans. But maybe that's because I am Wiccan and a bit defensive (or am I Wiccanate?) I can't deny there has always been some conflict between Wiccans and polytheistic pagans, so maybe finally having a term to describe that conflict isn't necessarily a bad thing.
When I tried to go to the article at Of Thespiae called What "Wiccanate" Actually Means written by Ruádhan McElroy I get an error message. It says "Error establishing a database connection." Was the article taken down? I'm disappointed that I can't get it explained from the horse's mouth. I don't like reading secondhand explanations. Currently I can't get Of Thespiae to work at all.
I've already seen varying definitions of "Wiccanate" that have left me confused. The truth is I find it hard to believe polytheistic pagans care whether or not a Wiccan ritual is a true Wiccan practice or something that is watered down Wicca. I can't help but wondering if the term "Wiccanate" has been hijacked and twisted to mean something that was never intended.
Because if Wiccans are fighting about whether or not a practice is real Wicca or Wicca Lite doesn't that completely disregard the issue polytheistic pagans brought up in the first place? It isn't about whether or not someone or something is "real" Wicca but whether or not it is alienating other pagan paths. Polythiestic pagans have a valid complaint and I would hate to see their issue hijacked or worse, completely ignored.
Perhaps this is why I'm seeing some people use the term "pagan privilege"instead. Are they trying to turn it away from isolating Wiccans?
This definition seemed to explain the "privilege" part best. "Amongst activists and sociology majors, “privilege” simply means “to be the assumed default and thus automatically catered to”; there is also an implication of “to be of a demographic most earnestly catered to.” Source
I agree with this wholeheartedly. I absolutely cannot deny that paganism as a whole caters to Wiccans.
But the next blog that I visited left me even more confused. According to The Allergic Pagan, "First, “Wiccanate” is a term coined by Johnny Rapture, and it refers to American Neo-Pagan theological ideas and liturgical forms common to large public Pagan gatherings and rituals, which are derived from Wicca, but are perceived to be “generic” or “universal” to Paganism."
Wait. What? Hadn't I had just read at Intersections that "The concept of “Wiccanate privilege,” was named by Ruádhan McElroy."
Regardless of who "named it" first so far Johnny Rapture does the best job of all explaining it. I apologize to Johnny Raputure for using such a large chunk of his explanation but I felt to leave any parts of it out renders it incomplete.
Wiccanate Paganism refers to the ecumenical or “intrafaith” theological ideas and liturgical forms commonly understood and performed by American Neopagans, which are most readily visible in large public rituals that often include diverse “types” of Pagans. In this phrase, “Wiccanate” designates that the ideas and forms to which Wiccanate Paganism refers are derived from specifically Wiccan ideas and forms, despite many participants perception that these ideas and forms are “generic,” “universal,” or similarly unmoored to a particular tradition. Thus, the term Wiccanate Paganism does not designate a particular Pagan tradition or lineage per se, but rather a trend observable in gatherings (and written material) that are meant to be para- or extra-traditional. A clear example of Wiccanate Paganism would be the tendency of ecumenical American Neopagan rituals to be structured in the form of a “magic circle” that is “cast,” which is punctuated by references to the “four quarters” or “four elements,” a notably Wiccan liturgical setup. Note that rituals sometimes take this Wiccan (Wiccanate) form even if none of the ritual presenters themselves identify as Wiccans.”
So if I am understanding this correctly, simply put it's a combination of the words "Wicca" and "innate."
So then was it Ruádhan McElroy who added the "privilege" part? I tried again to see McElroy's explanation but this time I got another error message saying "no data received." I wonder how Johnny Rapture feels about someone else adding a second word to a term he coined.
I found a blog that explained McElroy's views but instead it only made things more muddled. It says, "[Ruádhan McElroy] made the point that such a statement displayed a level of privilege and assumption about magic's place in a given Pagan spiritual practice."
It then goes on to give a quote from McElroy. "Within the pagan community, the “Generic Popular Wicca-based Neopaganism” (henceforth “Wiccanate paganism”; Traditional Wicca, such as BT/Gardnerian or Alexandrian, is “Wicca”) is the assumed default. During the “pagan identity crisis” that’s been cycling the pagan blogosphere every few months since 2010, I’ve seen several people comment not only as non-Wiccanates who lament this, but as Wiccanate pagans unaware of their own privilege and insisting that we’re all united because, as far as they’re concerned, “we all share a history with Wicca” (an exact quote I’ve seen from several people)."
Just as a suspected. Here it's an argument about different traditions of Wicca and completely ignores the issue that polytheist pagans are being alienated in our community.
I am throwing my hands up in frustration and despair! No wonder the pagan community has blown up about it. Everyone is talking about different things and giving "Wiccanate privilege" different definitions. I find it incredibly ironic that it's now being used as an "umbrella" term.