A Theoretical And Historical Comparison Debate Paper On The Beliefs And Perceptions

894 words - 4 pages

In the article "Neo-Paganism and Witchcraft" by Carol Matthews, she explores the definition and what constitutes Neopaganism, as well as how it is not a sole religion but many. Neopaganism is "a spiritual orientation" (Matthews 339) that uses a variety of ritual practices that have been taken from mythology and "pre-Christian rites, primarily from an ancient Mediterranean source" (Matthews 339). With the use of many techniques such as prayers and incense burning, Neopagans try to "rediscover, reinterpret, and reinvigorate" (Matthew 339) many ancient religious symbols, myths and sacred figures with emphasis placed on the goddess figure. Matthews explains that Neopaganism is "an umbrella term ...view middle of the document...

During the 1970s Wicca was re-imagined and had new sects such as Georgian Wicca. Neopaganism sparked many new religious movements in the United States that continues today. However, despite its central position of Gardnerian Wicca, "there is no one authority or scripture for all neopagans" (Matthews 340) since they borrow many religions traditions and philosophical teachings from each other. These are then stored in a book called "The Book of Shadows". Neopaganism has a defined theology that is based solely on feminist philosophy, which guides their many sets of beliefs, rituals and practices such as the Threefold Law; which is "instant karma three times over" and the "need to develop a facility for the working of magic" (Matthews 341) which constitutes their doctrine of balance and self control. This means that any spell work or ritual that is deemed to be negative or destructive is immediately disregarded, hence why they place emphasis for "only positive or constructive purposes" and those engaged in black magic are "shunned by the community" (Matthews 342). This is evident that common societal perspective about witchcraft being negative on life and nature is wrong, because they are largely committed to creating positive effects in their life and try to generate good karma in the world. Matthews describes that "much of the criticism leveled against Neopagans has come from other marginalized religious groups, notably Christian" (Matthews 342) of which constantly link Neopagan beliefs and practices with "Satanism". This incorrect assumption happens because "many Satanic organizations fail to create a solid distinction between themselves" (Matthews 343). This misconception about Neopaganism has lead to modern day witch trials for those who have been convicted of witchcraft which ranges from alienation to death and torture. Matthews explains that the...

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