This section addresses a sizable list of frequently asked questions, misconceptions, and concerns about Wicca. There’s a variety of reasons why these questions and ideas have even come about. Some of it is misunderstanding, and some of it is bad representation. As usual, I am speaking from the position of mainstream Wicca and its established views. I am not saying that no one calling themselves Wiccan ever claims these things. If someone is claiming one of the more predatory points – for instance, telling your sixteen year old daughter that she has to have sex with him in order to be a real Wiccan – treat it exactly as that: the claims of a predator.
Do Wiccans have to….?
No. A man founded Wicca, and covens are ideally composed of an equal number of men and women (plus one extra, traditionally the High Priestess, acting as leader), Wiccan beliefs strongly emphasize balance. Many women find Wicca to be empowering, but only insomuch as men and women are held as truly equal, not women being held over men.
No. Some Wiccans certainly are vegans and vegetarians, but I would estimate that they are still well in the minority. We believe in living in harmony with the larger world, particularly the natural world, and one of the ways that some express this is by abstaining from meat. Some do this to avoid being party to animal slaughter, while others simply do not wish to support corporations that subject animals to cruel living conditions. This, however, is a personal choice. The cycle of life naturally involves death on a daily basis, and we are biologically designed to eat and digest meat, so doing so is in no way unnatural.
No. There is a statement called the Wiccan Rede which states “And it harm none, do what you will.” Somewhere along the line, some Wiccans starting stating that we are to “harm none,” which is not what the Rede states. There are thousands of Wiccans in the military and on police forces.
…be homosexual or bisexual?
No. We respect a person’s personal choice in the matter of consenting sexual preferences, whatever that preference might be. Indeed, some homosexuals and bisexuals complain that the imagery of Wicca is overly heterosexual, as it revolves around the union of male and female.
I’m not sure how this idea even got started.
Some private covens, particularly Traditional ones, perform their rituals in the nude, or what we term skyclad. Performing skyclad reinforces our belief that our bodies are not something of which we should be ashamed. It also emphasizes an equality among all participants and a removal of distracting and unnecessary things.
Wiccans as a whole are never required to dress (or undress) in a specific manner.
No group working skyclad should be accepting members under the age of eighteen. Indeed, most covens will not accept minors at all, regardless of dress code.
…perform ritual sex?
Certain Traditional rituals involve actual sexual intercourse outside of the view of the rest of the coven. However, this in generally limited to those who are belonging to the highest degree within their Tradition, and it is always consensual.
Many covens, however, never include ritual intercourse, with a symbolic union taking its place. This was the case even in the early covens, and it continues to be prevalent. We find sex to be beautiful, loving and sacred, not something that should be done indiscriminately or without thought.
It is never required for initiation, nor should it be.
As should be obvious, no group involving ritual sex involves minors.
…perform services for their teachers or leaders?
No. I don’t think any clarification is even needed on this point.
No. The Charge of the Goddess, one of the central liturgical pieces of Wicca, states: “nor do I [the Goddess] demand aught in sacrifice.” Life energy is certainly potent, but that doesn’t make it moral to force a creature to part with it for the sake of a magical working. Indeed, many believe that energy not freely given is useless anyway.
No. There’s no reason for a Wiccan to drink blood. I think that’s one of those Satanic witch stereotypes, although, for the record, blood drinking is generally not part of Satanic practices either.
…use mind-altering substances?
The Gardnerian Book of Shadows lists the use of marijuana as one of several methods of reaching an altered state of consciousness. Many covens today, however, explicitly forbid the use of any illegal drug during ritual and strongly discourage the use of such outside of ritual. Besides the legal ramifications of drug use, these substances are a poison to the body. Their use is therefore seen by many as an abuse to the gift that the gods have given us – the gift of our bodies.
Hard drugs are never acceptable during ritual. Unpredictability, impairment, lack of focus and attention, and agitated mind state make users not only physically dangerous to other coven members but also difficult if not impossible to work with on a spiritual or magical level.
…come from certain bloodlines or families?
No. Wicca is a religion. Anyone may choose to worship the gods and the gods may take an interest in anyone, regardless of background. This concept was was recently popularized by a book series called Sweep in the US and Wicca in the UK, which created the idea of the Seven Great Clans of Wicca, which is nonsensical in the real world.
…renounce their Christian baptisms?
No. That’s a historical witch stereotype that has nothing to do with Wicca. While the reality is that Wiccans do not believe in the tenets of Christianity, we have nothing against it and find no harm in its rituals. It is the difference between being against something versus simply not being for it, and there is a tremendous difference.