Semantics Shemantics

I thought it might be useful to put a page up with my commonly used definitions. Not the commonly accepted definition in each case, but…well, the way I use words. This way, for those of you playing along at home, you can figure out what I mean as opposed to what you might think I mean. I’ll update this on occasion. Can’t promise any regularity because it really depends on when things come up.

ADR: African-Diaspora Religion. Oh, there’s a lot of them. Generally, my personal experience is restricted to Voodoo, Santeria, and I have a very close friend who has been studying ADR (just about all of them as well as the actual African religions) for quite some time now. I actually prefer the acronym “ATR” for African-Tradition Religions because the word “Diaspora,” for me, refers to the Jewish Diaspora during the Roman occupation of the Middle East (and most of the “civilized” world…aka Europe and the Mediterranean).

Fluffy: This is a term commonly used in Wiccan/Pagan circles to mean someone who is…well, not well-educated. It’s not really what the word “means” to me, however, nor do I think that’s the spirit of how it was originally coined. See, someone who is fluffy is someone who works with the positive in life, maybe a bit too much. When you work with nothing but positive, and you’re doing your best to pull nothing but happy thoughts in, and you’re telling everyone you can’t do anything bad ever…you’re going to get labeled fluffy. It’s just the way it is. Now…I actually like fluffys. They’re awfully sweet, well-intentioned people. If the rest of the world were like that, it would be a calm, peaceful place filled with rainbows, butterflies and unicorns. It would also be seriously boring. It’s not, it’s not going to be, so I can generally hang with fluffys.

Fluffernutters: are the fluffys who take things too far. They are fluffy (white-lighters) nutters (crazy). They are this way for many different reasons, but the end result is the same. They get on my last nerve, and I will occasionally go out of my way to annoy them. I’m not supposed to, but it is somewhat fun if I’m bored and they’re really annoying me. At any rate, this is the dark side of fluffy, the ones who have a bit too much zeal and insist that everyone do every thing exactly as they do. Generally speaking, they will rely very heavily on Llewellyn writers, happy thoughts, and really shiny crystals.

Judeo-Christian Wiccan: Yes, it can happen. If there is someone who believes that Yahweh/Jehovah/Elohim makes a great “god” when paired with Mary as a goddess, who am I to say “no”? After all, one dead/reborn sun god or another, what is the difference?

Judeo-Christian or Islamic Witches: See definition for “witch” below. As I believe this has to do with magic and/or spell work, therefore a person can be a witch and, yes, be Christian, Jewish, or Muslim. You’d be surprised…

Magick: No, I’m not going to define it, I think we all know what it is by now. What I’m talking about here is the extra “k.” I hate it. I have many reasons for hating it; it looks stupid, and the man who came up with the idea was a freakin’ whack-job. And yet, it is prevalent in modern magical literature as a way to tell stage-magic from actual “magick.” As if you wouldn’t know if I didn’t add the “k.” I like to think my readers are smarter than that. Besides, if I say the word, it’s not as though you can tell whether there is a “k” or not, and most people can still tell the difference, so why do we need it written? At any rate, as much as I don’t like it, it has been beaten into my head so I will occasionally lapse. (It’s everywhere!)

Pagan: Anyone who isn’t Jewish, Christian or Islamic. Period. If they call themselves, Pagan, I’ll call them Pagan too. Yes, this includes people practicing Hinduism, Shinto, etc., but only if they embrace the definition themselves. Some do not, and I won’t force it down their throats. Nor will I deny them the term because they aren’t…whatever…enough for the Pagan flavor d’jour.

Wiccan: This is a tricky one. For my definition, this is someone who practices an Earth- based religion that revolves around a god and goddess who may or may not be named. Yeah, some people are going to disagree with that one. Too bad. It’s my blog.

Wiclet: Cute, usually teenage, newbies to this wonderful world of witchcraft and magic. They’ve generally read a Scott Cunningham book or seen The Craft or Practical Magic and now want to be witches/Wiccans (or have pronounced they are). Some of them will insist they know everything already. Some will demand you teach them. Some will repeatedly ask for love spells. Most will not be part of an alternative religion within a year (probably around 95% or so). The rest will stay, make it through the wiclet stage, and hopefully find a spiritual home. If we are patient, kind, and understanding, the 5% who stay with us will be productive, intelligent, contributing members of our non-society, and the 95% who leave will have better opinions of us in general when they return to their Methodist, Lutheran, Unitarian or whatever Christian lives they almost left. It’s hard to remember in the moment, but it benefits us all in the long run.

Witch: Anyone who practices magic. In other words, anyone who endeavors to make things happen through spellwork. I mean anyone. Wiccans do not have to be witches; witches do not have to be Wiccan. Yes, I believe there are Christian Witches.

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7 Responses to Semantics Shemantics

  1. Eric Jeffords says:

    Just a question as to your definition of Wica: Why do you feel that your given definition is the definition of what Wica is?

    • Camylleon says:

      This is the personal definition that I work with. I feel it’s important for anyone reading this blog to know how I use the words so they know what it is I’m referring to. Everyone has their own definition of words, after all! If you know what I mean by any word, even if you disagree with my personal definition, you can more clearly understand what I mean.

      In my travels, most people I communicate with, and most authors I’ve read who refer to themselves as Wiccans, use this definition. Individual experiences do vary quite a bit, naturally. However, if you read into the beginning books on Wicca (Gardner, Buckland, Cunningham), most of those work with a similar definition.

      • Eric Jeffords says:

        Actually Gardner refers to it in its proper terms as a initiation, mystery, fertility witch-cult, so that’s why I was wondering, hehe. Sorry, whenever I see someone referring to Wica as a “earth” religion I give them Gerald Gardner to destroy the possibly little Silver Raventwat in their head telling them that she created Wica (sic). I used to think that Wica meant Earth Religion as well but then a friend got me to read Gardner as well as Hutton so I could understand the source of what it was I was trying to practice. When I found out that I had to get in by having sex with a woman I was like: “Oh, no…noooooo. Nouuuuupe, That’s fine, I’ll stay over here, thankies.”

        I’m not trying to be rude or anything, so please don’t see it that way >.> Just trying to stop the spread of misinformation.

        • Camylleon says:

          First, Gardner may have referred to it as a “initiation, mystery, fertility witch-cult,” but this involved only a god and a goddess. The implication was that in times gone by these rites had been carried on in order to propitiate crops, etc. Sexuality=fertility=successful farming season. Thus, an “earth centered” religion,although not the type of “earth centered” that we in the 21st century think of. I thought that would be…well, obvious. Guess not. *shrug*.

          Your spelling of “Wica” should have given it away…lol. I’m never quite sure if the person writing is educated or can’t spell. Its refreshing to find the former not the latter!

          When I found out that I had to get in by having sex with a woman I was like: “Oh, no…noooooo. Nouuuuupe, That’s fine, I’ll stay over here, thankies.”

          Honestly, that’s one of the many problems I have with Wicca/Wica as a whole…and I would certainly trace this back to the Gardnerian original, if not Aleister Crowley. The whole sex thing…is just too much. I often think that Gardner created it just to get his own rocks off. It wouldn’t be the first time a religious practice was created in order for a man to get laid, or wield some sort of sexual power over a group of people.

          Secondly, the reality is that regardless of the reasons Gardner/Crowley began Wica, it has evolved into Wicca. Whether you respect or “dis” the likes of writers like Cunningham, Ravewolf, Grimassi, etc., they have changed the game. Wicca now is something completely different (or at least several degrees different) from what it was when it was created. Granted, many people involved with Wicca are horribly ignorant of the history of the religion, but that doesn’t mean that what it is now isn’t a viable religious alternative. It is what it is NOW. Actual Wica practitioners, Gardnerial devotees, are shrinking in number yearly. The eclectics have won the popularity battle. Wica is dead, Long live Wicca.

          This, after all, my blog…for those who don’t approve well…you’ve got your own. I’m not attempting to “spread” anything, including “misinformation.” This particular page is only for the use of people who are reading my blog…sort of a glossary for interpreting what I mean, without referencing what anyone else might mean by those terms, including Gardner, Ravenwolf, Cunningham, Buckingham, Grimassi, or whatever other Wiccan author du jour is being spewed out by Llewellyn publishing.

          Also not trying to be rude 😉 I just happen to love lively, constructive debate…so THANK YOU!

  2. Eric Jeffords says:

    There is also the argument that Wicca is pronounced Witcha and is thus something entirely different. Apparently Gardner pronounced his religion as Wika. The extra C randomly showed up later. Ever since then people have pronounced Wicca as Wika. Personally I think the extra C was the reason for the split and the whole “You’re not of the Wica if x” debate.

  3. Eric Jeffords says:

    Also: Should one appeal to popularity over intellectual property? For example: If a majority of Christians started worshiping a pink camel and calling it the Christ would they still be Christians just because their way is more popular?

    “Actual Wica practitioners, Gardnerial devotees, are shrinking in number yearly. The eclectics have won the popularity battle. Wica is dead, Long live Wicca.”

    Do you have a source for this? My understanding is that the Wica have been pretty steady since the 1950s. I would argue that there is a rise of eclectic witchcraft, not that the EWs necessarily call themselves “Wiccan”. Of course that could be a whole hipster thing: “Wicca is too mainstream.” *glasses* “Deal wit’ i’.”

    On the sex comment: Gardner was totally the crass old man. Doreen Valiente left specifically because she was offended by his actions; he wanted a younger, more sexual High Priestess and Doreen was apparently getting too old. It’s funny that so many people become disenchanted by Wica even today for the very same reasons or similar reasons.

    • Camylleon says:

      Also: Should one appeal to popularity over intellectual property? For example: If a majority of Christians started worshiping a pink camel and calling it the Christ would they still be Christians just because their way is more popular?

      Interesting argument. But if you really do look at Christianity…from a historical perspective, what is happening now with Wica/Wicca did happen. No, they’re not worshipping a pink camel but there is a major difference between the eucharist actually becoming the body and blood of Christ and simply representing His sacrifice. That’s not even going into any hypothetical changes that might have occurred between the actual time of Christ’s death and the actual establishment of organized Christianity. So…yes, in history and in life, popularity would seem to rule the day. Many members of protestant Christian Churches do not accept Catholics as Christians, and if someone has not been baptized as Catholic, they aren’t able to receive communion in a Catholic church. Yet they both use the term “Christian.”

      Source? Not a scientific one, no. Just a vast amount of personal experience and observation. I’m given to understand that “professional” polls on the numbers of Pagans/Wiccans in the USA aren’t exactly reliable anyway. The old joke about “herding cats” being one reason, secrecy and privacy issues another reason, and lastly the whole problem of definition and communication. So I don’t think I’d find “sources” very convincing if they did purport to have documentary evidence. In any case, should you be correct and the numbers of people in Gardnerian groups have stayed stable since the 1950s, the numbers are still going backward as opposed to the growing numbers of “EWs” in this country. And yes, most EWs I’m in contact with do refer to themselves as Wiccan…much to the dismay of many of the Gardnerians I’ve known.

      *Snort* Damn hipsters. Yeah, it would be too “mainstream” for them, wouldn’t it? Don’t even want to think what terminology they would use…if they would deign to title themselves anything at all. Oh, and for the record…I don’t think anyone under the age of say 16 (on average) should be considered part of any poll or tally counting the members of any religion. WAAAAAAAY too many HS kids are still doing the rebellion thing…”Oooh! Let’s all BE WICCANS!” I had so hoped that would be over once the popularity of

        The Craft

      died down…*sigh*

      On the sex comment: Gardner was totally the crass old man. Doreen Valiente left specifically because she was offended by his actions; he wanted a younger, more sexual High Priestess and Doreen was apparently getting too old. It’s funny that so many people become disenchanted by Wica even today for the very same reasons or similar reasons

      Well, time doesn’t change that much, I guess. What I find difficult to fathom is that anyone would go into Gardnerian Wica believing that it somehow elevated and empowered the feminine! It’s a complete mystery to me how that aspect of Wicca ever developed. I could see there would be potential there from what developed later, but those original rits and that attitude would have had me splitting out of there faster than old Gerald could blink.

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