The publication of Gerald Gardner’s non-fiction works on witchcraft has led to the current public existence of two different trends of religio-magical belief and/or practice, which both identify themselves as Wicca. One form places a strong emphasis upon the transmission of traditional practices and a form of initiatory lineage similar to that practiced by Gardner himself. The other covers a wider range of views on each of these aspects, but with the most common position being a strong distance between the traditional practices—giving a greater importance to innovation—and a complete or near-complete abandonment of the concept of initiatory lineage.
Both trends often see themselves and each other as being within a wider religio-magical stream of post-Gardnerian Pagan Witchcraft of which the innovative form is a larger part, though in different ways: The traditional view of the innovative form typically labels that form Eclectic even in cases where the practitioners would understand Eclectic differently, and considers it to be something outside of what it terms Wicca. The innovative form generally label all post-Gardnerian Pagan Witchcraft, or beyond, as Wicca, and as such recognises all traditional practitioners as Wiccan but does not generally make a more significant distinction between e.g. Alexandrian and Correlian or Gardnerian and Dianic than between Alexandrian and Gardnerian and as such often does not even recognise the self-identification of the traditional streams.
Hence, the traditional stream considers the differences between the two streams as significant to the point of typicality while the innovative stream considers the differences as much less important. Examining these differences offer a chance insights into both.
©2008-2009 Jon Hanna.
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