The personal is political Carol Hanisch1
Magick puts you in touch with wonder and the divine; politics puts you in touch with politicians. Ed Fitch
Gerald Gardner’s publishing Witchcraft Today and The Meaning of Witchcraft, and his engaging the media with information about the Craft, can be understood as a political act; he sought to change the public perception of a group of people, with the intention that this would result in making wider society more tolerant of their ways, and as such enable them to live without fear of persecution.
Even this, which is of direct impact upon the Craft, and so arguably allowed within an otherwise apolitical structure, was not done in the name of the Craft. Throughout, his voice is that of an individual witch, and aimed towards the tone of someone who still had one foot outside.
Similarly, the descriptions of, “Operation Cone of Power,” offering magical aid to the Battle of Britain, could be understood as apolitical; all citizens were expected to do their bit for the war effort, and this merely extended this into magical work. It is a tale of patriotism, but not politics.
Considered this way, this casts light on the similar story, told about witches working to create the weather conditions, that so dashed any hope the Spanish Armada had of invading England. The question isn’t so much whether the story is true, but as why the defence of the Elizabethan regime would be seen as a good thing to witches. Modern analysis sometimes questions the logic of such a story, for while perhaps preferable to the prospect of Inquisition, and even more so to that of an Elizabethan English person’s image of the Inquisition, the Elizabethan regime would not seem to offer much security to witches. Considered not as a political legend, but as a patriotic one, the conflict disappears.
It’s also notable that Gardner was a member of the generally reäctionary, Conservative and Unionist Party, yet with interests that were generally countercultural in origin, impact, or in terms of who were most likely to share them. Any move towards overt political activity, would perhaps have been compromised by tension between those two loyalties, before it began.
For the most part, early Wicca stood in the same traditions as Freemasonry, and the majority of magical orders, in being strongly apolitical. Indeed, someone at the time who held liberal views about religious freedoms, such as those implied by Gardner’s plea for tolerance towards the Craft, would almost always also hold a belief that religions should not get involved in politics; a Jeffersonian model of separation of Church and State, that goes beyond disestablishmentarianism, to more explicitly define the two as having distinctly separate spheres of influence, being perhaps the most common expression of this.
Yet, the image of the witch as radical2 is not absent from Gardner’s writings. Most notably, Appendix II of The Meaning of Witchcraft, focusses on the insurrection of the Stedingers of Friesland.3 Being an insurrection, rather than a declared war between sovereign states, this can be more easily labelled political, than any action by British witches against Axis powers. Also, one of his sources on the Burning Times was the First-wave Feminist, Matilda Joslyn Gage, from whom he took the death toll of nine million, and whose own reason for discussing the period was avowedly political.
None of this goes so far as to make early Wicca political, but it does mean that public representations of Wicca were already touching upon political matters.
Outside of Wicca, the image and history of witchcraft had been politically flavoured since the Romantic era,4 and well through to the end of the 19th Century,5 and this image was revisited by those with purely political motives.
In 1969, the group, New York Radical Women, split along Radical Feminist and Socialist Feminist lines. The Radical Feminist tendency formed the Redstockings of the Women’s Liberation Movement, while the Socialist Feminist tendency became WITCH.
Most often expanded as, “Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell,” the acronym WITCH was a name first, and an abbreviation second; allowing it to be adapted for particular actions to, “Women Inspired to Tell their Collective History,” “Women Interested in Toppling Consumer Holidays,” and so on.
Beginning with an action on Hallowe’en 1969 on Wall Street, their modus operandi was street theatre, combining shock with humour. They made much use of traditional negative representations of female witches, and hence of women; referring to their actions as “hexes,” and dressing as stereotypical hags with pointed hats. Alongside this, they also deliberately used negative representations of radical politics; using the words, “terrorist,” and “conspiracy,” in their name.
This is clearly a political use of the power of identifying oneself with the symbol of the witch, though it has no clear relationship to any religious or magical understanding of witchcraft; those aspects of their “hexes” that are found in religious or operative witchcraft, such as circles, chants and labelling cells “covens,” are also regularly found in fictional representations of witches and magic, and would be understood by their audience for this reason. One chant using goddess names includes Bonnie Parker along with Hecate and Isis.6
Beyond merely using the image of the witch, it is notable also for their humour. Using humour, even in so far as a group’s own name, was far from novel in left-wing politics. Even the “Old Left” would sometimes do so, as demonstrated by the Communist resistance to the Nazi occupation of Denmark changing their name from, Kommunistiske Partisaner (Communist Partisans), to Borgelige Partisaner (Bourgeois Partisans), in joking reference to accepting a group of relatively privileged students as members.7 Humour has had a “respectable” place in subversive thinking, since at least as long as one could reference Freud’s Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious.8 Situationism, which found its greatest expression in the Sorbonne riots of May 1968, featured a particular emphasis on creativity and humour both ideologically and tactically. Abbie Hoffman, upon being convicted at the Chicago Eight/Chicago Seven trial, itself the target of a WITCH action, suggested the judge should try LSD and offered to arrange a meeting with a dealer he knew in New Jersey. In her introduction to The Artists Joke, Jennifer Higgie justifies the attention the collection gives to humour:
Humour has been central to the cultural politics of movements such as Dada, Surrealism, Situationism, Fluxus, Performance and Feminism, and of course much recent art practice that defies categorization.9
All of which shows that WITCH were working within norms of New Left behaviour, in their use of humour and playfulness. For all this though, the degree to which they put humour at the centre of their actions still stands out. Generalising from humour, to other enjoyable forms of creative expression, it’s worth noting that the place for pleasure and creativity was explicitly noted by Feminists, such as when Germaine Greer argued, “The surest guide to the correctness of the path that women take is joy in the struggle. Revolution is the festival of the oppressed.”10 Emma Goldman, having been “rediscovered” by the Women’s Movement, was paraphrased as saying “If I can’t dance I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”
Witchcraft could perhaps provide Goldman’s dance. The stereotypes of the witch from the times of witch-trials almost always contain at least some elements that could be considered enjoyable, if only in the most debased ways, and attitudes behind both the accusation, and the reasons given for condemning them, would have chimed with Feminist critiques of Christian sexual morality. WITCH may have found material for transgressive fun in such stereotypes, but Wicca and other forms of Pagan Witchcraft could also provide it; when asked why he practised witchcraft, Gardner replied “because it’s fun”. Simultaneously, it could argue against accusations that participants were detaching themselves from serious concerns; the Charge of the Goddess talks of exhibiting both, “reverence and mirth,” and in demanding both, clearly entails that both can coëxist. Certainly, such playfulness is to feature in later cases of witchcraft meeting political action.
There are also perhaps some hints of magical thinking. Claims that the Yippies, and the SDS, were actually WITCH fronts can be read as an assertion; WITCH may not really be as big as they claim, but claiming it could perhaps make them so. The Dow Jones dropping after the 1969 hex was claimed as a victory, but it was left vague whether this victory was one of political tactics, or magical operation. This cannot be read too directly, both of these statements are clearly further examples of WITCH using humour, but even a humorous suggestion of magic having success in political conflict, could have had an effect upon the thoughts of others. That some politically minded people were willing to ascribe efficacy to ritual magic, is clear from the later history of political witchcraft, and WITCH’s legacy may well include firing the imagination of some such activists.
Another feature of WITCH worth noting, was the degree of independence between different covens. While it has both strategic and ideological precedents, it still corresponds with both, the relatively loose cohesion amongst those political witches who will be touched upon later, and also the Traditional model of “voiding” covens, along with the even more complete independence between different groups of Innovative Witchcraft.
WITCH were short-lived, and their actions ended some time in 1970. They were however, kept alive in the conciousness of New Left and Feminist activists; partly for the very effectiveness at grabbing media attention they attained, partly because some of their members were to remain active in politics, (Robin Morgan remains a well-known Feminist who will be mentioned again in this work and Naomi Jaffe was to become a federal fugitive for her part in the Weatherman bombings11), and partly due to it becoming part of the Feminist Movement’s understanding of its own history.12 One of the most compelling reasons for their ongoing reputation, was the impact of Robin Morgan’s criticism of patriarchy within the New Left, “Goodbye To All That,”13 published by Rat Subterranean News during a Feminist takeover and sit-in with WITCH involvement. Its impact is reflected in it being much anthologised,14 and being referenced by Morgan herself in choosing to title a defence of Hilary Clinton, against sexist content in criticism during her contest against Barack Obama, for the Democratic Party nomination for the 2008 US presidential election, as a “sequel.”15
Meanwhile, Andrea Dworkin was working with Ricki Abrams, on an analysis of the position of women in social, political and personal history, that would later be published in her work, Woman Hating.16 In describing a, “war against women,” she put Feminist struggle on the same terms as the increasingly militarised tendencies of Black Power, and national liberation movements such as the Viet Cong. In doing so, she referenced Gage’s account of the Burning Times, and so helped bring that First-wave Feminist assessment of the importance of the witch trials into Second-wave Feminism. Mary Daly continued this with Gyn/Ecology,17 which referred to the persecution as a “gynecide,” clearly defining the witch trials as a deliberate genocide enacted against women. In also citing Gage’s figure of nine million deaths alongside such accusations of genocide, she enabled comparisons with the holocausts of the Third Reich to be readily made.
Yet notable in Daly’s writing, is a playfulness of language and a sense of resistance existing in the very sentence structure of her work. As such, while she repeats Dworkin’s positioning of the witch as a victim of patriarchal oppression, she also positions the witch as a hero of resistance. This is even more strikingly so in, Websters’ First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language, Conjured in Cahoots with Jane Caputi,18 to which I give the fullest form of the name, as it in itself indicates the approach taken in its redefining, “Webster,” from the name of the dictionary best known in the United States, to reüse that surname’s likely origin in referring to a female weaver, its defined scope as, “intergalactic,” its having been, “conjured,” and the use of, “cahoots,” rather than, collaboration, to reflect the self-image of subversion and rebellion.
While this imagining of “the witch” is outside of Wicca, or any other tradition of witchcraft, it also stands outside of the purely secular as well. To Daly, the witch is capable of defeating Patriarchy through means which stand outside of anything that Patriarchy can even attach a label to. This is a powerful attraction, and certainly one of the incentives to make use of magic in a political context.
With Zsuzsana Budapest’s founding of the Susan B Anthony Coven Number 1,19 in 1971, we have what is arguably the first case of religious witchcraft being explicitly combined with Feminist politics. Budapest claimed to have learnt her craft from her mother, and as such to be part of a stream of witchcraft quite outside of Traditional Wiccan lineage. She does however, use the term Wiccan, and some features, such as the Sabbats and the tools mentioned in her writing,20 do indicate a strong influence from Wicca, though other features, most notably the very politics that are being examined here, again set her outside of Wiccan tradition.
Another combination of Feminist politics and witchcraft came from Starhawk. While she first worked without any training, and was later an initiate in the Feri tradition, with several of its techniques such as the Iron Pentacle being adopted into her Reclaiming Tradition, she points to her meeting Wiccans, and hearing the Charge from them, as an important moment in her path’s development.21
In light of the various ways in which witchcraft has been addressed in a Feminist context already examined, such combinations arising was perhaps inevitable.
Perhaps the most immediately notable difference between Budapest’s and Starhawk’s traditions, is their differing takes on membership. The Susan B Anthony Coven was, and remains, women-only and this policy has remained common, though not universal, amongst Dianic witchcraft.22 The Reclaiming Tradition was, since its inception, open to both men and women.
What is shared between both witchcraft and Feminism, that allowed for the two to be combined beyond mere imagery?
I will argue here that what was shared were mythological elements. While claiming that a religious perspective contains mythological elements, will be seen as disparaging only in the case of a religion that maintains the Fundamentalist position that they are based purely upon literal truth, (notably Islam, Fundamentalist Christianity and evangelical forms of Atheism), some colourings of the word, mythological, could make it seem as an attack on a political philosophy to examine the mythological nature of views within it. This is not my intention here. Rather, by mythological I refer to the value, (not just ideological, but also emotional and poetic—value that Feminist Witch ideology usually allows space for), attached to the narrative in question. Simpler examples of the same, can be seen in looking at the value attached to views of historical figures who undoubtedly existed, or to historical events, about which there can also be no doubt that they occurred, which have acquired a value to those of various political positions, beyond the mere recitation of historical record.23 The degree to which any of these mythological views is grounded in fact is not of relevance to my point, which I argue will hold, whether these views are entirely accurate, completely bogus, or at any point in between. However, shifting opinions on that degree of accuracy, does indeed impinge upon how well they serve those for whom they are or were important.
The histories of the Burning Times put forth from the 19th Century until the end of the 20th, are perhaps the most obvious point in which Feminist history and Wiccan prehistory correspond. It was the primary influence upon Dworkin and Daly writing on the topic.
As noted, Dworkin, Daly, and other second-wave Feminist authors, share with Gardner that they used American suffragette, Matilda Joslyn Gage, as a source on the nature and extent of the killings involved.
Gage in turn based her work upon Jules Michelet’s La Sorcière, which both outlined a concept of witches as subversive, in a manner that could be identified with by contemporary subversives, and arrived at the figure of nine million for the number of people killed in the alleged persecution against their rebellious creed.
Both Michelet and, especially, Gage are clearly political in their motivations. However, the fault for what is now the most oft-commented upon flaw in their work, that they cite a death toll of many millions, where scholars now estimate tens of thousands, most likely does not lie so much in blatant political bias, but in the choice of source records, and in turn in which source records were available to them.
Gardner is the first to use the emotive poetry of the phrase, “burning times,” in print,24 and it was elevated by dint of capitalisation to, “The Burning Times,” by Daly.25 The enduring emotive impact can be measured to some extent, by the fact that not only did the popular folk singer Christy Moore, who does not publicly identify as a witch, choose to cover Charlie Murphy’s song, “The Burning Times,” as recently as 2005, but he also chose it as the title for the album on which it appears. Given that the album contains other overtly political songs, amongst others, and is dedicated to an activist who was killed during an action against the IDF destruction of homes in the Gaza Strip, this implies that it is still seen as a term which both describes historical reality with at least some degree of fidelity, and which reflects wider political realities today.26
Michelet extrapolated from the recorded deaths in a particular time and place. Since he worked from records of particularly grievous, and hence particularly notable, trials, his figures inevitably overestimated the toll. Had he extrapolated from a wider range of the data available at the time, he would have arrived at a lower figure. Even so, had he managed the feat of using all known accounts at the time, he still would have arrived at a higher figure than scholars applying the same technique today, since the larger trials came to notice sooner than smaller trials, or those which resulted in acquittal.27
A figure of nine million offers clear parallels for late 20th Century readers with the Shoah, and other massacres of the Second World War. This is a comparison which Daly, in particular, made quite explicit. This offered a bridge between a politics of personal experience, and the sort of large events more readily acknowledged by the histories of the time. It did for witches, for women and for Feminist witches in particular, what Sylvia Plath’s, “I began to talk like a Jew / I think I may well be a Jew,”28 did more viscerally and intimately for herself; it simultaneously offered an historical analogy for one’s own experience, along with a means of connecting to, and coping with, both the unspeakable horrors of the century’s history, and the unspeakable horrors the century offered the future, in the potential for nuclear holocaust.29
The most ungenerous view of this, would be to accuse these writers of attempting to make political hay out of other groups’ persecution. Avoiding this, would seem to be a reason why Dan Brown’s use of the same account of the Burning Times for pulp entertainment, reduces the figure to five million,30 resulting in a figure which is not found elsewhere, but compares with the nine million figure, while remaining “decently” below the sort of numbers which immediately bring the Third Reich’s genocides to mind.
Such criticism though, ignores not just that all of these authors, whether witches, Feminists, or both, were sincere in their belief in these figures, but that they were considerably more plausible at the time.
Michelet’s error is arguably not as large as merely comparing the number he presents, with the numbers now suggested, would imply. Those who built on his work by building on Gage’s, were working with those materials available to scholars, especially scholars who were not professional historians, at the time. To argue against such writings, or against the research of those who cite a figure of nine million today, is one thing. To accuse writers writing in the 1970s and earlier of unhistoricality, is in itself unhistorical.
Nor is gender no longer relevant to the history of witch trials. While it may not hold true for all, there was still a clear gender imbalance in some trials, and hence one must question those that suggest they no longer remain a valid area for Feminist research.
It remains though, that the most currently accepted views of the history of the witch trials differs from the accounts used by Feminist witches in turns of the number, religion and gender balance of those killed, a fact that would become important to the anti-fluffy trend within Paganism.
Behind much mythological content of Feminist witchcraft lies the myth of a Matriarchal past. From the earliest suggestions that neolithic cultures were matriarchal, perhaps with Johann Jakob Bachofen’s, Mother Right: An Investigation of the Religious and Juridical Character of Matriarchy in the Ancient World in 1861, and Lewis H. Morgan’s, Ancient Society, this has had an influence on a variety of fields. This concept was absorbed into the political with Frederich Engels’, The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State,31 based on notes Marx had made on Morgan’s work. Dealing with mythology, it had from inception been part of common understandings of prehistoric religion, but readings of Graves’ The White Goddess32 would have moved it more to the forefront of Mesopagan and Neopagan thought.
The work of Marija Gimbutienė, often semi-Anglicised as Marija Gimbutas, spoke firmly to the intersection of these political and religious concerns. As such, the belief in a matriarchal past was part of a common inheritance of both the Neopagan and Feminist movements. It serves as a Creation Myth, a Golden Age Myth, and also as evidence of what could potentially be achieved, and a mandate from history to attempt this.
The hypothesis remains neither proven nor disproven. It has however, fallen largely in regard, starting in the academy, and spreading from there to other spheres of thought, including both Feminism and witchcraft.33
This myth of a matriarchal prehistory can be compared with Marxism, (as opposed to Communism more generally), viewing itself as a theory of history first, and of politics second. A similar analogy can be drawn between Marxism’s mythologising The Worker, and the concept within Feminism of Sisterhood.
Definitions, and hence the applicability to this section, vary. Sisterhood, in Feminist terms, can be read as an ideal, as a description of camaraderie as exhibited and experienced by Feminists in political struggle, or in several other ways: “Sisterhood is thought of sometimes in feminist discourse as a metaphorical ideal and sometimes as a metaphor for the reality of relationships among women. [emphasis added].”34 It does though, also have a mythological aspect, in referring to Sisterhood as something both historical and ongoing.35
Traditional Wicca did not offer brotherhood of an all-embracing form, in the manner that religions with a sense of agape do, but it does offer a brotherhood. By extension, a Feminist witchcraft which is women-only, like that of Budapest, could offer a sisterhood.
This is at once both more concrete than any wider sense of Sisterhood, along with perhaps offering models for how such a more universal sisterhood could be expressed and developed.
In combining two elements of philosophy, one gains the advantage of mutual support between the two, at the cost of criticism from opponents to each. The most vocal criticism of Feminist witchcraft within witchcraft has been examined above, in light of the anti-fluffy backlash. Within Feminism, the risk of particularly vocal complaint is to a small degree reduced by the pressure towards pluralism within the movement, and the concept of Feminisms in the plural. This pluralism does not, of course, go so far as to deny the right to express opposing opinions, and these can certainly be found.
The concept of Sisterhood has been questioned, particularly in examining it as a borrowing from African-American resistance to slavery and later racism, and in comparing it to other views of sisterhood, and of alternative models such as co-motherhood and friendship, from culture perspectives other than that of white middle-class women.36 Taking a different approach, and considering her personal experiences, along with wider considerations, in The Whole Woman, Germaine Greer strikingly turns the graffito on its head with, “Sisterhood does not rule and will never rule, OK?.”37
Budapest’s claim that the Women’s Movement, “needed,” a spirituality is countered by the existence of pretty much any Feminist who is either happy without a religion, or who works to reconcile their membership in a religion perhaps considered patriarchal, with their Feminist politics.
Perhaps the biggest difficulty with combining Feminism and any form of Wicca-inspired witchcraft, is that Wicca is deeply essentialist in how it treats matters of gender.38 Budapest’s response to this difficulty is to accept such essentialism, albeit in an altered manner, which is often considered less balanced by some other witches, and which is certainly far removed from those that maintain the male–female polarity of Traditional Wicca.39 Starhawk seems less convinced, judging from the move away from some of the divisions her cosmology places in human psychology in her first edition of The Spiral Dance, in the notes to later editions.40
For the most part, the question of essentialism doesn’t seem to be looked at too closely by Feminist witches. To judge how their views might be considered by other streams of Feminism, it is perhaps fruitful to take the example of Hélène Cixous. A Feminist inspired by Derrida, and by existentialist psychology, she has repeatedly distanced herself from essentialism, and yet frequently been accused of it. The debate around alleged essentialism in her work, is an indication of how Feminist witchcraft may not sit comfortably with many in the Feminist movement.
A final criticism is of a very different nature. Nikki Craft, an ally of Andrea Dworkin and avowed atheist, while relatively tolerant of witchcraft in itself,41 related to me several ideological criticisms of Feminist witchcraft. Her strongest criticisms though, related to how Feminist witches acted in the field. Giving one action as an example, she described them first claiming leadership of what could have been a powerful symbolic direct action—related perhaps to their own self-perception of providing spiritual leadership to the movement—and then having obtained such leadership, failed in their resolve in the face of heavy police action against them, so destroying the chance of any of the activists involved for tactical success42. Such a lack of resolve, once an action was committed to, could be frowned upon by both activist and witch alike. Whether Craft’s account of events is fair or biased, any perception of a group being unable to, “walk the walk,” could marginalise them within any larger movement.
As noted above, most Innovative Witches think of themselves as practising a nature religion, and this term is frequently understood in relation to current ecological concerns.
It is not surprising then, to find many witches engaged in some level of environmental protest. In many ways, this can be seen as something that has happened simultaneously amongst the overlapping streams of thought in which many Innovative Witches found themselves.
As coined by Françoise d’Eaubonne, Ecofeminism, combined environmental and feminist concerns, and in particular identified patriarchal attitudes as the root source of environmental mismanagement. Daly’s Gyn/Ecology, mentioned already above, clearly contains an ecological aspect. Starhawk’s Reclaiming movement is very much of this strain of Feminism, and much involved in environmental campaigns.
Meanwhile, the wider Neopagan movement contains many activists with a similar interest in environmental action, ranging from the sort of quiet lifestyle politics that encourages reducing one’s personal environmental impact, through to protests43 and direct actions.44
These three points, each indicate that the involvement of witches in environmental politics, is very much part and parcel with other trends often associated with Pagan witchcraft, rather than unique to it.
- Variously attributed to others.
- [Hutton 1999]
- [Gardner 1959]
- [Hutton 1999]
- ibid. & [Leland 1899]
- [Payne 2000]
- [Schlüter 2007]
- [Freud 1905]
- [Higgie 2007]
- [Greer 1970]
- [FBI 1976]
- [Greer 1970]
- [Morgan 1970] It may be notable that the title is borrowed from Robert Graves’ autobiography [Graves 1957]. This biography is notable to witches for the strong influence his The White Goddess [Graves 1961] had upon many in the Craft, and politically for its strong anti-war themes and its questioning of the rôle of class in British society.
- E.g.: The web resource given in the bibliographical entry ibid., [Morgan 1994], [Baxandall & Gordon 2001], along with many others, including a large number of underground and “bootleg” publications.
- [Morgan 2008]
- [Dworkin 1974]
- [Daly 1978]
- [Daly 1987]
- Susan B Anthony was an American suffragette. As such this consciously positions Budapest in a tradition of women’s political struggle, and in a way constitutes a sort of ancestor worship along lines of that tradition.
- [Budapest 2007]
- [Starhawk 1979]
- The McFarland Dianic Tradition is a notable mixed-sex political witchcraft tradition, that also uses the label Dianic. It is of a separate lineage to Budapest’s.
- Such events as the Peterloo Massacre, The Battle of the Bogside, The Stonewall Riots, The Sorbonne Riots and The March on Washington. Being affected by narrative as well as fact, one could also say that the mythological content of, for example, The Lower Falls Curfew, is different to that of The Rape of the Falls, even though they are different names for the same event.
- [Gardner 1954]
- [Daly 1978]
- [Moore 2005]
- [Hutton 1999]
- Plath, Sylvia. “Daddy.” 1962. in [Plath 2002]. First anthologised in [Plath 1965].
- While Plath was not as politicised herself as many of her posthumous admirers, nuclear disarmament was an issue on which she marched, (see [Plath 1998]), and which she wrote about in her earliest poems, (see “Bitter Strawberries” in [Plath 2002]).
- [Brown 2003a]
- [Engles 1884]
- [Graves 1961]
- [Hutton 1999]
- [Lugones & Rosezelle 1995]
- Compare with the description of myths as simultaneously both in [Armstrong 2006]
- [Lugones & Rosezelle 1995]
- [Greer 1999]
- This is not to say that all Traditional Wiccans are necessarily hold to essentialist views, but the rites certainly treat gender as essential.
- The common criticism of Dianic Witchcraft as, “unbalanced,” may be a category error. It is certainly unbalanced if we imagine Dianic practices suddenly transplanted into a Traditional Wiccan circle, and then judge how well it serves in that place, but perhaps the two are simply so different that criticising one from the position of the other is no more reasonable, than for any other religious practice.
- [Starhawk 1979] (reference is specific to the 20th Anniversary Edition).
- E.g. She responded to an offer to work magically for her during a period of illness by expressing gratitude, and an understanding of the reason a witch might ask first.
- Pers. Conv.
- [Druidschool 2005]
- [Hutton 2003]