Wiccanate Privilege? 3

A whole lot has been going on in the blog-o-sphere regarding “Wiccanate Privilege” and the discussions that have come out of a panel at PantheaCon.  If you are not already familiar with it or with the term “Wiccanate”, you can Google it.  Unfortunately, most of the results are going to be discussions that, although started positively, degenerate into rudeness where participants argue with the person and not with an argument.


I feel that the best recap I have personally read is at the Wild Hunt: http://wildhunt.org/2014/02/an-overview-of-the-pantheacon-wiccan-privilege-discussion.html.


It seems that everyone who has been posting about this topic has their own take on what it really is about.  Frankly, I’ve found it both interesting and terribly confusing.  Some of the issues, I readily admit, I’m just not getting. Quick description of Wiccanate Privilege quoted from the above linked article –

“Wiccanate” is a term coined by Johnny Rapture, and it refers to American Neo-Pagan theological ideas and liturgical forms common to large public Pagan gatherings and rituals, which are derived from Wicca, but are perceived to be “generic” or “universal” to Paganism. “Wiccan-Centric” is a related term. “Wiccanate privilege” is a phrase that has been going round in polytheist circles recently. It refers to the ways in which Wicca-inspired ritual and theology are assumed to be normative for Paganism as a whole.


From what I can tell, the biggest issue with Wiccanate Privilege is that there are folks who attend public events who feel invisible, ignored, and/or margalized at the assumption that Wiccan-Centric or Wiccanate style events are inclusive when they don’t specifically acknowledge the practices that don’t fall under that umbrella. This leaves some folks feeling excluded from the community.  I understand that.  I’ve been in situations where I assumed that an event was inclusive only to find that it didn’t specifically address me.


On a strictly personal level, I dealt with that by explaining why I felt that I wasn’t being included in the “inclusive event”. The follow up to that is that it was my responsibility to educate the organizers and actually pitch in to make it inclusive for me. It’s not reasonable for me to expect someone who has little or no knowledge of what I do (believe, etc.) to magically be able to include me. After all, they are only offering something from their perspective and are *trying* to be inclusive is how they offer what they are offering.  Rather then being upset that they didn’t get it right the first time, I have to make myself available to them as a resource for both information and work in order for that to change.


A personal example is my “priest lunch”.  Once a month, I go to lunch with a group of local priests.  I am the only non-Christian in the group although there are quite a few Christian denominations that are represented.  Everyone tries to be as inclusive as possible.  When someone offers a prayer for the work we are doing, or says Grace before we dig-in to lunch, I do not feel excluded. Instead, I feel grateful that they are sharing an important part of their Path with me and I can learn from it.  If I want them to be more specifically inclusive of me, then I need to offer to be the one to do the prayer or food blessing. Unless I educate them, they’re not going to know and it’s not fair of me to hold that against them.  For the record, I’ve done this and it has been received very well.  Perhaps it is because there is the understanding that whoever is offering a prayer is doing so from their tradition as a way of sharing what is important to them in regards to what we as a group are doing.


Maybe that’s where the hitch is. Even at “inclusive events”, I take the attitude that anything that is offered is being done from the perspective of the person who is doing the offering and I do not assign any ill intent at not being 100% inclusive.  It’s darn hard, if not impossible, to include everyone all the time to the fullest without watering it down to the point where it has lost power and meaning.  I acknowledge the effort made, make note on what might help in the future, and resolve to step up to make a difference.  The important part is to remember that I am going to get through more effectively if I choose to be helpful and understanding of their lack of education on the subject rather than being confrontational at the onset.











Leave a comment

3 thoughts on “Wiccanate Privilege?

  • Enzo Post author

    Just as a clarification, there is a person commenting over at Patheos claiming that this post is “about how one wants to blame minorities for not being included at ‘all-inclusive’ events”. In my opinion, they are actively looking for something to be offended at and willfully choosing to interpret things in the worst way to serve their purpose rather than actually reading the words. They’re not interested in an actual discussion. They’re interested in being right at all costs.

    As I said in the last sentence of the post, “The important part is to remember that I am going to get through more effectively if I choose to be helpful and understanding of their lack of education on the subject rather than being confrontational at the onset.”

    Unfortunately, this person only hurts their position by choosing to be actively accusatory and confrontational rather than respectful and educating. IMHO, that is more than 1/2 the problem of what the issue is – on this topic as well as in the community in general.