Roger Tory Pentacle "RTP@birds.org"
[please circulate freely]
Gerald Gardner's Witchcraft has undergone many changes due to its emergence as the favored "alternative religion." As with any religion that becomes popular, people start adapting it to suit their own requirements, purposes, and agendas. This leads to the formation of many offshoots or, if you will, denominations. Most of those who follow the core values of Gardnerian Witchcraft either delineate their path by using its name (e.g. Gardnerian, Alexandrian, British Traditional) or have dropped the Wiccan label altogether. For those interested in observing the Wiccan religion, this still leaves a huge number of Wiccans to sort through and classify. To assist you, I have created this field guide to the major classes of Wiccans one is liable to run into in the course of observation. Please note that these are high level delineations and that Wiccans can belong to several classes and often drift from class to class. There are also many other classes that are not prolific at this time that have been left out of this guide. As these classes become more prevalent, they will be added. Please enjoy this first edition of "The Field Guide to Wiccans." I hope it assists you in your studies.
- Roger Tory Pentacle
As the name suggests, the Christo-Wiccan is merely a sheep in Wiccan clothing. This person has not shaken the fetters of Christianity and does not want to. In fact, they basically have taken Christianity, changed a few nouns (e.g. "Jesus" is now "Goddess," "hell" has morphed into "karma," and "sin" has become "negativity") and reduced the commandments from 10 to 1. They practice what is called "Christianity with Tits." It is easy to spot this type. Christo-Wiccans demand to set standards of behavior for others. They love endless lists of rules, standards, and requirements. They don't like rudeness, harsh language, or discussions of bodily functions outside of those related to having babies. They always sit in judgment of others. The first thing they tell people who ask about Wicca is "We don't worship Satan!" Any remarks about past Christian atrocities against Witches will result in them spouting fire and brimstone against the speaker for "intolerance" and "bashing Christianity." These Wiccans are universal, you will have no problem finding one. Just walk into a Pagan group and say "fuck." The ones that scowl are FB's (see below), the one's that tell you that "your negativity is not appreciated" are Christo-Wiccans. They favor being called "reverend" and like to hang with FB Wiccans. Both groups are likely to be the next Witch burners.
This is a person who thinks that, just because they have managed to get through several decades without dying, they are somehow imbued with wisdom and authority. They are almost all DIEanic (see below) and can cite a different, painful, childhood experience to excuse each shortcoming they may have. They expect everyone to treat them with the highest honor and respect because they have "earned it." These Wiccans can be identified by their imperial airs. They have everything they need yet never do anything for themselves. They do not even have to ask for things. They usually have a court surrounding them that is trained perfectly to make the proper response to each groan, sigh, and whimper. They will not tolerate disobedience and expect their followers to drop any and everything at a moment's notice least they face the constant threat of being "kicked out of the group." Crone-ometers can be found in the center of a group of adoring younger people and they like to lead large, public rituals. In their favor, these are the folks most likely to conduct public classes. They prefer to be called "Mother " and they often take the name of queens or motherly Goddesses.
Named after the movie, these are the people (usually teenagers) who are attracted to Wicca by the movie "The Craft." Their first question is usually "How can I change my hair color?" These wide-eyed, inquisitive newcomers have been treated horribly by mainstream Wiccans. Often denigrated for their "simplistic" mindset and never appreciated for their wide open attitude (they do, after all, believe that magick works) and great enthusiasm. This is an endangered species. As the movie gets older, we see less and less of them, although a few will pop up whenever it is rerun on late night cable. Most Crafties become Mall Rats (see below) while the rest simply drift away. Wiccans did themselves a great disservice by shoving this source of vital energy to one side. There was a small ripple after the movie "Practical Magic" but this film was not very popular and those attracted by it are lumped in with Crafties as are "Charmers" (inspired by the TV show charmed) and anyone else who is drawn to Witchcraft by works of fiction. Shunned by the self-righteous Wiccan community, these folks are usually found around other Pagans only when they make their initial foree. They are very difficult to locate subsequent to that. They look like the kids on the front of "Teen Witch" (which was designed to appeal to them) and are often confused with Goths. They like to be called vampire names and males will often take the title "Lord" usually followed by something of an evil nature.
These are the extremely militant followers of Z Budapest's brand of Marxist feminism disguised as Wicca. Every problem, every hurt, every disappointment in their lives has come at the hands of a man. If it has a penis, they hate it but justify this hate by claiming they have been "deeply hurt" by men. They usually belong to "Women's Spirituality" (i.e. let's sit around and bitch about men) groups, are lesbian, bi, or, at least, bi curious. They NEVER mention the God or do even the simulated Great Rite, and think men's role in religion is moving heavy things and tidying up. The penis is there enemy. These ladies occasionally visit gay bars but can usually be found wherever there are no men. They like to be called "Lady," "Queen," "Mother," or the name of a death Goddess. NOTE: It is extremely dangerous to approach these Wiccans if you are male.
FB Wiccan -
Fluffy Bunny Wiccans are universally known. These people live in Never Never Land and hang with Faeries. They think the world is a wonderful place of goodness and light and will not tolerate any disagreement (also called "negativity"). They have had several past lives and were always the Queen, the Royal Stud, or some other person of note. They think magic is in the heart and that Marion Zimmer Bradley was "the best Pagan author ever." These Wiccans are, surprisingly, very militant and favor doing battle with those of the Asatru faith, even thought the result is always the slaughter of the FB's. They are great fans of passive aggressive attacks and think that, as long as you don't use bad words or say mean things, you are "harming none." Lies and gossip are two more of their favorite weapons. Our furry friends love the Internet. They (usually allied with Christo-Wiccans) infest mail lists, news groups, and chat rooms demanding that everyone heed their message of peace and love. If they don't, these champions of censorship harass them until they leave or get into lockstep. Should they still persist, FB's have them banned, warlocked, shunned, "Sent to Coventry," or otherwise eliminated. FB's love moderated mailing lists and newsgroups. As mentioned, they often associate with Christo-Wiccans. Their screen names and their magickal names are usually one and the same. They also heavily favor "Lord," "Lady," and names with the word "faerie" in them.
Glam Wiccan -
These are the high profile Wiccans, who often see themselves as being leaders. They have the names we all know. They are always with the right people, belong to the right group, and are in the right place. They drop the name of a famous Pagan author they know at least once every hour. They are never more than one person away from someone who was "initiated by Ray Buckland." Fingers in the wind, they manage to flow with every change in social structure. Always smiling, always your buddy, they will not hesitate to stab you in the back if it benefits them. When a Witch War starts (often by a Glam Wiccan seeking favor), they are quick to choose which side they think will win and doggedly fight for it. If a Wiccan ever wins a political election, it will be one of these people. You find Glams anywhere there are Pagans of consequence, especially at fests. They favor "Lord,", "Lady," or an NA sounding, Witchlike name that includes a reference to ravens (apologies to RBB).
Green Meanie -
Another offspring of the Marxist Socialist movement of the late 60's/early 70's, these are the radical environmentalists, the militant vegans, and the people who have copies of the Mother Earth News from * before * they accepted ads for cars and lawnmowers. These people would belong to ELF, PETA, or Greenpeace were they motivated enough. Instead, they preach that "saving the Earth" is what Wicca is all about and recycle aluminum cans. They often call themselves "Green Witches," but this is a misnomer. They think "real" Wiccans only vote for Democrats and that George W Bush stole the election. This breed has found new life in protesting the war that they feel is the fault of the "evil colonialist" US government. This group is mostly made up of (surprise) students and other academics. They can be found on college campuses and at any rally, protest march, or anti-globalization riot. This group heavily favors Native American-esque names.
Healy Feely Crystal Weenie -
Also called "Crystal Suckers," these are new agers whose world view leans heavily on Eastern thought. They can name the proper herb, crystal, color, and sound frequency for every purpose from whipping up a thunderstorm to healing an infected fingernail. They love to talk about chakras, mantras, and tantra. They practice reiki and they feng shui their houses (even the garage). They are the most fun to have sex with and often own bookstores. At first glance, they appear to be heavily sedated. These particular Wiccans hang at Pagan bookstores, coffee houses, or anywhere Inya is played regularly. They greet each other with phrase like "See a rainbow!" or "Thou art God/dess." They call themselves by Hindu names, the names of Hindu Goddesses, or anything esoteric.
"I Read A Book" Wiccans are very annoying. These are the Wiccans who have read a single book and are instant experts on Wicca. Not only that but they don't hesitate to chastise others who have been at it for years because they are "doing it wrong." From working with the Gods to making a poppet, this Mr. Know It All can answer any question you have about the path. An IRAB will be found in any discussion dispensing their new found knowledge. They are named according to the instructions in the particular book they follow.
At the opposite end of the literate spectrum is the "I Read A Lot of Books" Wiccan. These are the highly educated, intellectual Wiccans. They feel that your proficiency at Witchcraft is based on how many cites you can give for a particular subject. They know Celtic myth and history, the most ancient origins of every word in the Pagan lexicon, and what Gardner "really meant." They often grow frustrated with other, less cerebral Wiccans (especially IRAB's and McWiccans). They eventually feel that calling themselves Wiccans is not a proper acknowledgement of their superiority. Many drift toward the Druid path and the rest usually start calling themselves "Traditional Witch" which, to them, means "superior Wiccan." Many of them adopt Celtic or Scottish personas and like to talk in the dead languages of those races and laugh when someone does not understand them. They have very little chance of discovering true Witchcraft. These Wiccan rocket scientists can be found hovering near the edge of any discussion ready to pounce with corrections, diatribes, and other demonstrations of their vast stores of knowledge. They are very dangerous when they clump together as they take great sport in ganging up to make outsiders feel stupid. McWiccans (see below) are their favored prey, but will feed on any species except DIEanics or Green Meanies. They like to take the names of bards, people found in the Arthurian cycles, and very obscure characters from myth and legend.
Mall Rat -
Another group of predominately teenaged Wiccans (almost all female), these folks usually start out as Crafties. Shunned and rejected by mainstream Wiccans, they create their own brand based on what they know best: suburban American consumer culture. They love expensive robes, flashy Witch jewelry, Pagan bumper stickers, and just about anything money can buy. They see Wicca more as a fashion statement or a way to rebel than a religion. The average age of an HPS in this genre is around 16 and she is usually an IRAB (which puts her a step ahead of most of her peers). There are many "girls only groups" thus they form a source of future DIEanics. Mall Rats also tend to have strong Healy Feely Crystal Weenie, FB, and Christo-Wiccan leanings as this is the predominate theme of the books they can readily purchase. Mall Rats may be considered to be the "caterpillar" stage of Wiccans because, as they mature, they are usually assimilated into one of the above mentioned groups. As their name suggests, Mall Rats can be found in shopping malls, especially near the food courts. They also flock in the New Age/Occult section and coffee shops of the large chain bookstores. It is not unusual to find an HPS in a training bra holding forth there. The names they choose cover a wide range as the only criteria for selection is "something cool."
I coined the term "McWiccan" after encountering a person who asked "What is a Book of Shadows?" and then, less than a month later, claimed to be an HP initiated by someone who was trained by Buckland (see "Glam Wiccan"). Unfortunately, this is the most common form of Wiccan. These are the people who want everything now and with no more effort than ordering a hamburger through a drive-up window (thus the name). In fact, this is how they approach life in general. They will not accept the idea that Wicca requires a certain amount of study but rather will show up and say things like "I want to know all there is to know about Witchcraft. E-mail me at . . ." They are noted for making long-winded railing speeches (usually their very first communication) criticizing the rest of the group for not being devoted to educating them. Although tolerated to an extent by most other varieties of Wiccan, McWiccans are the natural prey of the IRALOB's and are almost helpless before them. Getting members of the two groups together usually results in a severe bloodletting. A subset of McWiccans, the Spell Beggars, simply demand to know how to cast spells, usually love spells. This species is noted for a very brief lifespan. The McWiccan variant has found its perfect niche in the online environment as it is much too much effort to seek out teachers or enroll in classes. Their naming convention varies as they usually take the information on the first web site someone gives them in response to their demand to know how to come up with a magickal name.
This species, also known as "Party Pagans" or "Drummers and Fuckers," are into Wicca just for the fun of it. When they looked up "Pagan" in the dictionary, they never got past "hedonist." As their name suggests, they are into Wicca for the all night drumming circles, the freely available sex, and because they like to go naked in public. To them, Wicca is a fashion statement, the "thing to be," and a social circle. They could care less about religion or ceremony. Absolutely nothing is to be taken seriously. This species is the natural enemy of Christo-Wiccans, who consider them to be "toxic," and will often boycott any Pagan event that allows Playgans to participate. They also try to force event organizers to make Playgans "behave" by having them add reams of rules for the participants. Strangely enough, this does not seem to bother Playgans (little does) which are one of the more prolific species. Playgans can be found wherever there are two or more Wiccans and a drum, a bottle of mead, attractive members of the opposite sex, and/or a "peace pipe." They seldom adopt magickal names but can often be recognized by their common greeting of "Hey dog! When did you get out of jail?" Look for vast areas of skin covered in tattoos and body piercings in the most painful of areas.
Wiccan Little -
These "Nervous Nellies" are so scared of the Burning Times returning that they can smell the smoke. They worriedly scan the news each day and, every time they come across someone wanting to post the Ten Commandments in a public place, a kid being told they can't wear their pentacle in school, or Jerry Falwell blaming sinners for the latest ill to befall the country, they go into a blind panic as they are sure the sky is falling. E-mails fly and phones ring as they all convince each other that they are, indeed, the most persecuted group in the history of mankind. This is their most cherished idea and they constantly talk about the need to bravely "come out of the closet." They may even go as far as mailing postcards or organizing rallies (which are always poorly attended) but Wiccan Littles are noted for a lack of both energy and attention span. Soon enough, whatever it was that got them squawking is forgotten as the next "outrage" comes along. The very strange thing about Wiccan Littles is that they actually defend the one group that actually persecuted Witches. They see the Burning Times as being caused by some nebulous entity and any direct accusations toward Christianty will result in the same "Christian bashing" accusations one gets from Christo-Wiccans. Wiccan Littles are always found huddled together in flocks. They all talk at once and seldom hear what anyone else says once an alarm is raised. They have no standard naming convention, however, most of them have stopped using or have even changed their legal sobriquet in favor of their Wiccan name.