I’ll say this right up front: Your friendly neighborhood VodkaPundit has lots of secondhand — and even a little firsthand — experience with modern witchcraft. That’s right: I’ve broken bread with witches, suffered them to live, and lived to tell the tale.
But first you need to know that “witchcraft” is a loaded word, and an inaccurate one, too. Ask your modern witch what she (or he) calls herself, and most likely she’ll tell you: Wicca.
During my northern California days, and even here in conservative southern Colorado, I’ve known quite a few Wiccans. And way back in the day, I even participated in a Samhain ritual — mostly out of curiosity, not conviction. I’ve also been to Catholic mass, Jewish passover seders, and more. So, from the frontiers of religious exploration, I can report to you that Samhain was quite lovely, and that Satan was never once observed, not even in the breach.
But I know what some folks reading this must be thinking: Satanism! Devil-worshippers! Witches!
Well, no — and I say that gently.
Modern Wicca has nothing to do with Satan. To look at a Wiccan ritual and see any kind of Satanism is to go to Wimbledon for a pro-wrestling fight. Sure, tennis and wrestling are both sports — but neither takes any heed of the other. It’s the same with Wicca and Satanism. Or to be more accurate: it’s the same with Wicca and Christianity. Wiccans neither worship nor recognize the Christian pantheon. So you can call Wicca “pro wrestling,” if you like. But it’s still tennis, and usually just as genteel.
For the uninformed, Wicca is a modern medley of ecology, herbalism, and somewhat squishy spiritualism, all wrapped up in the divine feminine mystique. (Yes, I’m cutting corners here, and my old Wicca friends and acquaintances would shudder at my description — and to them I apologize.) Inwardly, Wicca is ancient folk wisdom combined with modern touchy-feelyness. And outwardly, in my experience, Wicca is entirely harmless — except maybe to those looking for witches to burn.