Wicca is, or is "supposed to be" an ecstatic religion. Faith plays no part in Wicca; Wiccans either have direct experience of the divine, of the ineffable, of the Gods and Goddesses, or they are just play acting. Play acting is ok; I'm a huge believer in the magic of "acting as if." But Wicca must be a religion of ecstasy; at some point, you either know the Goddesses and Gods or you don't. I was talking about this notion last week with my brilliant friend E, when we were watching The Unmentionables at Wooly Mammouth Theatre. How do you work towards ecstasy in a society that fails to recognize the need for a balance between ecstasy and "normalcy"? E reminded me that Pagans are not the only group to grapple with this issue.
You know, they're not easy on the body, esctatic religions. Nor, upon career goals, nor family life, nor upon effective everyday living. And it's clearly difficult for many, many Pagans to thread a path between spending time lost in reverie at the mystery of the universe and, you know, getting dressed, paying bills, providing themselves with clean, effective living spaces, taking care of their own health, remaining gainfully employed, getting good haircuts, thinking through and conducting effective ritual, etc., etc.
However, there are exceptions. My favorite recent experience occurred at Pagan Pride Day here in DC. A gifted young man took it upon himself to herd the disorganized Pagan horde into a circle. Using a voice actually loud enough to be heard outside and pronouncing words clearly enough for them to be understood by everyone, he said: "OK, introducing a new concept to the Pagan community. It's called a circle. You get into it by looking to see if there's someone directly to your right. Good. Now, look directly to your left. Is there someone there, as well? If so, you're in a circle. If not . . . ."
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."