Recently there has been a lot of fuss about Harry Potter encouraging kids to
practice Wicca, the modern "witchcraft." This is not true in the least. First, has anyone you know been encouraged to take up Wicca simply from reading Harry Potter? I didn't think so. People who take up Wicca would probably have done it,
or at least been inclined to do it, anyway, without Harry's help. I say this because Wicca magic is very, very little like that in Harry Potter, and if someone who read Harry was interested in Wicca, they'd find out there is almost no similarity even if they just did a little research into it.
I am not Wiccan myself, but one of my friends is, and so I figure I know a little more than the average Joe about it, and I can explain its differences from the magic in Harry Potter. From people who have mailed me, I've learned a little more, including the fact that almost everyone has a slightly different interpretation of what the doctrines are, so I've just kind of gone with the average.
Wiccans believe that magic is simply channeling the natural energy of the earth and living things to make things happen in a certain way. There is no mention of anything like this in Harry Potter, it seems to me that magic comes from inside the people, or from the wands, or . . . somewhere else. Who knows?
Supposedly, everyone has the potential to be a witch (male or female, they're both called witches) in Wicca. Some people are stronger than others, but no one is completely barred from ever achieving anything. In Harry Potter, there are magical people and Muggles. Muggles cannot do magic no matter how hard they try. It's like a genetic thing. People who have terrible singing voices can't sound like Julie Andrews no matter how hard they try.
Wicca is a religion. If you are Wiccan, you can't be Christian or Buddhist or Hindu or Muslim or anything else, you are Wiccan... just like you can't be Shinto and Jewish at the same time. Magic in Harry Potter is not a religion. Just because you happen to be able to turn your teacher's wig blue doesn't mean you can't lead an active life in whatever religion your family follows. Who knows, it might even help the magic. Besides [AND IF YOU HAVEN'T READ BOOK THREE MOVE ON TO STATEMENT #4 RIGHT NOW!!], Sirius Black is Harry's godfather, which suggests some sort of Christian baptism . . .
Wicca is not a religion based on magic. It is an earth-based religion, in which the practitioners worship a male and female deity, and the elements (earth, water, air, fire, and spirit) are sacred, as is all nature. The magic merely stems from this belief, the belief does not stem from the magic. In Harry Potter, there is ONLY the magic. No gods and goddesses, no pentagrams, no element control practicing. Just magic.
Harry Potter has all the stereotypes of magic. Potions, spells, crystal gazing, robes and pointy hats, wands, tea leaves, transfiguration, vampires, flying broomsticks, werewolves, unicorns, centaurs, and all those other beings of superstition. Wicca is basically trying to counteract all the stereotypes. They do not have wands, they don't wear the stereotypical pointy witch hats and robes with moons and stars on them, as far as I know they are incapable of anything approaching transfiguration, they definitely do not ride broomsticks, and dismiss mythological beings just like everyone else. Wiccan potions are used to -- as they put it -- cast spells, and often the maker takes the potion themselves to enter a different state of consciousness. Their potions are not used to give people warts, make things shrink, make things swell, or anything that Harry Potter potions are used for.
And another clarification: Wiccans are not devil-worshippers. They despise evil just as much as any Christian does. A basic principle of their faith is that anything bad you do to another person will come back upon you three times as bad.
Well, there you go. I've tried to be as objective as possible, and I'm just trying to educate people as to what Wicca is really about, so they can defend Harry Potter when the need arises. Again, I firmly state, I am not Wiccan. I'm Catholic. You can look it up on the St. Martin de Porres parish register if you have any doubts. All that I have written is what I have learned from what my friend has told me. If any Wiccans out there find any errors, I'm sorry! Feel free to correct me! I'm just trying to state the facts.
Coming soon: is Harry Potter a communist plot?
Just kidding. I had to put Iron Giant in here somewhere...
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