Religion, Social Issues

A letter to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office

In case you haven’t heard about it yet, the sheriff and a representative of the Sheriff’s Office of Escambia County, FL, have made some pretty slanderous allegations about the involvement of Wicca and Witchcraft in a gruesome murder. Who said what depends on what article you read (and the news reports on this are pretty ignorant themselves, presenting the words of the sheriff and his representative without also providing facts about Wicca), but one of them definitely called the triple homicide a “Wiccan ritual killing,” and the other definitely said he believes “witchcraft” was involved based on the method of the murders and the position of the bodies. Whatever that’s supposed to mean.
So, a few minutes ago, I composed a Wicca/Witchcraft 101 lesson and emailed it to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. I’m not Wiccan anymore, but I did get my start there, so I feel pretty confident I can explain the basics to someone who obviously doesn’t know them.
I’m sharing my email below:

In response to the slanderous allegations of the Escambia County Sheriff against the religion of Wicca and its practitioners, I offer a very quick course in the basics of Wicca:

Wicca is a nature-centric religion that places heavy emphasis on the sacredness of nature, everything in it, and the need to protect and cherish it. Often, Wiccans will hold rites and rituals out of doors. These rituals are intended to raise energy for the working of magic: the manipulation of the natural forces of the world towards creating change.

Wiccans worship nature, and many Wiccans also worship the Goddess and the God, sometimes as themselves, and sometimes as other named deities from various world pantheons as representations of different energies in the world.

Wiccans live by the Wiccan Rede, which in its short form reads as follows: “An (If) it harm none, do as ye will.” A longer form goes something like this:

“Bide the Wiccan law ye must
In perfect love and perfect trust.
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill,

an ye harm none, do what ye will.”

There is an even longer version, but that basically handles it. The most central tenet of the religion is doing no harm. Even if a Wiccan did commit a murder, doing so would not be part of their religious practice and in fact would be enough for the rest of the Wiccan community to denounce them as not being Wiccan at all. To claim that any murders are “Wiccan ritual killings” is incorrect, ignorant, and slanderous.

There is another popular law many Wiccans believe in, which is known as the Law or Rule of Three: “And ever mind the Rule of Three, what ye send out comes back to thee.” What this means is that many Wiccans believe that whatever they do in the world comes back to them times three. If they do good, then they get three times that good in return. If they do bad, then they get three times that bad.

On to Witchcraft. Witchcraft is a practice often associated with Wicca and other Pagan religions, and involves the making of charms, amulets, spell candles, and the casting of spells in order to perform magic and make change happen in the world. The modern practice of Witchcraft as it is associated with Wiccan and other Pagan religions does not involve the practice of human sacrifice.

Now, it would be silly of me to claim that there is no one out there who would ever use Witchcraft to cast evil spells or attempt to hurt someone with magic, or that no one would ever be insane or sadistic enough to perform a ritual killing and attempt to use it in some form of magic. We are human, after all, and it is inevitable that some portion of any human population will attempt to use whatever power they have to harm others. However, it is the use of magic in this way that is evil. Magic, Witchcraft, of itself is not evil, no more than alcohol is evil, or cars are evil, or airplanes are evil. Again, any person who did do this would be immediately shunned by the rest of the community because this is not acceptable practice. To claim that any murders are automatically “witchcraft” without any further information about what Witchcraft actually is and isn’t is incorrect, ignorant, and slanderous.

This is very basic information that any training class for police officers on modern non-mainstream religions should cover. I suggest the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office get on that training, and find someone who actually knows what they’re talking about when it comes to Wicca, Paganism, and Witchcraft to do the teaching.

Don’t worry; I intend to send a similar email to NBC news and any other news outlet I see that reports this story without providing balanced, unbiased information about Wicca.

Anyone who would like to also contact the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office may do so using this email address:
Let’s fight the good fight, y’all.
P.S. Ignore any spacing issues WordPress is being weird.

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