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:
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.
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.
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.