RELIGIOUS MOVEMENT RESOURCES CENTER 629 S. Howes Ft. Collins, CO 80521 (303) 482-8487 Hal
RELIGIOUS MOVEMENT RESOURCES CENTER
629 S. Howes
Ft. Collins, CO 80521
Hal Mansfield, Director
SPECIAL REPORT ON WICCA (WITCHCRAFT) AND PAGANISM
During the summer of 1989, Hal Mansfield was invited and
attended a Pagan festival (Dragonfest) located in the Colorado
Rockies. The festival included people from all over the United
States, with approximately 250 in attendance. He has also talked
with numerous other Wiccans and Pagans and has done extensive
research in the area of Wicca/Paganism.
The following conclusions will be no doubt controversial. Keep
in mind our center does not evaluate belief systems; that task is
left to individuals and their own faith communities. We only look
at the operational mechanics of an organization or group.
With that in mind, Hal found that applying our definition of
destructive cults, Wicca and the Pagan communities do not fall
under the definition. That being: An organization that inhibits
individual freedom of thought through the use of violence,
deception and mind control. Using another model, that being Dr.
Lifton's eight points of mind control, Wiccan communities don't
fall under that category either. For more detailed explanation of
these points, we would suggest reading Dr. Lifton's book,
During the four days Hal was at the festival, he was made
welcome and allowed to attend (or not as he saw fit) anything he
wanted. There was no pressure, guilt, mass recruitment, or anyone
constantly to accompany him unless he asked. There was no
autocratic leadership, no mass orgies, or long processions of
hooded, black robed people practicing black arts ceremonies until
all hours of the night. Instead, there were workshops, a lot of
music, people enjoying the great outdoors, and the rituals were
reletively short, brightly colored, and no Devil worship. Satan
is not in their belief system.
A large percentage of the workshops dealt with social issues
such as: the environment, politics, ethics and feminism to name a
few. During these workshops, opposing points of view constantly
came up on the issues at hand. Though debate was at many times
heated, no one was put down for expressing themselves or bringing
contrasting opinions into the discussions.
Cult-related crime does occur, but we need to be careful not to
jump to conclusions and lay blame on groups because of alternate
beliefs. Hal feels this has happened to a large extent to
Wiccans/Pagans. There are extreme differences between an
alternative religion and destructive cults. Hal finds little or
no evidence to link Wiccans to occult crime or cult cases we have
researched or investigated. The few links are in the adolescent
"Do-it-yourself" covens in which kids beg, borrow and steal from
all sorts of belief systems, books, movies, etc. For more
information on this, we would refer you to our discussion paper:
"Psuedo-Satanism in School Systems Today." The other area is
involving an individual's own pathological behavior. Almost all
these persons call themselves Satanists. Satanism, whether it's a
made-up system by individuals, an organized group, or a
destructive cult, is not Wicca or Paganism! There is little
similarity between them.
Some skeptics might say the Pagan/Wiccan communities put on a
show for Hal. He would reply that he doubts 250 people would come
from all over the country just to put on a show for him. Hal has
interviewed countless numbers of Wiccans/Pagans and has found the
same findings as above throughout the years. This is not a
comprehensive report on Paganism, only very basic. Wicca and
Paganism are too complex to outline in this paper.
The final thought is, when cult crime does occur, rumor and wild
speculation are poor substitutes for good research and
investigatory techniques. Each case needs to be handled as
unique, not lump-sum them all together.
As always when we publish a report of this nature, we invite
comments, evidence and suggestions in support or in contrast to
our findings. Permission for reproduction of this report is
granted; feel free to share it.
A SERVICE OF UNITED CAMPUS MINISTRY AT COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY
* Origin: Sound Doctrine BBS (303)680-7209 Aurora CO (7703/4)
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank