Okay, so I wrote a reply, but I ran out of room, so…
The problem isn’t Wicca. Wicca is its own closed tradition, and it isn’t for everyone. That isn’t what I personally have a problem with. The problem is what you put in paragraph 3. The public face of paganism is that pseudo-Wicca that permeates most of North American neopaganism, and it’s incredibly difficult as a new pagan to find anything that doesn’t stem from that system. So as a new pagan, it really does feel like in order to be pagan at all you have to buy into the idea that sex—and not just sex, but cis-hetero sex—is the most vitally important aspect of life and religion. I’m always shocked when people tell me they are drawn to this form of modern paganism for its nontraditional views on women or gender or sex because, uh… all I see is hypersexualised cisgendered heterosexual coupling raised up on some godly pedestal, which really shouldn’t be freeing for anyone who falls under the LGBTQ label, let alone relatable at all for asexuals. And it frustrates me immensely. It left me feeling very alone when I was a newbie pagan, since I didn’t have any way to realize that modern paganism could include anything but this worldview. In terms of sex and gender, it actually made me feel more like a freak than anything I ever encountered from Christianity.
It was something in an article you reblogged. I understand the sentiment the article contained, but at the same time it’s very frustrating for me to see people laying blame and accusations for this that and the other thing at Wicca’s door, when Wicca has little or nothing to do with the situation at hand.
So we’re not entirely on topic here, no, but again - I understand exactly where you’re coming from. One of the things I really dislike about eclectic neo-paganism is the assumption (particularly in North America) that all pagans practice the same things, in the same way, and that there’s nothing else out their but that mash up of pseudo-Wicca and New Age-inspired witchcraft.
Asexuals have a tough go of it in the pagan world. You’re stuck trying to find a way through a big eclectic minefield of people escaping their dogmatic pasts, which often involves shaking off the idea that sex is sinful or wrong and it’s ok to enjoy it. People leaving behind that kind of dogma often go to the other extreme, pushing it out aggressively. Toss in a heaping dose of people borrowing ideas and practices that are incomplete or poorly understood, and suddenly anyone who doesn’t stroke a maypole with lust or want to fuck their way through the Wheel of the Year is suspiciously ‘unpagan’. It’s hard enough to find your way past that sort of paganism into the different faiths that are less visible as it is, let alone when people are being asinine and judgmental.
What a load of horseshit.
As you said, Wicca’s not the problem - but they’ve made it look as if Wicca is the problem. Since most people don’t know what Wicca properly is anyway, the people out there speaking on Wicca’s behalf are generally believed, whether they have that authority or not. They borrow our image and reputation, hold it up to the eyes of the world, and then leave us to deal with the aftermath - people who have made up their minds about the Wica without ever actually meeting the Wica. The end result is negativity towards Wicca, earning us contempt, disdain, and ignorance without our involvement.
Personally - I don’t need overt, tasteless artwork or symbolism when there are a multitude more that are simple, less overt, and ultimately less offensive to those who don’t share my religion. I don’t want a bimbo pinup Goddess or a beefcake God. I also don’t want anyone telling me who or how to fuck…or telling someone that they -simply must- be sexual to be pagan. ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacies don’t fly with me.
I especially don’t want one world culture where everything’s mixed up into a unthreatening generic mush that contains no distinct flavours or variety. I hate normative society. Normal doesn’t exist. Perfection is boring! And it really bothers me to think that people can’t seem to shake the pro-normative attitudes of society and the unrealistic measuring sticks we set for ourselves.
In the end, we’ve got two wrongs and they don’t make a right here. There’s plenty of room for asexual pagans - if they can make it past the stupidity that some eclectic neo-pagans perpetuate. But at the same time, that stupidity can’t be lain at the door of Wicca. We don’t have space for asexuality, really, but we’re honest and upfront about that. And just because we’re a fertility cult, doesn’t mean that all Pagan faiths are or need to be. The people who are perpetuating that misinformation are (in my opinion, at least) a load of lazy, intellectually dishonest twats who wanted to be Wiccan but couldn’t manage to do the work to get initiated properly.
Had something cross my dashboard last night, which is prompting some thought.
There seems to be some idea that there’s been a creeping, insidious increase within Wicca regarding sex, and fertility, and that makes things uncomfortable for asexuals.
I have an inkling of how frustrating it must be - our society is highly sexualized, and there’s a heavy emphasis in North American neo-paganism on fertility thanks to the outer-court stuff they’ve taken from observing public Wiccan practices. They don’t always understand it, they don’t always get it right, and often it’s out of context (which makes it worse).
Wicca has always been a fertility witchcult. There has always been an emphasis on the necessitate of sexual procreation that is present in nature, vital to both agriculture, and the continued survival of humanity. If you’re going to practice Wicca, you need to be comfortable with the polarity Wiccan practice requires, and with sexuality and sexual activities.
Wicca in and of itself doesn’t care what your sexual orientation is; all may Seek initiation. But a proper person accepts and understands that they will have to work with the concepts of polarity and fertility as they exist in the rites, even if it runs against their own personal preferences. Some people can’t get past that, and thus Wicca is not for them.
And I want to point out yet again that not everything that calls itself Wicca is. If it’s not a lineaged tradition of Wicca, it’s usually eclectic neo-pagan witchcraft trying its’ damndest to be Wicca. And that eclectic neo-paganism often misrepresents the Wiccan faith and its’ practices quite badly.
Wicca is one small, self-contained pagan religion. Wicca focuses on the rites of two specific British deities, and its’ rites follow a ritual calendar designed specifically for Wicca. It has a core of practice that you can’t take away from or fundamentally change - doing so means you’ve removed yourself from Wicca entirely. Wicca was not meant to be all things to all people, or to endlessly balloon to fit in whatever else people want to include. If you’re not at all interested in fertility, don’t even stop on Wicca’s doorstep. There are many other pagan religions and practices that might be a better fit for someone than Wicca.
There is no shame in that. I can not seem to say this enough. If you are not a fit for Wicca, it’s not the end of the world. There are myths out there that will speak to you. There are gods and goddesses who will fit your needs. There are religions that focus on other concepts.
Picture it this way: You’re in a shop. You try on ONE shirt - in some instances it might be the first shirt you lay eyes on. Other times it might be that you’ve heard -so much- about that brand of shirt you only want that. And then the shirt isn’t the right fit for you in some way. But instead of trying on other shirts, you insist the company makes that shirt they way YOU want. You want their shirt, but custom made just for you. And you insist they change, instead of just trying on a different shirt or brand of shirt that might fit you much better.
If that seems irrational, you’d be right. Which is why I have a hard time understanding when people think that religions should work that way.
Wicca has no obligation to alter itself for your needs. For those within Wicca, it already fits them well. Asking Wicca to change for the needs or desires of non-initiates is simply unrealistic.