The spiritual aspect of the Earth-based resurgence is affect primarily by the empty dogma and conjecture that fills the Protestants faiths and the Roman Catholic Church. The heart of the Organized Church is cold and without feeling. Institutionalized spirituality is not the basis of Earth re-affirming groups. Wicca does not require debate within the denominations. Politics of who is the minister, who are the deacons and the elders, are not focal points of interest. Earth-based forms of spirituality are not monetarily based organizations, and there are no meetings about raising money for a Youth Center, a new parking lot, nursery or new carpeting or remodeling the building in which the services are held.
Wicca and other earth-based religions look to the Earth itself, and to nature as the visible form of the Creator of all things. Both young and old are looking to Wicca as the answer. Practitioners of the “craft of the wise” or “the Old Religion” grow in numbers each year. The ecological problems addressing the world today are forcing people to become aware of the value of the Earth and all living things. Deforestation, global warming, and the constant reduction of natural resources is causing our society to take a more serious look at the Earth and all the life-preserving importance of Nature. Thus, the importance of the reaffirmation of our planet now shows itself, perhaps, for the first time in thousands of years. The level of this importance is resulting in the Deification of the Earth, which is a return to the Goddess-oriented religions of the Ancients. The ecological crisis at hand is causing this generation to realize the interconnection of humankind and nature. Thus, we are witnessing the combination of spirituality, ecology, and politics in many new ways. This strongly affects the youth of today because theirs is the uncertain future.
Sociologically, people of all lifestyles and occupations are feeling the intensity of the times. Everywhere you turn, there are common complaints of the lack of hours in the day to work, sleep, and eat – there is even less hours to spend adequate time with family, exercise, or have a hobby. Therefore, with the ever-increasing technological acceleration of this world, our lives are increasing in complexity. We have cell phones, computers, and home theatre system. This generation has more advanced luxuries and scientific amenities than any other has.
So, where is spirituality and religion fitting into the modern equation? Naturally, it seems. Natural application of spirituality is two-fold. The more complex our physical lives become, the simpler our metaphysical or spiritual lives become. Hermetic Law dictates that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. With the onset of so much technology, we must counterbalance with nature. When every aspect our life is “on ten – 24/7,” we need some aspect of our lives to be calm, gentle, and simple. This aspect is naturally tending to be our spirituality and this is another reason for the rise of Wicca. Length theurgy and church services in general, are become more difficult to fit into our modern schedules and when we do make time for it, it is not fulfilling – reluctantly, I must contend that organized religion is a waste of our time, if we do not benefit from it.
This does not mean that we are “too busy for God,” but instead that we are a product-generation of the demands of our economy. Many people work two jobs now to afford the basis necessities of life such as insurance and medical care. For married couples and families, simply multiply the bills and divide it by the same number of hours in the day. Ironically, more times than not, young Christians are finding a closer relationship to the Christian Divine through the worship and meditative techniques of Wicca, a once Pagan-only spiritual path, than they did through their former churches, regardless of denomination or religious preference. During this time of spiritual revolution, it is quite common to hear practitioners profess that “Jesus lead me to Wicca.”
After many years of research and participation in various Wiccan study groups, I discovered the very spiritual wholeness that today’s young people are seeking; the only difference being that I am twenty years older than they are. I also had felt the emptiness that the Modern Church has given the younger people.
It seemed to me like something was missing, but I did not know what… It seemed that the Creator was portrayed as a “worship me or burn forever in Hell” type of God and that did not coincide with the spiritual laws of free will. And above all, this type of God was not very loving and kind in the Old Testament. If there is no justice for the faithful in the Bible who suffered plagues, death of their families — what makes us think there will be any justice for any of us?
Being an American citizen, I knew that one of the principles for the foundation of our country is religious freedom. This religious freedom includes the freedom of religious choice, as well as included freedom from religious persecution. I found it unsettling that Fundamental Christians backed religious freedom as long as it was the affiliation of their particular church. The scare tactics of Modern Christianity did not seem like the ethical interpretation of The Bible and the inter-faith distrust and hatred seemed totally opposite of the messages of love, as spoken by the Living Jesus.
Hatred, prejudice, and bigotry are ugly displays of emotion in any setting. When these nasty traits weave into spirituality today; it is a miracle anyone has faith in anything. One of the greatest spiritual compliments I have ever received came from my husband: “You love Jesus not because of the Organized Church but in spite of the Organized Church!” The more I thought about that statement the more I pondered. I could not help but wonder if I was the only one who had such thoughts. Did others feel this way? At first, I shyly began to delve into books of research, not really making my quest known to anyone.
The first thing I realized was that no tradition of Wicca extended any set of complications in order to commune with the Divine One Spirit. That simplicity is the key to the rise in popularity of the modern form of the Old Religion. The dogma of Wicca totally boiled down to eight words “An’ it harm none, do what ye wilt.” Wicca encourages people to live a good life and be good to their fellow human beings not because an all powerful God was threatening them with going to Hell, but because living a good life is the right thing to do for oneself and for all involved in that person’s life.
Already, you have probably noticed the term “tradition” which is often affiliated with Wicca. Do not let this word make you uncomfortable as a follower of the teachings of Christ. The word tradition simply means “teaching” and it is not exclusive to Wicca or the Old Religion of pre-Christian Europe; the term tradition also is primarily associated with the definition and concept of oral teachings. For Christians, the Apostolic Tradition, or teaching originated with Jesus and the twelve apostles. This term indicated that one could preach the truth orally; likewise, anyone could learn by simply listening to the oral teachings of the apostles. Another term affiliated with oral teachings and the use of the word tradition is solo scriptura. The Protestant Reformation brought the oral proclamation into full use, defining it as preaching or teaching. It is the oral presentation of scriptural truth, or the codifying of biblical truth into creedal expression. It is true that the early Church held to the concept of Tradition as referring to ecclesiastical customs and practices. The belief is that this information down from the Apostles to all who heard the Gospel, even though there were yet no validated scriptures. Nevertheless, these practices did not involve the doctrines of the faith and were often contradictory among different segments of the Church.
An example of this interfaith contradiction can be found early on, in the second century in the controversy over the correct day to celebrate Easter. Certain Eastern churches celebrated it on a certain day, while the West celebrated it on a different one; both claimed that their particular practice was handed down to them directly from the Apostles. Obviously, only one was the letter of the law, while both were the “spirit of the law.”