My version is just the opposite: most of the "Instant Witches" I see, hear about Goddess Worship
and instantly "know" they were witches in another life: innocent, peace-loving nature-worshippers who NEVER hurt so much as a feeling for fear of the Law of Three
. The "Wiccan Rede
" becomes their mantra
, and every custom
, and belief
they've ever liked instantly becomes "Celtic
", and "pagan
", even if their actual background isn't, and "shadow
" trips off their tongue at every interval. As the syndrome runs its course, they begin to misspelle yvrye other wyrde (using "y" as an all-purpose vowel, doubling letters, and using "e" as an all-purpose suffix), use "ye" and "thou
" without any thought to real pre-modern usage, and use tags of Gaelic
without any real study of the language.
Sadly, most "real" shamanism is closer to the reflexive wish for spellcasting than the blind love for an unconditionally loving Goddess that most people think of as being "Wiccan" today. In most cultures, including parts of the Bible, the gods are selfish, vain, petty, tyrants who must be cajoled, flattered, or tricked into benign behavior: it's only under Christianity and its developments under German Romanticism, and some Asian faiths (in relatively late forms as interpreted by the West) where one finds a truly "kind" or "loving" God or Goddess. (And no, it's just not true that such ideas precede the more vengeful images: the gods of Ur and Egypt were just as unpleasant as those of Greece and Scandinavia, and most animists, including those of Asia and the Americas are little different.) Wanting to get things their way is the primitive way, "Let God's will be done" is the way of civilization, but being a theological difference, it's pointless to argue which is "better" than the other. Historic grimoires are very spell-oriented; there is no mention of a monotheistic or even duotheistic Goddess in them, though they abound with demons, angels, and spirits aplenty, all of whom can be made to do one's bidding...and ALL of whom, oddly enough, are subservient to the Christian God! Historic witchcraft is a syncretic faith, with some pre-Christian elements, some elements from Christianity (which is itself syncretic), and some, apparently individual or regional elements -- the practises of Italian strega differ a great deal from Bavarian and French witches (who were far more numerous than those in the British Isles), who differed (in their own ways) from those in Finland and Hungary. To paint all witchcraft as being cognate with that of 17th century Ireland is well, just witchful thinking.
What most "Instant Witches" really want is to get away from their parents' culture, which is (usually) one or another version of conservative Christianity: since witches are the opposite of Christians, they must be witches! This explains a great deal of the closed-mindedness and dogmatic attitude of most Instant Witches: their attitude seems to be that since Christianity has so distorted written history that they can rewrite European history and beliefs to suit themselves, which they can then assert with the same ferocity as a Creation Scientist in a room full of biologists. The attributes of Christ and Christianity become rerouted to the Goddess and/or the historic witches: that is, innocence suffering oppression at the hands of authority, humility, forgiveness, utmost purity, etc. Christianity becomes imbued with all the attributes of Satanism, as portrayed by such Christian pamphleteers as Jack Chick: a sham religion, parasitic on older (which, of course, are more "correct") faiths for its iconography and beliefs, glorying in murder, torture, and the subjection of women, that no one, even its most ardent supporters, truly believes. Meanwhile, the intellectual progressive strain in Wicca provides a kind of Identity Politics Lite for middle-class to affluent young white women, particularly Americans from ethnicities that would otherwise be considered "oppressors", such as British or German: by posing as one of the wretched and oppressed, virtues that would have been alien or unknown to the peasants of Reformation Europe such as environmental awareness, the promotion of lesbian sexuality, and various notions concerned with the recovery movement become "Wiccan" as well, thus rendering the wannabee peasant healer sacrosanct, at least in their own eyes. Thus armed with the buckler of righteousness, and the sword of Starhawk, they advance, a mighty army to strike down both Christian and skeptic alike.
Let the flamage begin...