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                                MONISM, One Wiccan Perspective  
                                        Durwydd MacTara

          "Henotheism  n. Belief  in one  god without  denying the  existence of
          others." (American Heritage Second College Dictionary)

          "Monism n. philos. A metaphysical system in which reality is conceived
                         as a  unified whole." (American Heritage Second College

          "Monotheism n.  The belief or  doctrine that  there is only  one God."
          (American Heritage Second College Dictionary)

          "Pantheism n. 1. The  doctrine identifying the Deity with  the various
          forces and workings of nature. 2. Belief in and worship          o   f
          all gods." (American Heritage Second College Dic            tionary)

          "Polytheism n. The worship of or belief in more than  one god." (Ameri
          can Heritage Second College Dictionary)

          "To witches, deities manifest in different ways and can be
          worshipped and contacted through any form suitable to local
          conditions and personal needs.  Wicca does not believe, as do
          the patriarchal monotheisms, that there is only one correct
          version of God and that all other God forms are false:  the
          Gods of Wicca are not jealous Gods.  We therefore worship the
          personification of the male and female principles, the God and
          the Goddess, recognizing that Gods are aspects of the One God
          and all Goddesses are different aspects of the one Goddess,
          and that ultimately these two are reconciled in the one divine
          (Vivianne Crowley, WICCA: The Old Religion in The New Age,pp.

          Vivianne Crowley, a very  capable spokesperson for British Traditional
          Wicca, identifies the core belief of Wicca (at least BTW) as Monism in
          the piece  quoted above.  However, she also opens the door to defining
          Wicca as duotheistic in  principle with the subdivision of  the monist
          reality into the praxis of worshiping both Lord and Lady.

          However, there  is yet a  THIRD level of  obscurity in Wiccan  Praxis!
          Most Wiccans worship a threefold Goddess (Maid, Mother, and Crone) and
          many  also worship at least  a twofold God.  So,  are the Wicca REALLY
          polytheists or perhaps pantheists or even modified Henotheists as some
          have claimed?   Or, perhaps,  a new  category altogether  needs to  be
          invented to accurately describe Wiccan belief and practice.

                    One suggestionhas beenmade toadd aword to ourThea/Theo-logi-
          cal lexicon, perhaps "Cthonotheism" (provided we MUST have a "Theism")
          to  describe "Theistic Wicca".   One  advantage is  that it  makes the
          assumption of worshipping  that which was  there to be found  and wor-
          shipped,  NOT a  Deity  or deities  invented  in 1939!  (More  on this


          The  following is the only published copy of the (Gardnerian) Blessing
          Prayer that I know of.

                  "In the name of Dryghtyn, the Ancient Providence,
                   Who was from the beginning and is for eternity,
                   Male and Female, the Original Source of all things;
                   all-knowing, all-pervading, all-powerful;
                   changeless, eternal.

                  "In the name of the Lady of the Moon,
                   and the Lord of Death and Resurrection.

                  "In the name of the Mighty Ones of the Four Quarters,
                   the Kings of the Elements.

                  "Blessed be this place, and this time,
                   and they who are now with us."
          ("Witch Blood!  The Diary Of A Witch High
          Priestess!" by Patricia Crowther in chapter
          four (paperback edition 1974, House Of Collec-
          tibles, Inc.).) Courtesy of David Piper

          The Gawain Poet (the poet who wrote Sir Gawain and the Green
          Knight  in Middle  English) used the  term 'Dryghtyn' to  refer to the
          Lord God.

          At the start of fit IV -

          "Now neghes the Newe Yere and the night passes,
           The day drives to the derk, as Dryghtyn biddes."

          ("Now approaches the New Year and the night passes,
            The daylight comes up on the darkness, as the Lord God bids."

          or from Brian Stowes verse translation (Penguin Classics, 1974) -

           "Now the New Year neared, the night passed,
            Daylight fought darkness as the Deity ordained.")

          Grendel Grettison,  an Asatruar  from Seattle suggests  the "Dryghtyn"
          may be an  alternative   spelling of the  Teutonic "Drighten"  meaning
          "Lord".  I admit  this is interesting, to me, as the  closeness of the
          linguistic link between the  Old English and Old German  languages has
          been a scholarly "fact"  widely known for many years.  Supporting this
          view, the Anglo-Saxon (Old English) word was actually 'dryhtin', meant
          'lord, the Lord'  and is linguistically  related to 'dreogan'  meaning
          'to perform, to serve'.


          As a side issue, this might be some evidence that runs contrary to the
          thesis  put forth  by Aidan Kelly  that Gerald  Gardner "manufactured"
          Wicca in 1939.  From personal experience, I have found that one unique
          distinction  of the non BTW  strains of Witchcraft  (some times called
          "FamTrads" of Family Traditions) is the incorporation of old Christian
          Imagery,  often including ArchAngels for the  four directions or elem-
          ents.    Though this  instance does  not  include Archangels,  it DOES
          include archaic  (and relatively  unknown) Christian terminology.   If
          Gardner did discover a remnant of the Old Religion upon which he based
          his  modern  reconstruction  effort,  it is  this  sort  of linguistic
          "artifact" which would have survived.  Perhaps a more scholarly
          investigation than mr. Kelly's will "turn up" more evidence?

          Jim Taylor, an  Eastern Orthodox  Theologian, also makes  two (to  me)
          illuminating statements, concerning "The Dryghtyn Prayer":
          1.       "'In the name of Dryghtyn, the Ancient Providence,
                   Who was from the beginning and is for eternity,
                   Male and Female, the Original Source of all things;
                   all-knowing, all-pervading, all-powerful;
                   changeless, eternal.'
          This would be, entirely, an acceptable way of describing God, both for
          most Jews and for most Christians."
          2.       "'In the name of the Lady of the Moon,
                   and the Lord of Death and Resurrection.'
          The Lord of  Death and  Resurrection would seem,  to any Christian  to
          refer to Jesus Christ."

          This  evidence of a possible mixing of an older (unrecorded) Christian
          Prayer may lend further credence to Gardners' claims of building on an
          older, hidden, traditional remnant.

          I, personally, also agree  with Mr. Taylors' statement that  "the idea
          of Wicca  being 'manufactured' in 1939  is far too pat,  and ignores a
          great deal  which ought not  to be ignored.   At the  very least, some
          degree   of  recognition should be  accorded to the  obvious fact that
          most  Wiccan practices  and  attitudes predate  Wicca by  considerable
          periods of time--possibly even millennia".

          The existence  of Monism, Duotheism, and  Polytheism simultaneously in
          the  belief structure of Wicca is one  good example of one of the Five
          Mysteries of  Wicca, that of  Union.  Wicca  is a mystery  religion, a
          PARTICIPATORY  religion, and much of  its symbology must  be lived and
          practiced to have  meaning because much of  the real (some say  hidden
          meaning is based on the knowledge of experience and  not the intellec-
          tual knowledge of mere logic and conscious thought processes.

          I am an eclectic Wiccan with strong ties in my beliefs and practice to
          British  Traditional Wicca.   I  am a  Monist, yet  I have  had strong
          direct experience with Brigid, Danu,  and the Morrigan as well as  the
          Earth  Mother and  the Horned  Lord of  the Forests.   So  my personal
          answer to the question  of "What kind of Theism  fits Theistic Wicca?"
          is  "several, or  none; it  is not  really a  valid question  in those
          limited  terms"!  But perhaps the concept of "Cthonotheism" would give
          a better  label to this concept when attempting to discuss the idea of
          the peculiar theism unique to Wicca?
                                   Blessed Be,
                                        Durwydd MacTara


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