For some Wiccans, Halloween can be a real witch

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Like lots of people, when October 31 rolls around, Trey Capnerhurst dons a pointy hat and doles out candy to children who darken the door of her cottage in Alberta.

But she’s not celebrating Halloween. In fact, she kind of hates it.

Capnerhurst says she’s a real, flesh-and-blood witch, and Halloween stereotypes of witches as broom-riding hags drive her a bit batty.

“Witches are not fictional creatures,” the 45-year-old wrote in a recent article on WitchVox.com.

“We are not werewolves or Frankenstein monsters. We do not have green skin, and only some of us have warts.”

Warts or not, many witches say they have mixed feelings about Halloween.

Some look forward to the day when witchcraft is front and center and no one looks askance at big black hats. Others complain that the holiday reinforces negative stereotypes of witches as evil outliers who boil children in black cauldrons.

Capnerhurst falls into the latter camp.

Hanging up witch decorations at Halloween is no better than wearing blackface costumes or taking a slur, like “Redskins,” as the name of your football team, she says.

“Unless one actually is a witch, dressing up as stereotypical witches is bigotry,” Capnerhurst said.

Written By: Daniel Burke
continue to source article at religion.blogs.cnn.com

24 COMMENTS

  1. Where’s the evidence that the clichéd “Wicked Witch” get-up (black robe, big black hat etc.) is actually historical? And where’s the evidence that people who do dress up as fantastical/stereotypical witches do that with the intention of hurting the feelings of “real” witches, whose belief system is either entirely unknown to the dressers-up or is known to bear almost no relationship to the kind of witch they are pretending to be?

    Surely historical “witches” just wore whatever everyone else wore, hence the massive pogroms against the general female population that periodically occurred. If “witches” had all worn the clothing that Capnerhurst claims is symbolic of her beliefs there would have been no need for hunts, you’d just round up every woman who had ever been seen in a black pointy hat (which would have been, er… probably none).

    • In reply to #1 by Jabarkis:

      Where’s the evidence that the clichéd “Wicked Witch” get-up (black robe, big black hat etc.) is actually historical? And where’s the evidence that people who do dress up as fantastical/stereotypical witches do that with the intention of hurting the feelings of “real” witches, whose belief system is…

      Fairly typical clothing of the Jacobean period, if you google images traditional Welsh costume for women. moden versions tend to have a red cloak or shawl to match the national symbol (dragon) but black shawls are still fairly common.

  2. So unless I’m actually a builder, dressing up as a stereotypical builder makes me a bigot?

    What a vile man I am for attending fancy dress parties – or, as they’re otherwise known, orgies of intolerance.

  3. If she could demonstrate one spell that would measure up to scientific scrutiny I might take her pointy hat seriously until then she belongs in the same category as anybody else who thinks their superstitious beliefs somehow deserve respect rather than pity.
    Obviously thats quite a big group and most atheists I know are equal opportunity offenders; if we think your belief system is unfounded we will say so.

    Seriously though Wiccans are not the only religious groups bothered by Halloween. I’m putting on a Halloween party for my daughter and I’ve been amazed at how many of her christian friends parents have openly said they won’t let their children attend because they consider it satanic or demonic to celebrate Halloween ( not thats what we are doing – its apple bobbing and stuff like that !).
    When I was a teacher I did a lesson about the witches of Macbeth for Halloween with the idea of coming up with witches poems.
    I thought it was a creative lesson but I was warned by the head to expect a backlash from some of the parents.

    Considering hundreds of people are burnt to death every year in Africa and New Guinea based on justifications in the James 1 bible I find it quite disturbing that there are Christians in our midst who believe witchcraft is real.

    • In reply to #7 by rod-the-farmer:

      Nice to see the rock in the photo has been given a cage with lots of room. THAT should dispel any rumours about witches penning up rocks in small wooden boxes.

      Easy there. They’ve got their own struggles with rocks. It’s a rich history. Muslims like to throw rocks, witches boil them and keep them contained which I find to be a much better policy. If more people contained their rocks, there would be fewer rocks to throw at the sluts who flash their ankles.

    • In reply to #7 by rod-the-farmer:

      Nice to see the rock in the photo has been given a cage with lots of room. THAT should dispel any rumours about witches penning up rocks in small wooden boxes.

      Yes it must be a huge relief to people who care about cruelty against rocks.

  4. I tend to date witches.

    **snip*

    “Why did you just cut off some off my hair?”

    “I’m making a potion.”

    “Cool.”

    It’s like Feynman described his personal cognitive awakening following the trends of history. First, he realized (on his own) the truths discovered by ancients, then he solved the puzzles moving forward in history until he was dealing with contemporary dilemmas, and ultimately pioneering new frontiers of discovery. Witches practice protoscience, and we can point and laugh, but at least it’s an inquiry method and not faith. I can’t date Xians, but witches… I loves me some witches.

    I’m standing on a makeshift scaffolding about 50ft above the ground. She’s wiggling her hands in the air. “Whatcha doin, baby?”

    “I’m casting a protection spell.”

    “Awesome.”

    When I don’t die, she takes that as evidence it worked. Affirming the consequent is freakin’ adorable.

  5. “As October 31 approaches each year, she places a sign on her lawn that reads, “This House Practices Safe Hex.”

    Very humorous but the woman needs serious psychological counselling.

  6. I had a student come into my classroom about ten years ago. She was crying. I took her aside and asked what was up. She siad “I am being taunted because of my religion”. I told her that the behavior of the bullies was unacceptable and that I’d see to it that it would not continue.

    Almost reflexively I asked what religion she was (not caring about the answer, just trying to forward our conversation) and she said “I am a witch”. My brain was screaming but my “filter” precluded me from asking”Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” I didn’t ask and kept up a front of seriousness because the kid was truly upset. But, anyway, remember, the bully does not get to decide if what they are doing is bullying. The receiver of the action decides.

    This kid thought she was being bullied. She had all the physiology and behaviors of a victim. So, for all intent and purpose, this was a bullied child. I talked to the kids that were making fun and I’d like to think that it stopped or at least was mitigated somewhat.

    Witchcraft is bullshit. Spells hexes curses voodoo hocus pocus all bullshit. Challenging bullshit is important. But, as my kid say, hate the game, not the player.

  7. Atheists are constantly ‘preaching the gospel’ of education to defeat religious ignorance, yet here you all are demonstrating a profound ignorance of modern witchcraft and are mocking stereotypes and cliches. Granted, the witches I know would call Ms. C a cliche, but that’s not the point. Most of the commenters here are using the same sarcastic mockery that many xtians display toward atheists. You should all be embarrassed. newsflash: many pagans in general, and witches in particular, are atheist.

    • In reply to #13 by sabreean:

      Atheists are constantly ‘preaching the gospel’ of education to defeat religious ignorance, yet here you all are demonstrating a profound ignorance of modern witchcraft and are mocking stereotypes and cliches. Granted, the witches I know would call Ms. C a cliche, but that’s not the point.

      That’s precisely the point. You can’t accuse everyone here of ignorance and only mocking a cliché when the person is, as you just described, considered a cliché by other witches. For example, people are mocking the silly hat. You can’t imply that mocking the silly hat shows a profound ignorance of witchcraft when she’s right there WEARING a silly hat!

      You should all be embarrassed. newsflash: many pagans in general, and witches in particular, are atheist.

      So what? Them not believing in a god doesn’t get them a free pass from criticism from other atheists about whatever other silly beliefs they hold. Belief in god is just one of many silly beliefs people hold and I reserve the right to criticise any beliefs that I find silly. Other people are likewise welcome to criticise any beliefs of mine they consider silly. I refuse to feel embarrassed for pointing out that nonsense is nonsense and I don’t understand why you would want me to.

      Most of the commenters here are using the same sarcastic mockery that many xtians display toward atheists.

      Yeah, well, let me know when these witches are systematically burnt at the stake or drowned in the name of atheism. Until then, please allow me my freedom of expression. Ta.

    • In reply to #13 by sabreean:

      The thing that gets me is that Wicca is a manufactured religion, right? The monstrous stereotype of the witch vastly predates any practitioners of Wicca. While there has been a long, terrible tradition of persecuting women and men for witchcraft across all manner of cultures, I just don’t have a lot of sympathy for people trying to claim that the traditional deceptions of witches should be considered culturally offensive when people made their religion and specifically associated it with that archetype.

      And this in no way makes it right for Wiccans to be harassed or bullied, but man, what a terrible idea it was to call themselves witches. Of course kids are going to make fun when the first time you hear about witches is from The Wizard of Oz. A film which is older than Wicca by some decades.

  8. Someone might think this text about an adult who thinks she is a witch is funny, but it is actually quite sad. It contains so many of the typical disturbing signs of religious irrationality:

    Hanging up witch decorations at Halloween is no better than wearing blackface costumes or taking a slur, like “Redskins,” as the name of your football team, she says.

    “Unless one actually is a witch, dressing up as stereotypical witches is bigotry,” Capnerhurst said.

    Oh, really? Typical martyr attitude. The whole world must be against you. Just dressing as a witch, whatever that might entail, is already considered persecution. As if self-indentified witches have a copyright on witch outfits. And what is an “actual witch”? Even I can choose to be as much of an “actual witch” as she is.

    “Raising her 12-year-old daughter, Maenwen, as a witch is not easy either…”

    Uh oh. Forcing your child to adopt your irrational beliefs? We all know what should be said about that…

  9. Someone might think this text about an adult who thinks she is a witch is funny, but it is actually quite sad. It contains so many of the typical disturbing signs of religious irrationality:

    Hanging up witch decorations at Halloween is no better than wearing blackface costumes or taking a slur, like “Redskins,” as the name of your football team, she says.

    “Unless one actually is a witch, dressing up as stereotypical witches is bigotry,” Capnerhurst said.

    Oh, really? Typical martyr attitude. The whole world must be against you. Just dressing as a witch, whatever that might entail, is already considered persecution. As if self-indentified witches have a copyright on witch outfits. And what is an “actual witch”? Even I can choose to be as much of an “actual witch” as she is.

    “Raising her 12-year-old daughter, Maenwen, as a witch is not easy either…”

    Uh oh. Forcing your child to adopt your irrational beliefs? We all know what should be said about that…

    • In reply to #17 by Christiana Magdalene Moodley:

      I must be singularly lacking in empathy. This witch’s howls of outrage against ‘bigotry’ leave me cold.

      I had the opposite reaction. Perhaps in part because I am a bit more familiar with this u.s. culture(?)

      howls of outrage

      I read it as giving voice to a self defense of lifestyle.

      ~

      there is a burgeoning of neo paganism

      she formed her own church called ‘Disir’ – Old Norse for “matrons of deities”

      Seems to be a variation of ‘koffee klatch’ – distinct individuals gathering, sorority like.

      • I concede that I came down too hard. on an individual who is essentially harmless.In reply to #23 by bluebird:

        In reply to #17 by Christiana Magdalene Moodley:

        I must be singularly lacking in empathy. This witch’s howls of outrage against ‘bigotry’ leave me cold.

        I had the opposite reaction. Perhaps in part because I am a bit more familiar with this u.s. culture(?)

        howls of outrage

        I read it as giving…

  10. Modern witchcraft is about as useful as traditional witchcraft….its all hocus pocus….Why do you need any spell to promote health love and happiness and all that….I and many others do that daily with no need for a religion or a pseudo cult….I think some people have such a need to belong to a group and label themselves as something…. even if its not even meaningful….she likes rituals etc ….well so do most people with OCD…..if you mix herbal remedies etc, there’s still no need to define yourself and family as witches….its weird and its like you want to draw attention to yourself in an bizarre way with claims of being a pure witch as opposed to (i’m guessing) an inferior converted one ….what a load of batshit….its harmless but pointless…

  11. I’d bet dollars to donuts the cartoonish witch of modern halloween (with the green skin and flying broom) has it’s roots in historical religous bigotry via demonizing. Also, I respect the law that says that modern ‘witches’ should be free to practice their own rituals and ceremonies to the same extent as any other religion.

    With that said, the little I actually know about the Wiccan’s is BS.

  12. The word ‘witchcraft’ is a direct descendent of the Old English ‘wiccecræft’, and the Old English word ‘wicca’ (pronounced witch-a) actually means ‘wizard, sorcerer, magician, astrologer’, referring to men who practise sorcery or magic. The feminine version of this word in Old English is ‘wicce’ (pronounced witch-eh). Obviously, the modern word ‘witch’, though it has generally been used of women, can be regarded as descended etymologically from both the masculine and feminine forms. There are several other Old English words for witchcraft, from which romantic neopagans could have selected a term for their set of beliefs and practices, if ‘witchcraft’ seemed too ordinary and modern or too historically loaded a term. They could have chosen and adapted any of these: wiccedom, drycræft, lybcræft, lyblac. There is also the term ‘deofolcræft’ (literally devilcraft), which refers to black magic, the sort of thing that got people into trouble with the church authorities, who in their turn were sometimes inclined to suspect the innocuous practices first listed as involving the power of the devil or demons anyway. Quite apart from the romantic make-believe that so-called Wiccans maintain, by saying that they are Wiccans or practise Wicca (pronounced wicka), they advertise their quasi-New Age phoniness.

    Wiðer leaswiccan biergaþ þa reorde!

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