Neo-Pagan Witchcraft vs. Satanism:
Confusions and Distinctions
by -***** ****
It seems to be necessary to preface every discussion of Witchcraft with an explanation that, no, Neo-Pagan Witches aren't Satanists. The Christian anti-God, Satan, has no place in Pagan pantheons, either mythologically or theologically. Plainly and simply, Satanism is the dark side of Christianity, and Satan is nothing other than the collective Id of Christendom.
Even today, Witchcraft is frequently misrepresented by being confused with Satanism. Often the word Witchcraft is used to represent two wholly opposite phenomena: the survival of ancient Paganism in one instance, and the inversion of Christianity in another. Let us make it clear: a Satanist is a renegade Christian, who, in his rebellion against the authority of the church, worships Satan rather than Christ. Such people are at times called witches and warlocks in popular books and movies but they e little to do with Pagan Witches. Satanists, for one thing, accept the Christian duality between good and evil; Pagans do not. Satanists may choose to worship evil rather than good: but they have utterly bought the Christian world view'.1
The word Pagan derives from the Latin paganus, meaning 'peasant' or 'country dweller'. It is correctly applied to indigenous (native) pantheistic folk religions and peoples. The term 'Neo-Paganism' is applied to the current revival of ancient Pagan religious values, including the sacredness of all Life and the worship of Nature. Modern Witchcraft has been a major component of the Neo-Pagan resurgence since England repealed its anti-Witchcraft laws in 1951.
The Goddess and the God of Witchcraft
The many traditions of Neo-Pagan Witchcraft have few universal theological precepts, but one of them is certainly the veneration of the Moon Goddess, known most commonly by her Roman name, Diana. She is perceived as manifesting in triple form: Maiden, Mother and Crone. These triple aspects are identified respectively with the waxing, full, and waning moons. Witches gather at esbats every full moon, to sing and dance in Her moonlight, share cakes and wine, and work magic to heal each other, their friends, and the Earth. Many modern Witches expand the concept of the Goddess considerably, and see Her also as Mother Earth and Mother Nature.
Most traditions of Neo-Pagan Witchcraft also honor the Consort of the Goddess in the form of the Horned God, who is seen as Lord of Animals as well as seasonal ruler of the Underworld. The most familiar version of the Horned God is the Greek Pan, goat-horned and goat-hooved, playing His panpipes, guzzling wine from His freely-flowing wineskin, and seducing nymphs in the woods. He is regarded as lusty and jovial, epitomizing masculine attributes of ideal father, brother or lover. As the Goddess of Witchcraft is closely identified with the Moon, so the God is identified with the Sun. In this way He may be seen mythologically as the lover both of the...