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                            MONISM, One Wiccan Perspective 
                                  Copyright 11/24/92
                                   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 Dictionary)

     "Monotheism  n. The belief or doctrine that  there is only one God." (Amer-
     ican 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 of  all gods." (American
     Heritage Second College Dictionary)

     "Polytheism n.  The worship of or  belief in more than  one god." (American
     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 there-
          fore  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 essence."
          (Vivianne Crowley, WICCA: The Old Religion in The New  Age,-
          pp. 11-12)

     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 suggestion has  been made to add  a word to our  Thea/Theo-logical
     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 worshipped, NOT a Deity
     or deities invented in 1939! (More on this later.)

     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 Col-
                    lectibles, Inc.).) Courtesy of David Piper

     Airmid (aka Erynn  Darkstar), a contemporary  craft scholar and  researcher
     says of this new (to most of us) name of Ultimate Deity:
               "Dryghtyn  is also the name  used for JHVH  in some old
               English  bibles.  I think  that was where  the term ac-
               tually  originated.  I think I  saw a passing reference
               to  it in some boxed comparative translated text in "In
               Search of the Indo-Europeans."

     Grendel,  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.

     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  elements.   Though this
     instance does not  include Archangels,  it DOES include  archaic (and  rel-
     atively  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


     Jim Taylor, an  Eastern Orthodox  Theologian, also  makes two  (to me)  il-
     luminating 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 recog-
     nition should be  accorded to the obvious  fact that most Wiccan  practices
     and attitudes predate Wicca by considerable  periods of time--possibly even

     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 intellectual 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  "Chthonotheism" 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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