Yesterday a friend and Craft-Elder I’ve known for about 15 years announced on Facebook that they were retiring from Wicca. They cited a number of valid and interesting reasons. Pressure to conform to group identity. Drama. Politics. The dumbing down of the Craft. Onewayism. Most of all, the increasing vituperativeness of what passes for discussion among us. They announced they were going solitary and would henceforth be practicing Traditional Witchcraft. To say I was gobsmacked is an understatement.
What appalled me most, though, was all the other elders and long-time practitioners who commented with “Me, too.” And “I gave up years ago.”
Think about that: The very people who have the most to offer the Craft are giving up because they can no longer tolerate what we’ve become. We’re no longer magicians and ritualists, we’re bickering, petty cliques and political factions. We’ve become so obsessed with the outer face of Wicca we’ve forgotten to nurture its heart or tend its fires. We’re trying so hard to be current and progressive that we’re pushing out those who have spent their lives preserving and practicing the essence of Wicca. And so all that knowledge is being lost. A way of life is being lost.
This isn’t just one person leaving British Traditional Wicca. This is the wholesale loss of a generation of trained, dedicated teachers, coven-leaders, and occultists. They can’t even publish because they don’t want to deal with the attack mentality so prevalent today. And they shouldn’t have to. When I suggested it to my friend, they said, “Ugh. Writing a book as one of the spiritual inheritors of [well-known Elder’s] lineage is just asking for trouble from both the upline and the rest of the Wicca.”
So now that I’ve whined for three hundred words, I put this out there: What can we do to stop Elder Flight? What can we do to keep our Traditions from being lost? Or is it too late? Seriously, I’m asking for suggestions, because I’ve got bupkis.
May the Gods preserve the Craft!