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A lot of pagan men find it tough to be a man in Wicca. The popular misconception of Wicca, one among many, is that it is a Goddess religion only for women. Such thoughts are simply untrue. Though there are some traditions that focus on the Goddess exclusively, most honor both the Goddess and the God. Both schools play a prominent role in witchcraft. I think the zeal people have for the Goddess comes from wanting to restore her to her important place in spirituality, where we have been dominated by major religions that have had a decidedly male bias.
Wicca is really about balance. In Eastern medicine, the terms yin and yang are used to depict this concept. Balance in all things, including male and female energies. We all have male and female energies, regardless of our gender. The relationship between both is an important mystery in the traditions of the craft.
I came into witchcraft right after high school, after going to school in traditional religious institutions. I didn't know what I believed, but I knew that Roman Catholicism was not my path. I came into witchcraft excited and skeptical, but as I studied, the more I found a home for my heart and soul. I felt the call of the Goddess. I had an excellent spiritual relationship with the feminine, trying to get away from the masculine Biblical god, but didn't know how I fit into the tradition. All the people who trained me were women. The vast majority of witches I knew were women. Almost all the authors I read on the subject were women. The initial teachers I trained with didn't place much importance on Gerald Gardner, Alex Sanders, or Raymond Buckland. If it wasn't for Scott Cunningham's books, I'm not sure I would have had a positive male role model in the craft. As I continued, I found more men in the craft, from elder high priests to guys my own age seeking a new path. The concept of a male witch became less remote for me and I made many new friends.
When I came into witchcraft, I trained with my mother. She didn't teach me, as many people assume. She was training right alongside me. She feared I was joining a cult of some sort, and came along to make sure I was ok. Even though I was legally an adult, I was still her son and she looked out for me. We have a very strong spiritual bond. She later gave up Catholicism to follow the path of the witch. In my first informal coven, our celebration circle consisted of the two of us and another family friend who I consider my spirit sister. Since then, my mother and I have both had an interest in any mother and son pairings, from other witches to the mythology of Goddesses and their sons.
Together we studied the stories of mothers and sons. We looked to the stories of Isis and Horus, Rhiannon and Pryderi, and Balder and Frigga. We saw how often the God is seen as developing through child, youth, lover, king, death and underworld god, only to be reborn again as the child. The goddess was more eternal, ever present. She shifted through the regenerative cycles of maiden, mother, and crone, in a similar, yet fundamentally different way. Together, they made the whole of creation. Together mother and son, queen and king, Goddess and God, kept life in balance, and witches are their priestess and priests, their sons and daughters, helping keep the balance.
As I practiced the craft and was eventually asked to teach, I found more and more young men coming to me at class. Yes, there is a general trend of more and more young people coming to the craft, but my workshops found a lot of young men, ranging from teenagers to post collegiates, seeking their place in Wicca and understanding their role as a man. Perhaps in me they see someone already finding that place. Though I've taken on the responsibilities of home, marriage, and ministry, I'm not that much farther down the path of life. I was eventually asked to bring these myths and traditions together in a format that can be shared not only with men, but with all those in the traditions of the witch. The result was Sons of the Goddess: A Young Man's Guide to Wicca.
Christopher Penczak is a Witch, teacher, writer, and healing practitioner. He is the founder of the world-renowned Temple of Witchcraft and the Temple Mystery School, and he is the creator of the bestselling Temple of ...