Wicca's Wicked Appeal Among the Young

Journalist Carlo Climati Calls for «Culture of Commitment» as Response

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ROME, APRIL 1, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Among the esoteric phenomena listed in the Vatican’s recent document on New Age is a form of witchcraft gaining popularity among the young.

To better understand the phenomenon, ZENIT interviewed journalist Carlo Climati, whose book «Young People and Esotericism: Magic, Satanism and Occultism» has just been published in Spain. The book is already a best seller in Italy and Latin America.

Q: What is Wicca?

Climati: It is a neo-pagan cult that originated in the Anglo-Saxon world and appears as a sort of «good witchcraft.» It is neither a sect nor an organization with specific leaders and structures. It is simply a current of esoteric thought that any person can follow without any particular commitment.

Q: What does this current of thought suggest?

Climati: It is a mixture of paganism, magic and superstition. In addition, it gives exaggerated veneration to nature, to the point of divinizing and adoring it. Wicca followers believe in reincarnation, which they regard as an «evolution of the soul.» They practice a series of magic rites: from enchantments of love to ceremonies to become rich or «attract money.»

At times they turn to spirits, non-physical entities or pagan gods, such as praying to the horned god.

Q: Why does Wicca appear as «good witchcraft»?

Climati: Because Wicca followers say that they don’t want to harm anyone and that they reject Satanism. However, from my point of view, Wicca cannot be regarded as a positive cult.

In some cases, it suggests rituals that seek to exercise power over people. However, human beings are not puppets who can be controlled as one wishes.

Another negative aspect is that of superstition. Wicca followers are convinced that stones, herbs and the wind contain particular energies capable of producing effects on daily life. Thus they end up by becoming slaves to objects, amulets and talismans.

Q: Is it true that Wicca is popular among young people?

Climati: Unfortunately, yes. Some movies and telefilms have made Wicca popular. Some magazines for adolescents also speak of it frequently, proposing it as a kind of «alternative religion.»

Girls in particular are fascinated by the idea of being «good witches,» and they use Wicca rituals to solve problems of daily life. They shut themselves in their room and prepare real ceremonies with candles, incense and little altars dedicated to some strange divinity.

Q: Do you think this has risks?

Climati: The risk of hiding behind Wicca is clear. It is the invitation to believe that there is a «good magic,» a kind of «ally» to resolve the problems of everyday life — a life that, in the case of many young people, is dominated by loneliness, the absence of conversation in the family, difficulties with studies and with the first steps in the working world.

When one is alone it is easier to be a victim of magic and superstition. One latches on to everything, including an amulet. From my point of view, Wicca finds fertile ground in the life of many young people who are often faced with difficult family situations, lack of communication, silence, disappointments and uncertainty about the future.

Q: What effect can Wicca have on young people’s behavior?

Climati: In the long term, there is the risk of spreading lack of commitment among young people. They trust something that is outside their own life to resolve a problem. Young people refuse to be committed to achieve an objective, leaving everything in the hands of the so-called energies of some ritual or amulet.

It is the law of «I want everything now.» Do I like a girl? Instead of winning her over by being pleasant and tender, the Wicca follower will turn to a magic rite. Do I have doubts about the future? Instead of using his head to find an intelligent solution to the problem, he entrusts himself to Wicca. The same thing happens with school and university examinations.

Q: Is it possible to help young people so that they will not be exposed to such risks?

Climati: It is necessary to foster a new «culture of commitment» that values the little efforts of daily life to achieve a particular objective. If one wants to succeed in attracting a girl, one doesn’t have to buy an amulet but give her a bunch of flowers.

In addition, it is opportune to promote a «culture of limits,» that is, to make young people understand that they cannot have it all. It is necessary to be able to set one’s own limits. If I don’t succeed in having the love of a boy or girl, it is of no use to turn to Wicca to change the situation. I must accept this little failure and submerge myself again in daily life, seeking with new enthusiasm to find my real love.

A healthy rediscovery of the culture of limits and personal commitment could undoubtedly help young people to be stronger, to face life better, to overcome uncertainties and fears, and not have to turn to Wicca superstitions.

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