By Nikayla Goddard, September 28 2020—
A variety of new and interesting clubs have cropped up now that the school year has resumed, and one of the new Students’ Union registered clubs includes the Witches & Pagans Club, which welcomes practicing witches, Wiccans, Pagans and anyone interested in beginning to learn more.
President Caitlin A. is a Wiccan and a practicing witch, as well as founder of the club.
“I mostly founded this club to be able to provide community for our pagan and witch students,” she said. “There are currently no official groups in Calgary for pagans to meet, and nothing really on campus in most of Western Canada, so it was really important for me to be able to provide that. Also, a secondary goal was to be able to provide education as well, because I think a lot of people don’t know what modern witchcraft and paganism is.”
Caitlin cited that people who don’t understand witchcraft and paganism often discriminate or associate outdated stereotypes with their faith, and so education is an important aspect for the club. Inclusivity is an important club tenant as well, as the club intends to create a welcoming community for all, regardless of religion, spirituality, or lack thereof. Caitlin explained that witchcraft is a spiritual practice that anyone from any religion can practice. Wicca, on the other hand, is a religion, not a practice, that follows ideas of duality in the world and continual rebirth. Paganism is an umbrella term for a wide variety of faiths, which is open to interpretation, she says, but usually includes Canadian Indigenous spirituality, Hinduism, Shintoism, or European Pagan spirituality like Hellenism and Celtic Paganism.
Caitlin said her original intention with the club was to run prayers at the Faith and Spirituality Centre, but she was unable to make it work due to what she cites as incompatibility. The centre encourages those who run sessions to have professional training in chaplaincy, which she says she respects, but is an “Abrahamic understanding of religious authority, whereas in Wicca, we don’t quite have that same idea. Anyone can run a prayer session with a group.”
The club hosts meet ups, workshops and Weekly Wiccan Devotionals in addition to celebrations around the Wiccan holidays, which include Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lammas, Mabon, Samhain and Yule. They also intend to run lots of other events with the U of C, such as, Caitlin explained, “some diversity times where we will be working in partnership with the Faith and Spirituality Center to share some religious knowledge.”
To get involved with the Witches & Pagans Club, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow them on their Instagram page, @wpcuofc, to learn more.