University Of Missouri: No Homework On Wiccan, Pagan Holidays

February 15, 2013

Attention Wiccans and various other sorts of Pagans: If you’re a student at the University of Missouri, or are considering becoming one, the university has great news for you: Mizzou students no longer need to do homework or cram for exams that fall on Wiccan and Pagan “holidays” – now that the school has put them on par with Christmas, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.

The university’s latest “Guide to Religions: Major Holidays and Suggested Accommodations” – ostensibly designed to help faculty know when not to schedule homework and exams – lists eight Wiccan and Pagan “holidays” alongside mainstream holidays and traditional religious occasions. How “progressive.”

Mizzou says it’s all part of the school’s effort to include “everyone’s beliefs.” Of course, it is – we musn’t exclude the fringe kooks in today’s America. Wouldn’t be “prudent.”

Lest you need to brush up a bit on your knowledge of Wicca and Paganism, here ya go:

Merriam-Webster: Modern Western witchcraft movement. A “religion” influenced by pre-Christian beliefs and practices of western Europe that affirms the existence of supernatural power (as magic) and of both male and female deities who inhere in nature and that emphasizes ritual observance of seasonal and life cycles.

Modern Wicca is usually dated to the work of Gerald B. Gardner (1884–1964) and Doreen Valiente (1922–1999), who, after the repeal of the last Witchcraft Act in England (1951), went public with their cult of witchcraft, which centered on a horned god of fertility and a great earth goddess.

Gardner is credited with introducing the term Wicca. So-called “Dianic” Wicca focuses on the Goddess as the supreme being and usually excludes men. Wiccans share a belief in the importance of the feminine principle, a deep respect for nature, and a pantheistic and polytheistic worldview. They practice some form of ritual magic, almost always considered good or constructive. Some are solitary practitioners; others belong to covens.

Paganism (Neo-Paganism) Any of several spiritual movements that attempt to revive the ancient polytheistic religions of Europe and the Middle East. These movements have a close relationship to ritual magic and modern witchcraft. Neo-Paganism differs from them, however, in striving to revive authentic pantheons and rituals of ancient cultures, though often in deliberately eclectic and reconstructionist ways, and by a particularly contemplative and celebrative attitude.

Typically people with romantic feelings toward nature and deep ecological concerns, Neo-Pagans center their dramatic and colourful rituals around the changes of the seasons and the personification of nature as full of divine life.

Here are a few of the Wiccan / Pagan holidays Mizzou students will be celebrating this year:

Mabon / Autumnal Equinox – Sept, 20-24
Also referred to as Harvest Home, the Feast of the Ingathering, and Meán Fómhair. Mabon is the second celebration of the harvest, a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth, and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and the God during the coming winter months. One of the eight major annual sabbats or festivals.

Yule / Midwinter / Winter Solstice – Dec. 21-24
Also known as Alban Arthan; the longest night of the year followed by the sun’s “rebirth” and lengthening of days. In most traditions, Yule is celebrated as the rebirth of the Great God, who is viewed as the newborn solstice sun. One of the eight major annual sabbats or festivals.

Imbolc / Candlemas – Feb. 1-2
Also referred to as the Feast of Pan, Feast of Torches, Feast of Waxing Lights, and Oimele. Celebrates the coming of spring and recovery of the Earth Goddess after giving birth to the Sun God at Yule. For many traditions, a time for initiations, rededication and pledges for the coming year. One of the four “greater sabbats.”

Wiccans must be very smart people; way too many gods for me to keep straight.

University officials say no complaints have been received in connection to the guide, which “many have found useful and informational.” Hmm. I find that hard to believe; you’d think someone would have complained by now about the inclusion of Christian holidays, wouldn’t you?

                                 “Guide to Religions: Major Holidays and Suggested