In Wicca, as well as other Neopagan and Occult-based faiths, we often mention the pioneers who made these systems what they are today. Ranging from Aleister Crowley to Gerald Gardner to Margaret Murray to Scott Cunningham to Zsuzsanna Budapest, there have been many staples in Wicca and the Occult in general. When mentioning about the history of the faith, common practices, Rituals, or the Casting process, these names must be mentioned as their contributions to modern Neopaganism has been invaluable. There are, however, other well-known individuals who have contributed in a different manner. These individuals might have made their name in politics, in Tinsel Town, in science, or through their writing. All the while, these icons and public figures practiced the Craft with all of their heart. Perhaps they did not play an equivalent part to Gardner or Cunningham strictly in terms of advancing Wiccan techniques and advancing the Faith into modern times, but nonetheless, through their influence, they greatly helped the Faith gain greater recognition. Today we will explore some of these individuals.
Here, we are not speaking of fictional pop culture witches such as Samantha in Bewitched, Hermione in Harry Potter, or Sabrina, though it is true that Melissa Joan Hart did dabble with the Craft for some time. Rather, we discuss individuals who practiced in their private lives. They did not usually come forth to promote their Faith, as it was necessary to maintain a certain image with the public, and they feared declaring their unconventional belief system would be perceived adversely by their fans. Nonetheless, they were not ashamed of what they believed. These figures did not usually attain a status of expertise by any means, but still sought to be the best they could be.
In ancient times through the middle ages, a strict political system did not usually permit a celebrity status beyond royalty or those within the aristocracy. Nonetheless, certain Kings and Queens did take a daring approach. William the Conqueror, the great Norman King who invaded England in the 11th Century, was not shy about experimenting with different practices. Though he imposed some strict political reforms, he generally allowed the freedom to worship. It was often said that William would visit a fortune teller in the middle of the night every week or so with the goal of becoming a Practitioner of Magick. Along the same lines, though she had imposed strict religious guidelines originally, when Queen Elizabeth I failed to produce an heir to the throne in the 16th Century, she turned her attention to the Occult. She eventually became enthralled with the practice and spent the remaining years of her life dedicated to studying the subject.
One individual who has become better known for his beliefs in recent years was the great Leonardo DaVinci. An artist, an inventor, a scientist, a radical thinker, DaVinci sought to unravel the mysteries of the Universe. He, like others such as Sir Isaac Newton, Nicholas Copernicus, and Galileo Galilee were essentially coerced into maintaining the religious standards of their country, but tried to advance their occultist views by stating that the biblical religion could be fused with the occult. Thus, we know all that we can know about the story of the Nativity and such, but there is so much more to learn about Universal mysteries to which individuals should draw their attention. Benjamin Franklin and other Founding Fathers of the United States held a similar position.
Wicca as we know it today is only a half century old, and therefore little time has elapsed to establish many public figures that have practiced the faith in their private lives. Nonetheless, actors such as Nicholas Cage and Robert Downey Jr. have revealed their Wiccan beliefs. NFL player Troy Polamalu and MLB players Orlando and Livan Hernandez have been influential by promoting Wicca among their many fans. There are sure to be more to come as time goes by, but it is important to remember that if you should choose the Wiccan Path to Spirituality, you should do so because you find it to be of value, rather than because somebody who you admire has chosen that path.