Saw the “Wicca” episode of Bones. While the implication that “all witches are evil” is finally going to the wayside, the characterization of the Wiccans in the show made me want to choke someone. That person was not necessarily the show writers. The hippy-dippy pseudo-Renaissance speech crap came from a real person, I know this on a purely intuitive level.
I do think that name changes, like polyamory, should come from an organic place. I don’t think most Wiccan names do, and that in fact the name we are given when we enter this world often does have power in its own right if we choose to own it. This is in no way related to the concept of true names, which you should just keep to yourself, period.
When you’re in circle if it floats your boat to go by some hippyesque pseudo-Celtic or 1960s Pixie MoonDrip name, fine. But once the government gets involved, it’s grownup time, and in order to be taken seriously it’s wise to use your real name. Besides, at least in the US, when you engage with the government you are assuming a role as a citizen, and your given name is key to using your power as a citizen within a Democratic Republic.
Also, bat bones are in no way “essential” to Wiccan practice. Ultimately only your brain is absolutely essential to Wiccan practice, just as only your brain is essential to any religious practice – prayer is a universal religious practice, right? – there are relatively few items that any person absolutely has to have. Candles, incense, rocks, all nice, give good visual cues, but you do not need them. More specifically, God/ess doesn’t need them – those were just put here for you and the rest of the creatures running around the Earth.
In terms of ritual essentials, let’s assume that a Wiccan is incarcerated. That means that person, who let’s also assume is guilty of the crime he is imprisoned for, does have a few things that he can ask for within his rights. If I were asked to give a list of stuff they must have to perform their practices, I would include:
1)A basic book of magical correspondences. 777, Spiral Dance, Power of the Witch, Magician’s Companion, whatever has one of those lists in the back.
2)A wand. While an athame is usually preferred the point is to direct energy, and if you are in prison, for instance, it’s going to take senatorial strings to let you keep a double-edged knife on hand. If you’re like most Wiccans, the fringe religion thing will probably make even related politicians distance themselves from you.
The wand doesn’t need a crystal strapped on, and truth be told, you could do just as well with a Crayola. Hell, you could adjust the nature of energy directed through what color you choose thatsy way.
Frankly, I’d stop there. I would suggest also that person needs some outdoor time. Wicca is a nature religion to varying degrees depending on the tradition, but nature is indoors just as much as it’s out (really.) If that person practices one of the older traditions of Wicca, like Gardnerian trad, I might also suggest supervised use of a rope/cord to mark the circle or if that’s absolutely not possible because of violent behavior in the prisoner, chalk to mark the circle instead.
So that’s it, what I consider essential to Wiccan practice:
2)A book of correspondences for those who do not have an intuitive sense for symbolic alignments
3)A straight-lined object with which to direct energy
Everything else is a luxury and gift.
I’m no ascetic – oh hell no – but I do dislike clutter. So taking it down to the above essentials once in awhile is good for my brain, and strangely freeing.