First glimpse of a superior wisdom - Wiccan Brigade debuts in city with a workshop of rituals, exercises and mind games

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  • Published 28.11.06

Wicca took its first formal steps in India, in the “witching hour” of a November afternoon. Wiccan Ipsita Roy Chakraverti launched The Wiccan Brigade on Sunday in a Taj Bengal conference room swathed in yellow light and soft music. Far removed from the monastic chalet in the Laurentian mountains near Montreal, where Ipsita attended her initiation ceremony, this was a wicca fresher’s brush with the western pagan cult.

The Wiccan Brigade has been formed close to two decades after Ipsita started practising wicca in different forms — working as a healer, lecturing and writing on the century-old branch of learning. The organisation aims to pass on the knowledge to wicca enthusiasts.

The Brigade consists of a core team of 25 members who will meet occasionally to work at two levels — co-ordinate with the National Youth Brigade on social issues; learn the history and philosophy of wicca from Ipsita. The National Youth Brigade was set up by the wiccan in 1998 in Hooghly to work with women and children in the rural areas.

“The old stigma surrounding wicca has largely been removed from the mind of the intelligentsia… A wiccan spirit doesn’t want to be subdued, no matter how much one is battered and bruised,” Ipsita told the audience comprising 35-odd members chosen from around 100 applications. The group included women and men — schoolteachers, artistes, housewives and professionals, some of whom flew in from Delhi.

“I see wicca as a superior wisdom, an evolved intuitive sensibility. I think all artistes are subconsciously wedded to wicca as any kind of artistic expression strives to arrive at the truth and needs a deep understanding,” said film-maker Rituparno Ghosh, who briefly shared the dais with Ipsita.

The launch was followed by a workshop that gave a glimpse of the rituals and esoteric qualities of the discipline, with the wiccan invoking the Mother Goddess and chanting pagan hymns. Assisted by her lawyer daughter Deepta, Ipsita conducted a demonstration of wiccan physical exercises, familiarised the audience with the wiccan implements used for healing and engaged them in mind games.

“The exercises enhance your alertness and help receive energy for renewal,” explained Ipsita, dressed in the symbolic black robe of goddess Athena.

The first session was limited to a handful, but the wiccan plans to conduct more seminars in future for a wider cross-section. As Ipsita put it: “You don’t choose wicca, wicca chooses you.”