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Hi and welcome back! On the last post, I made a throwaway comment about Biff really disliking a particular new religion. Just like that, an entry appeared on our dance card. Today, let me share the heartwarming Christmas Tale of Biff’s Big Huge Fight With the Dianic Separatist Lesbians on Campus.

children dancing at a victorian christmas party
Clock strikes upon the hour/and the sun begins to fade/Still enough time to figure out/how to chase my blues away…

An Introduction to Dianic Wicca.

Dianic Wicca is a flavor of Wicca (also called witchcraft). It arose in the 1970s. It boasts a few different traditions, or sub-flavors.

While Wicca itself tends to be really female-centered, Dianic Wicca is wayyyy female-centered. Normally, Wiccans allow anybody to join, and covens have a High Priest and Priestess leading them. But Dianic Wiccans generally only allow women to join and lead their groups.

Also like most flavors of Wicca, this variant tends to be eclectic. Its adherents borrow rituals and beliefs from a number of different sources. Many regular Wiccan rituals and beliefs decidedly cater to men. But for Dianic Wicca, inspiration derives from woman-centered folk-magic practices.

Of course, I’m simplifying–and vastly at that. Wicca likely only gets beaten by Christianity for just how eclectic it can get and how different its flavors can be from each other. But this is the general idea.

In the late 1980s, when I started college, a group of female students formed a club around this still-new flavor of Wicca. Members of it saw their religion as super-duper-feminist and empowering. They were really happy with it.

And they were like catnip for fundagelical men like Biff.

The Fight Begins.

I can’t remember exactly when Biff began squabbling with this group or how he came up with the label for them. But at some point very early on in my college years, he began snarling about Dianic Separatist Lesbians.

Awesome band name, isn’t it?

Even at the time, I knew exactly why my bombastic then-boyfriend Biff gravitated straight toward this club as his big enemy on campus. Nope, I wasn’t mystified at all about why he kept picking on them.

It wasn’t just that they were feminists, though that would have been enough to grab Biff’s attention. Heckies, it wasn’t even just that these women were Wiccans, either, though Biff had a decided antipathy toward that entire faith system.

No, it was that they had decided that they wanted a religion that was just for them. They didn’t want men to be members, much less leaders.

And y’all, Biff just could not cope with the idea that someone, somewhere didn’t desire his presence or require his input about anything at all.

The Nickname Biff Thought Was Clever.

Early in Biff’s crusade against this club, he came up with a nickname for them. He thought he was being extremely clever.

He called them Dianic Separatist Lesbians.

And he called them that often, and he called them that while wearing the same smug sneer on his face every time.

They were definitely Dianic Wiccans. They definitely took a separatist view of the war between the sexes. However, I don’t know that they were actual lesbians. And I know Biff didn’t know either.

But you know how fundagelicals can get. They tend to think that feminist women are all secretly lesbians. As Unca Pat Robertson said once:

Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.

(This guy’s spank bank must contain downright Lovecraftian horrors. Also, I think I just sprained something with that mental image. We’ll just never go there again.)

Nobody was ever more impressed with Biff’s cleverness than Biff himself was. 

Why Biff Hated This Club.

There exists no universe in which Biff did not make a beeline straight for the women in this club. No way, no how. Like a lot of narcissistic people, he was a boundary-seeking missile anyway. But fundagelicalism had refined that ichor down to a sludgy paste by adding new boundaries to make him rage in narcissistic injury at this club.

Feminism up-ends evangelicals’ rules about relationships.

Lesbians up-end evangelicals’ rules about sexuality itself.

Combine the two with evangelicals’ hatred of paganism, which they consider serious competition for their own product, and you get a perfect storm of everything Biff despised with every fiber of his being.

Of course, Biff generally pretended to be totally just worried for their souls. They were lying to themselves and letting Satan himself deceive them! OH NOES!

This club’s members needed a TRUE CHRISTIAN™ man like himself to fix them!

How lucky these gals were that a big strong godly man like him was around to help them figure this stuff out!

(Mr. Captain: *laughs in Feminist*)

Unraveling His Enemy. Or Not.

The Dianic Wiccans hung out in a particular student lounge on-campus. There, they discussed books, did homework, and generally enjoyed being together.

That made them an easy target for Biff. He didn’t actually belong to any groups that legitimately belonged in that lounge, but he was my boyfriend and I did. He was also the friend of a bunch of other fundagelical guys who did. So the Powers That Were granted him provisional sorta-kinda accepted status as long as he didn’t get out of hand or annoy anybody.

So the fight was on.

In Biff’s usual fashion, he first tried to love-bomb these women. He’d sidle up to their groups’ informal hangout sessions and try to engage them in discussion. They’d politely answer his JAQing-off fake question, then return to their conversations.

It was hilarious to see this process in action. I was not the only person who noticed how easily and masterfully they dismantled him. They refused to cede their territory to him, and he couldn’t make his overtures more pushy without having his invitation to hang out there revoked.

(Segue: Biff, the Magic Christian.)

I’m not kidding, by the way. Biff thought he was some kind of Witch Whisperer.

Way back when I was in high school and we were dating, before I reconverted to Pentecostalism with him, Biff earmarked our onetime pagan friends as his rightful prey. Chief among these friends-turned-sales-targets was Shalimar.

I’ve mentioned Shalimar before. She was the self-styled high priestess of a small eclectic Wiccan coven operating on the very fringes of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA).

Biff was extremely worried, he said, that Shalimar would try to get me involved in some kind of orgy. (I was 17 years old, by the way, and in the 1980s, orgies were as unacceptable for kids that age as they are today.) Barring that, he was positive that she would accidentally get me possessed by demons. So she needed to get saved!

At various times, he poured tons of smarmy charm on Shalimar. He’d cold-read her, guess at her most secret vulnerabilities, and relay to her what he was totally sure were words from the Lord.

(Words from the Lord, by the way, are supposedly divine messages. See, Jesus has never been able to figure out how to directly dial the people he wants to chat with.)

(How Biff Found A NEW Happy Pretendy Fun Time Game for Shalimar!)

The hilarious part was that Shalimar was just as much of a drama-llama and attention-seeker as Biff was.

Consequently, she often played along with him at these games. As I’d learned already about her from the beach house (she was the gal with the knife at the end) and the soul name incident, she was a total sucker for big histrionic displays.

I have a vivid memory of a nighttime scene in front of Shalimar’s home. There, Biff hugged Shalimar close and loudly whispered to her all these ridiculous cold-reading attempts, and she went right along with it. The rest of us stood around awkwardly and made small talk.

Later, he told me that he’d shown up because “Jesus” had totally told him I was in great danger. I wasn’t, of course. We were just hanging out. I didn’t like Shalimar much, but I did like a lot of other people there and I’d been having fun with them and just avoiding her.

Biff drove me home to my parents’ house afterward while bouncing around Cloud Nine. He’d rescued “his lady” from the forces of evil! He’d totally Jesus-ed at Shalimar and she’d gobbled it all down! She’d even allowed him to pray over her!

Yes, he was 100% positive that this encounter with Shalimar had gone so ridiculously well that she would be converting soon!

(Narrator: “…She did not ever convert.”)

When the days passed without Shalimar getting dunked in the church baptistry, Biff just forgot all about her–and about his failure to convert her. His amnesia didn’t surprise me, though. I already knew my churchmates tended to leap from floe to floe when it came to their predictions and “prophecies,” and Biff was a Pentecostal to his toes from the start.

So when he discovered the Dianic Wiccans on-campus, he was positive he’d convert them. He’d succeeded with Shalimar, hadn’t he?

Hadn’t he?


(Narrator: “Nope!”)

The Problem With Pagans.

Biff was incapable of learning from his mistakes, but I learned an important lesson through watching his imminent catastrophic failure:

Pagans were immune to soulwinning practices.

Even back then, as a reconverted, true-blue Pentecostal lass, I could see that Biff had absolutely nothing to offer these women.

They didn’t believe that the Bible was any kind of authority source, nor that it was even a source of morality. They didn’t care what Jesus said about anything. Biff’s threats of Hell only amused them. His attempts to paint Christianity in glowing terms saddened and horrified them. They flat rejected his concern-trolling. As for his Ray Comfort-style apologetics, the less said the better: enough of them pursued STEM degrees that even Biff figured out that angle was getting him nowhere.

These women were like firm but fluffy clouds that absorbed his boundary-seeking missile and smothered it to silence, then let it fall away into the ocean far below.

And the further along his crusade to save their souls got, the angrier and more frustrated he got.

Obviously These Were Iron Wiccans.

I wish I could tell you all about the huge crescendo between them, when tensions finally got to a breaking point and everything snapped. However, I wasn’t there for whatever happened and never heard about it from anybody else. Whatever happened, it happened with few witnesses. Chances are it wasn’t so much of a blowup as it was a kindly reprimand from the professor in charge of the college that “owned” the lounge.

As was usual with Biff, when he got handed a big defeat he tended to slink away and pretend nothing had happened at all. (The exact same thing happened when he tried to perform a magic healing for a pastor of ours who soon afterward died of cancer.) He’d just decided not to pursue this matter further, that’s all.

This time, he simply ducked out of that lounge and just avoided it for a week or so. He was busy, he said. Lots of art classes to attend, lots of projects to do. Yep.

Soooo busy.

The Most. Cringeworthy. Display. Ever. Ever!

But Biff did give me a sign that he’d had to abandon his crusade for the Dianic Wiccans’ souls. In fact, he performed this same cringeworthy ritual every time he finally decided to give up a campaign: He made this big huge production of shaking the dirt from his feet on an imaginary welcome mat. You know, like Matthew 10:14 commands:

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.

I’m serious. He did that. And he thought it was an awesome thing to do. He’d shown them! Those meaniepies!

After performing this galactically-awkward ritual, Biff never interacted with the Dianic Wiccans again. As far as he cared, they didn’t even exist anymore. He began to focus instead on atheists, which turned out even more disastrously (for him).

A Postscript of Poetry.

As for the Dianic Wiccans themselves, well, they continued to follow their bliss and live their best lives. At one point I bought a chapbook of poetry by one of them, and it was quite good. All the way to graduation, the chapbook’s author (one of the main women in the lounge group) showed Biff nothing but a sort of indulgent, amused kindness, which you can imagine drove him up the wall.

Wherever they are, may those women be happy.

Not everybody fared so well after a scrape with my Evil Ex.

Who knows? Maybe their goddess(es) just did a better job of protecting their followers than his god did for him.

NEXT UP: A Christmas Day Extra! It was so tragic! As a child, I totally got persecuted for my faith, but I did not back down. No way, I was not ashamed. I did not deny my faith–in Santa.

Join me for a Jingle Bells Extravaganza Waltz TOMORROW down memory lane!

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ROLL TO DISBELIEVE "Captain Cassidy" is Cassidy McGillicuddy, a Gen Xer and ex-Pentecostal. (The title is metaphorical.) She writes about the intersection of psychology, belief, popular culture, science,...