A Wiccan, Elisabeth Miles (elisabeth.miles21) writes:
Dr. Bill Vicars,
I have taught myself for a long time from your website,
so first let me say thank you. It has helped me at work,
where we have a large Deaf community and I have recently
found your YouTube videos and I learn faster from them
and I love them!
My question is, I saw that you have signs for Jewish and
Jehovah's Witness. I am a Wiccan and I did not know what
sign to use for that. I have a relatively large
Wiccan/Pagan population where I am at as well and I was
wondering what you might use to sign those religions.
Thank you very much!
I haven't come across a widely used sign for "Wicca" or "Wiccan"
. Most people will tell you to "spell" it.
(Which is a "pun" if you think about it. Heh.)
However, there is
a sign for "witch." (See:
The sign for "witch" varies widely from region to region but
there are a couple of common characteristics to the sign:
1. It is done on or starting from the nose.
2. It involves an "X" hand or a modified X hand.
3. It originally represented either a large nose and/or a wart
on the nose.
Ways it appears in the "literature" (by "literature" I'm
referring to either "video dictionaries" or printed dictionaries
1. An "X" hand, palm facing forward, starting from the nose,
makes a small forward arch (as if showing an elongated/hooked
2. An "index" hand, palm forward, fingertip aimed upward,
starts a few inches in front of the nose, moves backward while
changing into an "X" hand, ends near or touching the nose.
3. An "X" hand moves off of the nose, downward, and makes
contact with a the other hand which is also in an "X" handshape
(palm-side to palm-side).
4. The side of the index finger in an "X"-hand shape, palm
facing left (if you are right handed) is placed on top of the
upper area of the nose, makes a small
upward-forward-then-downward arch and touches the nose again (as
if representing a bump or wart on the nose.
Of course, none of those signs are overly "pretty" nor
"respectful." (Sorry. I didn't invent them. I'm just describing
Which brings up the question: Within Wiccan culture and practice
are there certain hand gestures of which a caricature could
possibly be symbolized into a standard "sign" for Wiccan? For
example, the "live long and prosper" sign from Star Trek is
sometimes used as the ASL sign for "Vulcan" simply because it is
easily recognizable and "it works."
After doing some extensive research and asking around several
pagan/wiccan blogs, and online communities of Deaf Pagans, the only
conclusion I could find is that there is no "one" way to sign it.
Apparently it varies depending on the location of the signer's
origin. Originally, it was suggested to use "nature" "prayer" but
since nature is not a single word, but a variety, that wouldn't
really work. "Magic" "prayer" would be the next suggestion from the
majority of people though not all wiccans practice magick. Other
signs that we recognize are the triple moon (the triple crescent),
and the pentacle but I don't know how well you could really sign
"....Be aware tho… there is no established vocabulary of Pagan signs
– most Deaf people invent the signs that work for them. My sign for
“Witch” might not necessarily be the same sign that another Deaf
Pagan out in California might use. We are so spread out and isolated
from one another, that we have never really been able to get
together to discuss and develop a common vocabulary to express Pagan
concepts in ASL...."
- Ocean of the Deaf Pagan Crossroads website.
Sorry for the long response but this is of a great interest to me.
You can learn American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University ™
ASL resources by Lifeprint.com © Dr. William Vicars