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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 11 - 10/16/2000
Hollywood Hype through movies such as "The Craft" and now the "Blair Witch" movies, and television shows such as "Charmed", "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer". "Freakylinks" and "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch," have all contributed to the rise of public interest in the Pagan paths and especially Witchcraft. If someone came to YOU after seeing "The Craft", "Charmed" or "Blair Witch," etc., what do YOU want them to know about real Witchcraft and Paganism? What would YOU-or do YOU- tell these folks?
| Reponses: There are 74 responses posted to this question.
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| I Would Like To First Talk About The Tv Show Of Which... ||Oct 16th. at 1:41:59 pm EDT|
|Maya H. (Laramie, Wyoming US) ||Age: 19 |
I would like to first talk about the tv show of which I know the most about: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I obsess over that show. I admit it. That doesn't mean that I don't have a few problems with how it portrays witchcraft. I am not bothered at all by the flashy stuff. It's a fantasy show. It's not SUPPOSED to portray reality. The only problems I have a very minor.
First: they keep referring to it as "the black arts". This has a naughty connotation to it, even though Willow, Tara, and Amy (before she got turned into a rat) are all helpful people on the side of good.
Second: Amy's mom was a witch. She was really evil and kinda stupid (she was obsessed with being head cheerleader, for Gods' sake). This was the third episode (I think) of the series, so at the time it had more of an impact on me. The first witch they showed on the show was bad! I have much less of a problem with this now that the show has developed more and witchcraft isn't shown as bad.
Third: Willow and Tara's college Wicca group. They were a bunch of flakes. I understand that this was somewhat necessary to promote the plot of that episode, but I really wish they hadn't used that tired old stereotype. It was still a good episode, though. The creepiest thing on TV ever (and I don't get creeped out easy). If you ever get a chance to see "Hush" see it! Even if you don't like that show.
And as for all the other shows and movies, I just don't really care, because I don't watch them. Some do a bad job of portraying what we do (The Craft, Sabrina). Some are just have bad plots and aren't that well written (Charmed). And as for Blair Witch (the first one, I dunno about the second one) I thought that was more about people's psychological reactions when put in an extremely stressful and creepy situation more than it was about witchcraft. Sure, it started out with that little legend, but there are actually real legends similar to that all over the east coast (I've heard tons of them growing up). They started out back in the day, so of course they're going to have the Puritan slant on them.
| The First Movie I Ever Saw About Wicca That Halfway Correctly Described... ||Oct 16th. at 2:08:57 pm EDT|
|Silver MayKitten (Springfield, Missouri US) ||Age: 55 - Email |
The FIRST movie I ever saw about Wicca that halfway correctly described Wiccan practices and feasts was The Wicca Man, made about 1975. It rather put me in a bad mood that they would depict human sacrifice as part of the Pagan belief system. I will admit that my first exposure was in a trashy pulp mystery digest durring the 1957-58 school year; my teacher had a huge pile of of these mystery and science fiction digest size magazines in the back of the room in order to encourage her students to read. I forget what magazine it was in; but the first story I read that used the term Wicca was "A man dies at Lammas" from the "Silver Storm, Psychic Detective" series written by Dianna Winter. The detective in the story was a fantastic character and I didn't realy understand that many of the more interesting points in the plotline were real parts of Wiccan belief and practices. Alas she only wrote four stories, with a fifth in progress, before her death.
The police said she was killed by an intruder durring a burglery, I later found out, by tracking down her parents, that she hda been brutally beaten to death, and her parents thought that her Wiccan belief was the real reason for her murder, her parents even had the name of a suspect, but the New York City Police would not listen to them.
At the time I read her books the dictionary definition of Wicca was "A mystic psuedoreligion based on organized superstition somewaht related to Celtic Druidism." And the encyclopedia said little else. I got my introduction to what witch craft was really about from "Diary Of A Witch" by Sybil Leek and "Bringing Down The Moon."
| I Tell The People That Ask Me If I Can 'turn People... ||Oct 16th. at 6:43:10 pm EDT|
|Ebony DragonFire A.K.A. Alexis Gale (Dartmouth, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 14 - Email |
I tell the people that ask me if I can 'turn people into frogs' that that is just movie magic, like "The Craft", "Buffy", "Charmed", ect. They think that I am lieing but I know I'm right so, that's all that matters, I guess... (heh)
| Why Do We Expect To Be Treated Any Differently Than Any Other... ||Oct 16th. at 7:09:42 pm EDT|
|Rev. Catherine M. Wagner (Minneapolis, Minnesota US) ||Age: 31 - Email |
Why do we expect to be treated any differently than any other stereotype?
I mean really. Come on. Whether it is a religious type or a lifestyle choice, Hollywood has a tendancy to exaggerate the "common knowledge" of your typical John/Jane Q. Public. Look at how Jewish homelife is treated - "Jewish American Princess" is a Hollywoodism as is the stereotype of the Jewish (or even Catholic) mother. Look at the stereotypical African-American Muslim man...most of the ones I have met face-to-face are gentle, intelligent and friendly men - nothing like the intimidating ogres of some of the different shows. The stereotype of the Catholic priest - ignorant bumbler or rampant criminal. The stereotype of the "swishy" gay waiter or the militantly feminist lesbian. I could go on.
However, on the positive side...even while catering to the prejudices and biases of John/Jane Public, they sometimes come across with a kick to the chops that brings across the opposite awareness.
A few examples:
The Craft - the ETHICAL one retains her powers, the worst one of the lot goes crazy.
Sabrina - as fluffy as this is, every time she uses her magic to "shortcut" reality without learning the lesson, she gets into BIG trouble.
Buffy - Willow may talk about the "black arts" but heck, so do many goth Wiccans. Doesn't make it right, but the proof is in the pudding - she only uses it positively. The grouping of so-called Wiccans that Willow and Tara meet through is just stereotypical enough to actually make some sense...it's those people who aren't in it because of the spirituality, but for the "coffee klatch". Every religion has that grouping of people that wants the social aspect alone, but talks the religious aspect.
Charmed - Yes, it has the fireworks and can be fluffy at times, but the people are more real, the issues difficult, the ethical decisions occaisionally as amorphous as those of reality.
Do I really need to continue?
| I Feel That These Movies And Shows Etc, Put Across A Very... ||Oct 16th. at 7:44:14 pm EDT|
|Draco (Aylesbury, UK) ||Age: 26 - Email |
I feel that these movies and shows etc, put across a very fluffy view of the craft or of the various different forms of Paganism. If someone were to come to me saying that they had seen these things and were interested, firstly I would speak to them to gauge whether or not they are interested in traditional craft or the newer more "fluffy" stuff, and then I would give them some references to read and research from there. I may put them in contact with other people depending on which path they were wishing to follow, but the response is very likely to be the same from those quarters too.
If they were then to come back to me again, then another conversation would ensue about where they were with their learning, and if they had made any choice of path etc. In almost all cases, I would refer the person on to someone else with particular expertise in teaching one path or another. My interaction is just about enabling that person to decide what path they wished to follow.
The first movie I ever saw about paganism or any other form of craft magic was "The Wicker Man", a very seventies kitsch view of paganism on a remote Scottish island. It's very good and accurate in places although it has nothing to do with Wicca (as is often assumed by it's title!). I wholly recommend it to anyone that can get hold of it.
| Dear Witchvox Patrons, Well, It`s That Season Again: Hallowe`en Is... ||Oct 16th. at 8:36:59 pm EDT|
|Darkmoon (Around the Fox Cities, Wisconsin US) ||Age: 13 - Email |
Dear Witchvox patrons,
Well, it`s that season again: Hallowe`en is here, and in full swing this year, as I see from the numerous decorations and advertisments for Hallowe`en related stores. I both love and hate this month. I love it becuase of the beautiful leaves, and, yes, I do like the 'traditional' Hallowe`en, the one with candy and little kids running around dressed as ghosts, pirates, etc. And (not so happily) the yearly 'Witch Craze' is in full swing, even more so this year, what with scary movie writers popping out films about 'witches' (laugh) and not really seeming to know or care about the consequences. I am getting heartily sick of it all. I mean, come on, do you really need to make these shows and movies? If anybody tried to do a Christian movie involving weird rites, they`d be sued for about a million dollars AND have their picture on the cover of People magazine with the caption, "Really Big Jerk Insults Good Christian' or something like that. Well, I say it`s time to STOP. STOP the dumb little movies that confuse Neo-Paganism with Satanism almost deliberatley. STOP making stupid television shows about people who wink and say a rhyme and get whatever they want. STOP demented web sites that give out 'spells' JUST STOP! I am very open about my religion, so could these people PLEASE STOP making it extremely hard for me to not immediatley run into the 'Broom Closet' every time I hear another lie or horrible (and unfunny) joke? And all you little whiners who say it`s 'harmless': from my experience, lying is NEVER harmless. Ever. And niether is biggotry.
Best regards to all Witchvox patrons,
| I Have Such A Knee-jerk, Cringing Reaction To Questions Brought To Me... ||Oct 16th. at 8:54:56 pm EDT|
|Lynne-Renee (St. Louis area, Missouri US) ||Age: 28 - Email |
I have such a knee-jerk, cringing reaction to questions brought to me about Wicca/witchcraft that I would prefer to not have our religion publicized. In the mid-eighties and later, people were so rabid about tearing us down. A true destruction was called for and attempted--I do live in East Central Missouri.
Nowadays, I'm occassionally delighted by someone's response AFTER asking me if I'm Wiccan. I inwardly groan, try (failingly) not to roll my eyes and say, "My personal religion is nature-based and I see Divinity as the Lady and the Lord. If that's your understanding of Wicca, then that's me." I'm just no fun, am I? The great part is I drone it out like a 5th grader whose recess was taken away and has to write: "I'm not supposed to talk to my neighbor." At any rate, now and then someone says, "Oh, my son's girlfriend is Wiccan. I think it's great!"
More often than not, unfortunately, I get the "Ooo, you're not going to get mad and cast a spell on me are you?" Or the spooky-eyed, "...if I could do anything I wanted..." It's just a drag.
I may have just talked myself in a circle here; at least the people haven't been trying to beat the tar out of me lately. I still get lots of nasty, "...tree worshiper..." crap at work from very frightened fundamentalists. But that is better than "devil worshiper." Hmmm, maybe the b.s. makes the whole thing less scary for others. I just regret it makes my profound, religious feelings seem like those of a nutcase.
| Cringe Cringe Cringe..... And If They Truly Want To Know...i Always... ||Oct 16th. at 9:39:28 pm EDT|
|nin_nah (fort smith, Arkansas US) ||Age: 25 |
cringe cringe cringe.....
And if they truly want to know...I always suggest meditation....This word usually stops the ones who just want to know because they think it is cool in their tracks....
| There Have Been People That Know That I Am Wiccan Because I... ||Oct 16th. at 10:14:06 pm EDT|
|Willow (Elko, Nevada US) ||Age: 17 - Email |
There have been people that know that I am wiccan because I do not think that there is any shame in it. But I am fortunate for living in a community with an open mind or a shut mouth. I like them to know thatthe craft is not associated with murder or violence in any way.I tell them that it is balance and harmony with that which is around us. Some do not understand but I think that I make a small difference at least by trying . The key to understanding is unlocking the mind and distroying ignorance. The only way to do that is to share knowledge.
| I Love The Way Silver Ravenwolf Discribed To Deal With These Situations... ||Oct 16th. at 10:27:49 pm EDT|
|Night Tiger (Liverpool, New York US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I love the way Silver RavenWolf discribed to deal with these situations in her books. Her first step was to ask what their definition of a witch, or pagan WAS and then you know how much (or little) they know. One of my first comments is always "It not fairy tale stuff, and it's nothing like the movies." I also say it's a lot like Native American, Greek/Roman, Celtic mythology, because people all know what some of the baises of those major religions are. I do like to point out we don't believe in the devil, and tend to mention it's a earth baised religion. My answer changes with how much they know, and if I have enough time, I give them some stuff to chew on. People always seem to come back with more questions, which I promptly try to answer. If I don't have the answer, i try to find it for them! After all I'm not going to lie about it! So that's my basic format for those questions.
| I Love Movies. Watching Them Is A Great Way To Open The... ||Oct 16th. at 11:30:43 pm EDT|
|Mino (Naples, Florida US) ||Age: 42 - Email |
I love movies. Watching them is a great way to open the imagination. One must keep the right perspective when choosing this form of entertainment. It is very easy to take a hollywood myth and bring it into ones own reality! Movies like the Blair Witch can scare a viewer, and others such as The Craft can create a hype of personal delusion. Godzilla really does exist.....in the land of fantasy and myth. How real your fantasy becomes depends on how you let your emotions become affected while your mind is being entertained.
Instantaneous change does not occur. Witchcraft is very real, but it is not learned over-night. In fact, it is not really learned at all! It is a way of living. It is a conscious attempt to use more than the standard 10% of ones brain. Movies average less than two hours. If they open the mind of the viewer, and evoke emotional responses then hollywood has done its job.
I applaud the entertainment industry of today. I do not accept it as my teacher. If a movie has opened your mind and sparked your interest in Witchcraft, then study what witches really do outside of the silver screen. Witches have their own silver screen that gives inspiration to experience for learning: it's called the Full Moon Sky. Coming soon to a theatre near you!
| The Public, In General, Needs To Know That The Stuff In The... ||Oct 17th. at 12:57:30 am EDT|
|Vivica Windswept (Keaau, Hawaii US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
The public, in general, needs to know that the stuff in the media about witches is, in fact, false. That media serves its purpose as entertainment, but realy inhibits the public view of paganism. So, to answer the question posted, what should someone do if a individual walks up and says, "I herd you were a witch and I love that show Charmed, so, like, can you teach me the craft?" I think, personally, that you should set the record staight about wicca immediatly and let them read a copy of "The Little Witch" here at witchvox. The more this happens, the better, because it tells the true meaning of witchcraft to people who buy into that hype from the media.
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