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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 60 - 10/1/2001
What About Those Pagan Leaders Again?
As we mentioned in our homepage introduction, the question of who our 'Pagan Leaders' might be has again been raised. And perhaps that is a good thing as the world situation has changed and perhaps the views of Pagans on the topic have changed as well. We would request that those who continue to support the decades old view that Pagans do not need national leaders also then address the question of what should we do to comfort/represent our own at a national level in times of crisis seeing as most folks in the Pagan community are still solitaries.
We request that those who take the position that national leaders are (or may) be needed to represent the Pagan communities in times such as this also address the question of how these 'leaders' would be supported financially in order that they might afford to work full-time for the communities and/or take emergency/diplomatic trips to seats of political power to represent you.
And finally, just where would the national election for 'Pagan Leaders' be held? Without such an election, any national 'Pagan Leader' would by necessity have to be an 'appointed' one, wouldn't he/she? (Just who does the appointing has always been interesting.) This question is one of a 'national' Pagan leadership and the benefits and/or drawbacks of such. Local and community Pagan leaders/advocates/facilitators are already in place and generally do a wonderful job where they are.
| Reponses: There are 289 responses posted to this question.
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| Merry Met. This Question Is A Tough One, With Tough Answers. To... ||Sep 28th. at 8:24:17 pm UTC|
|Aezrael Auraelus (Bartlesville/Tulsa, Oklahoma US) ||Age: 32 - Email |
Merry met. This question is a tough one, with tough answers. To 'elect' a single National leader would be next to impossible. I suggest that Pagans consider the idea of a National Council. This would be a group of diverse Pagan leaders, preferably made up of local Pagan leaders. However this is a tough job too. Some states have no such leaders, and most don't have an established set of leaders. This is my suggestion. Let each state establish a State Council, from these councils, members of the National Council would be elected. Membership dues to these Councils would be used to pay for any expenses incurred by these leaders. Membership cards could be issued, just like a voter's registration, and these cards would allow each member a chance to vote. I like the idea of a secure server, which would allow members in smaller towns to vote. Keep in mind, this solution is just off the top of my head. If given some serious thought, this could work.
| I Was Really Shocked By The Tone Of The Email That Sparked... ||Sep 28th. at 10:22:42 pm UTC|
|Dianne Maythorne (Anchorage, Alaska US) ||Age: 30 - Email |
I was really shocked by the tone of the email that sparked this question. I don't think someone should be held up as a "National Pagan Leader" simply because he or she has written a handful of successful books or because he or she hosts a popular Pagan site (thanks to Fritz and Wren for the wonderful job!)--National Pagan Leadership is not what these folks signed up for when they chose to share themselves as authors or webcrafters.
Pagan Leadership is really a "damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don't" kind of situation--Paganism is so broadly defined and so decentralized that anyone who chooses to put him/herself forward as a leader is often immediately chastized by someone who feels poorly represented. On the other hand, you have folks like the author of the originating email who criticize because "no one is out there leading." It has been my experience that the folks who grump about the lack of leadership are often the first ones to throw stones when a leader does something with which they don't agree.
My opinion is this: be greatful that these wonderful, creative Pagans have chosen to share themselves and their knowledge in their chosen form of media, but do not push them into roles that they did not choose. Many Pagans have come to this path because they do not want leaders dictating to them.
Bright blessings--Lunaphoenix (Anchorage, Alaska)
| I Do Not Think Word National Leader Should Apply To One Knowledgeable... ||Sep 28th. at 11:19:05 pm UTC|
|althea turtledreamer (tishomingo, Mississippi US) ||Age: 45 - Email |
i do not think word national leader should apply to one knowledgeable in paganism or wicca, i believe the word should be spokesperson. we solitaries do not need/have need of/nor want a National Leader, this sounds a little too off center in the pagan lifestyle. Why not find a very knowlegeable, personable and fair pagan/wiccan to represent our majority and voice our willingingness to help and give any support we can. Let us all submit a suggestion or have a say in some type forum.
| Greetings All, Yes Perhaps It Would Be Nice To See A Pagan... ||Sep 29th. at 2:15:31 am UTC|
|Terri (Hudson, North Carolina US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
Yes perhaps it would be nice to see a pagan leadership that supports us all as a voice that is part of congress, or part of some important washington based organization, or branch of Goverment. On the other hand through the years when our beliefs have been put to the test. Amazingly enough we always seem to come together to defend our Ideas, and customs. For centuries in the past and to come. People will always be myistified by us, confused by our Ideas, and generally be mislead by popular culture. What remains steady and unshaken is our quiet influence and power over the way things happen. If we didn't have this, then Hello! we wouldn't still be here going strong and worshipping freely. Our intrest are best served by solving our problems in front of our altars. This doesn't mean don't give, don't be active by lending your support in times of trouble. It means do all of that, and more if you can, but don't forget where your real power is. Don't forget the very magick that makes us who we are. Because in the end, it not the pagan Goverment officials, or all the positive things we have done in the community. Its the gift of magick from our Lord and Lady that will keep us free. In times of trouble, yes look at the tragedy, morn, help, but more than anything lets use our gifts and insights to guide the eyes of the public to the lesson to be learned in all of this. Those who have passed are safe and happy, looking down apon us hoping that we get it, so that they will not have died in vain. The lesson is love, instead of war, attack the ignorance the lies, the misunderstanding, that drive these people to dance in the street after something like this happened. If we correct the lies and teach the truth. Then the hatred will die with the knowledge gained from the truth.
| The Questions Asked - How Do We 'elect Or Appoint' Our Spokepersons Are... ||Sep 29th. at 3:18:02 am UTC|
|LadyBlueWolf (Alameda, California US) ||Age: 53 |
The questions asked - how do we 'elect or appoint' our spokepersons are relevant. That being said folks, we need to do something now. We are now and will continue to be the scapegoats for fundementists who are trying to scare people into their religion or their church.
There is a real need, especially now, to ensure that Wicca and Pagans are afforded their right to freedom of worship. There is also a real need, especially now, to ensure that our personal civil rights are not limited or destroyed because of the way we worship.
I believe that our leaders, temporarily, should be the ones who have spoken out before, in print and in person. Our relationship with Universal/Unitarian Church should be strength and that the Church, along with the Church of All Worlds and other Wicca/Pagans organizations, should act as spokespersons until our community can agree on a permanent solution. Solitaries can be connected to those churches/organizations for social or for both social/worship reasons
The permanent solution should involve leaders on the local levels meeting nationally and internationally to develop and release a statement or treatise on our beliefs and values. They can also develop a way to deal with the mundane aspects of having to have an "official" structure. Wicca/Pagans can support the efforts through locals levels by voluntary contributions. Our spokespersons (they are not really leaders because of the solitary worship of most of our community)probably will have to maintain some kind of "day job" for several years until we can find the balance and structure of solitary and community worship. Not a complete thought, but it is a beginning.
| My Feeling Is Not So Much That We Need A "leader", But... ||Sep 29th. at 11:17:55 am UTC|
|Dragons Tear (Albuquerque, New Mexico US) ||Age: 40 |
My feeling is not so much that we need a "Leader", but that maybe it would be nice to see "one of my own" so to say in the midst of all this. I wish that I could just drop all I have and go and help, yet my children need me as well. So I have done the next best thing I could and donated whatever I can, as in money and such. I respect and enjoy your site so much, I would be overjoyed if any of the people on that particular list (e-mail sent to site) would represent me there.
| Why Do We Not Have A "national Spokesperson"? One Reason Is That... ||Sep 29th. at 12:32:55 pm UTC|
|Ann White (Laurel, Maryland US) ||Age: 36 - Email |
Why do we not have a "national spokesperson"? One reason is that we tend to eat our own. We criticize Lori Cabot for wearing too much makeup, Starhawk for her politics, Silver Ravenwolf for selling a "teen witch kit", etc. Although most of us hate to admit it, we need some kind of paid clergy, or at least a part-time spokesperson. Personally, I was surprised that Phyllis Curott, a very articulate and professional woman who happens to be a Witch and an NYC resident, stepping forward in the aftermath of the NYC/Pentagon disasters. She probably had her own reasons for not doing so, and I respect that. However, fame comes with responsibility. I would like to see the "big-name Witches" doing more than writing books and protesting the IMF and World Bank.
Pagans naturally resist any type of leadership from "above". We also have this dynamic where the people who will be taken seriously by the press are, for the most part, the ones who are at least partially in the broom closet. Perhaps the time has come for some kind of Pagan Political Action Committee, or at least some kind of national presence that can speak for our issues on a professional level with the media. We're not going to be taken seriously as a religious group in this country if we don't have a national presence. Perhaps a non-profit group similar to the (ugh!) Christian Coalition, Jewish Anti-Defamation League, Greenpeace, etc. Contributions would be on a voluntary basis, and go to support a Pagan voice in the media and in Congress.
| This Is A Subject I Have Pondered Ever Sense I Tryed To... ||Sep 29th. at 2:29:40 pm UTC|
|The Seperoth (Lake Charles, Louisiana US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
This is a subject i have pondered ever sense I tryed to start a grove in my area. To unite the different pagan groups in our area, a tough job but someone has to do it. Understand, if this happens, our religen as we know it will change. Not so much as how we worship, but the freedom or percecution we will recieve for comming out. I think we should try to unite our local groups and form councils to repersent people from different areas. Then we can start looking at the bigger picture, moving into government for a voice. One final thing, we all have to stop fighting among ourselves. too much energy is used to put other covens, groups and orginazations down. The local pagan chat board, that is all they do. It saddens my heart to read it. We have to respect ourselves, other sects of paganism, and even the christians, catholics, jews, and muselms. Untill we can respect each other, we can't come together.
| To Have A National Leader Per Se, I Feel Would Put The... ||Sep 29th. at 2:43:22 pm UTC|
|Thomas Fisher Sr. (Erlanger, Kentucky US) ||Age: 36 - Email |
To have a national leader per se, I feel would put the Pagan/Wiccan religeon in the same class as those being led by those such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and others. I feel that a council of the most highly respected persons of the Craft would be best suited to represent our people. There are different groups within the Craft, such as Seax-Wiccan, the Gardnerians, Druidism, etc. Each sect could appoint a spokesperson to speak in behalf of our faith. It is time that the people of our country realize that we are not the evil, God-forsaking, bloodthirsty animals that so-called other religeons lead their people to believe that we are. We have already changed two of our friends to the Pagan belief after teaching them just that. One was so uptight and nervous when we first spoke about it, now he starts asking questions about it when we meet.
Back to the topic at hand, I think a national coven would be best to represent all of us.
| ... ||Sep 29th. at 3:28:46 pm UTC|
|Mary (New York, New York US) ||Age: 40 |
| I Have Myself Wondered Where Any Pagan Speaking About What Happened Might... ||Sep 29th. at 3:43:36 pm UTC|
|Mary (New York, New York US) ||Age: 40 |
I have myself wondered where any Pagan speaking about what happened might be. I have read all the books by all the authors, study always, keep great practice of my religion and beliefs. I looked at Witchvox, on the web and through out NYC for answers. There was no one. There weren't even any emergency open rituals or people helping the 6000 dead cross over. Where are the mediums to do that job? I have worked on this myself but the task of 6000 or more souls...well I am frankly not that strong. The feeling of death permeiated the air in this city, still does as a huge funeral pyre still burns only blocks from my house. Were is the support? Not only for me but for my city and nevermid if the people died in there were Pagan or not. What was that nonsense I just read about 25 dead Pagans? Who cares what their faith was. Isn't it all Gods are one God and all Goddesses one Goddess? Where are the open minded of my faith wailing to Allah for help? I do it. Does anyone join me? Where are the posts or the e mails from Starhawk who wrote a book I keep close these das called "The Pagan Book of Living and Dying". Where is she? Where is Ravenwolf who has been one of my best teachers? Where are they? Let's not forget Z. Budapest who I am sure has loads to say about the male fource of the universe going astray. OK...where for that matter are the Dianic witches reaching us and teaching us how to balance male agression (which the abhore) with feminine power? I think I know how...how about some words from them. I have always been told that in times of great strife one's faith gets you through. How is it that mine is invisable? I wonder. Were there Pagans at Yankee Stadium praying to the Goddess (Our mother/father who art in heaven works real nice) on Mabon last week? I did it. Anyone else or were we too busy living in La la fairy land. Where were you all? Speak up. Write, talk. Where are you? I need guidance, teaching and leadership. Or....just maybe....it is my call to action...which honestly I will take up with open arms. Maybe many others feel the same as I do and worry about prejudice (ask any Mouslem about that especially in NYC)or maybe we are just afraid that our own community will attack us and call us fakes and liars and money hungry idiots. Time to band together my sisters and brothers. We can as (it is rumored) save our world, our cities, our children and our land as the witches in England did during WW II. Time to come out and dust off the Goddess and show her to the world. Time to show our Witches Rede in action...an it harm none in action. Time to teach the karmic lesson the WTC represents to America. Time to stop it. Time to get involved in helping the women in those countries in the Middle East. Time to wake up and realize that any nation that kills women and disrespects and seperates them from their boy children will raise deadly killers raised only in the male principal. Time to elect more female leaders. Time to revere the goddess, revitalize her and show her to the rest of the world. Are we really goijng to have Yahweh against Allah? Oh please...two male gods duking it out for the rest of us....come on PAGANS>>>>>rise up. Invoke the goddess....invoke the Gods who respect life and peace. Invoke the Morrigan for protection and Hecate for the lost souls killed (do you know children and women died there too....are you aware of that....3 11 year olds and more on the other planes) and help them find the Summerlands. I am working it...are you? Are we?
Please wake up, rise up and put into practice your beliefs. Time, time is now. The Goddess has enjoyed a resurgance in the past 50- 60 years. There is a reason for that. We must we must we must....we must. MOVE>
| Honestly I Believe That The Whole Idea Of Pagan Leaders Is Outright... ||Sep 29th. at 5:18:37 pm UTC|
|Ravyn WyntrWolfe (Los Alamos, New Mexico US) ||Age: 19 - Email |
Honestly I believe that the whole idea of Pagan leaders is outright silly. Mind you, it's nice to have those who are authors or otherwise known to the public, speak up. All of us have such diverse beliefs that to represent them all fairly just doesn't seem a likely reality. But to be fair, we all need to speak up when we know we need to. We need to say something when people are attacking our community and not just stand by and allow it to continue (though we all know it goes in one ear and out the other). To just hang back and push a few people up to the front to speak for all of us doesn't seem right.
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