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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 20,405,046  

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Question of the Week: 11 - 10/16/2000

Hollywood Hype

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. Reverse Sort 

What Is There To Tell Hollywood? I Yet To See Any Faith... Oct 17th. at 1:31:27 am EDT

Nadra Carmack (kent, Washington US) Age: 23 - Email

What is there to tell Hollywood? I yet to see ANY faith, religion, ect portrayed in an absolutly correct way. It's like "yeah, well they made a movie of it but I liked the book better". When I see any of these shows I ask, "Did they present the spirit of our ways?" for the most part, yes they did. In "The Craft" and "Charmed" you see friends and siblings united or divided by magick. You see inexperience and awkwardness becoming confidence and power. Are they casting the circle they way you or your coven does? Probably not. Do you feel comfortable in a half shirt showing of perfect abs while envoking the Goddess? I doubt it. Again, this is Hollywood. Which means you take our reality and crank it up ten notches. I don't think these shows are anymore helpfull or harmful than say "The Ten Commandments" was to the Jews. Remember, it's only a movie!

I Would Remind Them That Hollywood Has Always Sensationalized Everything, And That... Oct 17th. at 8:41:10 am EDT

Ron Kerns (Cleveland, New York US) Age: 46

I would remind them that Hollywood has always sensationalized everything, and that real Paganism and Wicca is very different from what is portrayed on the big (and little) screen. I would also tell them that Paganism is a very fullfilling spiritual path, but that it provides no instant fixes to life's problems. I would tell them that they would be disappointed if they were expecting to find the glitz and glamour of the type shown on Charmed and The Craft.

If they were sincere about seeking the path, I would gladly show them how to find their own answers.

Well, Lets Face It Hollywood Is Entertaining, But It Is Responcible For... Oct 17th. at 9:01:41 am EDT

Michael (Dublin, European Union, Ireland) Age: 22 - Email

Well, lets face it Hollywood is entertaining, but it is responcible for a lot of lies and misconceptions. Some obvious ones are like "The Patriot", "U571", and the "The Craft", sometimes this is all just good fun, but sometimes it can be a little insulting for those represented, (ie: The Canadians and British were no doubt very angry at very obvious fabrications in The Patriot, which were invented for entertainment value, and many others were angry at seeing U571 showing the Americans capture the Enigma machine because the British Royal Navy captured it before the US even entered the war).
Pagans have the same problem as all the others who have been unfairly represented in films, we are no special case as the above mentioned films show.

It is all excusable in the name of entertainment, and it is fine if it is just that, but far too many people accept what stories they see in the cinema as fact.

The beneficial side of these movies is that they spurr some people into action, those who want to know what really happened, and what the truth is.
So the final verdict on my behalf:

Films are a great medium for communication and entertainment, but they are surprisingly lacking when it comes to educating. In the same way that those with a mind of their own, or an inquisitive mind, will always see through the dramatisations and exaggerations and then be inclined to examine the truth and truely learn.

I Had First Written This In The "misconceptions" Section, But Then Saw... Oct 17th. at 9:10:10 am EDT

Lira (Lunenburg, Massachusetts US) Age: 30 - Email

I had first written this in the "misconceptions" section, but then saw this question and had to get my two cents in here as well. ;)

"I would like to actually say something positive in defense of
how Witches are portrayed in The Craft, Practical Magic and Charmed. Ok, they are fluffy, popularized movies/shows rife with inaccuracies - but they all have something in common that a lot of us seem to overlook; they are not about evil hags worshipping the devil. Their heroines range from misguided (california teens meddling with power beyond their abilities - hmmm, like you've never heard of THAT happening), to benignly meddlesome (older women working ethically questionable love spells), to actually positive and beneficial (hereditary witches fighting the forces of evil, albeit a Judeo Christian model of evil).

Cut them some slack - compared to the abundant negative press that can be found demonizing and condemning Pagans, these movies/shows are the best thing to happen to us in terms of publicity for quite a while. The women portrayed live fairly "normal" lives. They don't eat babies, and in both Practical Magic and The Craft, it is specifically stated that Witches don't worship Satan.

I would like more than anything, to see a show portraying us positively AND accurately, but until such a time as Producers and TV Acquisitions execs begin holding their products to those sort of standards, I am willing to settle for positively."

Yours in the Goddess,


I Have No Problem With The Regular Works Of Wiccan, The Readings... Oct 17th. at 9:52:48 am EDT

Joe Hancock (Maple Creek, Saskatchewan CA) Age: 41 - Email

I have no problem with the regular works of Wiccan, the readings and such being paid a fee for. A paid clergy, on the other hand, is frightening to me. I came out of a Pentecostal Church where the paid clergy elevated themselves to godlike status and milked the people for every darn cent they could. My feeling is that people should work an honest living out of our world, and let others also enjoy the fruits of their own work. These followers of what they call " The One True God " were so corrupt that I'm sure Christ would have once again made a whip and driven them out of their temples. Anyway, I would never like the idea of being in a religion with a paid clergy again for absolute power leads to absolute corruption...
Thanks and Merry Part...

I Have To Ask Anyone Out There If I Am The Only... Oct 17th. at 11:29:17 am EDT

blackthorne (Walnut Creek, California US) Age: 35 - Email

I have to ask anyone out there if I am the only one sick of seeing Paganism portrayed only in horror movies? I actually don't remember any film/tv show
that had any portrayal of the craft that was not in a horror/fantasy genre.
(The ONLY exception being one episode of "Picket Fences" and that was pretty
It's also odd that the only time you see a portrayal of any religion other that
the standard Judeo Christian belief it's either to portray a cult, a foolish
individual or to ad a air of mystery to a boring plot.
Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if at least one show had a pagan neighbor in a
comedy or a drama. But, that's not going to happen any time soon.
To all of you that would say I am being too sensitive, chew on this question
for a while. If witches are only seen in horror films..doesn't this help fuel
the idea that we should be feared?

Oh, The Headache These Badly Written Programs Can Cause! I, Unfortunatly Have... Oct 17th. at 1:21:37 pm EDT

Sabrina (Glendale, New York US) Age: 18 - Email

OH, the headache these badly written programs can cause!

I, unfortunatly have been subject to questions about "mind powers", curses, and various Satan-related materials. My first reaction is surprise, and then a bit of anger about how the magical community is misrepresented by Hollywood. (Why can 20/20 or 60 minutes air a documentury? Good question!! I'm sure THEY would get the facts straight, and it would be viewed nationally.) I slowly start to explain, but half crack jokes and then stop listening when notice a bright shinny object. And then I get (silently) angry because they won't listen, and they're still carrying around those horrible misconseptions. They are a lost cause.

For those people who truly want to know, I explain to them what _I_ practice and beleive. I ususally explain it in terms of communicating directly with the Deity, holding nature as sacred, and how I relate to Divinity in the form of the Goddess.

But always liked with that, are questions about magick and spells. The easiest way that I can explain it is like a concentrated form of prayer. And that curses are juvinile things, never work, and aren't worth my time or energy.

So Hollywood Has Not Portrayed A Segment Of Our Society In A... Oct 17th. at 3:15:29 pm EDT

Chris (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina US) Age: 34

So Hollywood has not portrayed a segment of our society in a completely accurate light - Big surprise! Talk to anyone with a glamourous job, a different background, or just an interesting life and you will inevitably hear the words, "Yes, but it's not like the movies." So it goes with the Pagan community. It is our responsiblity to attempt to correct and/or explain any misconceptions that we are presented with. Most of the tv and movie viewing public realize that you cannot change your neighbor into a rat (Sabrina), instantly change you physical appearance (The Craft) or float from the roof to the ground without breaking both of your legs (Practical Magic). This does not mean, though, that we should write these incidents off as fiction and not attempt to explain where they came from (shapeshifting, glamoury, astral travel). For the most part, these movies and shows are, at their best, recognition that we are out here, and, at their worst, opportunites that we may have not had before to educate a larger segment of society as to what we are really all about. I don't go about my daily life proclaiming that I am a witch, but I also try not to dodge an opportunity to try to explain my religion to somebody who is truly interested.

Now, having said all of this, I believe these shows and movies are guilty of perpetuating a serious misconception. The ones I have seen (The Craft, Practical Magic, Blair Witch Project, and a few episodes of Charmed, Sabrina, and Buffy) all feature female witches. More specificaly, the ones I have seen, feature caucasian female witches. We are an incredibly diverse community of all races and both genders. If our community is truly concerned about how we are portrayed in film and on tv, then we should pay close attention to this.

Lira Pointed Out Something That I Have Been Advocating For A Long... Oct 17th. at 3:21:34 pm EDT

Daven (Nashville, Tennessee US) Age: 32 - Email

Lira pointed out something that I have been advocating for a long time, that the "witch shows" that are coming out these days are a far cry better than those that have gone before. Much better than "The Cruicible" that came out not too long ago.

Okay, I despised the Craft. It was dumb and overly dramatic, but it did do some things for us. It showed us in a more positive light than had happened up to then. Then Charmed and Practical Magick comes out and suddenly we are hip. It's cool to be a witch. And where they describe our beliefs, they actually get them right!!! My gods, they are doing a good job (mostly)!

Yes, we do need to get a show out there that shows a kitchen witch or a high Episcopagan doing a rite or ceremony, but let's face facts here, the show would never even get the pilot aired.

How many people want to sit around and stare at a TV screen at a show about a normal person? None of us do the flashy magick, we can't do telekenesis or anything like that, all of the fireworks that go on in Circle are things that can't be filmed by a camera. The Christians could yell and scream about how Roman Catholosism is being denegrated by such movies as "The Exorcist" and "The Amnetyville Horror". Those movies show them in just as bad a light.

As to the question asked, how do I deal with it? Well, I explain that it's not "flash in the pan" magick and that mostly it only affects ourselves. I go over and over it until they either get bored and leave or until they understand it. I have all the time in the world to counter misconceptions.

You know, looking back over what I wrote, perhaps if we sold it as one of those "real life" shows that are popular now. Let's see, one Dianic, one Gardnerinian, one Eclectic, one Shaman, one Druid.... offer a million dollars.... vote someone out in a Circle every week.....

Nah, it would never fly....

First,i Find Out How Sincere They Are!if They Truly Want... Oct 17th. at 10:34:18 pm EDT

daiabnncya (mindenmines, Missouri US) Age: 48

first, i find out how sincere they are!if they truly want answers, i try to give them.but, if it's a joke, hocus-pocus or a kinky fad, i refer them to their local minister, where they WILL get the answers they want!Daiabnncya

I Have Just Read Through The Other Postings, And I Have Changed... Oct 17th. at 10:50:16 pm EDT

Illianna Czernes (Greenville, North Carolina US) Age: 26

I have just read through the other postings, and I have changed my opinion, somewhat. I agree that Hollywood glamourises everything, I mean Julia Roberts was a single mother of three, and out of work, but she was beautiful and well endowed, so everything worked out OK?????? So I guess I am just glad that people are TALKING about it, asking questions and some are getting the right answers. Most of the individuals who think they can "cast a spell" to make everything better will not be interested in Wicca for very long once they find out there is no "ZAP" to fix it all. I guess the only thing I wish would be portrayed more realistically is the spiritual side. We see plenty of Christians portrayed serene and happy, facing the worst life has to offer, confident in their faith, and becoming stronger for it. Witches have that too. After all we are the Children of the Shining Ones. Goddess and God bless us all.


It Sucks That Hollywood Is Trashing The Wiccan Population. It Is About... Oct 18th. at 12:16:59 am EDT

David Looney BearWolf (Lexington, Missouri US) Age: 31 - Email

It sucks that hollywood is trashing the wiccan population. It is about time
for the people to get it stright and tell the truth. If thay want a real horror
show thay should tell about the Burning Times. If that don't scare the f*** out of the people nothing will. And in the process get the X-tion teck see how the fell two be shown in a bad light instead of us Wiccan!!!

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