The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
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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| Mm: All Do We Need Leaders ? I Would Say Yes ,and, We... ||Sep 29th. at 10:32:57 pm EDT|
|David (Dawsonville, Georgia US) ||Age: 43 - Email |
Do we need leaders ? I would say yes , and, we are they. We are our own leaders
and followers we draw ispiration from others so they may find it in us.we are one and we are nany. When the call is heard we step up together, Yes we have national leaders , but like so many other aspects of the Pagan approach it is done differently elections and appointments are the usal way of doing this sort of thing the third option is of course to ask for volenteers when needed and then back them .There several organiziations that preform the grand task of trying to give us a greater voice Groups like C.O.G., A.R.E.N. , and Circle Sanctuary to name a few, these groups and many more like them are in bussiness to help serve the community and thusly they also lead by example .because the best leaders are the ones , if asked really don`t want the job and Folks like Fritz and Wren whose tireless efforts to serve the community by providing sch a wonderful means to connect and communicate with each other which without which would not happen( or at the very least not as fast), we look to each other for support and guidence in times of need.We have our leaders and we are they. And thanks to places like the T.W.V. we have an avenue to relate to each other and grow in spirit, understanding and harmony.
Well I hope this has helped express my views , I will take this oppertunity to Thank The good people at The witches` Voice for their Service to the community. You lead by serving , and that`s the best kind.
I also would like to appoligise for any Incoherence in this , typing at late hours tends to bring out my worst in sentence structuring. with that I will say aloha.
BB & MP David
| As A Young Australian Pagan (i Am 16), I Believe It Is... ||Sep 29th. at 11:53:54 pm EDT|
|Stephanie Akasha (Melbourne, Victoria AU) ||Age: 16 - Email |
As a young Australian Pagan (I am 16), I believe it is time for there to be a National representative. Times are changing, and inevitably religions are changing with them. More and more people, mostly of my age group I know, are turning to paganism, wicca and other earth based religions and even though there is hundreds of thousands of web-sites, books etc around, it is very easy to feel alone and alienated. A National figure would be a reassurance to young solitaries, a means of promoting acceptance and understanding in the wider community and focal point around which the pagan community can rally in times of need. I agree that this would be an incredibly difficult endevour, but I honestly think it is one worth attempting.
| I'm Not Sure If I Can Speak For Other Pagans Or Their... ||Sep 30th. at 12:39:25 am EDT|
|Calypso (Billings, Montana US) ||Age: 30 |
I'm not sure if I can speak for other Pagans or their communities or groups...but I can at least say that the HPS of my circle has opened up the circle's online group posting to quite a few ideas and discussions which were, at least initially, against her own personal feelings. If she is at all indicative of Pagan leadership, the simple act on her part, of providing an open forum for the circle participants, and providing her own support to them as needed, is as much leadership as I've needed. The email mentioned in the witchvox homepage sounded very much as if the writer was acting out from feeling very alone and isolated, and very full of pain. While I think it is always good to re-evaluate whether a system is working optimally, I am not sure whether or not such evaluation should be spurred by one person possibly acting out from feelings barely under control. Perhaps that is actually the PERFECT time to re-evaluate, but I don't know how rationally such evaluation can be conducted. As one therapist has said, right now while we are grieving is not the time to be making life decisions - wait until the worst pain has passed and we can regain some perspective again...
Finally, until the Pagan community can more fully succeed at gaining respect from the majority of the society we live in, I suspect that the political consequences of any Pagan attempt to be included in national events may prove at this time to be an inappropriate distraction from the national intention. I would love to be wrong on this point, but with as much resistance as I see daily, I don't know that we could have been involved in the national memorial service. If we had been refused involvement, how far, in that particular situation, would we have wanted to push our equality? Would it have been appropriate, in the middle of national mourning, to push the "side" issues involved? At your own family's funeral, would it have been appropriate for a guest to argue loudly about getting to sit with the family? That's where to me it seems we are at right now.
In an ideal world, it would have been great - and I would have been far more interested in watching the service - had there been a Pagan rep at the national memorial service. Did I think about it? No: the point of the service was not whether a HP/S was up front or not.
I have had to work a lot at "reconciling" (sometimes it feels more like 'resigning' or 'conceding'!) with the majority Xian system. Spirit is Spirit, whether we call it God, Allah, Buddha, Quan Yin, Diana, Jesus, Lugh, or the universe. Sometimes when dealing with the health of our own communities it is more important to start there (and *then* work our way forward). I work in a church office (no, they don't know), and I simply felt grateful that with all the flag-waving I've been able to wear my pentagrams...and that Pagan Pride was timed right in the middle of it all. Hallaluia!!
| I Would Love To Have A "generic" (if Such A Thing Could... ||Sep 30th. at 12:48:18 am EDT|
|Karen (Denver, Colorado US) ||Age: 29 |
I would LOVE to have a "generic" (if such a thing could exist...??!!??)
Flag for all Pagans...sometimes I feel patriotic not just to the country
but also to the religion - and I don't have a very effective way of showing
that - at least, waving the national flag doesn't quite do it "all" for me!
Would love to see suggestions for a Pagan Flag...
| Praise The Goddess !!!!! I Have Long Been Pondering In My Head The... ||Sep 30th. at 5:33:45 am EDT|
|andy (kansas city, Missouri US) ||Age: 28 - Email |
Praise the Goddess !!!!!
I have long been pondering in my head the idea of a national pagan organization.
I want to call it PBN Pagan Broadcasting Network...kind of like CBN only better cause its pagan and it wont be drippign with dogma and stupidity
pagans CAN become united and not let small differences tear them apart...we can keep our basic message and principals....we all have a common goal as pagans....
and I am getting more and more annoyed by this general ignorance when it comes to my "religion" (always gotta used quotes ;) we need to stand together and share our message and do it the "rigth" way.....by living it...by doing it....not by the other popular methods i won't get into....
well im starting to sound like a preacher....i better quite...
blessed be ;)
| What? Choosing Pagan Leaders/spokesperson? That Would Never Work. There Would Be... ||Sep 30th. at 6:40:13 am EDT|
|Alyssa (witchita , Kansas US) ||Age: 16 |
Choosing Pagan leaders/spokesperson?
That would never work. There would be too many minds to feed. So many opinions one person would not be able to live up to our expectaions. There would then be the need for more people one to represent each religion within Paganism, Wicca, celtic. We would become separated from each other and slowly disintergrate. We would sit back waiting for this spokesperson to say what we think and they might not we would lose touch of our own religion.
I have to argue against this idea.
No one know's what we think better than we do and no one can say better than our own mouths.
| It Is A Difficult Question. Paganism, As A Spirituality, Is As Varied... ||Sep 30th. at 9:06:27 am EDT|
|Debra Douglas Anderson (North Dartmouth, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 35 - Email |
It is a difficult question. Paganism, as a spirituality, is as varied as its practitioners. I think that a Pagan Leader would be a benefit to the community as a whole if it is the right leader. What criteria would qualify someone to be the right leader? I believe a Pagan Leader would have to be able to step outside the paradigm of his/her own path and, on an ongoing public basis, treat his/her spirituality and the spirituality of the American Pagan Community with a broad scope. Pagans can be all inclusive and extremely ecclectic as well as explicitly ritualistic. A Pagan Leader would need to be able to combine Pagan communal links in his/her speeches/writings/interviews/public practices in order to raise community spirit.
What would I expect from that leader? Someone who is predisposed to peaceful and balanced living. A person who addresses Paganism as a whole from Buddism, Shintoism and Hinduism to Wicca, Gardnerianism, Strega....Someone who is able to communicate the Pagans' need for inclusion of both Gods and Goddesses, and who does not qualify Paganism to non-pagans by what it is not but rather by what it is. I would relish a leader as a peaceful warrior on a journey in which each person, pagan and non-pagan alike that he/she meets, the warrior leaves with them an imprint: That all religions and spiritualities have commonalities and that all practitoners are reaching towards the same lessons. It is only the semantics that each path uses that makes its practitioners view life from within different paradigms. I would want a Pagan Leader to be all this as well as be able to use their spokesmanship to invoke Unity and to celebrate Diversity.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
God & Goddess Bless America
May the World Unite in Peace
| Interesting Idea. I Don't Understand Those Who Opposite On The Grounds That... ||Sep 30th. at 9:20:49 am EDT|
|Winter Wolf (Atlantic City, New Jersey US) ||Age: 46 |
Interesting idea. I don't understand those who opposite on the grounds
that there are so many varities of pagans. That hasn't stopped Christianity
from having various leaders and spokespersons, has it? The only criteria
that I would have for pagan leaders/spokespersons is that they be highly
intelligent and well educated. I guess that leaves Silver Ravenwolf out
of the running!
| Er, That Was Supposed To Be "opposed" Not "opposite." I Guess That... ||Sep 30th. at 9:23:33 am EDT|
|Winter Wolf (Atlantic City, New Jersey US) ||Age: 46 |
Er, that was supposed to be "opposed" not "opposite." I guess that leaves
me out of the running also! Hiyo Silver! Away!
| I Think That One Spokesperson For The Pagan Community Is Going To... ||Sep 30th. at 9:41:50 am EDT|
|Alana (Miami, Florida US) ||Age: 44 - Email |
I think that one spokesperson for the pagan community is going to be hard to agree on. What about a council? I would certainly financially support, to the best of my ability, representatives to our community. The problem with trying to appoint any one individual is that we are a very loosely linked community with often strong opinions and varied beliefs.
| Yes, I Support The Idea Of National Leader For Pagan Interests In... ||Sep 30th. at 10:00:09 am EDT|
|Richard Seward - Dagon (San Francisco, California US) ||Age: 49 - Email |
Yes, I support the idea of national leader for pagan interests in the USA. but let's be clear about what we are talking about.
We are not talking about a bishop or a pope. We are NOT talking aobut a spiritual leader or anyone with ecumenical or dogmatic or even moral authority vested in him/her by the pagan community.
What we need is a person to advocate within the national religious community, to the press, and at large for the general interests of pagan pepoles - both solitaries, churches, and covens.
I am thinking of an NAACP or a President of the National Council of Churches type of person. A spokesperson for the Jewish anti-defamation league is another role model.
Not someone who dictates - rather someone who advocates for general principals. Not someone who "leads" so much as someone who "speaks out" in a general way. A "spokesperson" against defamation. Someone to remind others that many of us pray to our Fahter AND Mother.
To fund it? Form a 501 (c)(3) and take donations through Paypal or with ongoing regular credit card donations on a monthly basis. I would LOVE to be able to give tax deductable donations to my religion! I would love to see Vox funded as an arm of this 501c3 organization for anti-defamation of all pagans.
But again I think it is important that we NOT think about a pope or bishop model of spiritual leader but more of a spokesperson of an anti-defamation league.
| As A "recovering Catholic" , I Have Checked Out The Pagan Pespective. To... ||Sep 30th. at 10:57:43 am EDT|
|Americo Ross (Staten Island, New York US) ||Age: 50 - Email |
As a "recovering catholic" , I have checked out the Pagan pespective. To be honest I cannot see any basis for a national leadership.I am not sure that it was a good idea to procliam Paganism as a religion. I believe that
the institution of spirituallity into a religion has given rise to all the oppressive formations of the religious-nation. Maybe it was necessary to be "officially" recognized as a religion so that pagans in the military and in prison would have more freedom to practice .
Why not leave it at that? You ask what
then should be done in times of crisis? Do pagans need the comfort of a "leader" in times of crisis? If seeing a pagan leader up on the stage with all the other religous leaders, making their obligitory statments of tolerance and peace, would give comfort to them, then select your national leadership. Once the leaders forge a new dogma to be followed, the nature will be taken out of essence of paganism. Why, if all the bigtime religions all stand for "peace", as the bigtime religious leaders proclaim, do their followers wage war in the name of God, Allah or Israel?
Yes, show me the path, you can't lead me down it. Tell me of your experiences when you went down the path.That's all . My pagan ancestors,
and I can only speak for myself, have been gone from this planet for centuries. So I take from what is left in the Christian and borrow from other spiritual peoples.Imagine, like John Lennon wanted us to, no religion . I don't believe he meant atheism , but spiritualality replacing the institution of religions.
Thank for providing this forum.
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