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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| As Far As Who These Leaders Should Be- I Don't Know. As... ||Sep 30th. at 5:09:25 pm EDT|
|Hawk Firestorm (Jenkintown, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 24 - Email |
As far as who these leaders should be- I don't know. As to how they should be elected, again, I don't know. I think that the one(s) chosen should be Solitaries, unassosiated with any formal school so as to avoid any claims of 'favoritism', but certianly, there should be someone who is able to serve as a figurehead, if not for us (isn't part of what we are supposed to be not NEEDING a Pope or other analogous person?) then at least for the Rest Of The World to see.
'Mundanes' are not used to accepting a group that doesn't use a structured heirearchy, nor accepted 'leaders', as was illustrated by the 'open letter.' If only for PR reasons, we need to have someone who is quick thinking, but lacking in a personal agenda (no politicians please!) and quite possibly perceived by most people as being about as threatening as a mouse. This person or people also need to have a firm underatanding of the commoon principles of as many pagan paths as possible- WITHOUT beleiving that any is superior to any others. Thus, the Solitary qualification.
I think it waould be nice to have both a male and female figurehead, as that is a relative constant on most paths, as well as having two people making the stress load a little less for either. There is also the bonus of a check-and-balance inherent in the idea. (division of labor and all that)
I know many Pagans will not like the idea of Leaders, but a comprimise must be reaced for our own survival.
| The Whole Base Of "pagan" Is Looking To Nature And Self To... ||Sep 30th. at 6:25:24 pm EDT|
|David and Cassie (Middleburg, Florida US) ||Age: 19 |
The whole base of "Pagan" is looking to nature and self to find truth not the words of man. Who cares about mainstreaming Paganism? What's the point? Look what happened when Christianity became mainstream. Now many people claim to be a Christian and don't even understand what it means.A "leader" would be put in a place of high power, and power too often leads to corruption.Do we really want to be like the Christians?Have some leader out talking to everyone about our religion?That could easily lead to preaching, brainwashing(young kids who aren't old enough to make such decisions would see this leader and want to be like them, Just like what happens in Christianity:Get em while they're young).I don't think this should even be an issue.There shouldn't be a leader.What happens If the leader gets too greedy from all the money, goes against the beliefs, or becomes the target of media hatred?We know how ignorant Christian people can be, and most of the population is Christian.The media would most likely try to make Paganism look negative, all the church people would come out and protest.Do we really need all the trouble?NO.
| It Is Time That The Pagan Community Got Its Act Together. We... ||Sep 30th. at 6:38:56 pm EDT|
|Jim Oakey (nORTHWEST, Oregon US) ||Age: 44 |
It is time that the Pagan Community got its act together. We are the fastest growing religion (spirituality) in the country. I would say we outnumber the fundementalist. BUt we have no economic or political power. That has to stop.
It is up to us to spread earth conciousness, this is not a game we are playing, the fate of our world and that of our children's is at stake. We have to "mainstream our ideas so that Gaia does not get so ill she has to boot us humans off.
| I Find It Very Unlikely That We Would Ever Agree On One... ||Sep 30th. at 6:46:57 pm EDT|
|Danielle .L (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 22 |
I find it very unlikely that we would ever agree on one or even a hand full of leaders. I don't think this should stop those who are well known or, even those who aren't, from speaking out and supporting our coumunity. We may be of different traditions, but I know we should let our voice be heard. To do this I don't think we need one or a handfull of leaders to do so. We all need to speak out. Every one of us needs to support those in need, those who hurt.
At some point news stations every where were asking people what they thought or how they felt. If we find that we are not being heard, everyone of us should stand up and make ourselves be heard. We don't need leaders to do this, we all have voices, we need to use them. Everyday people can do amazing things, all we have to do is try. Reach out your hand to the person next to you . That is support. Volunteer if you can , do what you can. That is support. We are our own leaders. We all need to take that step.
| I'm Not Sure About A National Or Even International Leadership. One Of... ||Sep 30th. at 7:22:48 pm EDT|
|Conor (Dublin, Iran) ||Age: 23 |
I'm not sure about a national or even international leadership. One of the reasons that Pagan religions have survived through millenia, amidst constant persecution is that we all have such freedom of belief and practise. It would be difficult for anyone to represent us all as our beliefs vary so much (bar a few core ones). I know for myself anyway (don't know if anyone agrees) not having a leadership is one of the reasons there has never been factions or splits in paganism. Nearly every other faith, all who apparently deplore and forbid violence have at some time been engaged in arguements or Holy wars. Pagans never have because no senior figure has ever tried to set any Dogma or base that we all MUST believe in. We have always lived free of structure and so we are more flexible, I think that is part of our strenght. Lol, just my humble opinion.
As for comforting our brothers and sisters, even solitaries like myself know or can easily find out where the nearest Grove or Coven to us is. We always have and always will support each other. Comfort is only a phonecall/e-mail or drive away.
If it did come electing a Leadership I think the elections would be extremely hard to organise as there is no listing or register of Pagans anywhere. No one knows acurately how many of us there are. They probably couldn't be held anywhere public because so many of us still hide our faith for fear of persecution for our beliefs.
| Leaders? No! Spokespeople/representatives? Yes! After All, Without Any Spokesperson, We Will... ||Sep 30th. at 7:45:47 pm EDT|
|Luinwen (Altamonte Springs, Florida US) ||Age: 46 |
Leaders? No! Spokespeople/representatives? YES! After all, without any spokesperson, we will never be truly heard, and when we are not heard, we are misunderstood. It is important, however, that the "spokespeople" reiterate that pagans subscribe to widely-variant belief structures, and should keep their language accordingly "neutral" in that regard. The really difficult task would lie in how to select those spokespeople who could responsibly speak in a generic-sense for the community at large, without allowing their personal beliefs to taint the bigger picture. With all the wonderful creative energies that I've seen in the pagan world, however, I believe that we could arrive at an equitable solution, if we just work together!
| In Reading The Reactions Posted Here, I See One Thing Pointed At... ||Sep 30th. at 8:46:18 pm EDT|
|Ciaraine (Amarillo, Texas US) ||Age: 24 |
In reading the reactions posted here, I see one thing pointed at repeatedly. The immense difficulty in finding someone appropriate for the position of figurehead. Personally, I like the suggestion someone made of a balanced pair of male and female handling the load. I also agree that this would best be served by a solitary who is well-versed on the diverse paths of Paganism. I'm not sure how we could choose such individuals, after all, most of us are quiet, happy to talk to one another, but rather uncomfortable in exposing ourselves to the ridicule of the ignorant.
The truth is ladies and gents that the reason why there hasn't been any mention of Paganism (outside of those like Falwell) is because most people don't know we exist. Plain and simple. We are quiet, we gather in out of the way places in the wild, have shops that are generally mistaken to belonging to crystal worshippers and other smaller religions, and we don't talk much even when we are seen in the public. The only outward showings of Paganism have occured at the annual DC event around Samhain and when something bad happens. (such as the conflict between Bob Barr and the community a few years ago) Otherwise, we stay hidden. I'm not sure that this is a good thing or not.
I do know that leadership could solve most of the problems facing the Pagan world today. Personally, I would choose a person out of each major tradition and try to balance it with men and women. Form a council and go from there. I would most definitely say that we wouldn't want the obvious choices for leaders. Choosing the quiet the thoughtful, the carefully spoken pagan should take priority over the boisterous. Not because of any superiority of either, but because a thoughtful person would better serve the way that we as a group choose to be represented. Be assured that this person would be forced to field some difficult and odd questions. After all, we've heard some doozies online from people trying to understand.
anyway, My point is that we aren't noticed because we haven't done enough to be known. Yes, we organize Pagan Pride Days and whatnot, but how many of us talk about our beliefs with others on a day-to-day basis? Most of us, simply dodge the issue when it comes up, and that's okay, but someone has to be open about it and be willing to talk thoughtfully with others.
Brightest Blessings upon all,
| Merry Meet! My First Post Got Lost, So I'm Posting Again. In... ||Sep 30th. at 10:13:06 pm EDT|
|CyanaElectra (North Bay, Ontario CA) ||Age: 37 - Email |
Merry Meet! My first post got lost, so I'm posting again. In response to the question of leaders, do we really need leaders??? We are all leaders in our hearts and souls, people. We simply need to be united. Having a leader could create a problem, as the pagan/wiccan/witchcraft faith has many paths. Why not step forward and make your statements and simply stand by them? Why have a spoke's person when you can be one yourself? I've made myself heard, without a problem in my community. I'm teaching younger pagans the basics and listening to older pagans and their ideas and using them in the way that feels best for me. I don't need a leader, I am one. So, if you want to speak your minds, go for it. Nothing is stopping you. You don't need someone else to represent you. Just do it. Merry Part!
| I Have Always Thought Had The Old Religions Of Europe Not Been... ||Sep 30th. at 11:33:02 pm EDT|
|Rob Elliott (Thorold, Ontario CA) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I have always thought had the old Religions of Europe not been all but wiped out by the Christians, how would they be lead today. IÕve always imagined a council of elder people no longer actively leading covens of schools. People of some age that can be looked up too and learned from. But recently I have discovered some interesting developments in Christianity that can be applied to this question.
The early Christians started off a lot like Pagans have. Regional and informal. Learning as they went. Eventually as time passed though they started realizing that regional leadership in a administrative manner was needed. Thus the Bishop took on this role. And it work very well. But eventually the position took on a political prestige and it became almost totally non religious. This becomes and interesting situation for us as Neo-Pagans. It took Christians about 500 year to reach that point. Well in the last hundred years things have started to move a little faster. (got to love the global village) so weÕve got to that point now. We do need some sort of P.R. but actual leadership isnÕt needed as we arenÕt really in groups (outside of covens). So we pretend that any sort of leadership position would be anything but a glorified P.R. rep. So why not just create regional persons to speak for us when the situation calls for it. But of course isnÕt that what we already have?
As a community I have never heard of Pagans being media hogs and why should that change. Though we do need people there when the situation requires it but not on a daily basis. So the question really isnÕt a matter do we need leadership itÕs more do we want to change the way Neo-Paganism works so that when some horrible happens we can get out piece of the media pie?
| I Have Responded To This Before And I Still Think We Need... ||Oct 1st. at 1:00:31 am EDT|
|Steve Coslett (Clovis, New Mexico US) ||Age: 47 |
I have responded to this before and I still think we need some sort of leaders or council. It's sort of like the old saying, "We can hang together or be hung separately." ... or something like that ...
We just seem to have no sense of Unity. Sites like WITCHVOX are the closest many of us come to this sense of Unity. It's sometimes seems like, "We have seen the enemy and he is us." ...
Well enough for my words.
| I Must Admit That The Idea Of A "pagan Leader " Makes My... ||Oct 1st. at 4:39:53 am EDT|
|DAUGHTER OF BACONS REBELLION (St.Petersburg, Florida US) ||Age: 26 |
I must admit that the idea of a "pagan leader " makes my flesh crawl, and my blood boil! As I try to contain my anger that the idea has even been mentioned I will state flat out that i am an UNASHAMED PAGAN CAPITALIST and I seriously doubt that there is a "pagan leader" who is willing to speak up for my point of view. It will be a cold day in the 7th level of Christian hell before this pagan woman (of 6 years) will ever lend the strength of her feet and voice to a pack of intellectually dishonest communists and socialists who are more concerned with the garnering of political power than they are about the experience of the people. And guess what ----I am not alone!!!!! ( will you have the guts at witch vox to even print this post or will you silence the silent majority? What are witch voxs' politics?) For almost 7 years I have silently sat back and listened as fellow Pagans bashed Christians for turning divinity into "their" God, "their" mascot. The anti- globalization movement needs a little pick me up after their disatrous failure and lack of organization became apparent in Genoa. Well my my....you dont say?An anti-war movemnt that could draw on the people of the pagan community sure would be sure would be a boost for the protestors anti-American political agenda and just might provide them with new recruits wouldnt it? It would be too easy to turn the Goddess into the anti-war pro-peace mascot of Communistic Socialism now wouldnt it? After all the Goddess is Love right?(They said that about Jesus Christ too if you all will pause to remember.) I DONT BELIEVE A WORD OF IT. LIES! DAMNABLE UNFORGIVEABLE LIE ON THE PART OF PAGAN "SO CALLED" ELDERS WHO ARE EVERY BIT AS VICIOUS AS THE CAPITALISTS THEY WOULD WILLINGLY DESTROY. No I will not vote for a pagan leader. I will oppose a pagan leader and I would spend my last breath to prevent such a movement. I trust the intellectually dishonest "pagan community leaders" far less than I trust the United States Government. The pagan community cant even agree on its ideology and yet some lost ball in tall intellectual grass, out in the far pagan reaches of the internet is willing to give away our individual autonomy for a political leader? Where have I heard this before? Someone hand me a garbage can ---I think I'm going to be sick. It will be a COLD DAY IN HEL'S KITCHEN BEFORE I AGREE WITH A DIANIC WITCH ON POLITICS. I AM A PATRIARCHIAL PAGAN AND I WILL DEFEND MY CIVILIZATION, WITH MY LIFE IF NECESSARY. PERIOD. To see Dianics working magic to overthrow Patriarchy, in the name of a Goddess that they have turned into a SOCIALIST MASCOT ----AND NOTHING MORE, is an insult to the Goddess and they will continue to manipulate HER at their own peril. And May I Be the Hand Who Brings Those Pagans Down. Do I frighten you? Good. Anti- Globalists who can't even remember what the hell they are protesting for and who try to turn a anti-American movement into a so called "peace movement" because they are shedding crocodile tears for Sept 11th, are disgusting and thereby show their dubious and deceitful nature. To borrow and re-work a curse from the 18th Egyptian dynasty: "Be gone you who drag politics in through the Out Door, with your faces turned back and who forget mid-protest what you came for! Did you come to kiss America? Did you come to kiss this child? I WILL NOT LET YOU KISS THIS CHILD!!!!!!!!!!! (AM I YELLING LOUDLY ENOUGH FOR YOU? Well guess what----I haven't even got stared yet.)**** "LET THE SPIRITS AND ANCESTORS GATHER TO WITNESS, FOR THEIRS IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE FUTURE, BOTH WHAT IT WOULD BE AND WHAT I WILL: I BIND YOU POLITICAL PAGANS OF THE LEFT AND RIGHT FROM LYING TO THE PEOPLE AND LYING TO YOURSELVES. I BIND YOU POLITICAL PAGANS OF THE LEFT AND RIGHT FROM MANIPULATING THE INNOCENT AMONG US. I BIND YOU POLITICAL PAGANS OF THE LEFT AND RIGHT FROM USING THE OPEN-HEARTED EMOTIONS OF PEOPLE IN NATIONAL TURMOIL FOR YOUR OWN POLITICAL GAINS. I BIND YOU POLITICAL PAGANS OF THE LEFT AND RIGHT FROM USING HUMAN COMPASSION AS A WEAPON AGAINST AMERICAN LIBERTY. I BIND YOU POLITICAL PAGANS OF THE LEFT AND RIGHT FROM USING QUESTIONS OF RACE, RACISM AND RELIGION TO DIVIDE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.I BIND YOU POLITICAL PAGANS OF THE LEFT AND RIGHT FROM USING QUESTIONS OF MATRIARCHY AND PATRIARCHY TO FIGHT ECONOMIC BATTLES BETWEEN CAPITALISM AND COMMUNISM. I BIND YOU POLITICAL PAGANS, I BIND YOU POLITICAL PAGANS, I BIND YOU POLITICAL PAGANS, IN THE BLOOD AND NAME OF MY ANCESTORS I BIND YOU." Now that I have made my anger and feelings obvious to the pagan world, let me say this, I do not see one ounce of intellectual honesty comming out of those who call themselves "elders" in the pagan community and therefore I will not support them with the power of my feet or my voice. How to comfort our community is a VERY RELEVANT question and one that is by definition POLITICAL. **And its political nature cannot be side-stepped.** The political/ ideological GULF that currently exists in the broader pagan community is one that is entirely too open and vulernable to explotiation by unscrupulous persons and I have seen NOTHING from the pagan left or right, that makes me believe that either side has gained in wisdom or humanity. (The fact that some pagans believe in the existance of a left and right is worrisome in itself.) I have found myself doing rituals of mourning, re-reading about our nations history, and the history of Europe which gave birth to it. To be honest, to have seen this on witchvox has me so enraged that I am presently unable to focus on healing for the broader community because to anyone who knows their history knows that the ways in which one heals national wounds is by definition political as a study of world history bears out. Pick a nation, any nation and you will see that the healing of the nation is directly related to its politics. At times like this solitaries often are thrown back on themselves for support and the questions out number the answers. I find strength in the ancestors. I find strength in the American faces all around me. I remember the words of Benjamin Franklin who said that "those who are willing to give up liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." I call my parents more often. I make offerings for the men and women of my line who have died in War. I THANK THEM FOR WHAT THEY HAVE GIVEN AMERICA. I HONOR MY PATRIARCHIAL ANCESTORS. I am GRATEFUL that I live in the most LIBERATED country on earth. AND I REFUSE TO BE ASHAMED OF BEING AMERICAN. I am going to end this here because I believe I have said more than enough for everyone, myself included. And yet, I STAND BY AND BEHIND EVERY WORD I HAVE WRITTEN. I would in closing, also like to say a very special thank you to all the Women and Men of Great Britian. May you all be blessed, (even those who disagee with me) thank you for being here for America, thank you for not forgetting us. I will always take you into account as I vote my conscience in the American ballot box, and with my feet. Bless and Thank you
| I Have Seen Many Responses Here And Some Of Them Are Done... ||Oct 1st. at 4:58:19 am EDT|
|Steve Coslett (Clovis, New Mexico US) ||Age: 47 |
I have seen many responses here and some of them are done with a great deal of rancour. This is very strange and quite divisive. It's just a question folks and we should be able to speak our minds without someone coming loose at the seams. I salute the folks who have been able to answer without coming loose at the seams.
Also, I would like to add that I don't feel this is the proper place for a binding, or any other spellwork, especially one done in the heat of emotion. But hey, that's just me
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