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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| 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
| I'm Always Amazed When I Hear Pagans Say That "something Should Be... ||Oct 1st. at 1:51:16 pm EDT|
|Dj Connell (Santa Clara , California US) ||Age: 43 - Email |
I'm always amazed when I hear Pagans say that "something should be done" but then they just as quickly say " I don't have the time, money, interest or will to do it". This implies that they want leaders. But then they say "I won't follow anyone" and "No one speaks for me". Folks, you can't have it both ways.
These are the same sorts of people who'll spend $60.00 on a crystal for their alter but they won't give $5.00 to a Pagan charity. It makes you want to cry.
Some of our tribe complain constantly about the work that is being done and they burn out those good leaders we do have. I notice that it's always the same sort of people who complain. They are the ones who don't offer to help *do* the work - they just want to sit on the sidelines and kvetch. Those who want a voice should be willing to help improve our community in some way, however small. I notice that no one really listens to the people who whine. We to listen to those who offer practicle and thoughtful ideas and then offer their help to make these ideas a reality.
As Terry Pratchett says: "There is no justice. There's just us."
As for me, I'd like to see fewer Pagan Leaders and more Pagan Doers. It's our spiritual practice and it's our power. No one is going to hand it to us on a silver platter.
I've worked with a group in my area for two years now and I'm happy to do it. I like working at the grass roots level because you can get things done and you can see who the Doers are (as opposed to the Talkers) and you can work with them. I like the fact that our group works with other Pagan groups and that we don't get involved in Witch Wars. We also have standards (Wyrd ones like "Show up", "Do what you say you're going to do", "Tell the truth" and "Respect each other"). There are lots of practicle, hard working Pagans out there - the trick is to find them.
You'll notice that Fritz and Wren are Doers. Starhawk is a Doer, too. You may not want to do things the same way they do. In that case, get up and be a Doer in your own special way. Then you can make a difference as they have done.
Our ancestors were Doers or we wouldn't be here. Samhain is a good time to remember that and to honor their hard won accomplishments.
| I Find The Concept Of 'elected Pagan Leaders' As A Little Foreign... ||Oct 1st. at 4:24:39 pm EDT|
|Wyrdsister (Ottawa, Ontario CA) ||Age: 26 |
I find the concept of 'elected pagan leaders' as a little foreign. I'd never considered it before and I think I find it a little disconcerting. I'm reluctant to endorse anything that would mirror or continue to uphold the political status quo as I am one of those 'political pagans on the left' ;), so I wonder if mimicking the existing system of elected leaders and bureaucracy is really the way to go.
I also find it interesting how hot under the collar this issue can make us. Bacon's Daughter, I do not fear you - I feel sorry for you. It makes me sad to know that you are so full of anger and rage that you need to lash out so. Perhaps a nice cup of tea with a man named Falwell would make you feel better. It might be nice for once to be in the company of someone who detests Dianics as much as yourself. <|;)
DJ's comment is most refreshing: the idea of having more Pagan 'DOERS' in our ranks. It's amazing what a tall order that is, but it rings so true for me. Thanks for adding your thoughts to the fray, DJ! I hope your post makes others think and FEEL in a way they haven't before.
| I Must Say That I Am Truly Speechless....well Not Completely! I... ||Oct 3rd. at 11:25:22 am EDT|
|Barb (Chicago, Illinois US) ||Age: 42 - Email |
I must say that I am truly speechless....well not completely! I just popped into the site for some other information and came across this topic. The leadership within our communities is done according to our standards. I have spoken with many and can honestly tell you that so much was done by the Pagan community. If the question is should we be represented in main stream agendas, I categorically deny such representation. To all of you who work so hard to maintain this site I now say thank you. It is the true ones who work tirelessly to help. They don't expect press and/or accolades. Every day, they are here. Not just in crisis, but every day. For those who have no concept of what giving is, take a look at this site. We see Wren and Fritz, who in my personal experience, have offered a response whenever I needed it. The worker beez behind the scenes, have no faces, but they are there. It is those who work so quietly that are truly changing the world. It is also those who would choose not to be recognized. I respect them greatly. There are many who work extremely hard all over the world to bring information and change. But, I say this is done in our way. I know where these people were and the help that they gave. Open your minds and understand that to assimilate into the mainstream stands for everything I am against. I choose my own leaders, and they all work at my side, guiding me. Anyway, thanks to the quiet ones as they are the true beauty of our world.
| First Of All, I Do Not Look On At Wren, Fritz, Silver... ||Oct 4th. at 9:30:51 am EDT|
|Elibdis Dreamwolf Dragonmoon (Taylorville, Illinois US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
First of all, I do not look on at Wren, Fritz, Silver Ravenwolf, Starhawk, or any others as "Pagan Leaders". I simply view them a good people who inform the world about us, as I try to do. I am a solitary Eclectic Wiccan. Does not the Rede say "An it harm none, do what ye will"? I simply choose not to follow a person I have never met. If I met any other Wiccans in Taylorville, IL, I would shake thier hand, and feast with them, but that does not mean I would follow thier certain path, for it is thier own, and not mine.Maybe our leaders, our High Priest/ess's, are all working instead of making a too big of a deal out of this. Yes, it is a tragedy that so many had to die. Yes, I mourn for the families of those who have lost thier loved ones. BUT if I would have gone to whatever cathedral it was, I would have lost my life savings for the plane ticket. I prefer to sit back and observe the Chaos from a distance, lest I be dragged in. The reason there were no "visions" or predictions or a Tarot spread never told us about this is simple: We are not T.V. psychics. Even the wise are caught unawares. If we were T.V. psychics, Hitler would have never risen to power, Osama bin Laden would not be a threat, the Burning Times would not have happened. Magick is a wonderous tool, but it won't solve everything.
~In Light and Blessings, Elibdis D. Dragonmoon
| Merry Meet All, As A Solitary I Know That We Are All... ||Oct 11th. at 9:19:37 am EDT|
|Mystek Silver Unicorn (Marysville, Ohio US) ||Age: 21 - Email |
Merry Meet All,
As a Solitary I know that we are all leaders in the Pagan community from time to time. It may not seem like we have "leaders" but we do have elders and those who pass down the knowledge of the past to all who care to listen with open hearts and spirits. Again I will stress the fact that we are all leaders in our own ways and do all we can to help each other and be united together as a community or a lagre clan would be at all times.
Anyway, I personally think that we are all leaders and guide each other with the help of the Goddess in all her forms.
On a final note "Together we can accomplish much"
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