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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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.
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| 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!!!
| Hollywood Protraying Things In The Extreme? Okay Lets Put This Into Perspective... ||Oct 18th. at 8:20:45 am EDT|
|Steph (Midwest City, Oklahoma US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
Hollywood protraying things in the extreme? Okay lets put this into perspective: If you have ever participated in politics, you know that the West Wing is a crock. If you have ever been in the military, you know the JAG is a crock. If you have ever been involved in a situation that was press worthy, you know that press covereage at best is chock full of innuendo and speculation rather than the real story, the press coverage is worse if you are on the "wrong" side. Worse yet, if you are a Native American...well say no more. The point is that these people make their money selling life as a carnival or selling a carnival as life (depending on your perceptions). I really do not see why we are surprised by films like The Craft, The Blair Witch Project, Midnight Offerings, etc., The goal of Hollywood is to profit off of strong emotional reactions of the audience. In Touched by an Angel, its through tearful reuinions with God and Country. In Charmed, its cheap thrills with Melissa Alano in a tight sweater participating in the Occult activities with her nubile sisters.
I am glad that people are taking a stand in these matters, but as long as we are subjects in the media spotlight, there will always be people who want to glamorize it, demonize it and there will always be those who are attracted to either/or prospect, because they see themselves as dull or unsuccessful and the Occult, Witchcraft, Wicca, etc., as an easy way out of life's probems.
It's important that we specify what we don't like and under what circumstances:
Is it the Escapist scenario we don't like? Then make sure that Hollywood people know, there is a lot of hard work and study in these matters.
Is it the idea that this is sometimes portrayed as a False Religion or dangerous cult, let these people know that you won't support these films if they keep minimizing the genuine values of the Pagan Community and religious traditions
Is it the use of incorrect vocabulary? Mixed traditions? The fact that all the chics are size 3 sex pots? No regular Women, No regular guys? Tell them what you want. Give them suggestions.
I personally would like to see a movie just about the Aunties in Practical magic with those same actresses. I found their characters a lot more interesting and 3D than the other women in that film.
As for when individuals become attracted to this community via Hollywod Hype? well when they show up at your door step asking questions, Tell them the truth. Truth is, that this is not for everyone. Its not about being special or chosen, its about if your personality meshes with these practices. Whether or not this religious path will give a person stability, if there is room in this practice for said individual to grow. That means study, and lots of practice. That means commitement. People who do not like that answer will eventually find their way to some other group or practice or church.
| What The Producers Of Bwii Have Done Is Mixed Enough Truth With... ||Oct 18th. at 12:46:41 pm EDT|
|Khyron Provost (Concord, New Hampshire US) ||Age: 17 - Email |
What the producers of BWII have done is mixed enough truth with pop culture so that the end product is a sort of polluted vision of one type of paganism or witchcraft. I remember explaining my beliefs to people who had seen "The Craft", and wanted me to change their hair color, or hurt their enimies with "black magic". Sabrina the Teenage Witch has done more to portray us as harmless, goofy characters who are not to be taken seriously than any efforts of the religious right. I was personally upset at the subtitle of BWII, Book of Shadows, especially after seeing the previews which, to me, seemed to portray the Wiccan(?) girl as the stereotypical Goth Queen who was bent on Carriesque revenge against her enimies, such as the plot of "The Craft" I think that a decent plot for a movie would be the story of a middle-lower class person thrying to deal with the religious intolerance that is so prevalent in America today. We are out there, and not all of us wear dark mascara, tons of jewelry, and act all sinister most of the time. Already i can forsee the barrage of inane questions about BWII, and I don't need to gaze too hard at my crystal ball to see this coming, people. Is there some organization for religious and historical accuracy out there that these people can consult before they start filming a movie? If someone knows, please mail me. Witchvox may want to take an interest, or even link to them for a while. Just a suggestion.
| You Know Something? I Just Read What George W. Bush Had Said... ||Oct 18th. at 1:16:17 pm EDT|
|Demarkus Hawkens (Indianapolis, Indiana US) ||Age: 25 - Email |
You know something? I just read what George W. Bush had said about not believing that Witchcraft is not a real religion. "NOT A REAL RELIGION!?!?!" Is this guy blind? Look around! We're everywhere! What would I say or do to prove that we count and we do exist? I'd give him the web address for the Witche's Voice. Maybe if he were to see something this great, maybe he'd change his tune and acknowledge our existance.
Anyone know his Email?
| First, I Would Explain To Them That They Have Just Viewed A... ||Oct 18th. at 2:32:38 pm EDT|
|Patrick Chambers (Grandview, Missouri US) ||Age: 44 - Email |
First, I would explain to them that they have just viewed a work of fiction and that much of what they have seen is probably therefore inaccurate. Then, I ask them what their specific questions about Wicca and witchcraft might be.
It is easier to answer direct questions first and then try to give an overview of the realities of witchcraft rather than trying to battle your way through the misconceptions and BS right out of the gate. (Example: "Do you really stick big hatpins into doves to kill them for spellcasting?!" "No. We don't kill anything in our spellwork. Spellwork comes from inside of you..." and then probably on into a discussion of ethics).
While the recent popularization of Wicca and witchcraft in the media have indeed brought new recognition and interest on the part of the general public, it is incumbent upon us to teach and educate responsibly and accurately. Only with dedicated and knowledgeable practitioners passing on good information can we dispell the unfavorable public points of view and hysteria about our paths. Otherwise, we're just a bunch of freaks and weirdos in the eyes of the public.
| If Someone Came To Me Asking Questions About One Of These Shows... ||Oct 18th. at 3:46:35 pm EDT|
|Kaicielia BlueDragon (Madison, Wisconsin US) ||Age: 24 - Email |
If someone came to me asking questions about one of these shows or movies, I would be ever so happy to answer the questions asked as fully and accurately as I can, or as they would like to hear, as the case may be. I am more than willing to give any information asked of me, but I will keep an eye out for those who are not really listening, just asking to get some kind of rise, or some slip up, to prove that it is all nonsense or something worse.
I have learned that many people do not really wish to learn, and that they are often asking about it with alterior motives. To these people, I will give a bare minimum of information, because they are great at turning the words around and making them something they were never meant to be.
To those who are truly interested, however, I will give full attention, and reccomend books and this and other web sites to help them along.
| I Think There Are Good Things And Bad Things To The Popularization... ||Oct 18th. at 4:33:42 pm EDT|
|Jenett (St. Paul, Minnesota US) ||Age: 25 |
I think there are good things and bad things to the popularization of Cracft things. (Hi, I was born on the Virgo/Libra cusp. Nasty habit of seeing multiple sides of everything.)
Good thing: it's good that it's out there and talked about at all, and perhaps opens up the ideas to new people.
Bad thing: They sometimes get some weird misperceptions, and it's always harder to unlearn things than it is to learn them right the first time.
Good thing: It creates a greater demand for other materials (books) out there from interested people.
Bad thing: Not all of the books are particularly good introductions to the Craft or Wicca or Neo-Paganism either.
I'm still exploring whether Wicca is right for me - though it's feeling more and more like that recently - so I'm both not very public about it (except with friends, all of whom have known Pagans much longer than I've been exploring), but I think my preference is that at least if people start exploring and asking questions, then you can guide them - until they want to learn, you can't really do that. (The idea of the teachable moment) I think that movies - and other media - at least allow us to get the subject out there, and to help bring discussions a little more out in the open.
| I Enjoy These Entertainment Projects. But They Probably Don't Have That Much... ||Oct 18th. at 4:48:46 pm EDT|
|Pitch (Concord, California US) ||Age: 21 |
I enjoy these entertainment projects. But they probably don't
have that much to do with what ordinary folks do when they
follow their paths.
For one thing, typical circles don't get re-takes, so living with
your mistakes isn't a guest shot on *World's Witchiest Outakes!*
For another, magic doesn't usually show up in everyday life
accompanied by all the great SFX. There's a lot less spectacle,
although sometimes an equal amount of drama.
For another, these days you pretty much got to pay some
attention to the web, because that's how lots of witches keep
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