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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: 28,372,480  

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Question of the Week: 68 - 11/25/2001

Are You Wild About Harry?

Have you seen the movie? What did you think of it? Do you think that the movie will bring more people into Paganism or to the study of real magic(k)? Do you think that this is a good thing or not? Do you think that the witchcraft and magic and spells as depicted in the movie accurately (though exaggerated) reflect the basic premises of Witchcraft and magick and spellwork as we know it? What do think a good response would be to both those who want to 'do it like Harry' and to those who believe that Pottermania is anti-Christian or enticing children into the 'world of the occult'?

 Reponses:   There are 80 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

Bravo To Harry! I Was Compleatly Taken By This Wonderous Adventure. Imagination... Nov 21st. at 10:08:36 pm EST

Rowan (Santa Cruz) Age: 34 - Email

Bravo to Harry! I was compleatly taken by this wonderous adventure. Imagination is the first step in the direction of thinking for ones self and the discovery of ones own creativity. Our children need to be taught HOW to think and less of WHAT to think.To instill the idea of freedom of thought to a child is arming them with a very powerful tool.Very empowering. I say thumbs way up.

I Read The Books. I Took My Kids To See The Movie... Nov 22nd. at 1:13:37 am EST

Kea Erisdottir (., Maryland US) Age: 37 - Email

I read the books. I took my kids to see the movie. I told my eldest that if she worked at it, that she could read the first and second books(maybe more) by the time that the second movies comes out next year. Voila! The 8 year old has all the incentive that she needs to begin reading for herself. I win. We all win.

It's odd to me that people are getting all riled up over a fantasy book. I guess the Craft has become so choked with defensive and insecure wannabes that we have to jump at shadows and rant to the media. I note that the media is just using us again, and that they delight in the sensationalism. We've lost our collective sense of humor.

And no, you may not have any of mine.

Hi! I'm A "witch In Training" From Montreal, Canada. I Am Very... Nov 22nd. at 12:35:55 pm EST

Nathalie Menard (Montreal, Quebec CA) Age: 35 - Email

Hi! I'm a "witch in training" from Montreal, Canada. I am very fond of Harry and his friends (even though I'm 35!) and I can't wait to go see the movie, as I have read the whole 4 books 3 times around already since last Feb. Here in Montreal, the release of the movie certainly has prompted the media to write articles and make TV talk shows about magick and witchcraft...unfortunaltely, just as can be expected of them, most of what I saw or read makes the Pagans look like "fruitcakes" at best and dangerous shadowy figures at worst. Reporters are only too happy to take thing that the people interviewed said out of context to make sensationalist headlines/statements. I do think it will frighten a lot of parents, unless they are honest and take time enough to do their own research about us and what we really believe in. As for kids, I guess that the more parents reeact negatively, the more they will be interested (you know how it works)but they might be disappointed when they find out the real thing.
Harry and his world ARE a magical fantasy (to me anyway), and although we can draw good lessons about our world of real magick from his adventures, it is not what we are about. For one thing, they don't talk about the "religious" aspect of WICCA anywhere in the books; their magick is mostly a practical thing not linked with a particular religious belief but more guided by ethical principles.
On the other hand, Harry is precious, because somehow his stories manage to bring back and out the sense of wonder and magick even in adults and I think humans really need it in their existence. Cinematographically speaking, I think that the movie is a wonder in itself because it is live action, not animation, and it still manages to stay true to the book. I love animation and I also love "Disney" movies. Some people take them too litterally but if you look deep enough there often are moral lessons to be learned from them. Just like with Harry.
I think my response would be that we can't do the type of magick that Harry does but, through our connection with Nature and the Universe, we each have a magick of our own that we can do. And this is "occult" just because most people don't realize it, not because it is evil.
I don't think me or anybody else will convince the Christians (should we mention "fundamentalist") about our right to existence. It is very easy and comforting for them (or anybody like them) to see the world as black/white, in wich they are the white and everything outside their little bubble is different and must therefore be evil. Very few of them have the presence of mind to read for themselves (some are even superstitiously afraid of touching printed books about occult subjects as if they were impure) and I would daresay some of them might do good to consult a psychiatrist regarding their extreme fear of the Devil in everything around them. Religion should empower you and help you achieve a state of happiness, if it makes you live in fear of others or everything, if it makes you hate people or belittles their beliefs I don't see how it can do that...
Anyway, just my two cents worth...Happy Thanksgiving to all US citizens and may your hearts be filled with wonder and magick!

I Believe That The Harry Potter Series Of Books, As Well As... Nov 22nd. at 6:04:36 pm EST

Tony (Costa Mesa, California US) Age: 30

I believe that the Harry Potter series of books, as well as the movie, have a place and a purpose regardless of its accuracy. In the face of unending persecution and damaging propaganda, it is important that the world psyche finally get used to the idea that witchcraft and magic can be viewed in a positive light. For so long the world seemes content to lump us together with the Satanists--absurd in light of the fact that we don't even believe in Satan. Roles in books and movies keep us comfortably in that generalization, and this simply shouldn't be. Portrayals such as Harry Potter are hardly realistic, but are helpful in dispelling the fears that have been so ingrained in the mind for so long. Example: Notice how the Christians are condemning Harry Potter so vehemently? They're condemning anything that doesn't portray witchcraft and magic in a negative light. Faerie Tales used to be so well loved, why the animosity all of a sudden if not for the fact that witches aren't being seens as villains so often? Think of it as positive public relations, but think of it more as a delightful and entertaining diversion.

I Think That It Is Gggrrreat!!!!!although I Haven't Seen It It... Nov 22nd. at 7:00:13 pm EST

Jonathan (Richmond, Kentucky US) Age: 8 - Email

I think that it is GGGRRREAT!!!!!Although I haven't seen it it will be bewitchen period!!!!!!

I Personally Think That The Harry Potter Series, Both As Books And... Nov 22nd. at 7:18:24 pm EST

Starling (Montreal, Quebec CA) Age: 23 - Email

I personally think that the Harry Potter series, both as books and in the movie form, are a wonderful metaphor of how we, as Witches/Wiccans/Pagans/Magickal people, percieve our own spirituality/work/studies, and our vision of the world. The symbolism is strong, and I have found myself reacting so many times, by reading between the lines and looking beyond the exaggerated way their magical acts and spells is depicted, and reacting positively, mostly thinking 'This is SO right!' Even, as, I think Quirrell himself has said it so plainly, although he was serving as host for Lord Voldemort, 'There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it...'(source: Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, Raincoast Books, pp. 211). This might actually offend some, but it hides one of the great truths of Witchcraft, that there is no White or Black Magick, there is only Magick, and it is the use we make of if that defines its purpose, although, we usually see a dark use of Magick as weakness, rather than strength.
I'm still waiting for the fourth volume to come out in paperback (I'm not exactly wealthy enough to purchase the cloth/hardcover version), but I still find the Harry Potter series a fascinating and acceptable read for us Witches, although I think that those who don't take themselves too seriously will enjoy it the most.

Okay, Wow, I Just Have To Add A Little Something, While I'm... Nov 22nd. at 7:51:11 pm EST

Starling (Montreal, Quebec CA) Age: 23 - Email

Okay, wow, I just have to add a little something, while I'm still here at work, since I don't have the net yet, at home, and have just read some of the comments others have written. Am I the only one who actually can read through litterary symbolism? I mean, I don't mean to say that the books are showing the religious views of the Craft, BUT, buried deep within the books there ARE some truths that maybe some of us may be too unwise to see, either that, or my college Lit Symbolism teacher did a too good job. All I know, is that there is NO wishful thinking in my attitude whatsoever. YES, a lot of the magic information in the books are erroneous, YES, it is a makebelieve world, but, how many of us don't have a little bit of Harry Potter in us, in our hearts, in our soul? For me, the wisdom of the Craft came to me when I started looking at the world from the viewpoint of a child, after all, when I was still of pre-school age, I was already hugging trees and talking to them. And may I remind all of us that Religious Fundamentalism is not a friend, but a foe, no matter which religion it is from... Oh, yeah, and, another thing... I once read somewhere that Faery-tales are Pagan in nature, even if the Rede isn't mentionned, that there is no other kind of Faery-tales...

Merry Part and Blessed Be...

Yes, Yes And Yes...i Enjoyed The Books, Have Seen The Movie... Nov 23rd. at 2:02:36 am EST

Traci (Austin, Texas US) Age: 33 - Email

Yes, Yes and Yes...I enjoyed the books, have seen the movie and liked it very much and reading about Harry Potter drew me to Paganism. Let me explain that one.

My children were devouring the books (and loving them) while I was receiving email warnings from relatives regarding the "evil" I was allowing them to read. I decided the best way for me to know if they were really learning something evil was to research what witchcraft is all about, then read the books for myself. What I found during my research was a group of people who believe and feel as I have my whole life, just never had a name for it. Witch! Harry Potter led me, albeit indirectly, to the discovery that I am indeed a witch. :-)

Oh, I didn't really find the witchcraft in the book to represent the type of witchcraft practiced in Wicca.

I Confess: I Am A Harry Potter Addict. And I've Made Converts... Nov 23rd. at 8:17:31 am EST

Cat T. (Gainesville, Florida US) Age: 26 - Email

I confess: I am a Harry Potter addict. And I've made converts of my friends and family as well (my sister STILL hasn't given back book 4!). And so, I was in the audience opening night. The movie was wonderful, but it lacked what really endeared the books to me: Rowling's dry wit and sly, rather absurdist view of both the magical and mundane worlds. Concerning the religious issues, as a Pagan, I was, of course, glad to see a book that depicted witchcraft (lowercase w) and magick in such a positive light; but, as far as an actual relationship between the religion(s) of Neopaganism and the books, I don't really see it. I think that the Harry Potter books and Neopaganism are drawing on a similar store of material -- occult history, folk magic, herbology, etc. -- but using that material for very different purposes. I don't really see anything specifically Pagan about the value system of the books; it seems to owe far more to the almost stereotypically English notions of fair play and sportsmanship and honor. Not that Pagans wouldn't share those ideas, but... Harry's code smacks more of Eton and Oxford than of the coven. Not that there's anything wrong with that. There's not really a specific religious underpinning being espoused, beyond acknowledging that good exists and evil exists. Rowling has said she's responding to Lewis' Narnia series; she's removed all the Christian dogma, but she hasn't replaced it with anything specifically Pagan. I think both the Christians moaning about "sucking kids in" and the Pagans claiming this as "a blow for our side" are somewhat misguided; beyond showing magic, and the people who practice it, in a positive light, there really isn't anything inherently Pagan about the books. Just my 11 cents (inflation, you know :) ).

Due To Heavy Fog Last Friday (school Was Cancelled) I Was Able... Nov 23rd. at 2:17:06 pm EST

Yvonne (Eastern Iowa) Age: 50

Due to heavy fog last Friday (school was cancelled) I was able to see the first showing of HP with my grandchildren, ages 11 & 13. We loved it!! A great fantasy film that made me feel like a kid again. The look on my grandkids faces as the story they had read came alive on the screen was priceless. My grandson leaned near me & whispered, "I feel like I've seen this before but how can that be?" I told him that is the beauty of our imagination and the written word, we are able to see the action in our mind. Oh, the power of a good book! Kudos, J. K. Rowlings!!!!

Although I Had Never Read The Books, And My Children Are Not... Nov 23rd. at 5:27:55 pm EST

kaicielia BlueDragon (Madison, Wisconsin US) Age: 25 - Email

Although I had never read the books, and my children are not yet old enough to read it (5&6), I did take my children to see the movie. I really enjoyed it, and am now considering buying the books for myself, and for my children so they can read them when they are older.
The story does a good job, in my opinion, of teaching responsability for a person's actions. Although the children do break the rules, they also defer to the punishments without much complaining. I especially liked, at the end, when the one boy gets extra points for standing up to his friends.
I liked a lot of other aspects of the film, but this is one that stood out for me.
I especially loved the cieling in the dining room. That was very enchanting.

I Have Seen The Movie Harry Potter And And I Have Read... Nov 24th. at 5:48:16 am EST

Summer Tietje (Tallapoosa, Georgia US) Age: 24 - Email

I have seen the movie Harry Potter and and I have read all the books put out so far. I thought the movie was excellent entertainment and enjoyed it throughly. I wish that it could have been longer, such as adding a hour or so and putting in an imtermission like they use to do a long time ago. I think they the movie will at least help others to think and study other religions besides Christianity. In my opinion that can only be a good thing although we will get a lot of flak from it by the Religious Right or in my opinion I like to call them the Religious Reich. I don't think that the spells used in the movie reflect the basis of our religion but they do give an exageranted view of accurate spellwork at times. I think that a good respose to those who want to "do like Harry" should look into books by prominant Witch authors like SilverRavenWolf, Amber K, and Scott Cummings. To those who believe that "Pottermania is anti-Christian and enticing children into the world of the occult" I have this to say to them. Be afraid, more afraid then you already are. It isn't the "magic" in this movie and the books that is really scaring you. It is that some of the messages in the movie and books are telling people to think for themselves and that they don't have to follow you and your religion. You are afraid of the message that yes sometimes to do the right thing you have to break the rules and that not all authority figures are right. The world is not something you can put into a box, it lives and breathes and IS ALIVE with more then what you want to see, hear and touch and I feel sorry for you that you refuse to see the possiblities and feel the joy that comes with knowing you are already an integral part of the world and connected to it. You fear what you refuse to try and understand so you attack it instead hoping that it will go away and I have to tell you that it will never go away for we will always be here and we will always be imparting what we know to others how ever we may.

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