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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| Well As A Long Time Solitary Eclectic Pagan, I Find These Films... ||Oct 21st. at 4:48:32 am EDT|
|Thomas Jaskovich (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 32 - Email |
Well as a long time Solitary Eclectic Pagan, I find these films and tv-shows to be far more problematic then they are worth. Often new comers seek the "powers" they have seen on these media hyped shows. Especially the younger crowd which seems determined to find a quick success scheme in everything they do. So when I am approached by someone interested in Paganism based on a movie or tv-show, I ask if they have read any books on the subject. Usually they haven't so I refer them to a few good books, telling them once they have read one or more to contact me with any questions. But before letting them go on their way, I do my best to inform them that Paganism is not like it is portrayed by Hollywood. If they actually do any reading and contact me back, then to me it means they are truly interested, and so I try to teach or guide them. But very few seem to contact me back.
| To Begin, I Would Try Not To Overwhelm Them With Information. An... ||Oct 21st. at 2:04:12 pm EDT|
|Kathy Brisley (Cobleskill, New York US) ||Age: 46 - Email |
To begin, I would try not to overwhelm them with information. An important consideration is: how much does this person want to know? Start slowly, beginning with the point that movies are entertainment and in many movies, things happen that we realize don't *really* happen. Explain that Witches believe in a supreme deity, that we don't worship or believe in "Satan, " and ask if they have any specific questions. The last thing I want to do is come off like a televangelist!
To continue, I try very hard to live my life by the Rede: I don't meddle, I don't hurt the feelings of others, I don't consciously prejudge anyone. I don't have wild parties, or attend them. I am responsible in my home and work life. In short, I try to show by my actions that being a Witch is not a negative thing, but very positive; and try to stress that I have found a path that gives me the spiritual fulfillment I need.
| The First Thiing I Would Tell A Person Like This Is-"you... ||Oct 21st. at 5:59:41 pm EDT|
|horse (Missoula, Montana US) ||Age: 26 - Email |
The first thiing I would tell a person like this is-"you are to be comended for your courage" How many of us have lived in fear? Most American pagans did not spring from the womb robed and with athame in hand. Most of us heard of organized paganism through some other source than divine inspiration. Don't get me wrong- many of us felt compelled and drawn to nature religions our whole life. Does it matter where one heard of it in the first place? I don't think so. In fact, I say, the more people who are drawn to paganism, the better, no matter what their inspiration. In fact, I notice more and more veiled references in popular media. Whirlpool has commercials with what appear to be a veritable olympus of domestic goddesses. Car companies tell us "don't disappoint the road gods" (are they referring to my own special friend- the asphalt goddess?) I feel that the old ways are seeping back into our shiny new world, just with new and different masks. Good? Bad? Commercialized? Who knows-it simply Is.
| First Of All, Let Me State That I Dissaprove Of "pagan... Inspired... ||Oct 21st. at 6:05:09 pm EDT|
|Isis Macnamara (Greenville, South Carolina US) ||Age: 22 - Email |
First of all, let me state that I dissaprove of "Pagan...
inspired" shows and movies such as Charmed, Sabrina and what not. Charmed and The Craft use/d many of the right words, symbols and tools in the wrong contexts. This to me is even more dangerous than using outright falacies. Many people will now here these words in the right context and make the wrong mental associations due to what they "learned" from the tv show/movie. I have had many people (young people often, but not always) come up to me after having seen pagan oriented hype asking if I can do all sorts of ridiculous things or berating me when I tell them I can't change my hair color at will (what money I would save on hair dye!) or stop time or things like that. I generally just try to explain calmly and rationally that things don't work like that, that what I practice, to me, is first and formost a religion and that I in fact practice very little magick at all. I tend to direct the genuinely curious to Scott Cunningham's "The Truth About Witchcraft Today" ( a really excellent book for dispelling myths and hype)I like it because it is not precisly Wicca oriented and gives an idea of the wide range of practices and beliefs out there.
To end on, for all my dissaproval of these types of shows and movies, I have to make an exception for "Practical Magic" which I went to see expecting to hate and ended up won over by it to the point that I could forgive that little flying off the roof thing at the end. In other words, I was far more 'charmed' than I expected to be
| My First Response Would Be "tell Me What You Think Witchcraft Is... ||Oct 21st. at 7:39:04 pm EDT|
|Eireannestar (Oil City, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 28 - Email |
My first response would be "tell me what you think witchcraft is, " which is taken from Silver Ravenwolf. You can't dispel a myth or fallacy if you don't know what it is. Our coven works every day to break down the basics and inform everyone we can. We work in a bookstore, so we see all the young (mostly) girls coming in for love spells, etc. We always impart the three fold law, and try to help them understand just what they are getting into.
I'm mixed on the Hollywood version of witchcraft. It's definately gotten better, no hags with warts and stringy hair. But at the same time I agree with a lot of the other responses that using the right words, phrases, tools, names, etc. in the wrong way is just a lack on the writer's part for not doing proper research, and does nothing for our concerns.
I truly did enjoy "Practical Magic" and was repelled by "The Craft". What is most important, and something to remember, is that at least Hollywood and others are starting to recognize the sheer immensity of the Pagan/Wiccan population now. We aren't a whisper on the wind anymore. We are a viable part of society, and to have anyone acknowledge that, to me, is a giant step in the right direction.
Maybe someone will decide that, "hey, what if I do a little research and actually make a movie, or a show that has some validity, some resemblance to the truth?" We can only hope that soon someone will be struck by the moon's rays and given a bright idea.
| Well It Is Plain Too See That Sabrina Who [shoot's Star Like... ||Oct 22nd. at 2:18:58 am EDT|
|Morrigan StormRaven (Griffin, Georgia US) ||Age: 22 - Email |
Well It is plain too see That sabrina who [shoot's star like magick from her finger tips], and The Craft who worhsip's some god person named "menole" [or least's that what it sounded like too me!] Are Non Witchlike Movie's and show's. It is clear too see, Those two don't have anything that echos what you assume would be true witchcraft.
Now Charmed is a show I like, and Arron Spelling has done his homework, and I think the show Charmed for the most part feed's the audience a postive note on witchcraft, (unlike sabrina which is whimsical, and The craft which aside from some point's is mostly movie-witchcraft.) And Is Good for the audience.
They aren't worship any god's and or goddess's, but are conquering fear (about scary thing's such as in the episode of the woogieman) and Blow up demons in their attic. They promote concerns for what they are [in character i know but still] and aren't out for Personal gain (Such in the episide where phoebe had too burn because she killed someone for personal gain..That was a VERY Touching episode, and Can teach us all about Personal Gain, wither we are in the craft or not!)
On The Note of Buffy and other such shows, I Think They also promote a Good view too the audience. They aren't all powerful, and even though they dip into spell's that would never ever work, It's Entertainment.
If someone came too me, and wanted too know about True witchcraft, I would show them Our Tenet's, The Rede and Remind them the most potent magick of all, is the Mind and knowledge too know the difference between lies and truth's about what one see's in the movie's or on TV and what one can learn form a website or Book.
| I Would Tell Them That That Hollywood Left Out Alot About Wicca... ||Oct 22nd. at 2:49:58 am EDT|
|Shanda (The Dalles, Oregon US) ||Age: 24 |
I would tell them that that Hollywood left out alot about Wicca and Witchcraft and to do research on Wicca as if it was any other religion the person was curious about. I would explain to them that it is more than magick and fun. Mistakes are made and much of it isn't anything out of the ordinary. Shows like Sabrina are fun to watch but there is always some mundane lesson Sabrina has to learn. If the person misses that on screen, then I truly suggest learning alot more about the craft. And there are alot of differnt branchs out there and many who think their magickal path is the right one. If he person is willing to look at all that then I say, go ahead. I myself cannot tell the person about the history of wicca etc. because I'm still finding my own path.
| The Times I Have Been Approached By People Interested In Witches And... ||Oct 22nd. at 2:27:18 pm EDT|
|Onyx (Meridian, Mississippi US) ||Age: 47 - Email |
The times I have been approached by people interested in Witches and their works, I find they are often disappointed after I explain the Witches' Read and the Law Of Three. The idea of personal responsibility for one's actions and the consequences of those actions often are enough to dissuade would-be witches from continuing. This is not a "take it out for a Sunday drive" religion, but truly a way of life. I tell them that I do little magick but much study-Witchcraft for me is a continual learning experience. For those who still wish to know more, I tell them to get some books-the Farrers' in particular-and read about Witches and the Craft. I don't try to convince them one way or the other,
since in the end, they will have to decide for themselves.
| I Think The Worst Thing About Hollywood Portrayals Of Witchcraft Isn't So... ||Oct 22nd. at 3:00:15 pm EDT|
|Dallandra (Spokane, Washington US) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I think the worst thing about Hollywood portrayals of Witchcraft isn't so much that they got it all wrong, it's that they did do *some* research then distorted what they discovered. If it was totally whimsical then I don't think I would care. But notice how in the Craft they learned about the rule of three and circles and such and then totally changed it. That makes people who come to paganism really confused: they are told that Hollywood witchcraft and real life witchcraft are totally different, yet they see these 'similiarities.'
As to what I would tell someone who asked about it, I think I would tell them it's a religion, like any other (that would scare off a majority of them) then if they were still around, I'd point them to some books.
| Remember, It's All Fiction, Just Like "er", "nypd Blue" "the Practice" Or... ||Oct 22nd. at 6:28:57 pm EDT|
|Betsy (NY, New York US) ||Age: 43 - Email |
Remember, it's all fiction, just like "ER", "NYPD Blue" "The Practice" or any show devoted to a particular type ofoccupation or way of life.
A writer or a group of writer made it up. Some shows have good researchers and consultants; some do not.
The good news is in many cases, we are portrayed as being vibrant, in the community, productive....the bad news is that stereotypes and sensationalism make for better TV and movies. Just as other groups continue to push for fair coverage, we must be vigilant and continue to use the power of where we spend our dollars to influence the hype.
| What Do I Ask People When They Ask Me About Witchcraft? I... ||Oct 22nd. at 9:07:16 pm EDT|
|alexandra (canton, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 9 |
what do i ask people when they ask me about witchcraft?
i usaly tell people what i know i usaly get questions about my pentacle i tell them that its a symbol and what it means and then they ask if i curse people and i explain that most witches dont hurt people and that i would never atempt to hurt any living thing.then i tell them that they should find adult wiccans to help them learn because im still learing my self.
| I Think That It Is Important To Remember That Paganism Isnt The... ||Oct 23rd. at 3:15:20 am EDT|
|Deni (Danville, Kentucky US) ||Age: 28 |
I think that it is important to remember that paganism isnt the only religion or way of life that gets ascued on television. Christianity has also been messed with in movies... Saints with seemingly magical powers to heal the sick, and whatnot... I remember when I went in to see Stigmata I was stoped at the door to the cinema and told that the movie was sacreligious. To which I replied, "What movie isnt?"
So basicly, I think that it is important to take things with a grain of salt. I like Charmed and Sabrina. I like Charmed because it is one of only a few shows that show witchcraft in a good light and with the notion that witches arent cat killing evildoers placing curses on innocent children. I like Sabrina because it is just a silly little fun show and it really does no harm. The Craft I thought was sorta alright because it showed that there were consequences to your actions, but still think it crossed the line. Movies and shows that perpetuate the myth that witches are devil worshipers and evildoers... that bothers me. But other shows and movies dont.
I really liked Practical Magic. It was a good movie, but an even better book.
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