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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Misconceptions About Witches, Wiccans and Pagans
The Misconceptions About Witches, Wiccans and Pagans still exist despite decades of educational and outreach work. What are the common misconceptions that you still encounter in books, on the net or in the media about Witches, Wiccans and Pagans? Have they changed over the years? What can we do about those religious zealots who out-and-out lie about our practices and beliefs? How do YOU respond to some of the ridiculous 'myths' that you might see or hear about modern Witchcraft and/or Pagan beliefs?
| Reponses: There are 63 responses posted to this question.
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| Yes,somhow The've Changed And Somhow They Didn't. I'm Still Trying To... ||Oct 1st. at 11:56:16 am EDT|
|Jade Silverdragon (Buenos Aires, Argentina) ||Age: 22 |
Yes, somhow the've changed and somhow they didn't.
I'm still trying to explain to people like my grandmother what this is all about.She's the kind of person that is more catholic than the Pope...
She thinks that everything outside their religion is "evil".
My mother is a very open minded person and she understands me , even when she's a litlle bit scared.
I'm actually afraid of telling everybody that I'm an eclectic Wiccan because they don't even know what it is, and YES, like in the old times some of them would burn you if they could.
I find myself explaining my religion and beliefs to my grandma over and over again, but I came to the conclusion that people like her just DON'T WANT TO HEAR about it, and don't even bother trying to understand.
But from my place, day after day , if they ask me, I will still be explaining, over and over again.
My boyfriend is catholic and thinks that what I believe in is wonderful he's always listening to me :)
Only one of my friends is ok with my beliefs, but, saddly not everyone is capable of understanding and tolerance.
I hope that those who still don't understand what tolerance is , look back and think if we weren't tolerant to them....
| I Feel That Some People Don't Want To Accept A Belief System... ||Oct 1st. at 1:03:58 pm EDT|
|Beth (cheltenham) ||Age: 22 |
I feel that Some people don't want to accept a belief system which gives them control as most people don't want to be held responsible for their own actions and cannot cope with out guidance because they are scared that they will make a mistake and become socially unaccepted. Everyone is an individual yet we are continually being controlled by other people in order to be accepted yet it is for who we are more about what we are. Some people feel that a minority group or seen to be out of the norm group is wrong. I believe they act this way because they don't understand the concepts of that group and are therefore frightened of what it may lead to. Everyone has a right to believe in what ever they want to but everyone has a duty to respect other peoples opinions. I feel this is a point which some people just don't get.
| There Are Misconceptions About Everything...paganism Is Right Up There In Misunderstanding... ||Oct 3rd. at 3:14:18 am EDT|
|Shannon (Coleman, Michigan US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
There are misconceptions about everything...paganism is right up there in misunderstanding with Goths at this point. Everyone thinks that Goths are satanists, depressed, do drugs, listen to only sad music. Just like everyone thinks all people who play D&D are social morons with no friends and who snort when laughing (you know the typical geek)
And paganism? Well...Just last week someone asked me what the difference between a pagan and a hippy was. In a tone that said, "I'll eat my shoes if you can find a difference!" Are all pagans hippies? No way. But this person thinks so. If I'd told her that I was a witch, she probably wouldn't know that a witch is, in fact, a pagan, but would have said something like "So, you're goth, huh?" Anything I told her about myself would have made her place me into a neat little category, defined by the media. Yikes.
| My Experience To Date Is That It Is Only Those Who Are... ||Oct 4th. at 7:10:08 am EDT|
|dawn (adelaide, South Australia AU) ||Age: 31 |
my experience to date is that it is only those who are not strong in their own faith who feel the need to condemn the faith of others. when we recognise our own faith we are able to accept and recognise the faith of others. when people feel the need to justify their faith to others i often wonder whether they are really trying to justify their faith to themself. i have found an effective way to deal with the 'religious zealots'who belive that anyone who does not believe what they believe is obviously in legion with the devil. i invite them to my healing circle to experience first hand what i do. well, in six years i have not had one person take me up on this offer. regards
| I Think The Worst Things I Have Seen Are Those Aimed At... ||Oct 4th. at 10:51:31 am EDT|
|Illianna Quicksilver (Greenville, North Carolina US) ||Age: 26 - Email |
I think the worst things I have seen are those aimed at children, I have a five year old, and some of the movies and cartoons are simply horrifying. The good part about it is that it gives me a jumping off point to explain that witches do NOT "find babies tasty". (found in a book geared for children three and up) This does not however go to say there are not wonderfull stories out there, even some by non-Pagans. The most common situation that I face is my pentacle. I have recently spent some time checking identification in a local bar to help out a friend, and out of a line of people it has become a routine "no I do not believe in the devil, how could I have sold my soul to him?? The biggest problem I have is people touching it, can not seem to keep their hands off it. I wore a celtic triangle for three years and in two days more people had laid hands on my pentacle. My grandmother was catholic and had a saying that I use to this day. "Let those who have no capacity to understand remain ignorant". I learned this after many years of hour long debates(arguments) about religion. The most common myth I encounter is the idea that witches are "loose", (I won't use the four letter word I was actually called) and are given to having sex with anyone who is willing. To end on a positive note I have encountered many religions over the years and met beautiful, sensitive and warm people who ask only to understand, who love for the sake of love and who find that faith is the most important part of life. And they encourage mine. I thank the Divine for those people, and I think you will find that there are more thatn you think.
| I Would Like To Actually Say Something Positive In Defense Of How... ||Oct 6th. at 1:58:08 pm EDT|
|Lira (Lunenburg, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 30 - Email |
I would like to actually say something positive in defense of how Witches are portrayed in The Craft, Practical Magic and Charmed. Ok, they are fluffy, popularized movies/shows rife with inaccuracies - but they all have something in common that a lot of us seem to overlook; they are not about evil hags worshipping the devil. Their heroines range from misguided (california teens meddling with power beyond their abilities - hmmm, like you've never heard of THAT happening), to benignly meddlesome (older women working ethically questionable love spells), to actually positive and beneficial (hereditary witches fighting the forces of evil, albeit a Judeo Christian model of evil).
Cut them some slack - compared to the abundant negative press that can be found demonizing and condemning Pagans, these movies/shows are the best thing to happen to us in terms of publicity for quite a while. The women portrayed live fairly "normal" lives. They don't eat babies, and in both Practical Magic and The Craft, it is specifically stated that Witches don't worship Satan.
I would like more than anything, to see a show portraying us positively AND accurately, but until such a time as Producers and TV Acquisitions execs begin holding their products to those sort of standards, I am willing to settle for positively.
Yours in the Goddess,
| The Most Common Misconception I Find In The Pagan Community Is The... ||Oct 7th. at 9:34:53 am EDT|
|Jeremy Cantrell (Dalton, Georgia US) ||Age: 19 - Email |
The most common misconception I find in the pagan community is the one about "The Burning Times." Anyone who had done even a minor amount of personal research would have found that there were no real witches burned. The witch trials, or werewolf trials in Europe, were a Christian vs. Christian thing. All the witches, pagans, and others of the kind were living the high life. The British king at the time's number one advisor, I appologize for forgeting his name, was an open witch, alchemist, astrologer, and many more things. In the center of London lived a widow, a young widow, who openly practiced healing majick as her occupation. There are many, many more examples of witches like these, and as you can see, there was no reason for any witch to be living down in the slums with all those stupid Christians, and I personally am offended by anyone who would think that our kind would have ever been held down by dirty little puritans.
| I Almost Always Ask Those Silly Religious Bigots, "what Were Those Human... ||Oct 25th. at 5:57:21 am EDT|
|Kathrynna (Huntington Woods, Michigan US) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I almost always ask those silly religious bigots, "what were those human beings up to before the age of christianity, anyway?"
A world certainly must have existed before the bible (maybe a better one at that). Since people who lie over and over about paganism and any other faith are mainly christians, I then ask them, "has anything ever been right besides christianity?" Why are people so extremely content on converting the whole world to the ways of jesus christ? It is an infinite mystery beyond us, I believe. Sometimes, but just sometimes, it is quite difficult not to hate, just as they so willingly do.
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