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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: 20,354,772  

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Question of the Week: 11 - 10/16/2000

Hollywood Hype

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. Reverse Sort 

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.


I Was Leading Wiccan Online Discussion Groups Weekly When The Craft Came... Oct 23rd. at 12:42:43 pm EDT

Beth (Silicon Valley, California US) Age: 49 - Email

I was leading Wiccan online discussion groups weekly when The Craft came out. I was also writing for a nationally distributed Pagan magazine. So I had occasion to answer the questions and respond to the posers and deal with the misconceptions generated by that particular movie. Having recently watched a cable broadcast version of it, I'm reminded of the number of teen wish-thinkers who wanted to be able to play with their hair color, or eye color, or date life. Gah.

What did I tell them? I told them the truth: that doing anything mundanely is easier than doing it magically; that you are just as responsible for anything you do magically as you are if you do it mundanely; that a "glamor" is in the eye of the beholder -- you're fooling with other people's perceptions and not your own hair color. I asked them how THEY would feel if someone kidnapped them and forced them to spend time with/be close to/have sex with that person: welcome to the ethics of The Craft's "love spell". I told them that fiction is fiction, and that witchcraft is a path that is more demanding of the practitioner than any of the mainstream religions: philosophically, ethically, and practically.

And to the nervous nellies who fearfully asked whether someone's hex would put snakes in their beds, I reminded them that The Craft was a HORROR movie, and the point of horror movies is to scare you. And that even The Craft demonstrated (though most people didn't notice that fact) that the witches in it were not changing "reality", they were changing others' perceptions of reality...a point most clearly displayed to the poor fool trapped in her own nightmare reality at the end of the flick.

And to the people who asked me about "Manon" and "the power"...I just said that (a) there's no such deity, (b) the Craft doesn't work like that, and (c) the monotheistic, bootstrap, and women-only ideas of the Craft presented in that movie are most assuredly not the Craft as practiced. (That hasn't stopped it from continuing to create misconceptions among seekers, but most of those misconceptions are the same as the mainstream culture and anti-witchcraft tub-thumpers have been selling for centuries.)

It Depends On What They Have Seen And What Their Question Is... Oct 27th. at 6:32:16 am EDT

Eileithia (Lincoln, England UK) Age: 24 - Email

It depends on what they have seen and what their question is - but from many of them they want to know if we can really cast a glamour or can we levitiate etc. I help run one of the MSN Pagan chat rooms and we get loads of people come in to ask questions - and to comment - and sadly occasionally to bash as well. We often direct people here to this site for more information - and it is a link at the community I help manage as well.

Most of the films have their good and bad points - I rather like The Craft, Sabrina, Charmed etc - I loved the witch in Sleepy Hollow - and they are all making people talk - airing paganism - getting people to ask questions.

I heard two elderly women on the bus talking about Charmed - and one was saying that in her say witches were the local doctor because they couldn't afford the Doctor on the High Street.

I know we have to correct some of the misapprehensions about Paganism and Wicca in general - but is all gets people talking - and it is a good place to start.

I am a nurse and as part of my training I had to produce some work on the public images of nursing in the media - the good, the bad and the really sleazy - but most of the images are still of nurses - caring in one form or another.

I know there are very many damaging images of Witches in the media - I am no Wicked Witch of the West - but neither am I a Sabrina or a Prue Halliwell, I am human and I cover the full range of human emotions - so at times I may appear the Wicked Witch, and at others I am more of a Sandra Bullock from Practical Magick - but they are all just aspects of the greater whole.

And the get the uninformed asking questions.

I have a catholic priest who often comes into my room now - to ask for advice and guidence - I can't always help - but I can always listen to him and offer, where wanted, my opinion.

Love and Light, Health and Happiness, Peace and Blessings


First And Foremost, I Always Ask "what Do You Think Witchcraft Is... Oct 28th. at 7:36:22 am EDT

Rowan RavenFire (San Diego, California US) Age: 23 - Email

First and foremost, I always ask "what do you think witchcraft is?", because everyone has different ideas of what it is, and they would probably be more confused if I just started spouting off what I know. after explaining whether they are right or wrong (depending on what they think the craft is), I ask "what exactly do you want to know?" and I answer their questions. I always loan out or refer books to them if they want to know more....but most people arent interested anymore when they find out its not all "powerful" like in the movies. I find though, that people who think witches are evil are incredibly more relaxed, once Ive explained the basics of the religion...and the similarities we have to other religions.

Hi My Name Is Julie, It's Funny That You Should Mention "the... Nov 5th. at 10:08:32 am EST

Julie (DuBois, Pennsylvania US) Age: 18 - Email

Hi My name is Julie,
It's funny that you should mention "The Craft" I have a Pagan family. We have ben this way for as long as I can remeber... I lost one of My best friends because before "The Craft" came out I told her that my family and I are Pagans,
She blew it off and said she didn't believe, and I accepted that...Then THAT MOVIE came out and she was saying that she had believed all along and that she was becoming a practicing witch, at first I stayed open to her changing, but then after I started to share some of note books she started running right over Me and asking when did I do spells and basicly all the stuff she saw on the craft... Eventually I reached a peak, I could not take anymore, I had patiently told her that not even half of what she saw was even remotely real. So now I am very cautious about who and what I tell peole even if they are my best friend.
Blessed Be,

If People Have Seen Several Of The Movies/shows Listed Above, That... Nov 6th. at 9:45:38 pm EST

Rowyna (Kenosha, Wisconsin US) Age: 19

If people have seen several of the movies/shows listed above, that alone should tell them that not all of what you see on the screen is right about Witchcraft because of all the contradictions. However, the majority of people I talk to seem to dismiss almost all of the above except for "The Craft" as fanciful. They see the Goths wandering around with pentacles and clothes like those four girls wore, and in the public eye the Gothic movement and Witchcraft seem to be at least somewhat interchangable (see the Wiccan portrayed in Blair Witch 2). As a result, one of the first things I tell anyone who inquires going by movies is that Witchcraft and Paganism are NOT something done solely by rebellious, disgruntled teenagers looking for a quick, not-quite-safe fix for their problems. I go on to explain that the Law of Three and the Rede are true, and good ways to live under any belief system, and that just from those alone magick is not a quick fix for anything, and requires quite a bit of study, practice, and discipline from serious practitioners. Personally I find the belief structure itself to be much more rewarding than magick (that's just one of the perks ;) ), and tell them so. Then if they're still interested, I refer them to some titles, and explain that I'm still learning myself, so they should probably look into more reputable resources.

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