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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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112. Elders: Who Are They and Do We Really Need Them? - [74]

111. So, You’re Dead. Now What? - [59]

110. What’s Your Favorite Element? - [119]

109. The Broom Closet Revisited: What’s Your Current Occupancy Rate? - [129]

108. Do You Speak Pagan Geek? - [38]

107. Would You Be A Good ‘Reality Show’ Contestant? - [49]

106. What Is Your Inner Animal? - [127]

105. Are Pagans TOO Individualistic? - [56]

104. Have You Changed Your Mind About the War in Iraq? - [258]

103. What Are You Reading? - [95]

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101. Have You Made Any Extra Security Preparations? - [85]

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99. What Moon Phase Are You In? - [70]

98. Would You Live In A Haunted House? - [166]

97. What Natural Objects Are On Your Altar? - [103]

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 24,092,859  

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Question of the Week: 59 - 9/11/2001

911 America: Talking Through The Terror...

Talking Through The Terror... And helping each other cope with the tragedies that struck at the very heart of the United States. The Witches Voice has opened up this forum in order that Pagans may express their thoughts on the terrorist attacks that took place in NYC and DC on September 11th. As the full realization of what happened and the toll numbers begin to come in, Americans have many challenges ahead.

What are your thoughts on these incidents? How are you feeling? Feel free to post any magickal workings or other support gatherings planned in your area.

WebNote 9/16/2001: Since we launched this on 911 this forum as become laced with powerful inspiration and critical information, feel free to use the search functions on your left to better define the info you are looking for. Search for your area, famous Pagans, key words etc. Also check Wren's Nest News for the latest news related to our community.

 Reponses:   There are 969 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

I Think This Has Been A Tragic Week, But I Am Glad... Sep 15th. at 1:40:24 am EDT

Owl (Fountainville, Pennsylvania US) Age: 32

I think this has been a tragic week, but I am glad to see our community rallying to the support of our nation. Many people have died and it is likely that many more will die before this is over. We should do something now to honor the dead and pray to the Goddess and her consort the Horned God for the safety of our nation. I would hope that the Pagan Community nationwide could come together this Samhain to honor our nations dead and pray for the protection of our nation in the coming year. I know we have tried this before with mixed results but maybe inlight of the situation we could do something that sends a message to the world that we love this country and are here for her in this dark hour.
Blessed be,

I Have Been Reading The Email Messages Posted. Some I Find Very... Sep 15th. at 1:41:34 am EDT

Marianne Hemery (Brigitte) (edmonton, Alberta CA) Age: 49 - Email

I have been reading the email messages posted. Some I find very disturbing. While I find it harder every time I see footage of Palestinians rejoicing in the streets, to feel sympathy for them I am reminded that the United States has, in fact, in the not so recent past "performed militaary strikes" on them causing death and injury to children and other "non combatants".

I do not, however, ever remember seeing anyone in any so called western country rejoice at their pain and loss.

Just when I had convinced my self that they must be celebrating something else new reports came out of more street parties in the same town (videos purposfully with held) coupled with obviously staged shows of mourning featuring nervous, self consious, school girls. I felt sick; horrified, that anyone could hate so much.

Let us pray to their own goddess, Ah-lat that their minds and hearts be opened; that the innocent be protected from the justifiable wrath of the supper-powers, and that the truth be discovered and the true monsters be found and elimated not only in the Muslim world but everywhere.

Scince Samhain will soon be upon us I would like to sugest that everyone who feels it right hold a "Silent Supper" to honour the dead, bid them merry part and welcome them to the Summerland (or whatever your path calls the next life).
This will be my third Silent Supper and though it is ment for a group I find that it can be quite fullfilling even for a solitary like me.

Reaching Arms Of Love And Comfort Around All Survivors And Their Families... Sep 15th. at 1:46:38 am EDT

Dreemdanser (Jackson Township, Pennsylvania US) Age: 45 - Email

(Reaching arms of love and comfort around all survivors and their families of this unspeakable horror upon the earth and Her children.)

I am wishing I had come here sooner. I should have known you would have set up something like this quickly and well, as you did. I have been answering e-mails and posts at the site I am priveledged to manage, A Wiccan Circle of Friends. ( People have been able to focus on little else. There has been a lot of talk today among us about finding balance, and gradually returning to day-to-day living. But life will never be the same. We will however, be stronger, more compassionate, more appreciative of life and loved ones.

Almost a week before the terrorist attacks, we had planned to do an on-line circle with a few specific spells planned. There had been a running theme coming into our site of issues with domestic violence. So we figured it was The Lady's way of trying to get our attention. After studying the time and alignment options open to us, we had chosen, Tuesday, Sept 11th to meet for this circle and magickal work. The ritual and spells were written and prepared for. We had decided to work with mars on this waning moon, to diminish the anger, the hatred, and the violence which so many suffer in their lives.

Well, as I am sure you guessed, by mid-day Tuesday we quickly realized our plans had been set for an even larger purpose. The ritual and spells were easily adapted to address not only domestic violence but violence and hatred on a global scale. Many more showed up for circle than had planned to originally. It was a moving circle, and our energies were palpable.

The plan was to first render the hostile powers impedent, and then, later, on the waxing moon to meet again for magickal works of protection and peace. If you wish to join your energies with us on Monday night, September 17th, we are beginning circle at 11 PM EST, and again the focus is on goddess energies working for protection and for her people of earth.

Like all of us, I am striving for balance, to re-establish my own inner equilibrium. I am greatful tonight for connections like this one, and for my family, and for the breath within me. With each breath I pray for the day when The children of earth will live in acceptance, love and peace.

All love and light be with each of you,
Goddess and God protect and bless!

Looking For A Nice Pagan Gathering In Los Angeles Area...the Christians... Sep 15th. at 2:22:36 am EDT

Catherine F. Seymore (Mission Hills, Ca, California US) Age: 19 - Email

Looking for a nice pagan gathering in Los Angeles area...
the christians have each other, i wish we did too :(

Like Everyone Else In The World I Was Shocked When I Woke... Sep 15th. at 2:38:47 am EDT

Merryn (Christchurch, New Zealand) Age: 23 - Email

Like everyone else in the world I was shocked when I woke up on the morning on the 12th here in New Zealand, and was greeted by the news that "A terrible thing" had happened in America. I don't watch the news, finding it too depressing at times...and I live by the idea that if its important enough news, I'll find out soon enough, I was right. But I went on with the day, knowing little as I had to work and had basically no time to check out the news. I have to say that it was also my 23rd birthday, majorally overshadowed by sadness. During the day (thanks to the mall where I work, who brought out a TV for shoppers to watch) I managed to find out more details (originally all I knew was that a plane had purposely crashed into the Pentagon and somewhere else), and I saw the video footage of the the planes crashing into the Twin Towers, and people jumping out of the buildings. All day it was all the customers in my shop could talk about...some who were deperately trying to get through to friends in NY hoping they were ok. After work I went back to my parents house where i opened my presents and watched the news, 24hr footage on our TV station channel 1 of what had happened.
I guess I can regret that I didn't have a happier day, of course that is selfish. But right now, 4 days afterwards I'm still praying to the Lord and Lady that those still alive are found, and that hope is not given up too soon, that some of the families have their loved ones returned to them alive. But I can't help but find it so heartening to see the way the world has rallied around our "Big Brother" who has helped many of us in the past, it is the least we can do. So Friends, yes we are thinking of you even here in little New Zealand, we wept and still feel for your country, how can we imagine what you feel, when we here feel such sadness. It wasn't just your country that was attacked, it was all of us, many of us have lost people in this terrible act. The biggest fear is, if this can happen to you..what is to become of us?
I'll leave you with this - I can speak for all of us in New Zealand, we support you and agree with all the action taken by President Bush, not to jump in guns blazing until all the proof has been gathered. We think of the families and friends, and send our love to your country. We shall remember, we shall not forget.

Merry Meet, I Would Like To Thank Everyone Around The Globe Who... Sep 15th. at 2:43:38 am EDT

Graceria Soul-Fire (Oxford, Massachusetts US) Age: 22 - Email

Merry Meet,

I would like to thank everyone around the globe who performed a ritual tonight with us. In total our little group consisted of four. Well, four humans anyway. There was a host of wild creatures circling us in the field as we chanted. They seemed drawn to us. Mostly, we saw deer and coyotes but we could feel the presense of turkeys and a few others as well. For the predatory animals and the prey animals to mill about together like that, they must've heard the Goddess' call. I wonder if perhaps they were lending us their energies to join with ours. We could certainly feel it flowing off of them. They were there throughout the entire thing and followed us to the edge of the field as we left. My friend was rather un-nerved by them, but I assured him they meant no harm. I said good-bye to them and thanked them for the assist and, as they turned to leave, the alpha coyote looked back over his shoulder and I could almost hear him say "You're welcome. Glad to help!" How glorious to have the Goddess' creatures help us in this hour of need. We could feel the energy build around us and leave when we bid it go to help those in need. We also asked the God, Anubis, to lead the souls of the dead safely to their next lives. And we asked the God and the Goddess for swift justice against the terrorists who perpetrated this tragedy. The air tonight felt charged, I believe with the energies of all the other witches who also performed rituals with us. Perhaps those directly effected by the tragedy will sleep better this night. May you have sweet dreams and thank you for all your help.

Shade and Sweetwater and Blessed Be,


I Attend A Small State-funded Liberal Arts College In Alabama. We Were... Sep 15th. at 3:03:10 am EDT

Arhianna Wavewalker (Jacksonville, Alabama US) Age: 21 - Email

I attend a small state-funded liberal arts college in Alabama. We were all shocked and horrified by the events of Tuesday, like the reat of the country. The various campus ministries put together hastily-arranged prayer vigils and gatherings on Tuesday night, followed up by SGA-sponsered events for the rest of the week. The campus community has really been drawing together. People have been talking to each other and comforting each other. Mourning and fear have been shared. People have headed down into Anniston to give blood in droves. The SGA is collecting money with a single-minded determination I've never seen from them before. Everyone is drawing together with love and support of each other.

Yet, for the most part, I feel excluded.

There have been University-sponsered public vigils for everyone to attend. I've gone to these and stood in the background as the speakers talked on and on about the need for God in our lives right now and the hope that Christ will find his way into these people's hearts. Thier prayers were pretty much along the same lines. I've listened to my classmates talk in class about this being an attack on Christianity. I hear our president reading the Bible in public addresses.

Nowhere do I see MY faith represented except in my candles that sit on my balcony, burning in a wordless prayer and plea for peace and healing. Why? Why are we seemingly not acknowledging that other faiths exist in our country? Why are we apparently ashamed to publically admit to our precious cultural and spiritual plurality?

Wiccans, Pagans, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Agnostics, Atheists, etc...all of us are American citizens, aren't we? They didn't change the Constitution to read that being a Christian is a requiremnt for American citizenship while I wasn't looking, have they?

I know that personal beliefs and faith are one of the greatest sources of strength and courage that people can have in times of hardship and grief. Mine is. Others have found thiers to be. I accept that, and I celebrate it. I certainly don't wish to deny anyone the right to thier beliefs.

The point is, this WASN'T an attack on Christianity, but on the American people. The ones who did this don't care whether you're an Wiccan, or a Christian, or whatever. All they care about is causing as much pain and hurt to our country as they can. Yes, OUR country. Whether it occurs to the Christian community or not, we exist. Us practicioners of "weird" religions also lost our loved ones and our sense of security. We were attacked and saddened and angry just as much as they were. And we are as American as they. Yes, even those Muslim and Arabian immigrants we seem to despise so. All of us are together in this and all of us have been hurt. Despite our differnces, we all remain Americans. May we all remember this and unite against those who would try to tear us apart.

Goddess bless!

I Think That It Is Sad That This Is What It Took... Sep 15th. at 4:19:48 am EDT

Danielle (Albany, Wisconsin US) Age: 14

I think that it is sad that this is what it took to bring our country together, but we will grow stronger from this. I feel truly sorry for those who have lost family members and i just want all of you to know that i personally am doing literally everything in my power to help the red cross help others, even though since im only 14, there is a limit to what i can do, physically. mentally, i am mourning and hoping for a rebirth of america, more tolerance, less ignorance. Blessed be to all


Im Sorry, But In School Today I Felt Excluded. Usually I Can... Sep 15th. at 4:33:11 am EDT

Danielle (albany, Wisconsin US) Age: 14

Im sorry, but in school today i felt excluded. usually i can stand for singing christian songs, but today, saying the plege of allegience and america the beautiful, i felt left out. I am the only wiccan in my town, and it hurts to have only those songs to sing as a patriotic person:( i do not want to sound selfish, but i want a turn to shine and be known. Why must we be excluded? Is it impossible to keep religion out of the public? This has truly been a tragety, and i hope the united states will get through. I can not believe that we and every other belief that doesnt name their god "god" is excluded from this. i feel lonley.

Blessed be,

The Outrages Perpetrated On Americans On Tuesday Were Done By Cowardly Men... Sep 15th. at 4:36:58 am EDT

jody (summerville, Georgia US) Age: 47

The outrages perpetrated on Americans on Tuesday were done by cowardly men. Justice must be served, but I pray daily that the President will utilize his staff and his own good judgement before moving ahead with any plans.
The loss of life in NYC is horrendous and I have offered what assistance I can, as I feel especially the loss of my brothers and sisters in law enforcement. But I am also ex-military, and the attack on the Pentagon and on my fellow sailors hurts worse. Those of us who have been in the military know of the type of bonding that occurs. It's our shipmates that are gone now.
Do I hate all muslims/Arabs? of course not...but I do believe that those who planned the attack and those who harbored the planners will reap what they have sown, three times three.

I Found Out About The "attack" At 7 Am Pst. I Was... Sep 15th. at 6:03:52 am EDT

Ardellious Sabatt (Ventura, California US) Age: 26 - Email

I found out about the "attack" at 7 am PST. I was awaken to hear a phone conversation about how a local vendor of luggage and leather merchandise would be closed because of something that happened in New York, I would later find out about the whole story; how a bunch of terrorists hijacked some planes and flew them into some major landmarks of America, certain symbols of this countries wish to make this world into a peacfull ways... both violent and peacfull measures. It was intresting, because aside for the fear I had due to friends that lived in both areas, I felt afraid. It was not due to the threat of war, although I guess it might have been part, it was not a feeling of insecurity because this could happen again at anytime in the near future, it even wasn't fear of a possible scuffle with other countries over protection of the people responsible, no... it was the fact that in this time of crisis, the man to lead us in the aftermath and what is to come is George W. Bush. It's funny to me, that out of all the things that could come to my mind... that he would stick out as the forefront. As I expected he came onto national TV telling all of America to pray to the christian god, where normally that would be political suicide. It comes to mind when Bush was cought in saying that he did not believe Wicca was a real religion, and it also comes to mind the bombing of thousands of innocent, although American-hating, people in the rage of this pathetic little man from texas, who since his time in office has made it his number one priority to put us back in debt and make sure that nature pays the toll while he is in office by destroying natural reserves... All this comes to mind and the worst realization comes soon after... We have no choice but to trust in him. I recieved a call today from some friends of mine talking about how they were going to a memorial service to honor the dead and wounded in from the accidents... they were surprised when I said I didn't want to go... They almost seemed offended... though lacking the realization that all that would be going on there would be some ministers talking about the imortance of christ in these times... I find myself alone amidst the christian populace around here, even amoung my Wiccan friends. Fear not fellow Pegans... when you feel lonely or excluded... just remember that it is like that everywhere... and we stand togeather... just draw strength from that and go on... a Merry Mabon to you all... Blessed Be...

Here's Something I Wrote After Genoa About Trauma--although It's Oriented Toward... Sep 15th. at 8:37:48 am EDT

Starhawk (San Francisco, California US) Age: 0

Here's something I wrote after Genoa about trauma--although it's oriented toward that action the info applies to all sorts of PTSD, including the WTC travesty.

love Star

Please circulate this widely. Feel free to translate and repost without contacting me. We need to get this information out.

Supporting the Survivors of Genoa
By Starhawk

Genoa was an atrocity. Our friends and comrades have been brutally beaten, tortured, and wrongfully imprisoned. Some of them are so badly injured they will never be quite the same again. None of us will ever be the same emotionally or politically.

We need to support the people who went through the worst. And even those of us who escaped the worst need to know how to deal with trauma and how to recognize post traumatic stress syndrome.

Some of the symptoms follow. All of these are part of our normal human response to trauma, it's their duration and intensity that can turn them into the life-threatening condition of PTSD. If you are still having strong symptoms three months after the action, you may need experienced help. Our level of trauma will vary according to our personal histories and the level of violence we were exposed to: watching the stretchers being carried out is traumatic in a different way than being in one. People who come from violent homes in childhood, who are already survivors of rape, assault or abuse may be especially vulnerable.

Some symptoms: Changes in eating or sleeping patterns. Some people may be unable to eat or sleep. Others may not be able to stop. Not being able to put aside the terrible images and memories. Not being able to feel. Depression, inability to take joy in life. Rage (well, rage is the sane response to what happened, but crippling or self destructive rage, or anger directed at the wrong targets, can be a symptom.) Increased use of drugs or alcohol for self-medication. Fear, anxiety, panic attacks and phobias. Guilt, regret, and self blame. Witnesses who escaped suffering the worst may be especially prone to 'survivor's guilt'. Overwhelming grief. Inability to function normally, to plan or make decisions, or to carry out normal life activities. Shame.

Suicidal thoughts and feelings.

What you can do for yourself:

Reach out to your friends and allies for help and contact. Don't isolate yourself.

Remember-what happened is not your fault. You don't need to feel ashamed or guilty, although you may find yourself having these normal responses to trauma. The guilt belongs to the men who beat, tortured and murdered people, and to those who gave the orders, not to you. You coped the best you could with an utterly brutal situation.

Being there in Genoa is a mark of your courage, commitment and integrity. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. Be proud.

Friends and family members, in their own distress, may behave in ways that make it worse. You have the absolute right to stop them, to leave a destructive situation, and to find real help.

Remember that people do survive even these terrible things, and can come back stronger. But you may need time to focus on your own healing. Don't worry right now about whether or not you will go back to an action again. Know that healing yourself from this one is a political act.

What you can do to support your friends:

Find them. Contact them. Don't let them disappear into isolation. I'm especially worried about those who might have come to the action alone, or without friends in their own home city. They need to have contact with people who have been there, who understand at least something of what they went through.

Keep in contact. Call them, ask them how they're doing, if they're sleeping. Remember that people may think they're fine at first, but later begin to suffer the effects of the trauma. Commit to remain in contact over a period of months, not just the first few days.

Help them to talk. We need to tell our stories, sometimes over and over and over again: ideally to someone who has been through it and understands, but if that's not possible, to someone who can simply listen, accept the full range of our feelings, without trying to make us feel better.

Feed them, shop, cook and clean for them, take care of some of their creature comforts.

Accompany them. Help them get where they need to go.

Be an advocate for them in medical, legal or mental health measures. Help them make and get to appointments. Go with them. Help them fill out forms, write statements. Find appropriate help and resources for them.

Be an advocate for them with their school or job.

Help support their family and friends who may also be in grief, shock and rage.

Be a advocate, or a buffer, between them and family members, lovers or friends whose own level of stress and fear may cause them to react in ways that are not helpful. Be willing to let them get mad at you. Try to gently explain the reality of what has happened.

Help them bear witness, but take their lead. Some people may find their greatest relief comes from speaking out and telling their story publicly. You can help interest the media, or set up venues for them to talk to groups. For others, however, this might be too overwhelming or restimulating. Help them find other ways to witness: writing their story, writing statements that can be read by others for them, making tapes or videos at home.

Carry on the struggle. Find ways that they can stay connected and be a part of it even if they are not able to go to actions.

In all these things, remember that your friend is in charge of her or his own healing. Don't patronize or infantilize them, but support them to make their own choices.


Some people may need experienced, trained help to get through this. A group of us have been in the process of setting up a database of care providers who are committed to working with activists, if necessary on a no-fee or low cost basis. (This may not be such an issue for those of you with national health services, but some activists may be unwilling to trust those services and need private help.) The website should be up by August 15, 2001 and will be hosted at:

It will include contact information, experience, training and background. We are unable to provide quality control or monitoring, but the database will include a place where people can post their own experiences with the care provider.

I'll post a link on my own website at as a backup.

If you know care providers with an understanding of activism, and experience in dealing with trauma who might be willing to be listed, please have them contact us. If they need more information, ask them to email Walter Zeichner

Another good resource on trauma, with links to other sites and book recommendations, can be found at:

We need to take care of each other. If we do, we can strengthen our movement, and grow stronger.

Love and solidarity,

A few additional resources from a friend with the Red Cross:
David Baldwin's Trauma Page has a lot of resources: This includes the resources that the Red Cross publishes and it's easier to reach than through the Red Cross web site. It also includes a number of international sites and provides translations into 5 languages of its pages.
The National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:
The American Psychiatric Association has a trauma page:
Amnesty International

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