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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 12,296,749  

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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 

I Just Saw Harry Potter Last Night, And It Was Excellent! As... Nov 24th. at 11:52:21 pm EST

Moon Pixie (Elyria, Ohio US) Age: 15 - Email

I just saw Harry Potter last night, and it was excellent! As a big fan of the entire series thus far, I was a bit apprehensive about seeing another film that didn't quite reach the standards set by the book; however, I had nothing to fear. The actors played their parts as if they stepped out of the book themselves, and the effects were amazing.

As for recruiting people to Paganism or magick study, it's hard to say. While kids and adults alike often fantasize about having mystickal powers and being witches and wizards, there are few that go beyond that point; the majority of those who do often lose interest when they realize that true magick is not the same as Rowling's wizards and that there is no central school with the tangibility of Hogwarts. For the people who begin a serious study of magick and find that it is their true path, however, I believe that theirs is a glorious realization and that they should be welcomed with open arms.

Magickal spells are not cast simply by the flick of a wand. It's a simple knowledge that everyone, magickal or not, possesses. The overall depiction of magick and witchcraft, though, is as accurate a reflection of our knowledge of them as could be asked for, wand folly notwithstanding. Also, the lessons about proper use of magick, etc., are realistic and perfectly placed in the story.

As for answering everybody... The only response I would have for someone who wants to do it like Harry is that by demonstrating compassion for your friends and others, and working for good in the world, you CAN do it like Harry. No, flying on broomsticks and wearing invisibility cloaks are still impossible for all purposes, but to 'do it like Harry' means to me that you do it for good and always for positive change...not to fly or play Quidditch.

To every Christian who would argue that Harry Potter is anti-Christian and evil I ask, did you translate the bible that you read? Humans are fallible, as well as prone to interpreting something to support their own ends. It is possible, then, for someone to have translated certain words of your original doctrine to state "witches" or "occult" instead of something entirely different. Also, having been a Christian, I have read bits and pieces of the bble. I do believe that it states (indirectly) to love everyone and professes open arms to all. It isn't up to any person on this earth to judge any other - no matter what religion you follow.

Basically, Harry Potter is the greatest movie to be produced in a long time, and is well deserving of the accolades it has received. I can't wait for the next one!

Ohh... I Am Most Certainly Wild About Harry. Read All Of The... Nov 24th. at 7:00:23 pm EST

Rebecca (Ottawa, Ontario CA) Age: 15 - Email

Ohh... I am most certainly wild about Harry. Read all of the books, um, lets just say a good few times, and saw the movie the day it came out. Only once so far but I do want to see it again. Yes, I must admit to being a bit of an addict. Personally I thought the movie was very well made. They left a few things out wich was slightly dissapointing, and you would have had to have read the books to fully understand it, but it was an absolute feast for the eyes, so all that can be forgiven. Will it bring more people into Paganism? Probably not. It really doesnt have anything to do with paganism, except for perhaps historical references, folklore and tradition, and underlying philosophical musings which might be attributed to Paganism or other beliefs, stuff that isnt really going to be picked up upon unless one already has some knowledge of the occult. Most of this stuff was left out of the movie anyway. Any kids who decided they wanted to be "witches or wizards" because of Harry Potter and happen to stumble upon info on real witchcraft would in most cases become bored with the lack of flying, bright explosions, etc and leave it alone. All those fundies thinking that "pottermania" is enticing children to the world of the occult are just funny. Do any of them honestly believe what we do is anything like the movie? No, actually Im sure there are many semi-intelligent ones out there who do know what Paganism is about, yet still believe that Harry Potter will lead children into it. IT IS FANTASY! And damn good fantasy at that, but they seem determined that it is, I dunno, I step towards evil or whatever. *shrugs* Perhaps developing a good imagination with the help of stories such as Harry may lead to a child developing (gasp!) independant ideas. Well we would'nt want that, now, would we....

That Harry Potter Is "anti-christian" Is The Craziest Thing That Anyone Could... Nov 24th. at 5:06:23 pm EST

georgette (constanta, Romania) Age: 33

That Harry Potter is "anti-christian" is the craziest thing that anyone could think. Perhaps it takes a lot of false puritanism, of lack of education, and short mind to make a comparison between this two notions. I haven't seen the movie, but I read three books and I was Delighted. Harry Potter is erasing elegantly the line between reality - and we all know how this reality is!- and fantasy. For few moments, when you held the book in your hands, everything became possible. Very refreshing! Nobody knows where is the point when reality stops and fantasy begins. And this is the message of these books. A KID is erasing the border between reality and fantasy and this kid gives you a breathe of fresh air at the end of every book. This kid gives you a smile and hope. He triumphs in the battle between good and evil. He is addressing to the child hidden in everyone. And people, let's face it: Jessus wasn't killed by fantasy. By Merlin. By Harry Potter. But what can kill Him today is the ignorance, the lack of education and parents which are not entirely qualified for this job.

I Think Harry Potter Happens To Be One Of The Best Things... Nov 24th. at 4:58:43 pm EST

Heather (Charlotte, North Carolina US) Age: 15

I think Harry Potter happens to be one of the best things for witchcraft, and the understanding of it, yet. I am quite pleased with how many people, old and young, enjoy this book and movie. I hope that maybe witches won't be seen as bad to a lot of children now but they'll think of the great and kind Harry Potter. I think that Christians telling their children that Harry Potter is the work of the devil is pure nonsense and I think they're selfish.

Warning: If You Have Not Seen The Flick And Do Not Want... Nov 24th. at 4:02:04 pm EST

Dana Davis (Lexington, Kentucky US) Age: 0 - Email

WARNING: if you have not seen the flick and do not want to know specifics, please do not read the following.

I just recently met Harry Potter and his world for the first time through the big screen. What touched me most was the warmth that filled my heart as i was captivated by the humour and innocence of the story. Familiar archetypes abounding, the invisible mantel(cloak) and self-playing chessboard from The Thirteen Treasures of Britain and the greeks' protective Centaur, to new and imaginative mythology
created by Ms. Rowling with owl postal workers and always roving painting/staircases, flying keys, and the thought of a wizard school in particular! I am thrilled that she has envisioned a new perspective to the important aspects of life for a new generation. Friendship, respect, honesty,
love, taking responsibility for your self and your actions,
do not make assumptions about anyone or anything, and the real battle of the balancing act in our world of light and dark forces, these are the gifts brought to you in an entertaining package by harry and his adventures.
When i was a young moviegoer, these same lessons in life were brought to me by a man named George Lukas, in the presence of Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Hans Solo, Luke and Lea as well as the Emperor and Darth Vader. This is a beautifully constructed fable paying homage to Truth, Honor, Loyalty, and Love. What else could be more appropriate to teach children and to remind adults?

I Loved The Harry Potter Books And The Movie Was Pretty Good... Nov 24th. at 1:42:48 pm EST

Spencer (Greensboro, North Carolina US) Age: 31 - Email

I loved the Harry Potter books and the movie was pretty good, but I wouldn't say that it had much to do with Christianity or Paganism. It was simply a story about good and evil. Witchcraft being the theme, it is only a glamorized Hollywood view of witches, not Pagan Witchcraft. Also, I would say that this movie would entice about as many children to the world of the occult as Star Wars would influence children to become astronauts.

I Haven't Seen The Movie Yet And Due To Grounding Our Son... Nov 24th. at 9:04:54 am EST

mandrina (rantoul, Illinois US) Age: 35 - Email

I haven't seen the movie yet and due to grounding our son, it will be a while. But the books have been a very educational thing for our two kids, 7, 8. My 7 year old is trying to read the book (yehhh!!!!!). I have to explain the names and meaning of pasty and git. Why is Remus Lupin appropriate for a werewolf. What is alchemy?
My journey into Wicca corresponds in timing to our discovery of the Potter books, but actually is related to working through the GOd and COuntry series (for the scouts) this summer. The God and couyrnty series made me really think about my religion for the first time and I realized that I didn't like this version of God. Potter didn't get me here, the old testament and Paul did. If I hadn't been dissatisfied, I wouldn't be here, (Harry Potter notwithstanding).
The Potter books are the ancient epic story, as one reviewer said, think Star Wars. Put the plot dsown to its base on both movies, leave out the setting and you don't know which one I'm talking about. I saw absolutely no religion in the books. MAgic in the series is technology, just like electricity. Nothing else. It is a story-telling tool. And a very well used one.
mother of 4

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.

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.

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!!!!

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 :) ).

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.

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