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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: 12,730,270  

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Reponses: 289

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Question of the Week: 60 - 10/1/2001

What About Those Pagan Leaders Again?

As we mentioned in our homepage introduction, the question of who our 'Pagan Leaders' might be has again been raised. And perhaps that is a good thing as the world situation has changed and perhaps the views of Pagans on the topic have changed as well. We would request that those who continue to support the decades old view that Pagans do not need national leaders also then address the question of what should we do to comfort/represent our own at a national level in times of crisis seeing as most folks in the Pagan community are still solitaries.

We request that those who take the position that national leaders are (or may) be needed to represent the Pagan communities in times such as this also address the question of how these 'leaders' would be supported financially in order that they might afford to work full-time for the communities and/or take emergency/diplomatic trips to seats of political power to represent you.

And finally, just where would the national election for 'Pagan Leaders' be held? Without such an election, any national 'Pagan Leader' would by necessity have to be an 'appointed' one, wouldn't he/she? (Just who does the appointing has always been interesting.) This question is one of a 'national' Pagan leadership and the benefits and/or drawbacks of such. Local and community Pagan leaders/advocates/facilitators are already in place and generally do a wonderful job where they are.

 Reponses:   There are 289 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

There Are Those Who Are Natural Leaders Within Their Own Communities Who... Sep 26th. at 7:07:16 am EDT

Debra Hoyle (Belfast. Northern Ireland, England UK) Age: 34 - Email

There are those who are natural leaders within their own communities who do a fantastic job, but put them on the international scene and its a different story. It takes a lot of strength, courage, and a sense of humour to stand up in front of complete strangers and speak freely and openly without worrying about the response. There are also some who cannot help but colour their responses with their own ideas which may not be the same as the majority of their community or for the good of their community. You need to be able to see the veiws put forward from all sides and not take offence if someone disagrees with you, and it may not necessarily mean your own veiw gets heard, you need to speak with the community voice not your own. Very few people I know, even though they are great at organising events etc and are wonderful people, can do this. Obviously there would also ensue a long drawn up battle of who's the best speaker and who knows more etc, so who would decide!!!! Could we organise local elections within our own communities and is it fair that only one person should represent a community?, thats an awful lot of responsibility for just one person, and can they represent people they may not even like, without prejudice.???
If it can be done and the right people found then I am for it and would give it my blessing but I believe it will take many years to get right. But then anything worth doing is worth doing right no matter how long it takes.

Well I Dont Know How The Majority Of Pagans Feel On This... Sep 26th. at 3:49:45 am EDT

Bill Oram (Mount Holly, New Jersey US) Age: 42 - Email

Well I dont know how the majority of Pagans feel on this, but I will stick my neck out and say we don't need representatiom at the national level. To my way of thinking Pagans are free thinkers and in that sense it doesn't matter what any Would Be Pagan Pope or grand Poopaa might be able to say to give comfort. What matters is how Each individual Pagan deals with these tragedy's if we truely believe in living in a way that harms none, if we believe all in the universe is interconnected and if we believe in reincarnation and the law of threefold return we KNOW that this awful occurance is not the end. I personally
feel that even something this bad has it's possitive aspects. Does this country feel more like a family now? Are we more on the alert for future attacks? Are we asking ourselves "What have we done to make people hate us so"? Perhaps we as a nation need to change some of the ways we deal with others? Some good will inevitably come of this, Painfull though it seems.

When the law of threefold return takes effect and these terrorists bad Karma returns to them they too will learn from this.

I don't see how a national leader will help us. WE ARE OUR LEADER. And our collective voice will be heard when the need arises, especially in the age of the internet. Look at all the fuss over what Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson had to say! Their followers listen to their words and adopt the views of these "Leaders" as their own. It gets them off the intellectual hook, it lets them leave their minds in neutral and KNOW what they believe. They can have ALL of these leaders. That for me is one of the reasons I love being Wiccan, I will choose what I believe for myself.

Love and Light Bill

I Don't Consider A Lot Of The Folks Mentioned To Be "leaders... Sep 26th. at 2:39:51 am EDT

Morgan DragonWolf (Hartford, Connecticut US) Age: 50

I don't consider a lot of the folks mentioned to be "leaders." Laurie Cabot? Silver RavenWolf? They are AUTHORS - not politicians, not public officals, not our cosmic coven leaders. As for Fritz and Wren - lay off! I know how hard it is to find the time to post news - I run a small list for MY community. Each of us does what we can, and we gather in small-med groups because that is the way pagans have done it for centuries.

My personal support groups is C.U.U.PS. If anyone needs a national leadership base, try joining the Unitarians. Please don't sit back and gripe. Instead, try channeling that energy to those who need it most - the grieving, the dazed and confused children, and the innocents who will surely be killed in the coming days, months, years.

In Darkness and in Light,
Morgan DragonWolf

On Sep. 26 In Ottumwa Iowa A Local Circle Of Practitioners Of... Sep 26th. at 2:24:10 am EDT

Douglas S Heisel (Ottumwa , Iowa US) Age: 36 - Email

On sep. 26 In Ottumwa Iowa a local circle of practitioners of various faiths. sent a call out to all their brothers and sisters in the comunity to gather at the Ottuma park for a memorial service and a circle of light and warmth. The event was advrtised in the local newspaper the event was a succes. The Circle of Sacred Ways is a small organization of like minded individuals from differing spiritual paths that have come together seeking a sense of community in which to flurish as Pagans Chiristians New age and wiccan individualists.

I Think There Is A Need For A General "spokes Person" Of... Sep 26th. at 1:55:00 am EDT

Patrick (ft. wayne, Indiana US) Age: 25 - Email

I think there is a need for a general "spokes person" of sorts but trying to choose a leader for a diversified religon, a few voices for so many, would be almost impossible.

Yes, We Need Pagan Leaders. At The Very Least, We Need Spokespersons... Sep 26th. at 1:48:17 am EDT

Kecia Lloyd (Seaside, California US) Age: 32 - Email

Yes, we need Pagan leaders. At the very least, we need spokespersons that will come across to the rest of the country as "normal" and be able to vouch for us and give our collective opinions, if needed.

I Think That A Majority Of The Pagan Faith Uses Witchvox To... Sep 26th. at 1:21:09 am EDT

DeWayne Christy (Pineville, Louisiana US) Age: 42 - Email

I think that a majority of the Pagan faith uses WitchVox to keep abreast of what is going on within our varied communities. Why couldn't the ones named in the 'Open Letter' be contacted and asked if they would care to represent the communities at large, and if they concur, to hold an election through WitchVox?

I personally feel that there should be two people elected. One male, one female. This would stress the duality of our nature, and would give a broader base to what was being done. Owing to the fact that there are so many trads, and different ways of working, any public display, whether printed or spoken, would have to be of a generic nature. We all have the same concept of our faith, just different ways to the same means.

As to support, again, why couldn't a special account be set up on the 'net to accept donations? This account could be set up to accept electronic fund transfers, paypal accounts, credit cards, etc.

The logistics would have to be worked out and through, but I feel that the Pagan community definitely needs some type of representation. Pagan Pride does a fine job, and so do a lot of the PUC chapters. But we need to have some visible, viable spokespeople. Not everyone may agree with everything they say or do, but we have a whole country that runs pretty well no matter who the majority elect. I don't see why this should be any different.

I propose that Pagan Pride, or another group draft a charter governing how such an election could be held, what term limits there may be, what duties a spokesperson could perform, etc., and put the charter up for approval via the means stated above. From there we could go to 'national' election.

If the WitchVox site is not capable of handling electoral forms, couldn't another be set up somewhere? The site could be posted on WitchVox and interested parties could link to it from there.

I Don't Believe There Is A Need For A "national Leader", As... Sep 26th. at 1:09:21 am EDT

Watcher (Anaheim, California US) Age: 51 - Email

I don't believe there is a need for a "National Leader", as many of the world's religions have. A leader in one of the other churches, etc., seems to be the one directly resposible for creating guidelines and then also has to be the scapegoat for mistakes made by any other member of the religious community associated with them.

One possible suggestion: A national gathering once a year for pagans, witches, and others interested in this type of path in life to share ideas, wares, literature, and come together for a celebration of life.


Godess Forbid That We Have A Pagan Leader! I Love That I... Sep 26th. at 12:04:15 am EDT

Teresa Sparks (Flagstaff, Arizona US) Age: 29

Godess forbid that we have a Pagan leader! I love that I have no person purporting to embody all MY beliefs and represent MY methods of expressing those beliefs! Organized religion was one reason that most other religions do not fit my spiritual needs. The money, politics and dogma that would be required to support such a leader is a most unappealing thought. I prefer the freedom to experience my religion as I see fit. We do NOT need a leader to speak as one voice for the Pagan community. The Pagan community does not have ONE voice, it has MANY that are all accepted and valid.

I Read That Scathing Email And Thought, "either This Was Written In... Sep 25th. at 11:54:36 pm EDT

Magpie (Boulder, Colorado US) Age: 38 - Email

I read that scathing email and thought, "Either this was written in the heat of anger and they'll be sorry later, or this person is not a Pagan."

The special forum that WitchVox set up was so comforting to me. I felt part of a community, and proud of that community as well. And if the forum didn't get up until the day after the disaster, well, Wren and Fritz were going through the same panic and sorrow as the rest of us, and they run this site out of the goodness of their large hearts. We don't pay them jack unless we want to. I don't begrudge them that day.

I was particularly fascinated by the writer's premise that the lack of a public Pagan presence meant that our leaders were "hucksters." Usually hucksterism is associated with public positions, not with quiet, dedicated efforts to help people close to home. My mother doesn't belong to any organization, doesn't give to any organized charity. But she knows everyone in her neighborhood, and helps so many people with time and money, including buying snow tires for a friend who wanted to visit her father for his birthday. Is she less of a person because she's not on TV? My pagan sisters and I were in constant contact with each other during the crisis, and dedicated time to it both at our private altars, and during our Mabon ritual. Is our spirituality meaningless if we don't have tax exempt status?

And as for predicting it with Tarot cards...oh get real. Find me the religious group that says they predicted it and I'll show you a bunch of spittle-emitting loonies with a lot of guns and 15-year-old wives.

You Want Thoughts? Ok... Here Goes: First Off, Many Of The People... Sep 25th. at 11:17:02 pm EDT

Kriselda Jarnsaxa (ThorsWitch) (Kansas City, Kansas US) Age: 36 - Email

You want thoughts? Ok... here goes:

First off, many of the people mentioned in the list are not "self-styled" anything - Wren & Fritz, Gavin & Yvonne Frost, Phyllis Currott, Z Budapest, Starhawk, and most of the rest have actually EARNED the respect that they are given by sharing their knowledge, time, spirits, and more, with the Pagan community. They've DONE things, they've made serious contributions, and they're well-known because Pagans who know of them frequently refer new Pagans (or other Pagans who are, for whatever reason, not already familiar with them) to them for the quality of information and the type of spirit they have to offer. I may not like or respect all of them equally, but I know many people will respect those I think "less" of as highly as I respect the others, and vice versa. (It should also be noted that not all of the people mentioned - not even the majority of them - write for Llewellyn. In any regard, whatever you may think of Llewellyn, you can't deny that that HAVE been the most successful in getting their books into wide circulation.... I know a great many people who have discovered Paganism through Llewellyn books. They may not be the best books out there, always, but they DO serve a purpose, eh?)

Given that I have, in essence, founded a new Tradition and have an incorporated Pagan church (membership, 1) and a chartered Fellowship of Isis Iseum (membership, 1), I could sign self-designated, high-sounding titles (Rev. Kriselda Jarnsaxa, ULC; Founder and High Priestess, Heidenhexerei Tradition of Wicca; High Priestess, Hexenhaus Church of Isis and Thor; and Founder, Charioteer's Iseum of the Ankh and Hammer - wouldn't that look spiffy on a letterhead?), send out press releases and issues statements and proclamations, but that doesn't mean anyone would listen to me, because the things that I have done don't yet warrant HAVING anyone listen to me, or promoting myself as a "Pagan leader".

Ok. As to "self-styled psychics" not knowing anything about this... the FBI and CIA, who are supposed to have more to go on than dreams, feelings, visions, tarot cards, runes and the like, apparently knew nothing about this.... nothing in Christian, Jewish or Muslim prophecy mentions anything about it, and, really, even Nostradamus didn't have anything to say about it.... perhaps Divinity, for whatever reason, didn't WANT there to be any warning, so none was given. As tragic as this is, there may well be some purpose in this horror - something we cannot, now, see and may not ever really comprehend. I really hope that there is a purpose in this -- that all of those lives ended when they did for some actual reason and not just as a twist of fate. I don't want people to think I'm saying that Divinity "caused" this to happen as some kind of act of evil or Divine punishment - but I do believe that things happen for a reason, and this may well be part of whatever plan Divinity has for this world - just as other tragic situations may also be.

Next. Why aren't we hearing from the leaders in the media. It may seem that EVERYONE is being interviewed, but there really is a finite amount of space in both broadcasting and in print. There are SO many stories out there, so many concerns, so many messages that people are trying to get out, so many groups looking for a sliver of time or line on a page, so many, in fact, that they actually have to choose who and what will get air time. It may well be that these leaders HAVE made themselves available to the media, or have sent out messages, press releases and such like, and that because we are such a small minority of people in the US, we're just not getting any of that precious space. It may not be fair, but it is how the news business works. Right now, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and other Middle Eastern religions are going to get the most attention because they have the greatest need to clarify what it is their faith really is all about and why their people shouldn't be harassed, hurt or killed. While there are Pagans who are affected by this - certainly some who are affected quite personally and directly, lets be honest - except for Falwell, this isn't affecting Pagans as a group in any kind of a PR sense. Personally, I'd MUCH rather let the Muslims, etc., have the time & space, because right now they have an immediate need to educate people about their faith. Our time will come - hopefully not in such a horrifying way - but we can be patient.

As for offering spiritual comfort, I know that many Pagan clergy in the Northeast (and I'm sure others from elsewhere, as well) ARE available and giving aid and care to the victims and to their own coven mates or fellow group members. Doing so doesn't have to be done in public for it to be real OR for it to count. That it is being done is all that matters. Do we believe that the Divine will care for Its own? If so, then we don't need to worry about how much publicity is being gotten for efforts on behalf of the Pagan community - those that need the help will be given it.

Now don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that I oppose Pagans getting more positive publicity. I think it would be great if we could. I DO, however, feel quite strongly that using - exploiting - this tragedy for PR would be beyond dishonourable. It isn't necessary. If we were to start jumping out of the woodwork right now, waving our arms and yelling "Yoo-hoo! Look at us!! Look at us!!", it isn't going to help de-marginalize us any at all. We'll be seen as shameless opportunists who are trying to take a horrific tragedy and turn it to our advantage, just as Falwell and Robertson are viewed as exploiting the attack in order to try and reinforce their own pronouncements.

That certainly isn't what we need.

I Am Against Appointing Pagan Leadership. I Am From A Catholic Background... Sep 25th. at 11:16:38 pm EDT

MoonJackal Lady (Ellicott City, Maryland US) Age: 17 - Email

I am against appointing Pagan Leadership. I am from a Catholic background (I am even a confirmed Catholic 0.0) and whenever the church said something like " is Bad, " I would look at it, and come up with my own opinion, and see that unless I agreed, there was no voice standing up for what I decided was in tune with my morals. I kinda have this belief that those who are appointed usually do what the majority wants so that they can keep their posistion, instead of doing what they believe is right. I know that's a rather negative viewpoint, and the Pagan community is generally much more open-minded and cooler and stuff, but the element of power and human nature also come into play as well.
I would be willing to donate money to help pay for Pagan leadership. I might not be able to pay much, but I think that if the community was asked to help raise money, they would do so. That's how churches work--they donate money, which goes to pay for the priest's salaries, etc. That works because the members of the church believe that the priests deserve the money, and I think the same thing would happen with the Pagan community as well.
I think an election would be the best way to get Pagan leadership. Maybe online?
I think maybe a good way to set up Pagan leadership would be to divide areas up (like central Maryland, New York City, etc.) and have a group of people in charge of it. If you're familiar with the structure of Girl Scouts--lots of little groups, some individuals, and a big organization (council) who is in charge of an area, helps provide resources, etc. There could be smaller groups between the individual covens and solitaries and a larger organization to help with networking and whatnot as well, but I'm not sure if that's nessacary (I'm still not very familiar with that kinda stuff--how different covens interact, etc., as I'm still 17).
Ok, that was rather rambling-ish, and maybe I should go get some sleep before school. Yeah, that's it. ^_^

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