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Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 6,375,089  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 289

Lurker/Post Ratio: 113 to 1

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 


Dear Hannah, I Am Sorry That There Weren't Any Pagan Leaders Available... Sep 24th. at 5:19:22 pm UTC

Alice C. Fisher Aldag (Bangor, Michigan US) Age: 39 - Email


Dear Hannah,

I am sorry that there weren't any Pagan leaders available to comfort you in your community, during this time of crisis. I'd like to tell you that not all of the Pagans and Wiccans were hiding.

The Pagan leaders of my community, SouthWestern Michigan, were very visible and active. They attended public memorial services at the colleges, particularly WMU. They held a Pagan Pride day in Grand Rapids, and raised money for the Red Cross, and collected food for a Native American food bank. They promoted and attended blood drives. They flew flags, and wore purple ribbons signifying Pagan Pride, bordered by red-white-and-blue ribbons to show that they were proud Americans. They sent me and each other lots of comforting, thought-provoking, and uplifting E-mail. They sent letters to our newspaper in protest of Falwell and Robertson's comments (along with a lot of other people). One friend, a mounted sheriff in Kalamazoo, patrolled the local airport on horseback for several days. Another friend, a nurse from Battle Creek, went to New York to help the injured and to clean up the wreckage. Another friend, an Army Reservist from the Grand Rapids area, is in training to be shipped to the Persian Gulf. Others held candle-light vigils to pray for the victims, to do magick for justice, and to protect loved ones in the armed forces. And they went on, business as usual, to work, school, volunteer jobs, and to celebrate Maubon with their fellow worshippers.

Myself, I'd rather not be represented by any national leader, by any Pagan "name" who purports to speak for me. I see bin Lauden, Falwell and other "leaders" speaking for all their people, and I don't like it much. I'm perfectly capable of speaking for myself, and do so loudly and often!

I'd also like to tell you about my kids. They went from door-to-door, my son with his long hair, and my daughter in her Pagan jewelry, wearing their Pride ribbons, and collected over $50 in small change for the disaster victims. Fifty bucks may not seem like much, but it's a big deal when you're five years old and the bag of pennies weighs more than you do!

In closing, I hope you find a group that gives you help and comfort. And please, try to find an activity that you can do to help -- maybe just raise energy to assist the victims. That way, you will be a "Pagan Leader", too.

Sincerely,
A.C. Fisher Aldag
Priestess, Caer na Donia y Llew
Bangor, MI
aldagffhaine@btc-bci.com

Dear Hannah,

I am sorry that there weren't any Pagan leaders available to comfort you in your community, during this time of crisis. I'd like to tell you that not all of the Pagans and Wiccans were hiding.

The Pagan leaders of my community, SouthWestern Michigan, were very visible and active. They attended public memorial services at the colleges, particularly WMU. They held a Pagan Pride day in Grand Rapids, and raised money for the Red Cross, and collected food for a Native American food bank. They promoted and attended blood drives. They flew flags, and wore purple ribbons signifying Pagan Pride, bordered by red-white-and-blue ribbons to show that they were proud Americans. They sent me and each other lots of comforting, thought-provoking, and uplifting E-mail. They sent letters to our newspaper in protest of Falwell and Robertson's comments (along with a lot of other people). One friend, a mounted sheriff in Kalamazoo, patrolled the local airport on horseback for several days. Another friend, a nurse from Battle Creek, went to New York to help the injured and to clean up the wreckage. Another friend, an Army Reservist from the Grand Rapids area, is in training to be shipped to the Persian Gulf. Others held candle-light vigils to pray for the victims, to do magick for justice, and to protect loved ones in the armed forces. And they went on, business as usual, to work, school, volunteer jobs, and to celebrate Maubon with their fellow worshippers.

Myself, I'd rather not be represented by any national leader, by any Pagan "name" who purports to speak for me. I see bin Lauden, Falwell and other "leaders" speaking for all their people, and I don't like it much. I'm perfectly capable of speaking for myself, and do so loudly and often!

I'd also like to tell you about my kids. They went from door-to-door, my son with his long hair, and my daughter in her Pagan jewelry, wearing their Pride ribbons, and collected over $50 in small change for the disaster victims. Fifty bucks may not seem like much, but it's a big deal when you're five years old and the bag of pennies weighs more than you do!

In closing, I hope you find a group that gives you help and comfort. And please, try to find an activity that you can do to help -- maybe just raise energy to assist the victims. That way, you will be a "Pagan Leader", too.

Sincerely,
A.C. Fisher Aldag
Priestess, Caer na Donia y Llew
Bangor, MI
aldagffhaine@btc-bci.com

----- Original Message -----
From: David Aldag
To: kidon2@ponyexpress.net
Sent: Monday, September 24, 2001 5:16 PM
Subject: Where were the Pagan leaders?

Dear Hannah,

I am sorry that there weren't any Pagan leaders available to comfort you in your community, during this time of crisis. I'd like to tell you that not all of the Pagans and Wiccans were hiding.

The Pagan leaders of my community, SouthWestern Michigan, were very visible and active. They attended public memorial services at the colleges, particularly WMU. They held a Pagan Pride day in Grand Rapids, and raised money for the Red Cross, and collected food for a Native American food bank. They promoted and attended blood drives. They flew flags, and wore purple ribbons signifying Pagan Pride, bordered by red-white-and-blue ribbons to show that they were proud Americans. They sent me and each other lots of comforting, thought-provoking, and uplifting E-mail. They sent letters to our newspaper in protest of Falwell and Robertson's comments (along with a lot of other people). One friend, a mounted sheriff in Kalamazoo, patrolled the local airport on horseback for several days. Another friend, a nurse from Battle Creek, went to New York to help the injured and to clean up the wreckage. Another friend, an Army Reservist from the Grand Rapids area, is in training to be shipped to the Persian Gulf. Others held candle-light vigils to pray for the victims, to do magick for justice, and to protect loved ones in the armed forces. And they went on, business as usual, to work, school, volunteer jobs, and to celebrate Maubon with their fellow worshippers.

Myself, I'd rather not be represented by any national leader, by any Pagan "name" who purports to speak for me. I see bin Lauden, Falwell and other "leaders" speaking for all their people, and I don't like it much. I'm perfectly capable of speaking for myself, and do so loudly and often!

I'd also like to tell you about my kids. They went from door-to-door, my son with his long hair, and my daughter in her Pagan jewelry, wearing their Pride ribbons, and collected over $50 in small change for the disaster victims. Fifty bucks may not seem like much, but it's a big deal when you're five years old and the bag of pennies weighs more than you do!

In closing, I hope you find a group that gives you help and comfort. And please, try to find an activity that you can do to help -- maybe just raise energy to assist the victims. That way, you will be a "Pagan Leader", too.

Sincerely,
A.C. Fisher Aldag
Priestess, Caer na Donia y Llew
Bangor, MI
aldagffhaine@btc-bci.com

Dear Hannah,

I am sorry that there weren't any Pagan leaders available to comfort you in your community, during this time of crisis. I'd like to tell you that not all of the Pagans and Wiccans were hiding.

The Pagan leaders of my community, SouthWestern Michigan, were very visible and active. They attended public memorial services at the colleges, particularly WMU. They held a Pagan Pride day in Grand Rapids, and raised money for the Red Cross, and collected food for a Native American food bank. They promoted and attended blood drives. They flew flags, and wore purple ribbons signifying Pagan Pride, bordered by red-white-and-blue ribbons to show that they were proud Americans. They sent me and each other lots of comforting, thought-provoking, and uplifting E-mail. They sent letters to our newspaper in protest of Falwell and Robertson's comments (along with a lot of other people). One friend, a mounted sheriff in Kalamazoo, patrolled the local airport on horseback for several days. Another friend, a nurse from Battle Creek, went to New York to help the injured and to clean up the wreckage. Another friend, an Army Reservist from the Grand Rapids area, is in training to be shipped to the Persian Gulf. Others held candle-light vigils to pray for the victims, to do magick for justice, and to protect loved ones in the armed forces. And they went on, business as usual, to work, school, volunteer jobs, and to celebrate Maubon with their fellow worshippers.

Myself, I'd rather not be represented by any national leader, by any Pagan "name" who purports to speak for me. I see bin Lauden, Falwell and other "leaders" speaking for all their people, and I don't like it much. I'm perfectly capable of speaking for myself, and do so loudly and often!

I'd also like to tell you about my kids. They went from door-to-door, my son with his long hair, and my daughter in her Pagan jewelry, wearing their Pride ribbons, and collected over $50 in small change for the disaster victims. Fifty bucks may not seem like much, but it's a big deal when you're five years old and the bag of pennies weighs more than you do!

In closing, I hope you find a group that gives you help and comfort. And please, try to find an activity that you can do to help -- maybe just raise energy to assist the victims. That way, you will be a "Pagan Leader", too.

Sincerely,
A.C. Fisher Aldag
Priestess, Caer na Donia y Llew
Bangor, MI
aldagffhaine@btc-bci.com

I wrote something similar to DC Hannah, but I'd like to share this with everyone.

This past week or so, I've been listening to so-called "religious leaders such as bin Lauden and Falwell, telling their followers how to think and speaking for all of the members of their group. I'd rather Pagans not fall into the same trap. No one can speak for me, and I cannot speak for anyone else. However, I can and do speak for myself -- loudly and often!

The Pagan "leaders" of my community in South Western Michigan were very visible and active over the past two weeks. They participated in public candle-light vigils with many other people. They held a Pagan Pride Day and raised money for the victims. They comforted their friends and loved ones. They sent mail to our political leaders voicing their opinions on what to do about the crisis. They went about "business as usual" -- work, school, parenting, celebrating Maubon, shopping, etc. They wore purple ribbons for Pagan Pride, as well as Red-white-and-blue ribbons to show that they were proud Americans. They organized, participated in and otherwise supported blood drives and fundraisers to help the disaster victims and their families.

One friend, a mounted sheriff, patrolled the airport on horseback for several days. Another friend, a nurse, went to New York to help the injured and stayed to clear up the mess. Yet another friend, in the Army Reserve, went to training and will likely be shipped to the Persian Gulf. That's where our Pagan leaders were. Right where they should be.

I'd also like to tell you about some of our future leaders. My kids went out into the neighborhood -- my son with his long hair, my daughter in her Pagan jewlelry -- and collected small change for the Red Cross. They gathered over $50, which doesn't sound like much, but when you're five years old, fifty bucks in pennies weighs more than you do!


I Believe That A Pagan Leader In The Political System Would Be... Sep 24th. at 4:55:50 pm UTC

Uriel (Tacoma, Washington US) Age: 23 - Email


I believe that a pagan leader in the political system would be a risk worth taking many people still fear us and we still get bad press about things. We are here to stay and I believe we have a right to reprisentation at all levels.


This Is In Many Ways A Very Old Issue. We Have Been... Sep 24th. at 4:52:37 pm UTC

Aedh Rua (New Richmond, Wisconsin US) Age: 35 - Email


This is in many ways a very old issue. We have been debating who our leaders are, why we have so many, with so little respect, and why they are so often so underqualified for decades, now. Back in the '80s, it was noted that Pagan leaders were whoever could found a group, or write a book. It was also noted that being a Pagan leader usually meant that one put up with more problems than rewards.

In the early '90s, the issue was expressed in the form, "should we have paid clergy?" The general consensus seems to have been, "Yes, but I have no money to give them".

Ok, keeping this in mind, let me state the problem, before we get to solutions. Why don't we have strong leaders?

1. Pagans are a remarkably individualistic lot, who agree on little except that they don't like to do what others tell them. Leading people like this is hard, and perhaps not entirely wanted by most Pagans. In part, Pagans have few strong leaders because we haven't wanted them until now.

2. Paganism is also extremely decentralized. There are few large national organizations, and those mostly take the form of coalitions or confederations of local groups, with a very weak central authority. To a certain extent, there is little for Pagan national leaders to lead. Again, we have largely liked it that way until now.

3. Money. Most Pagan leaders are part time. Even Starhawk has a day job. This is something not true of Christians, Moslems, Jews, Buddhists, or even Hindus anymore. All of these religions have or are developing the resources to pay their leaders. Pagans are, too, but very slowly. This used to be because Pagans were significantly poorer than members of other religions, in part due to discrimination. By and large, this isn't so any longer, yet many of us continue to act as if we are on the edge of starvation. The bottom line is that we will not have national leaders until we are willing to pay for them.

4. Accreditation. A number of people have brought up the issue of how we pick our leaders. This is a very important issue, actually. Right now there is no way of objectively determining the qualifications of any Pagan clergy person. This is exacerbated by the fact that many of the Pagan leaders of past decades were people of extremely dubious reputation. Someone asked if Pagan leaders were just "hucksters". Actually, the leaders of today are pretty good. Many of the leaders of the '60s, '70s, and '80s, however, WERE hucksters, and were sometimes outright con-artists, selling spell-books which promised vast magical powers which they could not, in fact, deliver. If we wish to have leaders we can count on, we shall need some means of determining if would-be clergy are in fact qualified.

If we assume, for purposes of argument, that we want strong leaders, what can we do to get them? Well, taking our cue from the above, this:

1. We would need a large, reasonably centralized organization which takes in the vast majority of Pagans to at least some extent. This organization could not operate on the consensus methods so beloved of many Pagans, but would have to have a Board of Directors, and elected officials with the power to act quickly and decisively in times of crisis. The membership as a whole could still exercise power, but in such an organization, this power would be vastly less than what most of us are used to.

2. This organization would need to be supported by dues, obtained from the vast majority of Pagans, so as to concentrate money where it do the most good. In addition, the members might be encouraged to tithe 10% or more of their annual income to the organization. Given the numbers of Pagans out there, this should give this organization an annual budget somewhere in the millions or tens of millions of dollars.

3. One of the missions of this organization would be to train, accredit, and support Pagan clergy. This would in turn require:

a. Some sort of "Pagan seminary", created either by the organization, or maintained at an established institution of higher education.

b. A list of qualifications for Pagan leaders, and regular testing of Pagan clergy to make sure they meet these qualifications.

c. A list of those clergy who do meet the qualifications, as well as a "warning list" of those who do not, but persist in advertising themselves as Pagan clergy.

4. While it would not be absolutely necessary for purposes of training and accreditation, these processes would be greatly aided if there could be a generally agreed statement of what Paganism is, in fairly exact detail, and what it definitely is not. I would assume that we wish to avoid a "credo", however, so such a statement would have to be either extremely vague, and so useless, or divided into chapters or volumes dealing with each of the major traditions or branches of Paganism.

I have my doubts about whether most Pagans would really want to be part of such a group. It would be awfully close to joining an established Christian denomination, though I hope it would keep some of what makes Paganism unique.

A less authoritarian approach would be for each major tradition to organize itself in such a manner. While trying to determine who is or is not Pagan would almost certainly lead to abuses and conflicts, it should be easier to decide who is a real Gardnerian, or even Wiccan, or who is truly Asatru. Strong tradition-organizations would also lead to the goal of having clearly recognized leaders, with less power-over and centralization.

Let me finish by stating that, although Pagan leaders neither attended, nor were invited, to most interfaith gatherings around the country, at least two did all they could for Pagans through their chosen medium. Wren and Fritz practically devoted the whole of TWV to the crisis for the last two weeks, as was indeed only proper. I think that those two have succeeded admirably as leaders, and this Pagan, at least, applauds them. Wren and Fritz are two of the best leaders we have, and urge everyone to support them, however you can.


Once Someone Has Established Leadership They Have Established Control. Which Needs To... Sep 24th. at 4:32:37 pm UTC

Ryan Boyd (Derry, England UK) Age: 22 - Email


Once someone has established leadership they have established control.
Which needs to be differentiated with nurture.

In the spiritual essence of any religion (regardless of whether you think religion is "the opium of the mases". As a form of control, conformity and social hold. Or you hold the belief that there is a God / Gods.

Any form of leadership automatically forms a structure. Think of lord of the flies or even when there'sa a massive queue for the bus - peope jamming in until eityher someone starts shouting to " get in line" or naturally automatically peope form a queue themselves.

Intrinsic to human nature is an ideal of where they see themselves in a pecking order. There's a familly structure, friend structure ect. But with religion - what I object to is the idea that we are answetrable to one man / woman. As a Catholic look at the way this organised religion has taken the message of God (weather you believe it or not isn't important) and put it on it's head.

The idea that there is somethign out there- be it the lord and he lady, Jesus Yaway, Allah. The idea and belief that there is hope is probably the most important. That you, in your own mind can say - I beleive in this and this has given me hope. From this I can - have a ritual to make me think, believe, hope that things will get better and that eveything will turn out all right. Regardless of what the ritual is...

The idea that a human being - a mortal - can be the pinacle of this idea is indeed ironic Mere man / woman at the top of a belief structure based on a higher state of consciousness and spirits.

If it is humanity's need to conform (we all do it) then the idea then this could lead to a conformity of what is Paganism. And this is what I don't agree with.

We all have our own beliefs. I believe that the forces of the earth are made up of man + woman working with each other. I believe in past lifes. Yet I hold the same belief that when I die - I become nothing more than dust. (I know i've also spotted the flaw).

The though t that a leader - one who governs all - knows all should never be possible because the amount of knowledge that is need doesn't exit is mortal man. The fact that any beliefs or ideas may be conformatised is worrying and that through group polarisation. Beliefs may become skewed - which I also see as wrong.



I Think The Question Itself Might Be The Problem Here. I Don't... Sep 24th. at 4:19:07 pm UTC

nexy jo (saddle brook, New Jersey US) Age: 45 - Email


i think the question itself might be the problem here. i don't think that a "pagan leader" is appropriate. the very term indicates a spiritual representative, a religious structure, and a political hierarchy within the pagan community of religions - clearly something that is quite impossible, in light of the diversity within the pagan community. while i see the need for our voices to be heard at the national level, i also see the difficulty in the very concept.

perhaps a pagan political representitive or representitives might be more appropriate in this - a group or person, who can represent the pagan community simply as our voice, but not as a "leader". i think many of the people who object in the existing responses to this might be more comfortable with this concept - i know i'd be.

as far as elections are concerned, a web based solution might offer the best coverage. financial support would certainly be a challenge, though donations may be enough, especially if some of the major pagan businesses become involved. of course, either of these have inherent issues. while i don't have the answers, i do believe in the need to have political representation.


What The Pagan Movement Chiefly Needs Is This: Local Ministers. And How... Sep 24th. at 4:11:45 pm UTC

Stone Riley (temple, New Hampshire US) Age: 56 - Email


What the Pagan Movement chiefly needs is this: Local ministers. And how can someone help to fill this aching need? Study divination so you can do your best at counselling people. Study ritual so you can do your best at leading people in rites of passage. Study philosophy so you can do your best at helping people see the Universe. Work for free whenever possible. Strive to learn from every piece of work you do. Do everything prayerfully, with energy and awareness flowing back and forth through the clearest channels with Divnity that you can find.

But I guess the Pagan Movement will probably also cobble up some kind of democratic umbrella organization sooner or later, and then abandon it when it's no longer needed. If anybody wants to try this now I know that I'll consider taking part. I'll even offer a possible scheme with lots of precedent in our nation's history: We can hold a "North American Pagan Charter Convention". Hold it next summer or the summer after that at one of the big Midwestern campgrounds. Every would-be voting delegate must bring a list of signatures of folks who want her/him to represent them and the delegate's voting power depends on the number of signatures they have collected. Publish these official form blanks, each copy bearing a clear and simple mission statement and a list of rules, as widely as possible for as long as possible. (Also provide some means for dissenters to publicly disown the process.) The convention's mission is simply to write and pass a resolution or declaration or constitution or manifesto of any kind that it thinks fit. Many movements held ad hoc conventions more or less like this in the United States during the hundred and fifty years before modern mass communication. Of course ours at least will have the unique distinction of being clothing-optional.

Blessed be we all!

Stone Riley,

So-Called Druid Of New England


I Feel Strongly That National Leaders Are Those People Elected To Represent... Sep 24th. at 3:56:58 pm UTC

John Machate (Columbia, Maryland US) Age: 31 - Email


I feel strongly that national leaders are those people elected to represent specific organizations such as the various Wiccan churches or civil rights groups. If people choose to form some form of national coalition then the coalition would consist of those elected leaders.

In regards to financial support, this would be done by the organization represented. For example, I am an elected official of MPN so MPN would be the ones to pay my way.

A good example of this kind of coalition is the Southern Baptist Convention. They are the leaders of the various member congregations and work together for a common end. I have always felt that Neopagans needed such a 'convention'.


I Am Only A Very Recent Arrival To The Pagan Way Of... Sep 24th. at 3:52:40 pm UTC

Karen Jackson (DuPont, Washington US) Age: 53


I am only a very recent arrival to the Pagan way of life. It has brought tremendous joy and meaning to my life. I am incredibly grateful for the brave, hard working Pagan community that has made so many teachings available to the ordinary seeker. I agree with so many opinions that have already said it better than I can - that no one leader could represent the Pagan community. I have occassionally visited a Unitarian Universalist Sunday service and was thinking maybe if they have a single leader s/he could speak to remind our Nation that the prayers/rituals/magick of many non-mainstream faiths are at work to heal our pain and render futile the acts of hate and fear in all nations. After I found out that my son and his girlfriend were safe (they both work in Manhattan) and was able to tear myself away from the TV I went to my computer. I knew of one place that I could find timely, meaningful comment and that was here at WitchVox. Thank you Fritz and Wren for being here where we could find you.


One Of The Best Things About Being Pagan Is That It Is... Sep 24th. at 3:43:22 pm UTC

Lupaluna (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania US) Age: 30 - Email


One of the best things about being Pagan is that it is so openminded. My religious thoughts and feelings are so very personal to me. That is why I am Pagan. Taking on a national leader would be like putting a middle man between me and my spirituality. Adopting a hierarchy will only invite corruption. Just look at every other organized religion. I'd rather not be at the mercy of what someone else thinks. Is there truly a need for national leadership among Pagans? I think our freeness is a major part of what makes us Pagan.


I Find It Interesting That The Question Is Asked About Where Our... Sep 24th. at 3:03:37 pm UTC

David O. Norris (Flint, Michigan US) Age: 55 - Email


I find it interesting that the question is asked about where our Pagan leadership has been during this national tragedy. The original question seemed to be aired in irritation as if the people named in that list where somehow inactive, unresponsive or lacking in concern. While I can understand the frustration of the writer, certainly that person must realize that none of the people mentioned in the posting can call Ted Coppell and appear on Nightline, or have David Letterman fly them to New York, or hold a press conference for the media with CNN and the major networks vying for their words. I am particularly glad that our people don't have the kind of lucrative 700 Club image that seems to have attached itself to other faiths, whereby their "leaders" can rip their garments and assign blame. I handle personal appearance arrangements for Silver RavenWolf and you will be saddened to learn that Oprah didn't invite her to be part of the prayer service in New York. Even with the huge increase in our visibility and membership, we don't blip very loud on the national press radar until Halloween.

In regard to Silver RavenWolf and the Black Forest Clan I can tell you exactly what was happening from the moment of the attack. One of Silver's Black Forest Clan elders was on the street near the World Trade Center when the first attack occurred. With explosions, fire and debris showering down on the streets, Lady Mary's first action was to make cell phone calls to other Black Forest Elders, and they in turn to Silver, to conjure protection for as many people as possible. Lady Mary was horrified to continue to see humans falling to their deaths on the streets below even as she spoke to Lady Morgaine, the Clan Mother of Michigan. I found out about the attacks because of Lady Mary's calls. A natural first instinct would be to run. Lady Mary did what she was trained to do, magick.

From the moment of the attacks (on her birthday) Silver and her Black Forest family were in action. I wish someone had put a camera in her face. She would have embodied the Morrigan! I would have loved to see our friends Wren and Fritz on the CBS evening news. I would have been comforted by the power and determination of Lady Laurie Cabot speaking to Connie Chung. StarHawk has confronted major national and international issues, even being jailed for her beliefs, and I have never seen her interviewed on a mainstream national newscast. I would have popped popcorn and put the dog out in order to watch our dear friend Betsy Ashby of Gathering of the Tribes sit on a panel and rip Jerry Falwell and Pat Roberston. My point is that I suspect that all of these people worked their magick in the manner they have been trained and in the manner that they teach, and their workings were seamless, ongoing and direct during this disaster.

Maybe the author of the original question might want to call or email the networks and ask them why there was such an exclusion of opinion from the pagan community. That is where the question should be directed. As for some kind of pagan leadership, I can't imagine what that could be other than the diverse and varied group of dedicated people whose names surface from time to time. I can't speak for any of the others, but I know that Silver never had any intention of becoming a "leader." She would have been perfectly comfortable to sit in the background, teach Witchcraft, write her books and let others get the limelight. I know, because I was one of the people who helped drag her out of Pennsylvania to do her seminars around the country. I can also tell you that Silver would not have dishonored the sacrifice of public service officials and the deaths of thousands of people by putting out a press release that might be interpreted as publicity. Instead she was casting, conjuring and joining her Black Forest Family in the work of protection, healing and recovery.

It is hard to be visible when our society makes alternative faith invisible. Many hundreds of ceremonial fires and rituals were held around the nation this last weekend. I was at one Black Forest sponsored gathering and there were no TV cameras or press handouts. But the work was done, the healing begun, protection established, and justice intoned. I think that is what leadership is all about.

David O. Norris


I Would Seriously Disagree With The Need For Pagan "leadership" On A... Sep 24th. at 2:55:41 pm UTC

Jolandra (Gaylord, Michigan US) Age: 22 - Email


I would seriously disagree with the need for Pagan "leadership" on a large scale. How could you possibly find an accurate representative of the majority of Pagans, or even Wiccans? Considering the wonderful level of diversity found here, it is an impossible task to do without high-handed decisions of validity, of getting into the controversial position of declaring what's "correct" and "incorrect". You will never find an individual with whom every Pagan agrees, even on the broader issues. But the reasons why we shouldn't go beyond why we can't. Isn't the desire for leaders just a desire to be led? Why do we need someone else to tell us the correct way to think and act in order to be considered Pagan by the world at large? I don't understand why people are driven by a need to organize and bureaucratize our community. A great deal of our beauty would be lost if we were to be "classified" under an individual. The vast majority of Pagans prefer to work and study alone. If we select a Pagan "leader", it is a blatant refutation of their validity. We are not homogeneous followers of a single religion with similar goals, and we cannot be sectioned off, labeled and herded like sheep. Coven leaders, people who are influential within a geographical area, even authors with their usually limited following are the only source of leadership we need. They lead those who wish to be led, in the direction they need to go. They serve a small portion of the highly individualized needs of the region and group, but even they usually cannot be considered community-wide leaders, even in their geographical area. In my state there are a hundred solitary eclectics, without any need for leadership, for every covener. They do not need a voice to speak for them, and they are so diverse that no voice could speak for them all.


So Far, Most People Have Writen About Setting Up A National "leader... Sep 24th. at 2:51:34 pm UTC

Rell (Conyers, Georgia US) Age: 22 - Email


So far, most people have writen about setting up a national "Leader" who speaks for all pagans. That I believe is an impossible task for, as has been said many times before, not one of us believes the exact same thing. We have our individual pagan communities and local groups. We have different paths and organizations. Then there are also plenty of you out there that are solitary, like I am. None of us could ever be spoken for in a single voice with even half of us satisfied.

Though what we need is not a "Leader" but a representative. For a representative there really doesn't need to be political influence, elections, or parties. All of that would destroy the paganism that we all have come to love and thrive in. With a representive though, they could speak their own voice and say so, but it would get pagans more out in the mainstream and, the Lady willing, accepted. I personally think that it would have felt wonderful to have a pagan, even if it was myself, standing with the other religions and under the pagan banner, give a humanitarian speech toward the lose of life and the tragedy that occured without the need for religious overtones or propaganda. The representative wouldn't even have to be a singular person... the ideas for a council makes wonderful sense with the diverse communities that we have. These people don't need to be leaders, or elders of the pagan community, and they wouldn't even really need much funding, just genuine humanity and to be a person. And I stress again, they would not speak for all pagans religiously, they would represent us as humans with the love of life that we feel, which practically all of us do agree on. It would not, if done correctly, create a single voice of paganism wrapping up all our unique beliefs into a tiny pill easy for others to digest.

But we need to really decide if this is what we truly want.


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