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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: 12,284,095  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 74

Lurker/Post Ratio: 442 to 1

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

Hollywood Hype

Hollywood Hype through movies such as "The Craft" and now the "Blair Witch" movies, and television shows such as "Charmed", "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer". "Freakylinks" and "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch," have all contributed to the rise of public interest in the Pagan paths and especially Witchcraft. If someone came to YOU after seeing "The Craft", "Charmed" or "Blair Witch," etc., what do YOU want them to know about real Witchcraft and Paganism? What would YOU-or do YOU- tell these folks?

 Reponses:   There are 74 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

I Would Explain Generally About Everything And Leave It At That. If... Oct 19th. at 7:09:19 pm EDT

Nancy Spungen (Toronto, Ontario CA) Age: 18 - Email

I would explain generally about everything and leave it at that. If someone I know is really interested and is looking up stuff and researching then (depending on the person) I'd go into further detail...

Better Than It Being Hidden, As Far As I'm Concerned. Telling Them... Oct 19th. at 6:59:18 pm EDT

Andi (Fairfax, Virginia US) Age: 24

Better than it being hidden, as far as I'm concerned. Telling them nothing is more damaging than anything you could tell them, because then they think you're hiding something sinister and go off and tell their friends that Witches are evil. They've gotta be, after all. What else would they have to hide? The answer is that we don't have anything to hide. So don't shy from the question.

My one reservation with movies/TV of this type is that cinematics and the needs of a presentation often distort the reality of the situation. (Okay, so it just about always does.) I find that the really damaging shows are ones that claim to be "true stories" and then get mauled by those who wish to demean Pagans and Paganism in the name of whatever deity (be it God, Allah, money) they care to worship. The most important thing to remember is that a lot of what goes on IS cinematics.

There are two important points to make clear to an individual who asks this question:

1) While many of the things portrayed are certainly possible and in many case do even happen, this doesn't mean that they should think that's all we do or all we believe. I once had someone ask me on an IRC channel if I could make pencils fly. Someone else in the channel came up with a witty but pointed answer: "Sure, but then I'd have to get up and go get it." Yes, the human mind is capable of such things. This doesn't mean that all or even most Pagans do this sort of thing.

2) The other important thing to make people understand is that we are human beings just like everyone else. We come from all walks of life. We go to work every day. We cook dinner. We raise families. We trip on our own doorsteps. I simply happen to do it in harmony with the Great Wheel and the rise and fall of the seasons, and I pay homage to my gods and goddesses instead of a single God.

Once the collective understands that Witches are people just like anyone else (I hesitate to use the term normal), I think we will be well on our way to getting the message out and correctiong misinformation and stopping further misinformation and nonsense from spreading.

I Try To Explain The Differences Between The Fictional Witches (like Sabrina... Oct 19th. at 1:28:36 pm EDT

Shayla (Phoenix, Arizona US) Age: 34 - Email

I try to explain the differences between the fictional witches (like Sabrina or Samantha), and the spiritual belief of Wicca. I must admit, I enjoy shows like Charmed and Sabrina, not only because they portray witches in a positive light, but because they show women in a positive ligbht. Sabrina's aunts are a scientist and a musician. The Charmed ladies are professionals (except for the youngest, who is a student.) Both shows also try to teach the idea of using power responsibly (which is not a witch thing, but a human thing.)

The First Thing I'd Tell Them Is Not To Believe Everything They... Oct 19th. at 1:22:28 pm EDT

Xkalaber (- -, Maine US) Age: 41 - Email

The first thing i'd tell them is not to believe everything they see or hear on television. Also, male witches are not warlocks, they are witches. I'd have to ask them what specifically is it that they want to know and take it from there. Although shows like Charmed do provide valid information about witches, they get more wrong than they get right.

I Would Be Sure To Tell These People That Paganism Is A... Oct 19th. at 5:18:16 am EDT

Laughing Tiger (Tuscaloosa, Alabama US) Age: 25 - Email

I would be sure to tell these people that paganism is a religion, not just a hobby. That it is not something you pick up on the weekend, when you are bored.

I have had people ask about love spells "Like on 'The Craft' ya know?" I tell them that spells like that are wrong. To cause someone to love you through magik is against their free will, and destined to end in ruin.

Usually I will tell them a little about paganism, and if they are still interested, I suggest a book or two, and offer them any help I can. Some people become disinterested when they find out its not like it is in the movies or T.V. shows....sorry folks "Sabrina: the teenage witch" is a cute show but it doesn't happen like that.
Love Light and Laughter

This Publicity Is Truly A Mixed Exposes "mainstream" Americans And... Oct 18th. at 9:01:12 pm EDT

Maureen O'Danu (Independence, Missouri US) Age: 34 - Email

This publicity is truly a mixed exposes "mainstream" Americans and others to pagan, but very often the portrayals are missing something, or just plain wrong. I am my message. I am a good friend, good family member, good neighbor, and good citizen. I follow the rede.

Starting A Little Off Topic But Related. A Recent Issue Of The... Oct 18th. at 4:55:12 pm EDT

Andraste Moonshadow (New York, New York US) Age: 35

Starting a little off topic but related. A recent issue of the Catwoman comic featured a police detective who was a witch. Not a zap pow TV or movie witch, or even a super hero witch, just a regular real life witch, a little plump, who used tarot for leads in a case and had to put up with stupid comments from her new partner. The media is moving slow and only at the edges right now but there are signs of hope.

What we need next is a Wiccan character in a mainstream TV show, like a Wiccan doctor on ER, or a Wiccan cop on NYPD Blue. Both shows could do with something a bit different and they seem to have explored issues of race and sexuality to death. Why not tackle religion and at the same time show that Witches are people to.

There's plenty of scope for tension between characters since even an established "nice" one could be ignorant and prejudiced against the new guy or gal and only learn over time that they've got it all wrong. If you make a character racist they just look like a pig. Make them anti-witch and they won't look so bad, at least not until they and the audience learn to understand and respect the beliefs of said witch. Actually this could really work from a dramatic point of view. Once the main characters have come to accept their Wiccan co-worker you could have pressure from outside, a rabid local minister discovers that there's a witch about and tries to get them fired.

I need to find me the email addresses of some TV producers ;o)

I Enjoy These Entertainment Projects. But They Probably Don't Have That Much... Oct 18th. at 4:48:46 pm EDT

Pitch (Concord, California US) Age: 21

I enjoy these entertainment projects. But they probably don't
have that much to do with what ordinary folks do when they
follow their paths.

For one thing, typical circles don't get re-takes, so living with
your mistakes isn't a guest shot on *World's Witchiest Outakes!*

For another, magic doesn't usually show up in everyday life
accompanied by all the great SFX. There's a lot less spectacle,
although sometimes an equal amount of drama.

For another, these days you pretty much got to pay some
attention to the web, because that's how lots of witches keep
in touch.

I Think There Are Good Things And Bad Things To The Popularization... Oct 18th. at 4:33:42 pm EDT

Jenett (St. Paul, Minnesota US) Age: 25

I think there are good things and bad things to the popularization of Cracft things. (Hi, I was born on the Virgo/Libra cusp. Nasty habit of seeing multiple sides of everything.)

Good thing: it's good that it's out there and talked about at all, and perhaps opens up the ideas to new people.
Bad thing: They sometimes get some weird misperceptions, and it's always harder to unlearn things than it is to learn them right the first time.

Good thing: It creates a greater demand for other materials (books) out there from interested people.
Bad thing: Not all of the books are particularly good introductions to the Craft or Wicca or Neo-Paganism either.

I'm still exploring whether Wicca is right for me - though it's feeling more and more like that recently - so I'm both not very public about it (except with friends, all of whom have known Pagans much longer than I've been exploring), but I think my preference is that at least if people start exploring and asking questions, then you can guide them - until they want to learn, you can't really do that. (The idea of the teachable moment) I think that movies - and other media - at least allow us to get the subject out there, and to help bring discussions a little more out in the open.

If Someone Came To Me Asking Questions About One Of These Shows... Oct 18th. at 3:46:35 pm EDT

Kaicielia BlueDragon (Madison, Wisconsin US) Age: 24 - Email

If someone came to me asking questions about one of these shows or movies, I would be ever so happy to answer the questions asked as fully and accurately as I can, or as they would like to hear, as the case may be. I am more than willing to give any information asked of me, but I will keep an eye out for those who are not really listening, just asking to get some kind of rise, or some slip up, to prove that it is all nonsense or something worse.
I have learned that many people do not really wish to learn, and that they are often asking about it with alterior motives. To these people, I will give a bare minimum of information, because they are great at turning the words around and making them something they were never meant to be.
To those who are truly interested, however, I will give full attention, and reccomend books and this and other web sites to help them along.

First, I Would Explain To Them That They Have Just Viewed A... Oct 18th. at 2:32:38 pm EDT

Patrick Chambers (Grandview, Missouri US) Age: 44 - Email

First, I would explain to them that they have just viewed a work of fiction and that much of what they have seen is probably therefore inaccurate. Then, I ask them what their specific questions about Wicca and witchcraft might be.

It is easier to answer direct questions first and then try to give an overview of the realities of witchcraft rather than trying to battle your way through the misconceptions and BS right out of the gate. (Example: "Do you really stick big hatpins into doves to kill them for spellcasting?!" "No. We don't kill anything in our spellwork. Spellwork comes from inside of you..." and then probably on into a discussion of ethics).

While the recent popularization of Wicca and witchcraft in the media have indeed brought new recognition and interest on the part of the general public, it is incumbent upon us to teach and educate responsibly and accurately. Only with dedicated and knowledgeable practitioners passing on good information can we dispell the unfavorable public points of view and hysteria about our paths. Otherwise, we're just a bunch of freaks and weirdos in the eyes of the public.

You Know Something? I Just Read What George W. Bush Had Said... Oct 18th. at 1:16:17 pm EDT

Demarkus Hawkens (Indianapolis, Indiana US) Age: 25 - Email

You know something? I just read what George W. Bush had said about not believing that Witchcraft is not a real religion. "NOT A REAL RELIGION!?!?!" Is this guy blind? Look around! We're everywhere! What would I say or do to prove that we count and we do exist? I'd give him the web address for the Witche's Voice. Maybe if he were to see something this great, maybe he'd change his tune and acknowledge our existance.
Anyone know his Email?

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