The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
Posted: Nov. 17, 2002
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Question of the Week: 65 - 11/5/2001
What ARE the most "Frequently Asked Questions' About Witches?
What ARE the most "Frequently Asked Questions' About Witches? More importantly, what are the answers? Samhain is the 'out with the old, in with the new' season and so TWV is planning to revamp the FAQ's once again.
As the Pagan communities continue to evolve, so does public perception. We already have some changes in mind: Eliminate the references to Druids and Asatru (THEY self-identify as 'reconstructionist religions' and not as earth-based or Pagan), perhaps remove the 'blood sacrifice and 'wearing black' questions and we will add a 'for more information' link to the Traditions section. NEED FOR FURTHER CLARIFICATION NOTED: We do not necessarily intend to remove any and all references to Druids or Asatru. We have, in fact, asked those who post on the Asatru board at Beliefnet.com how we can better clarify their religion and whether they even wanted to be included on the site listings. (See: Beliefnet Boards) We may provide either a separate listing for each category or include the 'some of (fill in blank) believe this and some of (fill in blank) believe this'. Thus, while Asatru (if we can up with an FAQ that meets with their general approval) will almost certainly have a separate category listing, Druids might be listed as 'some' in the Pagan category and 'some' in the 'Reconstructionist Religions' category. We are simply trying to treat all Paths, Belief Systems and Religions with equal respect. We knew that this was going to be a difficult undertaking, but are willing to try to address the issue because it is an important one.
Which questions do YOU think should stay and which ones are no longer needed? What changes would you like us to consider in the 'definitions' department? Note: Please bear in mind, that a FAQ is designed to be a very short, concise and GENERAL answer to questions that most people who are unfamiliar with Paganism might ask. We could write books (and many have or will) about the nuances contained within the various Pagans Paths, but FAQs- constructed mainly to bullet point information- are necessarily restricted to a few paragraphs on each question.
| Reponses: There are 31 responses posted to this question.
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| Some Of Us Druids Do Identify As Pagan. Very Pagan. I Don't... ||Oct 29th. at 10:46:12 am UTC|
|Lasairochroide (Cedar Rapids, Iowa US) ||Age: 36 |
Some of us Druids DO identify as Pagan. Very Pagan. I don't ever think of myself as "reconstructionist."
I believe that Druids are born into this world as Druids, and that we are living an evolving religion, performing the same duties our ancestors performed for their communities, but we are also very much present in the 21st century and have to deal with THAT reality. What my ancestors did thousands of years ago informs all that I do, but I have to "make a lot of it up as I go along" because we live in a very different world.
So please don't remove references to Druidism.
| I Could Use Some Clarity Re: "defining Paganism." Terminology Know That The... ||Oct 29th. at 9:34:44 am UTC|
|Ciarrai (Somewhere In Middlesex County, New Jersey US) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I could use some clarity re: "Defining Paganism."
Terminology know that the term Paganism encompasses all of the traditions discussed in this forum as compared with Christianity (Roman Catholics, Methodist, etc. are all Christians) as compared with Paganism (Witches, Wiccans, Druids, etc. are all Pagans).
What I don't understand is why are Wiccans Witches but Witches are necessary Wiccans? All the books I've read about 'Witchcraft' start referring to Wicca, but then some people say that they are not Wiccan but they are Witches.
| Ok, Bear In Mind This Is A Uk Viewpoint. Us Milages May... ||Oct 29th. at 8:46:11 am UTC|
|Skye (Edinburgh, Scotland UK) ||Age: 28 |
Ok, bear in mind this is a UK viewpoint. US milages may vary, I guess.
Certainly I know more than a few folk who self identify as Asatru or Druid AND Pagan. If you want to make the question about paganism more general, how about citing the Pagan Federation's definition of Paganism, rather than citing particular paths? I'm sure they'd be delighted to have it more widely publicised, and it does seem to be a reasonable catch all. A link to the Traditions pages could then give a taste of the diversity of the paths within Paganism.
The principles are cited on the PF home page: http://www.paganfed.demon.co.uk/. I've quoted them directly here:
"Love for and Kinship with Nature. Reverence for the life force and its ever-renewing cycles of life and death.
A Positive Morality, in which the individual is responsible for the discovery and development of their true nature in harmony with the outer world and community. This is often expressed as: Do what you will, as long as it harms none .
Recognition of the Divine, which transcends gender, acknowledging both the female and male aspect of Deity. "
I think these principles are a good general statement of what Paganism is about, rather than getting into potentially confusing explanations of X path is Pagan, but Y path isn't.
| Important Clarification: >i See Nothing Wrong With The Things Stated In This... ||Oct 29th. at 6:43:00 am UTC|
|Fritz Jung - Webcrafter TWV (Clearwater, Florida US) ||Age: 49 |
>I see nothing wrong with the things stated in this FAQ,
>but I find that your ideas to eliminate references to
>the Druids and other paths somewhat offensive.
We don't label them as "reconstructionist religions and not as earth-based or Pagan"
We feature and list the Asatru and Druid paths/groups in a big way here at TWV and will continue to do ... The question is whether listing them under the Pagan umbrella is relevant to our FAQ about Paganism.
Good responses so far... Keep them coming.
| I Would Just Like To Say That I Agree With Those Few... ||Oct 29th. at 5:29:34 am UTC|
|Bronze Serpent (Manchester, UK., England UK) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I would just like to say that I agree with those few who have already posted their thoughts on this week's question.
I am not a Druid, I follow the largest of the Neo-Pagan paths: Wicca. However, I do agree that Pagan writing and articles these days do seem to be devoted to Wicca and Witchcraft, rather than spread out across the large spectrum that is the Pagan community.
This is great for a would-be Wiccan - but what if Wiccans want to learn about the other Pagan paths? I feel that seeking knowledge is a fundemental tenent for Pagans these days, but having to limit yourself to a section of that knowledge does seem to get aggrivating, especially when you want to burst out and learn more!
I just want to make it clear to all Pagans that this overly biased swing into Wiccandom affects more that just non-Wiccan Pagans. Wiccans themselves want to reach beyond the realms of their own faith, and gain knowledge of other faiths too.
I also belive that Druids are Asatru are as Pagan as any other path which we put into this umbrella we term 'Paganism'. They celebrate the ebb and flow of the seasonal changes, and they do teach reverence for the Earth - how much more Earth based can one get? Tearing precious crystals from the Earth (which are better left where they are found - in the Earth) and dancing with them around your neck does not make one 'Earth based'. Druids are Asatru are aware of the seasonal flow. They embrace and celebrate it. That, in my book, is as Pagan as you can get.
Paganism and Wicca are not synonomous, but Paganism and "a myriad of earth based faiths" are. Lets bring back that meaning.
To you and yours,
| First, I Would Like To State That The Faq Is Very Good... ||Oct 29th. at 12:54:28 am UTC|
|Kiiri Duabhar (Tucson, Arizona US) ||Age: 24 - Email |
First, I would like to state that the FAQ is very good. However, as a practitioner of a pagan path other than Wicca, I once more find that most publishings on the net are highly biased. Wiccans tend to outnumber the other practitioners of the more esoteric paths. I see nothing wrong with the things stated in this FAQ, but I find that your ideas to eliminate references to the Druids and other paths somewhat offensive. The Druids are regarded by many to be one of the oldest and best known of the pagan religions. I do not believe that classifying them as "reconstructionist" in any way negates their pagan value. A lot of us who follow other paths based off of historical records would quite possibly classify ourselves as reconstructionists, however, with so little historical record to work with there is no way to recreate the ways of worship of our ancestors. We all consider ourselves to be pagan. We all follow the cycles of the Earth, and the moon and stars. That makes us no less pagan than anyone else simply because we feel drawn to pantheon that was worshiped long ago. I must state that when writing a general FAQ about paganism in general that one must write about ALL pagans. After devoting a large paragraph specifically to Wicca, I hardly feel that you can be justified in glossing over all other paths. Since the word Druid is only mentioned twice in the entire FAQ, I think cutting it out is somewhat premature. I would suggest at least one small paragraph explaining that there are other paths other than Wicca. Including shamanism, the Norse pantheon, the Greek pantheon, and a score of others. I do not feel that a brief overview or listing of some of the other paths would be amiss. Mnay who read these FAQ's get the mistaken impression that only Wicca is actually pagan. If you wish to cut down on the length of the FAQ, cutting out some of the questions such as those on wearing black and blood sacrifices are a good start. I would like to say that I have always enjoyed the Witch's Voice, and I think that all of you do a great job.
| I Believe It Is Important That A Lot Of People Speak Up... ||Oct 29th. at 12:24:32 am UTC|
|Mandrake .....the Bard (Tucson, Arizona US) ||Age: 31 - Email |
I believe it is important that a lot of people speak up on this subject. There's a lot to be said. Let me also point out that I am a Druid, so if you consider my opinions on this subject to be influenced by something, this is probably it.
First, about your thought of eliminating references to Druids in the FAQ. This is, without a doubt, one of the worst things you could do. The FAQ is already extremely biased towards a single pagan faith, that of Wicca. If you remove such references, you might as well change the name of this site to "The Wiccans' Voice." We are a diverse community, Pagans, and while the FAQ must be kept concise, it must also reflect our common ground, not just the Wiccan viewpoint.
Second, along the lines of my previous statement, I might suggest a small alteration. I was responsible for writing the informational flyers for two student groups, and in both cases we chose to define "Pagan" first, then "Witch" and "Wiccan" second. Your FAQ's definition of "Witch" is a quite servicable definition of "Pagan", and I think a slightly different emphasis than what has gone before might be appropriate. As you say yourself, Wiccans are Pagans, but not all Pagans are Wiccans, and I think the emphasis in the FAQ should be here, not on mentioning that there are multiple Pagan faiths as an afterthought.
It is our duty as fellow Pagans to stick together, not drive ourselves apart.
Oh, and one other thought. While we druids are attempting to "re-construct" our faith as you stated, we are just as "earth-based" (perhaps moreso, in many cases) as other Pagans, including Wiccans...and we are all Pagans by definition.
The gods go with you.
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