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: 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.
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| Okay, Wow, I Just Have To Add A Little Something, While I'm... ||Nov 22nd. at 7:51:11 pm EST|
|Starling (Montreal, Quebec CA) ||Age: 23 - Email |
Okay, wow, I just have to add a little something, while I'm still here at work, since I don't have the net yet, at home, and have just read some of the comments others have written. Am I the only one who actually can read through litterary symbolism? I mean, I don't mean to say that the books are showing the religious views of the Craft, BUT, buried deep within the books there ARE some truths that maybe some of us may be too unwise to see, either that, or my college Lit Symbolism teacher did a too good job. All I know, is that there is NO wishful thinking in my attitude whatsoever. YES, a lot of the magic information in the books are erroneous, YES, it is a makebelieve world, but, how many of us don't have a little bit of Harry Potter in us, in our hearts, in our soul? For me, the wisdom of the Craft came to me when I started looking at the world from the viewpoint of a child, after all, when I was still of pre-school age, I was already hugging trees and talking to them. And may I remind all of us that Religious Fundamentalism is not a friend, but a foe, no matter which religion it is from... Oh, yeah, and, another thing... I once read somewhere that Faery-tales are Pagan in nature, even if the Rede isn't mentionned, that there is no other kind of Faery-tales...
Merry Part and Blessed Be...
| I Personally Think That The Harry Potter Series, Both As Books And... ||Nov 22nd. at 7:18:24 pm EST|
|Starling (Montreal, Quebec CA) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I personally think that the Harry Potter series, both as books and in the movie form, are a wonderful metaphor of how we, as Witches/Wiccans/Pagans/Magickal people, percieve our own spirituality/work/studies, and our vision of the world. The symbolism is strong, and I have found myself reacting so many times, by reading between the lines and looking beyond the exaggerated way their magical acts and spells is depicted, and reacting positively, mostly thinking 'This is SO right!' Even, as, I think Quirrell himself has said it so plainly, although he was serving as host for Lord Voldemort, 'There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it...'(source: Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, Raincoast Books, pp. 211). This might actually offend some, but it hides one of the great truths of Witchcraft, that there is no White or Black Magick, there is only Magick, and it is the use we make of if that defines its purpose, although, we usually see a dark use of Magick as weakness, rather than strength.
I'm still waiting for the fourth volume to come out in paperback (I'm not exactly wealthy enough to purchase the cloth/hardcover version), but I still find the Harry Potter series a fascinating and acceptable read for us Witches, although I think that those who don't take themselves too seriously will enjoy it the most.
| I Think That It Is Gggrrreat!!!!!although I Haven't Seen It It... ||Nov 22nd. at 7:00:13 pm EST|
|Jonathan (Richmond, Kentucky US) ||Age: 8 - Email |
I think that it is GGGRRREAT!!!!!Although I haven't seen it it will be bewitchen period!!!!!!
| I Believe That The Harry Potter Series Of Books, As Well As... ||Nov 22nd. at 6:04:36 pm EST|
|Tony (Costa Mesa, California US) ||Age: 30 |
I believe that the Harry Potter series of books, as well as the movie, have a place and a purpose regardless of its accuracy. In the face of unending persecution and damaging propaganda, it is important that the world psyche finally get used to the idea that witchcraft and magic can be viewed in a positive light. For so long the world seemes content to lump us together with the Satanists--absurd in light of the fact that we don't even believe in Satan. Roles in books and movies keep us comfortably in that generalization, and this simply shouldn't be. Portrayals such as Harry Potter are hardly realistic, but are helpful in dispelling the fears that have been so ingrained in the mind for so long. Example: Notice how the Christians are condemning Harry Potter so vehemently? They're condemning anything that doesn't portray witchcraft and magic in a negative light. Faerie Tales used to be so well loved, why the animosity all of a sudden if not for the fact that witches aren't being seens as villains so often? Think of it as positive public relations, but think of it more as a delightful and entertaining diversion.
| Hi! I'm A "witch In Training" From Montreal, Canada. I Am Very... ||Nov 22nd. at 12:35:55 pm EST|
|Nathalie Menard (Montreal, Quebec CA) ||Age: 35 - Email |
Hi! I'm a "witch in training" from Montreal, Canada. I am very fond of Harry and his friends (even though I'm 35!) and I can't wait to go see the movie, as I have read the whole 4 books 3 times around already since last Feb. Here in Montreal, the release of the movie certainly has prompted the media to write articles and make TV talk shows about magick and witchcraft...unfortunaltely, just as can be expected of them, most of what I saw or read makes the Pagans look like "fruitcakes" at best and dangerous shadowy figures at worst. Reporters are only too happy to take thing that the people interviewed said out of context to make sensationalist headlines/statements. I do think it will frighten a lot of parents, unless they are honest and take time enough to do their own research about us and what we really believe in. As for kids, I guess that the more parents reeact negatively, the more they will be interested (you know how it works)but they might be disappointed when they find out the real thing.
Harry and his world ARE a magical fantasy (to me anyway), and although we can draw good lessons about our world of real magick from his adventures, it is not what we are about. For one thing, they don't talk about the "religious" aspect of WICCA anywhere in the books; their magick is mostly a practical thing not linked with a particular religious belief but more guided by ethical principles.
On the other hand, Harry is precious, because somehow his stories manage to bring back and out the sense of wonder and magick even in adults and I think humans really need it in their existence. Cinematographically speaking, I think that the movie is a wonder in itself because it is live action, not animation, and it still manages to stay true to the book. I love animation and I also love "Disney" movies. Some people take them too litterally but if you look deep enough there often are moral lessons to be learned from them. Just like with Harry.
I think my response would be that we can't do the type of magick that Harry does but, through our connection with Nature and the Universe, we each have a magick of our own that we can do. And this is "occult" just because most people don't realize it, not because it is evil.
I don't think me or anybody else will convince the Christians (should we mention "fundamentalist") about our right to existence. It is very easy and comforting for them (or anybody like them) to see the world as black/white, in wich they are the white and everything outside their little bubble is different and must therefore be evil. Very few of them have the presence of mind to read for themselves (some are even superstitiously afraid of touching printed books about occult subjects as if they were impure) and I would daresay some of them might do good to consult a psychiatrist regarding their extreme fear of the Devil in everything around them. Religion should empower you and help you achieve a state of happiness, if it makes you live in fear of others or everything, if it makes you hate people or belittles their beliefs I don't see how it can do that...
Anyway, just my two cents worth...Happy Thanksgiving to all US citizens and may your hearts be filled with wonder and magick!
| I Read The Books. I Took My Kids To See The Movie... ||Nov 22nd. at 1:13:37 am EST|
|Kea Erisdottir (., Maryland US) ||Age: 37 - Email |
I read the books. I took my kids to see the movie. I told my eldest that if she worked at it, that she could read the first and second books(maybe more) by the time that the second movies comes out next year. Voila! The 8 year old has all the incentive that she needs to begin reading for herself. I win. We all win.
It's odd to me that people are getting all riled up over a fantasy book. I guess the Craft has become so choked with defensive and insecure wannabes that we have to jump at shadows and rant to the media. I note that the media is just using us again, and that they delight in the sensationalism. We've lost our collective sense of humor.
And no, you may not have any of mine.
| Bravo To Harry! I Was Compleatly Taken By This Wonderous Adventure. Imagination... ||Nov 21st. at 10:08:36 pm EST|
|Rowan (Santa Cruz) ||Age: 34 - Email |
Bravo to Harry! I was compleatly taken by this wonderous adventure. Imagination is the first step in the direction of thinking for ones self and the discovery of ones own creativity. Our children need to be taught HOW to think and less of WHAT to think.To instill the idea of freedom of thought to a child is arming them with a very powerful tool.Very empowering. I say thumbs way up.
| I Haven't Yet Seen The Movie, Though I Plan To Go Sometime... ||Nov 21st. at 9:23:08 pm EST|
|Bryony Ravenwillow (Kansas City, Missouri US) ||Age: 33 |
I haven't yet seen the movie, though I plan to go sometime this weekend with my fiance and his son. I have read the books though, and I love them for the good fantasy fiction that they are. Fantasy fiction, that is.
The problem for the Christian fundamentalists is this---Harry Potter is creative and imaginative. It dreams big, and readers have responded in a big way to Rowlings world. In any fundamentalist worldview, creativity isn't smiled upon, and using imagination is bad. Imagination means (gasp) THINKING FOR ONESELF!!!! When one is taught that they are sheep who needs a shepherd to tell them where to go and what to do and how to think, then imagination is a trait that isn't exactly admired. And what is good fantasy than the fruits of incredible imagination? I've yet to meet a non-pagan who wasn't at least a little embarassed of the fact that they love good fantasy, as if it were something bad or something to be ashamed of (Yes, I like stories with elves and magic swords....so sue me!)
The funny thing is that many of these people haven't even read the books and judged them for themselves. Their priests and ministers have told them the books were bad, and if THEY said they were bad, well then, it must be true. Sheep mentality. (Of course, there is all the movie hype fueling ticket sales, but that's another story for another day....)
Case in point. I got the first book for my nephew for his eighth birthday. His mom (my sister) had been complaining that he didn't read, and I thought he might get into the book once the movie came out, thus fueling his desire to read. The idea of getting the book in the hopes that someday he might decide to be a witch never even entered my mind. I simply wanted him to read something good. I did the same thing with my sister (his mom) when she was little, by reading her Terry Brooks' "The Sword of Shannara" one winter when she was sick with the flu. Until that time she never read, once she recovered she read the rest of the Shannara books and the rest of my personal library on her own, and now she loves to read. I just wanted to spread the word, so to speak.
Well, my mother, who is a Christian fundamentalist, found out what I'd given my nephew for his birthday, and she actually told me not to buy him any more Harry Potter books, because she had "heard" that they were a primer for witchcraft! Being a closet witch for obvious reasons, it was all I could do not to laugh. If I'd really wanted to give him a primer for witchcraft, I would have bought him Scott Cunningham!!! It's also brought out my subversive streak. I'm now seriously considering buying him Book 2 for Christmas (hee hee...)
Anyway, until creativity and imagination are seen for the truly wondrous gifts that they are by all faiths, then controversies such as the one surrounding Harry Potter will continue to exist. (Then again, maybe I should get my mom a Potter book for Christmas, so she can actually decide for herself....naahhh)
| Unfortunately, I Have Not Seen The Movie Yet! [actually I'm Grounded Right... ||Nov 21st. at 9:15:17 pm EST|
|Danae (North Vancouver, British Columbia CA) ||Age: 15 - Email |
Unfortunately, I have not seen the movie yet! [actually I'm grounded right now... :(] I think that the movie WILL bring more people into the study of magick, but not necessarily 'real' magick, in our sense. I don't think this is a good thing because they only want to 'perform' the magick seen in the movie, not religious magick.
The Witchcraft, magick, and spells were depicted based solely on imagination. They somewhat reflect them the way I know it, but only because much Witchcraft is 'categorized'. That is, we are supposed to fly on broomsticks [i personally DO use one, but not for flying!], and we Do cast spells [but DEFINITELY not the way J.K. Rowling has depicted them as doing so].
Those people who want to 'do it like Harry', must realize that HARRY IS FAKE. HE IS A FICTIONAL CHARACTER IN A FANTASY WORLD. Most of the things him and his friends do are impossible. They [the Potter fans who want to 'do it like Harry'] must realize that this 'generalization' of Witchcraft is false, and they should read up on what it's really like. If they decide that it STILL seems interesting, then they can follow that path if they choose so.
As for the people who believe that all this Pottermania is anti-Christian, and is enticing children into the 'world of the occult', they should realize that this was done unintentionally, and I think that maybe they should try reading one of the books. Then maybe [if they aren't COMPLETELY biased] they will realize that this shows how fake everything can be back in reality, yet how 'real' it can seem while you're reading it.
| I Took My Daughter To See This Movie And Felt It Was... ||Nov 21st. at 8:13:36 pm EST|
|Charles Cherry (Wichita FAlls, Texas US) ||Age: 38 |
I took my daughter to see this movie and felt it was an awesome work of youth fiction. The special effects were truely magic. hee hee.
It would be funny if it weren't so sad that adults in the great country of the USA were so bigoted in their thoughts and full of false stereotypes.
Wouldn't the world would be a better place if people would learn the facts before they decided to make up their own "facts"?
| Blessings, I Have Been Listening To The Hoopla Going Back And Forth... ||Nov 21st. at 5:20:38 pm EST|
|Dekana (Newington, Connecticut US) ||Age: 24 |
I have been listening to the hoopla going back and forth both from the Christian groups, and the Wiccan groups. My personal opinion is that way to much energy is being spent on the issue of whether or not these books have any connection or basis on real Witchcraft and the Occult. It is a fun fictional book for people of all ages. I myself went to see the movie last Friday. I must say that after all that has gone on in our world that it was a relaxing and fun time spent with one of my friends that brought back a joy and innocence of fun that I have long lost.
Of course I do not think that it was written to lure in children to Witchcraft however I also do not beleive that it has any real basis in the reality of the religion of Witchcraft. Does it put witches in a better light? Yes, considering the way Hollywood usually portrays witches it is certainly nice to see a movie that reflects witches in more positive terms. To say that because it uses some tools that wiccan's consider traditional to our craft such as brooms and wands, does not mean that it contains any elements even close our our religion. Brooms, wands and such are also a part of the legends and mythology of witchcraft to the world at large. J.K. Rowlings books were written, I believe, purely as a world of fantasy and enjoyment.
It is my opinion and belief that there is to much going on in the world and to many places where our energies need to be spend then on arguing continuely about the Harry Potter books.
I refuse to play into the hands of fearsome Christians. I will continue to practice my religion with love, and responsiblity. If I choose to enjoy the Harry Potter books and movie then it is for the fun and fantastical world that the author has created. Not so that I can judge the movie and compare it to my beliefs and religion. These are of course only my opinions and I respect the views and opinions of others.
In Light and Love of the Goddess )O(
| I Just Wanted To Tell Everyone How Wonderful I Think This Movie... ||Nov 21st. at 5:16:19 pm EST|
|Danielle (orange, California US) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I just wanted to tell everyone how wonderful I think this movie is! I have already seen it twice, and I have been telling all of my freinds to go see it.
I must explain my background, I was raised hardcore Roman Catholic, and never felt, personally, that it was my place in life. When I was a child, I would always imagine the flowers talking to me, and I would make my own little potions out of OAK LEAVES and juniper berries, and try to feed it to my little brothers. lol, who of course, declined, but we had fun pretending. I even have a little book of spells that I created when I was 5 years old, when I was just learning how to write. I don't know how I came up with it, but I have always felt there was something more then what I was being taught. When I turned 12 is when I got interested in Wicca and embraced it as my own, personal path that i was truly meant to follow. I am 19 now, and my path of knowledge is growing neverending, and I love it!
Having said this, I now would like say that this movie, it's everything i have ever dreamed of! I had a grin just GLUED to my face the whole time I watched it. Potions, invisable cloaks, flying on brooms, dragons, unicorns, CENTAURS (as a sagittarius, that was incredabely cool to me!) just the pure fantasy-magick of it all! It took me back, far back into a place I haven't been to for a while. A place inside me that's been pretty much vacant since, I hit the reality part of the word. But having watched this movie, I feel that that part of me; the child part, the fantasies so long forgotten, came rushing back. And I wanted to express my EXTREME gratitude to J.K. Rowling for allowing these feelings to reenter my adult life. I hope to hold on to all of this pure magick...because that's what it is; pure and innocent magick that we are all born with, magick which we lose throughout our lives for one reason or another. This movie brought out the child in me. And I wanted everyone to know how much I needed that at this point in my life. And how much I am sure we ALL need that little childlike edge in our lives!
Love and Light,
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