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Posted: Nov. 17, 2002
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Question of the Week: 8 - 9/25/2000
Misconceptions About Witches, Wiccans and Pagans
The Misconceptions About Witches, Wiccans and Pagans still exist despite decades of educational and outreach work. What are the common misconceptions that you still encounter in books, on the net or in the media about Witches, Wiccans and Pagans? Have they changed over the years? What can we do about those religious zealots who out-and-out lie about our practices and beliefs? How do YOU respond to some of the ridiculous 'myths' that you might see or hear about modern Witchcraft and/or Pagan beliefs?
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| Oh Gods..this Is Something That I've Been Going Through On A... ||Sep 25th. at 12:00:42 am EDT|
|Brigid (W-S, North Carolina US) ||Age: 25 |
Oh Gods..this is something that I've been going through on a continual basis as of late, even more so over the past week. I live in an area that isn't very tolerant where Pagans/Witches are concerned, and to be quite honest when you attempt to educate those who are misinformed, or respond to those who are "religious zealots", half of the time it doesn't do any good. I have found that those who are "religious zealots", no matter what you say to them, their minds were already made up in the beginning and they don't want to hear what you have to say. In their minds their way is the only right way, and everyone is is going to hell. People with closed minds are going to believe what they want to regardless of what you say, at least that's been the case with where I live lately.
As for changes over the years..I feel that there has been minor changes of a positive nature, but not to the extent to where I would feel totally secure in my area. (I live in the bible belt)
The world wide web...there are a slew of misconceptions and lies just floating around that are annoying.
For example there's the Classics : Witches sacrifice babies, and that we're evil, as well as the normal "Sam hain Lord of the Dead" etc. .
Then theres the more recent.. I read this the other day at a website. The article was about what Witches supposedly do. (The author claims that he's done exstensive reseach on all of the contents of his site) According to this web site, we all get naked, put on a rain coat and go to very tall buildings. From there we supposedly get in the elevator and proceed to go up as a way of raising energy. Supposedly all Witches do this according to this website. Gee...I wonder how many raincoats the author of this web site has ripped off people in elevators trying to expose them as Witches. This one you have to kindof laugh at. It's so ridiculous that it's funny.
There is one thing that really ticks me off more so than anything else though, the blatant lies that people will tell to children to put fear into them about Witches and any other topic that might be relevant. There have been times when my children have come in worried and frightened to inform me about what so and so said at school or in the neighborhood about Witches, and Halloween etc. We normally have to have another long discussion about what Witches do and don't do etc etc etc when that happens. Children are impressionable, espeacily children who are at the age that mine are. I just want my children to be tolerant, open-minded individuals now and when they become adults, and it's very frustrating when there are individuals attempting to go against what you've taught them.
I have attempted to educate those who are misinformed, and the others who are totally closed minded and blatantly bigoted that I have come across on the mundane , I have walked away from or steered clear of out of protection for my children and the well being of my household. Those types of people you really have to be careful of.
| For Me, This Penetrates Every Aspect Of My Life, Starting In My... ||Sep 24th. at 9:27:31 pm EDT|
|jana marsella (duluth) ||Age: 29 |
for me, this penetrates every aspect of my life, starting in my home. my husband tries to be understanding, but he'll get upset if i sit in front of my god and goddess altar, which is a window facing our very close neighbor's house. when he finally started asking me questions about it, he in all seriousness asked me if i am killing mice in the basement and drinking their blood! now, this really puzzled me and made me see how far propaganda has gone in the last 2000 years, since i am a vegan and an animal right activist!
my family still doesn't get it, and my mother in particular has really played the whole "i'll pray for you" card to death. she also seems to think that the idea of a holy trinity started with the roman catholic church. she apparently never heard of, for example, the three hindu pagan gods brahaman, vishnu and shiva.
i come from an interesting focal point on this, coz i once walked in the other guys' shoes myself (for a brief time). i would have to say that, in the overall area where i live, people still have some totally odd misconceptions about who it is we are and what it is we do and don't do. i sort of have to look back on my own perspective when i was so against us and find out why i felt that way. of course it's because there is a lot of propaganda out there that has extended from the roman catholicism and now reaches into the protestant community as well. ironically, i've found the most tolerant christians are the catholics. evangelicals (which is what my mom now is even tho she raised me lutheran) are the worst. they are so full of fear that they can't even see their own minds and hearts anymore. i truly don't fear these people as much as i pity them. as aradia once said, "they choose to have faith in place of understanding."
have the views changed over the years? well i have to say that when i was a fundie, i truly thought witches/pagans were freaks, but i never assumed they were devil worshippers. i studied some world religions in middle school and it was then that i formed the conclusion that satan was a christian mythos, coz it/he wasn't discuseed in any of the other religions we read about in class. and i never sought to hurt them. i just thought they were very strange.
i don't think things have changed that much. looking at it from the other side now, i see that people are more tolerant than i was eleven years ago, but they are not any more *accepting.* there's a difference between tolerance and acceptance. i tolerate the leaking in our bathroom due to the small hole that needs to be patched in our roof. meaning, i put up with it until we can get a roofer to patch it. i tolerate a long line at the check out at the grocery store. i don't tolerate other religions. i accept them for what they are. but i find that, no matter how accepting i am, i can expect only tolerance from these same people. they are willing to "put up" with me and my ideals, but acceptance? no. according to them, i'm not in a real religion, coz they're god is "the living god" and our many pagan gods are "dead" to them. oh, if they only knew and understood the truth that all of our gods are just as alive and kickin' as their one god! i think it would be a tad bit too much for their circuits and they might go on sensory overload! i wouldn't want to do that to them. it wouldn't be very loving. but oh! if i could only explain it to them. alas i can't because "they choose to have faith in place of understanding."
what can we do about religious zealouts? well i really don't know, outside of ignore them. of course, many of us being warriors by nature can counter-attack using lots of honey to neutralize their vinegar. i have found that the best way to win a battle waged at us by a religious-"righter" (in quotes coz they are of course *not* the only right way) is to be as kind and gentle as possible. that way they come off looking like the nutball and we come off as the humanitarians that we are. and i guarantee any on-looker is going to see that, note it, and pass the word on.
that's it. peace and nemaste all!
| Lol This One I Have Had Plenty Of Experience With! But Then... ||Sep 24th. at 9:19:03 pm EDT|
|NightTiger (Liverpool, New York US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
Lol this one I have had plenty of experience with! But then again who here hasn't? I still remember the first day I brought my book by Silver RavenWolf because we were going to be studing Witchcraft and the burning years. Even the teacher got an education! For the next few days it was question after question whenever someone found me! I got used to running to class to make it before I'd have to launch into another speech. Things calmed down a lot after about a week and people got used to it. Then I moved back to my hometown in Central New York and it started all over again. As usual I seem to have a knack for finding the people who are just starting out and finally wised up and made a public book of shadows for these ppl just starting. Full of references, principles of beliefs (as stated by the American Council of Witches), articles, and even personal notes; it's everything I wished I already had when I started out. So I let them copy what they wish and then I get it back update it and give it to the next person. This has cut down by a 1/4 the stuff I get from kids interested in starting to look at Paganism as a possiblity for their lives. Other people, I just laugh off or truely explain. If they're real jerks about it I shrug it off and keep going. If they think I'm going to burn in hell fine! But don't expect me to be very nice in return! Blessed Be all
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