Teens Speak Out!
on Hot Issues
(WitchVox Young Pagan Series - June, 2002)
Page 1 - 2 - 3
Put-downs: BAD! Bumper stickers: GOOD!
Hmmmm... what do I need as a young Pagan? I need a lot of instruction! (Joke, though not a very good one)
No really, being a young Pagan is very hard for me. I only know of one other person in a 20-mile radius that is a Wiccan, and luckily she's only one year younger than me
I've been a Pagan for a little under a year now, but I still haven't learned almost anything. My parents are staunch Catholics that believe that Pagan is associated with being non-Catholic, not a religious belief of its own. I would very much like to know about any local Covens around, but that is almost impossible since my parents or any of my friends do not know about my Paganism. I talk the girl once and awhile, but I almost can never get anything out of her-whom she has learned from or when she first became Wiccan. I know that she's Wiccan and I'm more of a Druid/Pagan, but she could still possibly instruct me on whom to look for when I'm in search of a teacher.
Now to get back on topic: Being a young Pagan requires a lot of instruction more than anything. All I know I have learned from half Wiccan books I have checked out from the library and websites. Seeing as these are sometimes half-truths, I have researched into local covens through The Witches' Voice, but there isn't one within a 50- mile radius of me. Seeing as that is, I would love for an adult Pagan to come forward and teach me. I am hesitant to even talk to someone because I haven't even figured out my own beliefs.
I say that because I first got into Paganism and Wicca after reading Marion Zimmer Bradley's wonderful novels The Mists of Avalon and Lady of Avalon. I would like to follow a similar path, but I'm not sure it even exists. I believe in the Goddess and have dedicated my life to her, but what path should I take? (Anybody who is of a similar path could contact me)
Oh yeah, on topic. I think the biggest thing that Pagan and Wiccan teens need is someone to teach them and someone to be their advocate. Teens get teased enough anyway, but when you're Pagan or Wiccan and people know it, they go after you even more. This doesn't even have to be an adult though. Wiccan teens need someone to stand up for them if they get made fun of and to support them when they are down. Too many of us are lost to depression because of the constant teasing and taunting.
As for a teacher, I would love to have a teacher. Wiccan and Pagan adults need to make themselves accessible and known to young Pagans and Wiccans. Even though this sounds really stupid, I think that there needs to be a directory (okay, that does sound stupid) for teens to find a spiritual leader. This can be Christian, Jewish, Wiccan or Pagan. There doesn't have to be any exclusion of religions. I always notice the listings of local religious gathering places in the "Lifestyles" sections of the local papers, but they never include my religion. I always look, hoping that maybe they'll come to their senses and list my religion, but they never do. I think it's because Paganism and Wicca is still associated with "evil" and bad things. Personally, I think these people need to get over being squeamish about it and acknowledge the fact that there are religions were men aren't the center of it. The most these newspapers ever get into "alternative" religions is Buddhism or other eastern religions, but of course those aren't even "alternative". Okay, that's my rant on newspapers and their religion sections.
I did see one thing the other day that was very heartening. I was in the car with my mother and we saw the woman in front of us with a few bumper stickers that said, "Where there is a Witch, there is a way". and another one I can't remember. I thought that was one of the best things a person can do. Just to show support for the younger Wiccans and Pagans out there, without even knowing or speaking to them. Even if you don't introduce yourself and make yourself a part of a young Pagan's life, you need to show your support to us, adults! This is very important. Don't make us seem like we're one in a million out here! The Midwest is a very conservative area, but this woman defied conventions and put these bumper stickers on her car. I love her for that
Another idea, though somewhat implausible, would be to put ads in papers. Being in the newspaper business, I know that ads can sometimes be very expensive, but the life of a Wiccan or Pagan teen that is lost to suicide because s/he felt alone is worth much more. We already have dwindling ranks. They cannot go any lower or our religions will die out. We need to keep our faith alive by bringing in teenagers because teenagers will grow up to have children and they will teach those children their faith. These ads need to show the community that Wicca and Paganism isn't "of the devil" or "evil." If I had a dime for every time I've heard someone say that to someone else (of course it wasn't to me though because I'm not "out of the broom closet" yet), I would be so rich. These ideas need to be eradicated, but this can only happen with time and the loosening of the religious teachings that say Paganism is "evil."
If these things were to happen, I might be able to come "out of the broom closet, " but of course, they won't any time soon. Society takes a long time to change, and it looks like that it won't change any time soon to me. Until then we just have to do little things to show support for each other. The bumper stickers were some of the best support I got in a long time. So find some bumper stickers and plaster them on to your car adults! When us teens see them, we'll feel so good.
Bio: Alclain is a 16-year-old teen from the Midwest who still hasn't gone public with her Paganism. She works for her school newspaper and spends her time listening to music and surfing the Internet. She welcomes any email from people who are interested in The Mists of Avalon and that kind of Druidism.
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