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From 1997... The cry for Unity has been building strongly over the past 13 months in the Witch/Pagan community. This section celebrates our efforts and dreams in this area. Is it possible? Will it be difficult? Do we have some common ground? There is lots of hard work ahead and the Witches' Voice will do its part to both support and evolve this issue. United we stand - So Mote it Be!

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A Message to the Wiccan Community
by Cather "Catalyst" Steincamp

"Someday, people may speak of the last two thousand years as 'The Christian Interlude."
Tom Williams, quoted in Adler's Drawing Down The Moon

This is a really interesting time for us in history; we're walking a fine line between acceptance and eradication. You could observe the events in the news if you wanted to, which will serve to back me up with the number of positives and negatives, but I'm drawing from personal experience.

I am "out of the broom closet". This is a decision I made a couple of years ago-- I noticed that the people with whom I choose to associate generally don't care, and I don't like hiding things or lying. I now work as a contractor for IBM-- we're talking corporate America here. Definitely the place for the careful man to keep his mouth shut. I didn't. The repercussions?

  • I feel a lot better about myself because I know people know who I am.
  • I have discovered that in my office alone, there are four other practicing Witches, and only one was in the broom closet. He has since decided not to care.
  • My last two performance reviews have been highly complimentary.
  • I recently was promoted.
  • Not one person has said one negative thing about my religion. One person did express concern about my reading a book about the Tarot on my break, but it was a friendly comment and the same person recommended me for the promotion.
This to me is significant. On top of all of this, there's the fact that when I go out-- to the mall, to the restaurant, wherever, I'm noticing little changes. I found books on the Tarot at the front counter at B. Dalton's. I encounter fellow Wiccans on the street, and we can discuss it without the passersby freaking out. I see our books in major bookstores. I see items on the news about local groups that aren't condescending or derogative.

But I'm aware that this is not the full story. There are parents having to fight for custody of their children because of their faith. There are people who are losing their jobs because they are Wiccan. There are legal movements against us... and some of them actually pose a threat. We are fighting for our rights and not always winning. The Witches' Voice (the link above) keeps track of these, and its a little scary to look through the events they chronicle.

There is currently a movement for Pagan Unity-- a notion that frightens us, and rightly so. A large number of us have been involved in "Witch Wars"-- not against the outside world, but against ourselves. There are those Wiccans who abuse their position and influence in a coven for their own mental, monetary, and even sexual agendas. There are those Wiccans who feel that their own way is the right way, and that everyone else must be stopped. There are those who just use Wicca as an excuse to do drugs, have sex, and be controversial. These people have colored the perception of Wicca-- both amongst ourselves and the outside world.

We are also fierce individualists. This is a part of us that we are proud of. But it is also our biggest problem. As we approach the year 2000, we are at a point in history that will make or break us. I'm not partial to believe that, in the cosmic scheme of things, an anniversary of a mythic figure whose alleged date of birth is still a subject of dispute is incredibly important. Even if it were, why would the Gods feel compelled to be impressed by the figure two thousand? The number is the product of a numerical system invented by man.

I don't think it's significant to them. But it's significant to us.

Who doesn't have their hopes in what the twenty-first century will bring, on any front? I have high hopes. And I believe that if we work together, if not religiously (all we need on that front is to give each other the tolerance we demand from the outside world), then at least politically.

Every minority has had to fight for their place in American society-- from the African American to the Irish American. Each one of them makes up an important part of the American Dream, and so do we. And so must we fight for our place.

I know that this sounds easy. It's not going to be. And it won't be without its dangers, either. We all like to think that we live in the most enlightened age in history, but the Nazi Holocaust was only fifty years ago. Slavery has not yet been extinct for a hundred and fifty years. (It still exists in some parts of the world.) The Burning Times, historically speaking, were recent. We face this sort of danger when speak out.

But we face the same danger if we remain silent. As we hide in shadows, the Hitlers of modern day can say what they want about us. They can put chains on us, socially and legally.

As long as we hide, scattered in the shadows, we shall be seen as dwellers of the dark.

Cather "Catalyst" Steincamp
(c) August 24th. 1997 c.e.

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