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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!

Survey Results: Witch, Wiccan or Pagan? ... How Good is YOUR Teacher ... Working with Groups ... A Religion or a Personal Belief ... Out of the Broom Closet ... Witchcraft in the Public Eye

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Initial Thoughts from the Community (the first 24 hours)

YOUR comments on...

Witchcraft in the Public Eye
(as of September 16th., 1997)

Survey Sez...

"I know religions of the Craft dont actively proslytize or seek members but I think a little more visibility and promotion would do us good and especially a little more education. My husband and I who are High Priest and High Priestess respectively of a Seattle-area coven always take the chance to educate people about our beliefs. A lot of people genuinely just dont know and are actively curious about it. I feel there would be more people becoming PaganWiccanetc if they simply knew more about it"

"I plan to submit an essay addressing this topic sometime over the next few days..."

"I would like to see more positive portrayals and not just the people that are screaming for attention. One of the talk shows had witchs on their show and I watched it but the person who was leading the show was against the witchs from the beginning and the poor people got grilled not only by her but also by the audience. If I had remembered the show and if I had an address I would write to the station. I would like to see more people step forward and not only the people out for attention. I would love to be on a show but am currently studying for my second level initiation and feel I would not be properly prepared to meet that much negativity. My teacher would be wonderful she has studied for 5 years and taught for 2 years. But unfortunatly due to family situations is forced to stay in the closet."

"simply put if no one knows youre there then they cant accept you. we need a public image otherwise the old stereotypes and fairy tale images will be all anyone knows of us. i think it would be great for there to be a pagan based charity organization. we would get to positively influence the world while showing the world that were not just a bunch of baby sacrificing idiots. without a strong public front the pagan community will be crushed under the wheels of modern fundamentalism. i dont have the power prestige or money to do it myself but i would love to partake in ewfforts to bring awareness of the validity and truth of our religions to the public eye"

"We do have a public image although its my experience that most newspaper articles are produced around Samhain and then the reporters become too busy to cover anything else for the rest of the year.We need to promote ourselves in a positive light to the media so the burning times will never happen again. I want to be able to join the Funeral Directors Guild without having to feel defensive. I want to be able to function in service to our Pagan Communities by listing our actual street address in the yellow pages under Pagan Burial Grounds without FEAR of being invaded by the bigots and hate bombings that have occurred with other faiths already in recent years.I would love to see stories about the many HEALERS within the Craft and Pagan communities Also I would like to see more media coverage of the MANY DONATIONS given every year to the Womens Shelters and Food Banks around the country.Our image at present seems to include never arriving on time to anything. P.S.T. This may be true to some extent actually. Several relatives of mine are pentacostal xians and they think witches worship satan even though I am a retired Nurse perform Weddings take care of my elderly father and adopted a differently abled child.Another fairly true image of pagans that is particularly distressing to me is that pagans are very disorganized and have no inclination to vote to become organized to be effective in changing how we live as a society. If we present ourselves as ineffectual then we will be perceived as easy marks or weak. We seem to be viewed as vegetarian and recycle alot altho I raise sheep and rabbits for food. I am a fanatical recycler. Pagans seem to center around colleges these days and my hairstylist announced to me that her daughter was going though a passing Pagan Craze. She expects her daughter may never find other pagans and so will then stop reading and studying.We NEED a public image that will send a strong yet loving message.Love of the Goddess and God and each part of Holy Mother Earth.Strength in our commitments to help heal one another and GAIA and strength by voting for candidates that are Pagan or Wiccan. Strength that says NEVER AGAIN THE BURNING. period BB and THANKS"

"While public statements and appearances are necessary I think that we improve our public image best by the time proven process of one-to-one contact - working with other religions - offering services to institutions and members of the public - and just being open about our faith. Non-Wiccans who come to a Handfasting or Memorial - people in institutions that we work with - interfaith gatherings - these are the people who know us personally and are aware of our commitment to spiritual health (for our members and the world at large) - they are convinced of the validity of our faith by what they see us do and they will be our most ardent and useful supportors when we are attacked.

Talk is cheap - while many are still swayed by it the people who really count are not. They will judge us by what we do - not what we say.

There is an old peace song whose chorus ends "and if two and two and fifty make a million, we will see that day come round". This is the way that change really happens.

Unfortunately, Wiccans/Pagans are not more ethical or publicly responsible than members of other religions. We ardently repeat the very mistakes that we negatively judge other religions for - self-righteousness - narrow-mindedness - lack of integrity - hollow/rigid ritual - grandious claims. Like any other repressed/oppressed group we must prove ourselves as at least as ethical as those who discredit us. "What we do" is a much slower process for gaining acceptance and validity than "what we say" - but it is much more solid. If we spend less time worrying about what the media says about us (although blatent misunderstanding does need to be addressed and corrected) and more time living what we say about ourselves - our acceptance would grow in a much firmer and authentic way."

"The pagans in the area that I live in have been trying to re-inforce the image of who and what we are. There have been a couple negative interviews with people and groups claiming to be pagan. However most of them have not been pagan at all. Unfortunately I have never seen these news spots where they interviewed these people. There was a large upcry of the pagans in the area and on the internet to this negative image. The occurrance happened last year during a Halloween special. The news channel was contacted by several hundred pagans and learned that they made an error. The local groups were able to do another spot on TV. It was about Witches in the Local Area. It showed us doing rituals and explained in the two 230 spots that we are not the evil people that we are made out to be. We are nothing more than people following a different path to spiritual awareness nothing more. We dont cook children nor cast spells on people I was really proud that I was able to assist the image of the pagan community and to give it a more positive light"

"Yes we must have a hand in making up are own public image. I dont think we can leave it up to others to project the type of image that we would like the public to have. Instead of merely complaining about the negitive image presented to the public we need to get together and put together our own movies about witches. I believe that we have enough talented people to write the screen play to finance produce to direct and to act in dramatic but true to life movies about being a witch in modern America. We wont need the tacky special effects. Let the drama come from real problems of witches such as why so many pagan s are afaid to casually let peole know what their religion is. Show them being fired because of being Witches losing custody of their children just for being a witch. show their kids being hassled the rumor campaigns and other hassles. Then show how the pagans respond. show how their beliefs help give them strength and how pagans can work together to help each other. Show some of of our hard won victorys. If the Jews and Native Americans can be protrayed with their problems in a positive matter so can we Pagans. But it will be up to us to make it happen instead of begging someone else to do it out of the goodness of their hearts. Blessed BE Christopher Blackwell"

"Selena Fox comes across on tv as very NORMAL. laurie cabot is dynamite in person but television does not convey her personality well. both ladies are very well-spoken and verbally present themselves and paganism very nicely."

"With regards to the issue of a public image I believe that Pagans operate best when we approach it as we do inquiries about our religion. We do it quietly and on an individual basis.Yes it would be nice if there were positive media portrayals about our beliefs however until that happens I believe that it is important to fight the battle on our own."

"I dont feel that we should be concerned with having a public image. it simply isnt important what or how we appear. Dont we always say that its whats on the inside that counts anyway It would be nice to see articles and media things of a positive note and at times of the year other than Samhain. For myself Im just not terribly concerned with anyones public image. Faith is an intensely private thing to me. I havent any desire to explain my beliefs to anyone."

"I believe that we as pagans only need to do one thing. Get people away from the thought that our religion is evil. This I think is the main problem for pagans. People must learn but they will only learn when they are ready to listen."

"right now... i think our public image needs a little shining....but ive noticed with all the strong movments ive on the net and other placesi think our positive image will soon be.... though i know well never ever be able to please everyone and some will still view us as evil....but i think if we get our message out.... well get that freedom of religion....and be able to step out of the broom closet...and maybe even lock it behind us....."

"I believe interfaith workshops and unitarian churches can help a lot in promoting a positive public image for pagans. We need more of this happening. When the most outlandish of us are interviewed on TV news or talk shows it really sets a bad example. Not all of us prance around totally swathed in black from head to toe and try to out do rap stars in whos got the most jewelry. A lot of who are actually interviewed by the press seem to be people just trying to get attention and are not really practicing pagans. If the press focused on more groups like Church of Iron Oak and interfaith work where paganism meets the more mainstream religions we will have better representation. Rare shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch have strong female leads so Im averse to dumping on them."

"I am a recently self-dedicated witch. I am 19 years old and have been to pagan festivals. Witchcraft and paganism in general is a very beautiful thing. I dont think that anyone who went to a festival would be mislead into thinking that we are a bunch of goat-sacrificing evil people. I would go onto one of these talk shows in the hope that maybe I would spur those people who just watch the show to laugh like me in to seeing another side of something they thought was a big laugh."

"I think that every one is intitled to have an opinion about every thingfrom the teachings i have obtained through the years i see the rituals and prayers incantations and so forth as a private momment between oneself and the goddess and god and should be of no consurne to anyone but yourself and your group as far as organising the covens or groups is like falling into the already organised religons you see each group and their are 1000s have their own way of doing things the one thing we all have in common is our HIGHEST LAW HARM NONE"

"Ideally...and this is a big ideal I realise...the word pagan - and better still the word WITCH - will leave no one even batting an eye. I have faith in this possibility but I do not see it happening without effort on the part of the Pagan community as a whole. As far as the media goes...all I wish to see is reality. I think thats fair."

"I am fairly new to the Craft. I have found it extremely difficult to find others to discuss my religion with. I have only confided in 2 friends about my choice to worship in this way. I know that so many in my life would be upset and think I am practicing Satanism. I hope to tell them soon but am terrified to do so.Mina Beckett"

"The most surprising thing that Ive seen thus far is the ability for people to understand what ...real... pagan beliefs are when separated from the fictional fantasies that they had seen all their lives. Most of my friends understand some of what I believe and they all can appreciate that I am none of the Wicked Witch of the West nor Samantha nor Sabrina nor... I am but myself and have beliefs that are comparable to those of any good Christian."

"A good image is something which is not always needed but never hurts . If indeed the coverage could be positive and not turned into a face off between Witches Wiccans Pagans and christians I could see no harm in media stories ."

"The pagan community is in desperate need of a positive public image but until Earth-based religions are accepted as widely as the Big Five we will remain in the arena of Jenny Jones and Geraldo Rivera. Trash T.V. is a useless tool in the media for our purposes.You never saw Bill Clinton campaign on Jenny did you"

"Where I live There is no media for pagans witches or wiccans. Few are out of the closet and the ones who are arent really pushing for anything. Since the supreme court uverturned the freedom of religion recognition act most of us are scared to practice and to be open about our beliefs. We have no real rights and no supporters here to help us. A few friends and I have wanted to start hending out educational pamphlets but fear that we do not have the money to make them and that if we do we will be turned down by the printing companys. Here around my home town we are hated if we speak of our beliefs and we wish to get more poeple to understand us. We would like to see a more realistic view of witches pagans and wiccans in the media. Unfortunatly there is no local media around here that has done anything to speak of it at all."

"I live in the Bible belt and do not practice openly. More positive media would be beneficial but the news channel usually includes a Baptist minister for conflicting views just to keep it balanced."

"I do think we need one however it has to been done as a concile rather than a few single people. These single people would then be representatives of the ENTIRE Pagan movement. There is much diversity so a larger body from various branches need to be collected. People such as StarHawk could represent our truest being but medianightmares such as Laurie Cabot would not.Nekhebetrerousting"

"I think that most people do understand about witches but there aresome who get the hype up every chance they get. It would be goodfor us to get into the public eye more often on respectable showsfor interviews.I would like to see more discussion on what we really are in the media Id like for people to understand the difference between us and the stereotypical witch that everyone thinks of when they hear the word witch.Id also like for us to be distinguished from the all black wearing mega black liner goth or vampyres or whatever theyre being callednow. I truly hate it when I wear black one day and everyone commentson it because of my choice religion where as others can wear blackwithout anyone even blinking an eye at it."

"The pagan public image is a bad one. We need to se stories that show that Witches Wiccans and Pagans are not freks and wierdos. But are just ordinary everyday people."

"I think that we as pagans should be concerned with the way the general public views us. The way it is right now is far from perfect. What we should be working towards is the way we used to be seen in the old days. We need to be look on as somebody that you can go to for healing or whatever. We should be someone that the people can trust to be working in their general intrest and not trying to sacrafice their kid. It has taken the Christians thousands of years to form the image of us as satan worshipers. I hope it does not take that long to turn it around."

"I welcome the day in which pagans and witches can live without fear of discrimination but I think that day is a long ways away. I dont like the trend I see forming right now with paganisms attempt to legitimize itself by forming government approved churches and having elders be referred to as clergy and wear Christian-like priest outfits. It makes me sick to think that we as pagans need to conform to Christianitys view of religion to gain acceptance. Its my way or no way."

"As much as I think we need a positive public image we are built up of extreme individuals which is the beautious thing about our religion however leaves a lot of room for different views.I think the public need to know we are not evil or devil worshipers but beyond that no one can speak for me and my beliefs.I think paganism and Wicca have been belittled in the public eye through silly tv shows and bad movies. I think we need to make a strong effort to create a positive image without stepping on each others toes."

"It would be nice if the media would stop focusing on the problems of Witches and would spend a little time on the positive things Witches do such as environmental protection etc. I guess people just want the juicy stuff that is often completely false. The media should definitely stop with the negative slant. They need to be more aware of who and what the average Witch is. They shouldnt use Christian fundies as sources for info about Witches. The media needs to learn to use unbiased sources or at least accurate ones."

"What I would like to see more of News articles about celebrationsat times of the year other than Halloween.Articles that show seriousreligious celebration. News stories about towns other than Salem in which pagans worship and celebrate without the use of smoke machinesand black lipstick."

"HI.I am a young Pagen.I think thant all pagans need a good image.Like if a circle helps the couminty in some way.Or some thing of that sort.I think as Witches we should stick together but also welcome others to be our friends.I think we should start a news papper or magazine to show what Witchcraft is really about and send it to everone .I know this sounds unreasonable but I am onlt 15-MMMPMMA"

"Although we can not do anything about the past movies and television shows which portrayed Witches and Pagans as evil or with finger pointing powers I believe we as a community should look to the future for a positive new beginning. It would be nice to see and accurate account of what a witch really is in a sitcom or television show.Let alone the movies. I think the more the public sees us the more society will accept us as normal human beings and not something weird or to be afraid of over time. I wish we could be more vocal about our religions rather than feel ridicule for coming out of the broom closet."

"We have a bad image because the media does not seek understanding but only sensationalism. If we as Pagans do not stand out then we will never be heard. It also concerns me that even Religion Professors know nothing about our beliefs. I had a professor who said Paganism thats one of those new age crystal worshipping organizations right. We must go out and promote the truth about ourselves because no one else will.In the media I see very little that is positive and much more that is overgeneralization. I think we must be honest when asked about our beliefs and point out that there are many view points contained within our group."

"It is great that new shows are on tv like Sabrina but then I read the article here about the Xfiles or the movie the Craft... we saw that one in the theatres... about 8 of us Witches... and left in an uproar. I dont know how we are ever going to gain the respect of Americas quote Moral Majorrity... especially when we cant respevct each other most of the time... I believe that the world is changing... There is an old saying or so I was taught... First was the Time of the Mother then was the Time of the Father. We are living in the Time of the Son... but coming is the Time of the Daughter. Date Rape hate crimes terrorism in the name of religion or country... they are all crimes showing the lack of respect in the world. When it is the time of the Daughter... when the Pagan worldview is universally understood... there will be respect. Please understand that I dont mean that everyone will be pagan... but until the world respects one another the image of a Witch will be Margaret Hamilton. So by working toward unity in the pagan community... by working to give others an understanding of what Witches do... we are helping the Goddess to make her presence known in this world. By working to save the Earth... to end sexism ageism racism all the other isms... we are welcoming the Time of the Daughter."

"Being different is a difficult thing to cope with especially when others notice the difference and dont understand how to react to it. The basic human tendancy is usually to destroy what one does not understand. Thats one of the main reasons I love this site. Its here to promote education and banish the incredible amount of predjudice facing not only us as the Pagan community but also the predjudices of all those who are different. People dont need to be equal just understood. Id love to hear from any who agree or disagree with me. Thanks.Love light and laughterJaylorjaylor at"

"I for one am not sure we CAN have a single cohesive *public image.* One of the hallmarks of Wicca is its enormous flexibility. I certainly have made it what I needed for it to be to work on my own spiritual issues and help me learn the lessons of this lifetime.At the same time I think we have much more to fear from the upswing in the popularity of Wicca and Paganism than from negative media portrayals. There are a lot of people running around out there calling themselves witches and a number of them absolutely make me cringe. For a number of the *recent converts* that I know the Craft is about power and glory and control of external forces. Their focus seems to always be on the bells and whistles of the religion such as magic sex rituals community infighting and not the spiritual underpinning or the opportunity Wiccan practice provides for real personal growth. But despite how I personally might feel about their approach to Wicca they have the right to practice the way they do. Im my own one-woman public relations campaign for the Religion as I practice it. Having a cohesive public image would require cohesive *rules* on what it means to be a *Witch* and if were going to have rules we might as well be Catholic. I think the best thing we can do is teach the public and teach each other and know that we are going to find each other where we least expect to.Blessed Be."

"As it has been said before public is a two edged sword it can hurt as well as help but we live in an age where everything is public and to hide from it will cause more harm than facing the eye and telling the truth. I want to comment about the satanistsetian thing the word satan is just as much a label as anything else and unfortunately it has been ingrained in the mass mind as the christian boogyman but that doesnt mean denying the faith of a group whose title happens to be the same we just have to keep informing that there satan is not the cristian satan or else they wouldnt be pagans but christians. About my opinion of daytime talk shows I think they twist any subject to get those most ratings out of them and I dont trust them I know the news shows are aslo not above this but they have a better track record so there. In conclusion ignorance breeds fear so knowlede is our best defense."

"First a little clarification1 Although the group I am a member of will not allow media to film rituals of any type we will and have allowed them to attend and willhave upon request staged portions of them for the cameras upon completion of the ritual.2 While I approve of the concept of appearing in various public forums to present a more favorable impression to the public in fact I not only approve I have done so I do not approve of Tabloid TV and wouldnt appear on any show that could be described as belonging to that catagory. It is my belief that the very act of appearing on such a show cheapens the Craft and can only serve to hold us up to public ridicule.3 While I recognize the right of the SatanistSetian practitioners to worship as they choose it is my belief that welcoming them into the fold only serves to re-enforce the stereotypes held by many of the public. Wicca and SatanismSetism are not the same thing and I think we need to be very clear on that point.Now to the question at handIt is my firmly held belief that given the religious and political climate in North America today and given the very real possability of a strong swing to the fundamentalist right the only hope for us lies in a concerted effort to enhance our public image. In short if I hide what I do it becomes far easier to convince my neighbours that Im up to no good. If my neighbours already know me and have a positive or at least neutral reaction to my practice then convincing them that Im some sort of threat becomes far more difficult.In the best of all possable worlds Id like to see a continuing series where the main character happens to be Wiccan. Im not talking about a show where the fact is the driving motivation for the character or where it becomes the method of solving the problemsjust the main characters religion."

"With few people totally out of the Broom Closet there is a sameness to public media repesentation. While I honor Lori Cabot for example for her adamant belief I am concerned that her public image allows closed minded people to avoid haveing to accep us.In todays media unfortunately image is everything.On a brighter note Lifetime and AE have offerd well balanced and even sympathetic portraits of our people. As more and more of us present ourselves not to the media but to friends family and coworkers and they discover that we are not really different just people like them I have fath that we will gain a positive image that will stop things like the Craft from happening. We are in the position of many other opressed groups. Now we are object for predijuce scorn and ridicule. It may well take lawsuits to improve that position."

"I think that the media has not portraid us in a good like always with us being in a bad light.. or even as a goof like in Sabrina The Teenage Witch. And the things I here from so called representatives isnt that great either. With them either not really addressing the issues of going on trash TV jerry springer jenny jones ect and being made fun of by the host and the audenece. I think that we as pagans need to come out for our beliefs in the media and show the public that we arent some stupid fad or some wacked out bunch of people."

"In Britain Pagans have a very limited public presence. The only news covarage we ever see is controversy surronding Druids a stonehenge at the summer solsticeAs to having a public image through the media I am undecided. I see Paganism as a private religon and I would not like to see it blanketly represented as a conglomerate religion. However intellegent media covarage is good. Not to convert or to preach but to counter discrimination and misunderstanding so we can practice without fear."

"I would love to see some more REAL witch facts on tv rather than the usual hokus pokus green skin big wart devil worshiping things. That would be GREAT Us pagans and witchs must stand up for our selves tell the truth and end the lies. If we dont the ignorance of the general public will never go away."

"It will most likely take the media a good long while to catch up to witches in a positive light. Plus we have to re-begin the struggle every halloweenwhen we are routinely portrayed as hags plus watch the Christial Coalition programs around that time of year and the damage done is incredible. As for myself I approach people one at a time and so far Ive never been subjected to any outwardly negative reactions."

"Since we are still in a time when many people do not know any Witches or do not know that they know any we need to be sure that what they are told and shown is accurate. It is the same reason why it is hard to find reruns of Amos and Andy on TV anymore. And I personally think that we can enjoy Sabrina the Teenage Witch as soon as the African-American community can enjoy Amos and Andy."

"would like the public to know that paganswitches are just people.Unfortunately most of the public enjoy the myth they believe too much to give it up."

"It is the mass of negative media that has me supporting the effort to create a positive *public* image... the truth is I would prefer we have no public image at all. But we must begin in the world in which we live."

"I think that all Wiccans need to build a positive self-image to the public. With the way the Wiccan religeon stands now it may not last long. It has been around longer than the Christian religeon yet the newcommers have overthrown the Wiccans. I wish that people would understand that Wiccanism isnt about casting spells on everyone you dont like or wrinkinling your nose to move furniture. I say that I wouldnt go on public telivision because of the way Wiccans are treated now. I do not want to go through that kind of torment that anyone that would go on a TV show would get. I prefer to keep my beliefs to myself because of the negative self immage i would recieve. I hope that someday all Wiccans can become united and accepted once again."

"I am still in the spiritual adventurer stages of absorbing the various elements of paganism into my life. The core values presented as Wiccan are identical to those that I have always held yet in my observations of the various religious influences I find that many of them can be identified as related when you strip out the efforts of organized religion to control their followingscongregations etc.Most of what I have observed in the media is most misleading -- my key concern in welcoming Satanists into the pagan community at this time is that too many people outside of the pagan community do not differentiate Satanists from Wicca and other pagan beliefs. Much needs to be done to educate the public as to what the different pagan religions are about to allay fear. This is an excellent time in human history to continue the efforts -- many people are curious and are more open to learning without rushing to judgement. For myself this learning is critical since my interest and experiences with the paranormal and unexplained has piqued the interest of associates and opened the door for much discussion."

"*chuckles* We should act as we are And Be Who we be.. Nothing More.. Nothing less."

"We have a negative image for the most part I would most like to see some accurate information presented and I hope that eventually there will be less misinformation. I would not change ourselves in an effort to have a better PR. What is think would help is a PR effort by various groups over time."

"I would like to see a valid explaination of our beliefs. All of them. Preferrably presented with an eye to explain both the differences between the various traditions as well as a heavy emphasis of what is not believed in or practiced. I realize that something like this would have to be presented as an ongoing series of shows along the lines of AEs Civil War Diary or any of the other series of informative shows that they present. One hour would not do at all except for a very brief overview. I also think that any such series should be heavily biased toward what is currently practiced. Although at least one show should be dedicated to The Burning Times and one or two should also discuss the history of our religion as far as it can be determined without being either innacurate speculation or glossed over pap."

"Hmmm..interesting..a pagan public image..maybe..but isnt that being overly political We are all human beings with all our flaws..whatever religion we are. Dont we all just need to be ourselves"

"I think most people get their information about witches from movies and tv. They also get the image from what they have been taught either in their homes or in their place of worship. That means that the image is passed down along religious and family lines. The only way we can get people to understand what witchcraft is all about is by educating people. Intelligence will allow people to think for themselves and decide what they think of us themselves instead of just believing what they were taught."

"Well I mostly have seen a bad portrayl of Wiccans and Pagans in the medis. A lot of stuff by over-zealous Xtians... Also things because of The Craft phenomena. But I have seen an article on Wicca in the October 97 issue of The Web Magazinethat was very positive and even mentioned the Witches Voice in it. Which Im sure you may have read. But i found it to be a great view of Wicans."

"The image of Pagans at the moment seems to be either one of tree hugging rock worshipers or anti Christian idol worshipers. Witches are pretty much still seen to be evil satanic and possesed. Many people do not even know what a Wiccan is. A positive public image would be good for Witchcraft and Paganism but once Paganism starts to become too publicity oriented and we start worrying more about our religions image than the religion itself maybe we are going the same way as Christianity with their TV ads and billboards Witchcraft and Paganism are Earth revering Goddess _and_ God respecting _religions_. But many people who have seen movies like The Craft and shows like Sabrina the teenage witch only want to become Witches so that they can wear wierd goth clothes do loves spells and wave their hands to turn their hair blonde. Just my two cents...In love and lightArianrhod"

"My main concern is how people become almost obsessed with their Paganism and end up using it more like a shield than a part of themself. I had a friend who once did this and it was a major part in what ruined the friendship.We need to as a whole distinguishbetween people who say they are pagan and people who really are pagan.Personally I do not believe in closets of any kind. Go ahead and be public. But make people deal with you not because youre black white asian pagan christian jewish man or woman. ake them deal with you as a person."

"I find that whenever I tell someone that I am a witch they immediatly ask me questions from the Wizard of Oz like do you really fly on broomsticks can you throw fire etc. And whenever I wear my pent. I get people that call me a devil worshipor or something even worse. We need to tell people that we arent out there to get them and eat their children but we are positive influences and we honor a rede which by the way.. No one in the Christian community seems to know. May her light eternally shineNadia"

"I think that what was said about The Wizard of Oz holds true. Kids see the evil witch but there is also a good witch. The good witch is kind and helpful where the bad witch is hurtful. The same is true in reality. there are those who would do harm and those who would do good but the ones who would do good are merely thrown in with the others and are automaitcally branded evil. I personally have no ideas as to how to end this stereo typing but going on Jenny Jones or Sally Jessy Rapeal will not help. It is my opinion that those shows are made so the public can direct its hate towards those who are different the witches. If 20 20 would or has done such an interview and people were to actually watch it and pay attention then that could be a start. well im out of ideas as how to help. thanks for your time."

"We definelty need to work on a better imagine to the public. This could be done throught television books or in the general magazines. We need to be persistant in this effort but not overbearing."

"First I love Sabrina The Teenage Witch. I think that it is wonderful. We have not had a really positive portrayal of a witch character since Bewitched. I have watched every episode and only once did I take ofsense to a topic and that was on the Revenge episode. So far that was really been the worst thing on the show. Everything else has been pretty good. Admittedly a couple of things such as the first kiss episode were very hollywood but I think that considering the positive aspects of show can be overlooked.Wrote to a local TV station last year protesting a glib comment made by an accouncer after a section on Witchcraft. I am not sure if the comment was malicious or just glib but it was uncalled for. Generally the coverage that most local witches get is fairly good. We usually get hit up on Friday 13th or on Halloween because that is when the witches all come out. Sometimes the stories get pulled whent he big churches get wind of it - this is more common with newspaper aritcles. The pagan community also has got to work on scheduling with the media. Our media people see no problem in calling up the morning that they wish to do an interview and expect to appear within the hour. Needless to say that the owner of the local magickal store and high priestess of one of the covens has refused to play that game.I do not feel that Satanists should be welcomed into the Pagan community. They are offshoots of Christianity. I have looked at various satanic web sites and even though they claim to not worship satan christian I have my doubts. Also there are people calling themselves Satanists who do worship the Christian satan. Satanism is not a religion it is a belief system and closer to being humanism than anything else. Name of the belief aside I do not agree with what they preach. There are no moral or ethical bondaries present. I reject the notion of Show your enemy no mercy. This is in violation of the Rede and everything that the Witch and Wiccan holds dear. Any Wiccan who does wish to accept these people desperately needs to reevaluate their beliefs.Before going further I wish to make it clear that satanists or anyone else have the right to their own religion and path. I will defend this idea tooth and nail if need be. Everyone has the right to choose their own path. If this is what is meant by Unity then good I agree. However I will not lead people to that path or help to get them there. I do not agree with the path or what it teaches.Unity desperately needs to be clearly defined. I would guess that if you asked 100 people what unity meant that you would get 100 different answers all the way from my beliefs to accept them into your home and hold circle with them. Until the word Unity is clearly defined you can not attempt to have unity - there must be a common goal and unless that goal is defined it can never be attained. I have stated my view of unity - the respect of the belief that anyone can choose their own path. That is as far as I will go on unity or tolereance. I have been lambasted by Wiccans path of light path of dark satanists etc. for this who think that unity and religious tolerance means more than this. I am not always the most elloquent person in expressing my ideas and that may be part of the problem. Or it may be that people read only certain parts of my writing.Video taping ritual is a very sensitive topic. Our coven video tapes some of our workings for cataloging purposes. We actually have two covens. One coven is for the iniated which meets on the full moon. The other coven is open to everyone. Our group has discussed this and I think that we would allow a film crew to video tape a ritual but we would need notice and we would taylor the ritual with the idea that we were being filmed. We have nothing to hide but some of the magickal workings done by the full moon group can be potentially harmful to those who are not yet trained or just beginning. I guess it would be akin to giving a person a stick of dynamite. Int he right hands dynamite can be a very useful tool. In the wrong hands it can be very harmful and destructive. Do my comments make senseI think that several people in the group I am in would appear on a nationwide telivision program. Actually our group has been contacted by two different organizations national who would like to interview us for national shows.I hope that these comments help in what you are trying to do.Blessed Be"

"Honestly I think that the pagan public image is very shallow and incomplete. In the public eye I feel they still beleive when they see people in the park together in a circle with different looking clothes are devil worshippers. Its still very hard to have an understandable image toward the community. Whenever I have seen coverage of our lets say our community Witch High Priestess the questions are really hokie. The story is short and coverages like this only aire on or around Holloween. There is not much that can be said in 1 or 2 min. Its always positive but I still feel cheated. I think public still views us as weird and can always get a laugh in at every chance they get. We have to be carefull and pay special attention to details in the community of what we say and leave up in the air for people to believe Also and what we CAN DO for the community. I would like to keep the public eye and interest at a distance because of our needed secrecy. We still need a public image but would rather keep real Old Religione information out of the movies t.v. showsseries because these are made up stories anyway. Lets not confuse the public. There are always going to be made up jargon in Hollywood Yes I would like to see more Craftpagan documentarys on t.v. channel 13 would be good or the discovery channel. Why cant we ask for coverage on one of our public Yule rituals or Spring rites Instead of the stereotypical Holloween media coverages. But I tell you Im still going to put my Witchs Heal bumper sticker on my car through the whole month of october To make my comment a little clearer I just want a more tasteful image to the public eye. When speaking with the media we might want to speak of something they havent already heard and catch their attention. Maybe explain some similarities with the new religion so they dont think were sooo off beat but still in keeping with our mysteries. We may want to draw to their attention local shops that cater to Witchespagans. Also web sites newsletters and public rituals. Make these suggestions especially open very open so that everyone is safe and then educate. The people that will like it will stay and then bashers or people that dont like it can leave still saying at least that we are here for the good of all and just practicing an age old belief that harms no one I think I better stop before I write a book. Blessed Be Tapio Littlwolfe"

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