Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Article ID: 15319
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 311
Times Read: 1,607
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Author: The Redneck Pagan
Posted: May 5th. 2013
Times Viewed: 1,607
I’m sure that I am writing on a topic covered by many Pagans, Witches, Heathens, Druids and others whose names I have not yet learned. We’ve all seen it: the pagan (or any other term under the pagan umbrella) who is special, and has no problem telling the world how special he/she is!
Maybe he/she is descended from a victim of the Salem Witch Trials, so being a witch is in their blood, which always cracks me up since if you read history the “Salem Witches” were actually all Puritans. Some were known as very good Christians, such as Rebecca Nurse. Now if you tell this same wonderful descendant about these facts, he/she might then claim that there really were Witches in Salem and that they even had a full-blown coven working at the time. Well, that I cannot verify. I know far more about general history than I do specifics, and my knowledge of Salem is limited to Internet searches and the odd book here and there. However, I do have a good dose of curiosity, common sense and a hunger for knowledge. So I have to say my BS detector does tend to spark up at that one!
Then there is the “my mother and her mother and her mother were all Witches” claim. Again, I am hesitant to believe them. Granted we are now well past 50 years since Gardner, Alexander Saunders, Doreen Valiente and others whose names have escaped me first began publishing on the subject of Witchcraft, so there is a possibility this person is telling the truth. My personal experience has taught me those who are desperate to convince you they come from a long line of Witches tend to be trying to convince themselves. I’m not saying people in their families did not practice Witchcraft; I’m just not sure they would have called it that.
My own Grandmother does things that some might consider Witchcraft. For example, she talks to her plants and prays when she knits. Well, I talk to my plants and, when creating gifts for others, I pray over them to infuse them with positive energy… but I can promise you my Grandmother would not call herself a Witch! There are hundreds of things woven into our culture that have their roots in ancient Pagan practices, but doing some of them, such as throwing salt over your shoulder, do not automatically make you a Witch. I know many people with elders in their families who are very wise, have interesting practices, are great at whipping up an herbal tea that their Grandmother used when they were sick and are the perfect example of the old wise woman we all seem to dream of. But they do not consider themselves Witches.
So perhaps our claimant then descended from one of the nine million lost during the “burning times” when “all our ancient covens and knowledge was ruthlessly stamped out by the Catholic Church”? Okay…. now my blood is boiling! The nine million count is a HUGE overestimation and I am still amazed at how many people quote it and use it as though it was fact! The highest number I have seen put forth by scholars who have examined the records is around 100 000. Now I am not saying this is not an appalling figure and an atrocity we should ignore. It is part of our history and it is something we must strive against happening again.
However, many of those accused and put to death were not witches. Most (if not all) were Christians. There is a whole host of reasons why these people were accused but my research indicates to me there are three main reasons: greed, fear and torture. Either the person had land or valuable property, or the person was accused because people had bad things happening around them and needed to blame somebody/were afraid of the person they accused or they were denounced by another who, under torture, named them.
Now this is obviously a very condensed explanation of a topic about which entire books can be written and I have neither the space here nor the educational credentials to argue any further. I direct your attention to the end of this post for more information resources. I will simply sum up by saying that many of us probably have blood/genetic ties of one form or another to witch hunt victims. That, in it of itself, does not mean you are a witch.
My own family has some entanglements with that time. Up until the early 1500’s, our family was located in Germany. We had some land we farmed, and were actually very devout Catholics. Then this guy called Martin Luther came along 1517 and nailed some Theses on the door of a Catholic Church. These ideas caught on like wildfire and this “Reformation” came about, causing a split between Catholicism and Protestantism. By the 1550’s, Germany was becoming a rather volatile place and my Family, who had remained Catholic, figured it was safer to find a more socially hospitable place. They packed their belongings up and over 25 years much of the family made their way to England. Some of them disappear from the records at this time, many of them women. I attribute this to the fact that all of them were younger women, who were in their childbearing years, at a time when maternal survival rates were not as high as we enjoy today.
The family began to settle in England when some dude called Henry decided he wanted to divorce this Lady called Katherine, and marry a girl named Anne! (Henry VIII would split from the Catholic Church in order to divorce his catholic wife Queen Katherine and marry Anne Boleyn) . Over the next 30-40 years, there was a huge upheaval around the rise of the Anglican Church, then came the time of Bloody Queen Mary, followed by the reign of the Anglican Queen Elizabeth I. Having seen the trouble in Germany, a few of my ancestors felt it would be safer not to stick around, so they tiptoed over to Ireland, where they stayed until my Grandfather came to Canada. This history of my family is fascinating, and I love going through some of the genealogy records my Grandmother collected, but this history does not make me more entitled to be High Priestess than anyone else. All it does is give me some ancestral insights into a time of social upheaval.
I have run across people desperate to prove how special they are by confiding that they are the reincarnation of Cleopatra, Morgan Le Fay, Merlin, etc. (An old web comic called Oh My Gods, created by Shivian Balaris, touched on this once and the main character Stan commented that there was no use fighting over who was Cleopatra in a past life as she “obviously reincarnated as Cher”. The comic is not in webprint anymore but you can still get copies of the books) . These people talk on and on about how powerful they were in a past life. People dare not mess with them and they are seeking to teach others the wonders of their ancient lore. Those people I tend to give a wide berth to and check when they open their bags for their antipsychotic medication.
Now don’t get me wrong; as a Pagan I believe in reincarnation. I am positive I have been incarnated more than once. I have a very strange aversion to chamber pots. I’m not kidding; the blasted things always send me into a rage and make me want to vomit. I think I probably spent a lifetime or ten cleaning them (and now thank the Goddess daily for the invention of indoor plumbing) . I believe I have dealt with many things in past lives, but I don’t think I was anybody big or famous. Chances are I was another “everyday Jane” just living my life, learning what I could along the way. So yes, the “look at how famous I was” people tend to make me roll my eyes.
Many people actually DO want to be considered “special”, “powerful”, “mysterious” and admired. Well, I hate to point this out… but suck it up Princesses; you’re not. But take heart, neither am I.
(To be continued...)
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The Redneck Pagan
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