Paganism and Witchcraft in the Media
Article ID: 15414
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Alexia Moon
Posted: February 1st. 2019
Times Viewed: 1,568
Paganism and Witchcraft, as a set of beliefs and craft, respectively, are subject to being referred to and spoken in the media.
Today I plan to tackle a bit at how, Paganism and Witchcraft are viewed and portrayed by the media nowadays, mostly television, literature, media and cinema. I will use the term "witch" in the feminine but this applies to both women and men.
Let’s start with Literature. Since forever that fairy tales with witches and gnomes and dragons are a part of people's mind and memories, specially authors, making them write some of the most brilliants pieces of work of our days (let's take as an example Marion Zimmer Bradley and J. R. R. Tolkien) . Many works of literature, especially in the Fantasy theme, are based on Pagan standards and with pagan connotations. One of the most recent series that follows today's 'fashion' in Literature (Vampires) named "House of Night" describes several pagan characteristics (even though not accurate) , like the cult to Nyx (a Greek goddess) and the celebration of pagan rituals (such as Samhain and Beltane) .
In Literature, in general, we can say that the opinion on Paganism has been improving gradually in these past years and, differently from what happened in the past, witches are no longer old women who lived alone in the forest with a wart on their noses and that kidnap little kids to turn them into their breakfast. Most witches, nowadays, are represented as strong, determined and independent women.
I believe that the way witches, and Paganism in general, is portrayed in Literature is very important, for it has a big impact on today's society.
When it comes to television and the cinema, we can see a constant situation through these past years. Since mid-90s that we see a constant in TV series and movies, in which the female characters are independent women, strong and that just happen to be witches (for example, Charmed) . This aspect is very important because, once again, it shows that witches aren't only old ladies in villages, but any day women.
With some exaggeration on the special effects and powers (that something I can't even imagine where they get such ideas) , the image of Paganism itself and Witchcraft is still very exaggerated and with a touch of super-hero alike. The idea that witches can fly on a broom and with a twitch of the nose the house is clean (oh I wish I could do that!) .
When it comes to the cult of the old Gods and Goddesses I find it beautiful, the way it is depicted in most movies and series. They really try to show the dedication that the supposed Priests and Priestesses have to their Goddesses and some show the true love for Nature and for the Gods and Goddesses of Paganism.
That way, we can assume that image that television and cinema shows of Witches and of Witchcraft still leaves a bit to wish for, due to the special effects and exaggeration on most aspects (but we must understand that they do that for one simple reason: It sells. And in Hollywood, that's what matters) .
Of course most people tend to believe these effects and come to the pagan communities asking how they can ride a broom or be a Charmed girl. But, in my opinion, we just have to live with that aspect, Hollywood isn't going to change and that makes it our job to make people understand what is fiction and what is not. That's the job for the pagan communities, both online and in real world.
Because, even though there is much exaggeration and everything around Witchcraft and Paganism, it's still this that brings some people to Paganism. And not only crazy and want-to-be-a-Charmed people but also dedicated and soon to be Priests and Priestess and Dedicates of their own paths, that happened to start through a TV Show or a Movie.
For a closure, we are going to talk about the Press. I believe this is the media in which we see a worst and most negative image on Witchcraft. We can see news about Witchcraft that have so much wrong that you cannot even begin to understand where they got such ideas. The "satanic Witchcraft" rites, the "Wiccan man killed spouse for a sacrifice" and much more titles that we find in the press, bring such a terrible and negative image that really damages Paganism.
For a couple examples, I can give you two news titles (one positive and one negative) from back in 2010: In Romania some so-called witches were asked to pay taxes for their services (rituals, tarot readings, etc) . When confronted with this aspect, they threatened the Government that the tax should be removed or they would "put a curse" on the members of the Romanian government. This is situation seriously damages the reputation (that is not the best, yet) of Paganism and Witchcraft.
A positive news is the recognition of Druidism as an official religion in Britain, this came to give a much bigger visibility to Paganism in today's society and it is a big step towards religious acceptance.
So, after analyzing all of these details, we can come to the conclusion that Paganism has a relatively good image in today's media (without a couple of details that, unfortunately, are out of our control and we can only soften the effects by showing the population what Paganism and Witchcraft really is) .
In my opinion it's not only to hope and wait for media to change. We have to change. It's a job for the communities to promote the awareness of Paganism (not to prosilitate! Do not understand me wrong!) and to let people know what it is and what it believes, so that we can, one day, to be free to say "I'm a Pagan" or "I'm a Witch" without being afraid of losing our children, getting fired, not getting medical help and much more situations that should be assured to us and, something, because of this little details, are not.
It's a job for the community. So, as a community, let's unite and show the World that we are not evil people. We are not bad. We are normal people, with normal lives, jobs, kids, daily routines and everything that people from other religions have.
Location: Braga, Portugal
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