Articles/Essays From Pagans
February 1st. 2019 ...
Paganism and Witchcraft in the Media
September 25th. 2018 ...
Understanding the Unseen
August 25th. 2018 ...
A Little Magickal History
Men and the Goddess
Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces
Kitchen Magic and Memories
Why the Faeries?
Magic in Daily Life
An Open Fire: Healing from Within
Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light
Gudrun of the Victory Gods
Ares and Athena
La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength
The Lady on the Stairs
The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives
July 26th. 2018 ...
The Importance of Unification: Bringing Together Community Members to Invoke Cohesivity
May 29th. 2018 ...
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
April 20th. 2018 ...
Nazis Made Us Change Our Name
January 25th. 2018 ...
Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion
November 15th. 2017 ...
September 30th. 2017 ...
July 31st. 2017 ...
Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers
July 2nd. 2017 ...
On Cursing: Politics and Ethos
June 1st. 2017 ...
The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions
April 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles
March 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
September 11th. 2016 ...
The Shadow of Disgust
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
An Open Mind and Heart
June 13th. 2016 ...
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
The Fear of Witchcraft
Magic in Sentences
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
December 20th. 2015 ...
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
May 6th. 2015 ...
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
January 1st. 2015 ...
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
August 24th. 2014 ...
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
You May Destroy; We Will Rebuild!
Article ID: 9071
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,131
Times Read: 3,923
RSS Views: 37,997
Author: Jemma Hawtrey
Posted: December 2nd. 2007
Times Viewed: 3,923
About four years ago, a young red-headed girl might often be found in the forest clearing a space by hand while a slightly-deranged black Labrador bounced around and got in the way as much as was non-humanly possible. If the girl was in a mischievous mood she might mention the c..a..t word to her four legged companion and smile broadly at the result as the animal capered away looking for that scourge of Doggie-Kind, having probably forgotten that a face-full of claw can be painful. The teenager had to stop to rest from time to time. But although the long illness had sapped her strength, it never took her determination.
That young girl is now a young woman of eighteen summers. She’s older, maybe slightly sadder than she was, but that devil-may-care look is still in her eyes. Sadly her furry companion has crossed the veil these last months and she is much missed and fondly remembered.
She’s found another companion, though of a slightly different sort. Bit by bit she’s let him into her life, shown him things of herself, even after much cajoling, shown him poems she’d written in the past and present ones about the both of them
And in all that time, that space in the forest was where she went, to commune, to celebrate, to cry when she felt so sad and alone.
Fairly recently she introduced her new companion to this place. At first it felt slightly hostile to him, as if he were an invading force there. But seeing the love shown to its mistress, in a short time the hostility faded to be replaced by welcome.
It wasn’t long after that this place of memories and ritual was totally destroyed.
It may have been just kids playing around who didn’t know the significance of the place, though I doubt it. All the markers had been removed and hidden and the circle erased. It was so well done that we weren’t sure that we were in the right place, that we had gotten lost and disoriented somehow.
Our first reaction was probably stunned disbelief. Why would someone come and destroy something that was obviously there for a reason and had been for some time?
Then came the anger. Why did they do this? What did we ever do to them that they should do this to us?
After a while we just sighed and started work to repair the damage that had been done. We searched to find the quarter markers and found the Stang intact. Natural wands and other items were missing, likely scattered all over the forest. We remade the circle and replaced the markers. As the circle was remade stronger, so we became.
After two or so hours we looked at our work and saw it was good. But as we trudged down the soggy path we resolved that this should not happen again, that people should know about what happened here, and know about the significance of places special to other Pagans and how to treat them.
So we wrote a letter to a local paper. We said what had happened and that the site that had been erased was as important to us and had as much spiritual significance to us as Pagans as a church to a Christian or a Mosque to a Muslim.
In due course a journalist was dispatched to our little corner of Suffolk and we spent a productive 2 hours or so standing in the ‘trying-to’ snow and the shelter of a stand of Laurel bushes telling her and her camera-man all about our life as Pagans and our feelings over this event.
“Its like us walking into a church, taking it down brick by brick, using the site as a rubbish dump and setting fire to it.”
That one quote sums up our feelings perfectly.
But why did it happen?
I myself am sure that it wasn’t any accident. The removal and hiding of specific objects such as the markers and wands would indicate to me someone who at least had some knowledge of Wicca/Witchcraft/Paganism. That the Stang, although well hidden, was undamaged, indicates that the person maybe didn’t have a extremely deep knowledge as this item is not generally on the outsiders checklist for Witches paraphernalia.
A person or persons found the site and decided that it should be taken back to the state their God, in their eyes, intended. They then took it upon themselves to do so. About the only thing I can commend them for in this action is their attention to detail. By all other standards I find this to be a reprehensible and insulting act.
That covers the physicality of the event itself. But does it cover the thoughts behind it?
I think those are much more important. I also think that the thoughts that resulted in the desecration of a sacred site, stand as much as the fault of the Pagan community as they do with any other.
For far too long many Pagans have been content to act, think and do as if they are in a little bubble each of their own devising. Too many of us still see interaction between ourselves and other faith communities as them and us. We are still all too quick to condemn people on the simple basis of their faith tradition or otherwise. I know I have been.
It’s only been very recently that I have seen the caring and friendship inherent in the Christian tradition. It took me finding another Pagan and her Christian family to do it.
I want to ask the Pagan community in general to do two things, and for once they aren’t even that difficult. Firstly, actually look at the person behind that prayer book. It will probably surprise you to find they are just like you, they have faith like you, and they laugh and cry like you do.
Second, reach out in your community and be an educator and teacher of your tradition. Be the one who is open with others, because when you are others will respond.
Granted, some may respond in ways you might prefer they hadn’t, but some will think and realize that maybe this person with their interest in the environment and their quick smile might be someone worth knowing better.
However, here I have a gentle word of warning. Don’t trust before you have reason to. Be careful in your dealings with people and be sensible. Naivety is a wonderful quality but it can be a powerful weapon in the hands of someone who would do you harm.
Many things happen in life that we’d rather had not. There is a saying that “in every disaster there is an opportunity waiting to flower”. For my partner and I the vandalism of a place so important to us counts as one of the things that we would far rather had never happened. We could have raged about it, we could have cursed and railed at cruel fate.
We took the other course.
We remade our place and we have tried to educate our wider community. We found the opportunity in the disaster, I hope the rest of the Pagan community can follow us on that path.
Copyright: Copyright (2005) Durin ab Iceni
Location: Colchester, England
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