Popular Pagan Holidays
Well, You Don’t Celebrate Christmas...
Autumn: The Croning Time
Daily Goddess Awareness
Imbolc: Traditional Celebrations for a Modern Time
Samhain: A Time for Introspection---and Activism
Anti-Witch Bigotry: Still As Popular and Deadly As Ever
The Dark Half of the Year
The Halloween Witch: Sense of Humor or Sense of Ire
Ah...To Be A Witch...
Traditional Yule: Make your Own Homebrewed Mead
Winter Solstice By Any Other Name
The Beltaine Storm
Yule and the New Year
Spiritual Aspects of Yule
Lughnasa: Festival of the Harvest (A Druid's Perspective)
Lughnasadh: The Deeper Meaning
A Celtic View of Samhain
A Meditation on Samhain: How Lucky You Are.
The Solstice Flame: A Yule Story
Alicia Meets Grandmother Autumn: A Children’s Story
Witches Lost in Halloween
Samhain and the 'Witch Questions'
Winter: A Joyous Holiday Season
The Best Thing About Death
A Summer Solstice Primer
Imbolc...or As The Wheel Turns
A Story For Autumn
Thanksgiving Memories of a Native American Witch
The Samhain Experience
Imbolg - A Lesson of Positive Change
A Yule Story for Children ~ The Tiniest Fairy ~
Bealtine: Blessing the Summer In
Imbolc Musings: We're All Broken
The Summer Solstice: A Time for Awakening
Mabon..Balance and Reflection
Yuletide Thoughts, Life and Death
At Samhain, Meet Bilé, God of the Dead of Ireland and the Danu, the All -Mother
Brighid's Healing Sword: Imbolc
The Blood is in the Land
Parting the Veils and Opening to Ancestral Wisdom
Lascivious Lupercalia: Why Valentine's is a Vital Pagan Holy Day for the Modern World
Yules Lessons from Days of Yore: Perfect Love, Perfect Trust
"The Horn of Plenty": A Pathworking for Lammas
Lammas: The Sacrificial Harvest
The Call of the Crone
Sandy Was The Name Of the Dark Goddess This Samhain
Opening to the Anima Mundi – The Gift of the Equinox
Thanksgiving Memories of a Native American
The Light Within the Shadow of the Winter Solstice
The Serpent's Kiss: Beltane's Fire
Back to Basics: Imbolc
Parting the Veils of Beltane's Quickening
The Lover's Flame-Beltane
Ode to Ostara
Gaia's Mantle:The Greening of the Earth
Beltane and Samhain: Reflections of Life and Death
The Maiden's Breath: The Vernal Equinox
The Light of the Harvest: Lammas
Flashbrewing: Traditional Yule Ginger Beer/Ale
Ole Old-As-The-Hills (A Yule Story)
Anthesteria, the Hellenic "Samhain"
The Hermit's Light: Celebrating the Autumnal Equinox
The Gift of Yule: An Illuminated Wheel
The Quickening Wheel: Imbolc
Observations for a MidSummer's Eve
Mother's Flowering-The Summer Solstice
Are Holiday Decorations and Spending A Cloak for Guilt?
The Meeting at the Crossroads-Samhain
Reconsidering a Historical Eostre
A Samhain Selfie
New Years' Resolutions for Witches
Holiday: All ...
We Want them Back! (A Pagan View of the Holidays)
Turning The Wheel By Choice
Holiday: beltaine ...
Beltane -- Holiday Details and History
You Call it May Day, We Call it Beltane
Beltane -- Enlightening Links
Beltaine - Our May Morn
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Samhain: A Time for Introspection---and Activism
Article ID: 12905
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Morgan Ravenwood
Posted: October 19th. 2008
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As most of us know, Samhain is the best time of the year for introspection, intuition, and divination. The ways we celebrate the completion of the old year and the beginning of the new are as many and varied as we ourselves. But considering the volume of both bad press and bad-mouthing that inevitably accompany it, it is also a good time to do a little public education about what Pagans believe in and practice, especially at this, our most sacred and symbolic observation.
In its secular incarnation as "Halloween, " Samhain is second only to Christmas in the volume of related sales. Pumpkins, costumes, yard decorations and of course candy are put out on store shelves well before summer has gasped its last. And yet, if you asked the average shopper what the true origins of Halloween are, chances are you won’t get the same answer twice. This is what makes it such an ideal time to dispel the rumors and lies that are as plentiful as candy corn.
A few years ago, I received a disturbing reminder that religious intolerance can proliferate anywhere, even in a sleepy, easygoing town like the one I live in. As a matter of fact, it was my daughter who drove home the lesson for me when she became visibly upset upon my query about how a Wednesday night youth group meeting she had attended with a friend at one of the local Protestant churches had gone.
A bit of further questioning revealed that the pastor of the youth group had admonished the attendees against celebrating Halloween. “He said it’s the Devil’s night and that nobody should go trick-or treating!” she said miserably.
“I didn’t DARE tell him that WE celebrate it, or that we call it Samhain!"
Under the circumstances, I don’t think I would have, either.
Of course, I hastened to assure her that the youth group pastor didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. But it got me to thinking that aside from my daughter, many other kids were being fed the same propaganda by this pastor, and possibly the pastors in other churches as well. Armed with the dogma of their faith and their prime objective of “saving souls, ” I doubt that any of them stopped to think that they were insulting members of a minority religion by bashing our most important holiday. I felt that they all needed a little "wake up call, " though at first I wasn’t sure of how to administer it. For a while, I considered my options.
Calling or writing the pastor directly didn’t seem to be a good idea since it would probably only serve to start a quarrel. I then considered sending a letter to the editor of our local newspaper, but I thought that the mandatory three hundred-word limit might make it difficult to get my point across. So I decided instead to send an email to the reporters’ main desk to explain what had transpired at the church and why, as a Wiccan, I wasn’t comfortable with it.
I quickly received a reply from one of the reporters with an offer to interview me! For me, it was an offer that was too good to miss, so I met with her one day that week. What fun it was to be regarded as the city’s “official SpokesWitch” (even though I never claimed to be speaking in any kind of official leadership capacity) . We talked for a good hour, and her sincerity and open-mindedness were very gratifying. In fact, at the conclusion of the interview, she expressed interest in learning more about Samhain and Wicca OFF the record, with which I happily complied.
The resulting article was actually printed on October 31st and was a lengthy, almost word-for-word account of the interview. Though the reporter told me that the newspaper feared receiving some negative response from it, I never heard about any from her, nor were there any "bashing" letters to the editor. However, I DID get a lot of POSITIVE feedback from the few local Pagans I have met. "How brave of you!" these firmly “broom-closeted” folks said. And yet, I didn’t feel especially so; I just wanted to set the record straight, and I feel that I accomplished my objective.
Though I have always tried to promote activism for all Pagan faiths, I know that a lot of people don’t feel comfortable doing so. While I understand their position, I also feel that unless more of us step up to this important task, we’ll forever feel obligated to remain in the "broom closet" and continue to allow those of mainstream faiths to hold sway over us. They do so because they fear us and our beliefs, and fear is the mother of hatred a great deal of the time. With the distinct lack of readily available correct information about Paganism they have an excellent excuse.
Beginning with the Pagan Pride day celebrations in September and running at least through Halloween, many Pagan groups opt to run festivals, fairs, environmentally related events such as tree plantings and roadside cleanups and sometimes even public rituals. All of these help to educate the public about us as well. Solitaries needn’t feel left out, however.
While we Pagans pride ourselves on the fact that we do NOT proselytize, there are still a lot of ways to disseminate information about our religion. How you do so, in addition to how you tackle accusations, stereotyping or plain old bigotry all depends upon how “out of the broom closet” you are willing to be.
Regardless of whether it’s writing a letter to the editor of a publication, joining Internet religion discussion groups or getting a study group together at the local bookstore or library, every little bit you can do will ultimately be reflected in more tolerance of our beliefs by those whose main reason for their intolerance is ignorance. Be assured that you won’t just be helping yourself but ALL of us.
A Blessed Samhain to all!
Location: Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Author's Profile: To learn more about Morgan Ravenwood - Click HERE
Bio: Morgan Ravenwood has been an Eclectic Wiccan and writer for over 30 years and was the facilitator of the first Pagan group in her area, Desert Moon Circle. She is also a dedicated equal-rights activist and has conducted extensive research on hate crimes and persecution against Pagans.
Other Articles: Morgan Ravenwood has posted 7 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
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