Teen Goths, Vampires and Pagans
Article ID: 2241
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 7,224
Times Read: 60,833
Posted: December 12th. 1998
Times Viewed: 60,833
Yes, I was a teenage goth. For a year and a half of my life I couldn't be found in any other color except black a deep blood (sic) red. (In retrospect and defense, those are my horoscope colors, I swear!) My make-up consisted of white base, shades of black and grey around the eyes, and a deep blood (sic) shiny red lip-stick. (Okay, so sometimes my lipstick was black too, but you get the point.)
I worshipped all things fishnet, tight leather, and stilleto. And no, I didn't dye my hair black, thank you. I dyed it a deep blood (sic) red. I was a proud owner of the "Goth Box", listened to Switchblade Sisters, Rasputina, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus, NiN, and yes, Mr. Marilyn Manson, among other so-called goth artists.
I was a regular at "The Church", the designated goth nights at a trendy Dallas club. Most of my friends were also regular attendees. (Yes, I did the "gothic dancing", and quite well, thank you.)
I detested bright sunny days, draped my room in black, and read more horror literature than is probably healthy. I was not obssesed with death nor vampires, (I was getting enough of that in my horror novels) but more than a few of my goth friends were. And to top it all royally off, every Saturday I portrayed Magenta at the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
In short, you couldn't get much more gothic than I was.
I was also deeply depressed a majority of the time and suffered all the usual symptoms of depression. My home was a war-zone and I fought constantly with my mother when I bothered coming home. I was alienated from my old friends and was involved in a very abusive relationship with a boy six years older than me. (Twenty-two or not, he still acted like a boy.) I feebly attempted suicide three times, and was a chronic self-mutilator. In short, my life sucked.
So my gothic persona fit me quite well. My black clothing and dark music aptly reflected my own depression, pain, and anger which was what I made most of my life about. Most of my goth friends had dysfunctioanal families and troubled childhoods as mine. We could identify with each other through our dark make-up and painful pasts.
Yet my soul was hollow and lonely. I couldn't get past the idea that anyone who wasn't goth would be able to identify with me. If you weren't gothic like me, you just wouldn't be able to "understand" me and what I was going through. Oh how wrong I was.
One Saturday at Rocky I met a sweet guy named Zach. We had a pleasant conversation, during which he asked me what religion I was. I thought that to be rather odd, but had no problem telling him I was a non-practicing Christian. I had tried the youth group thing, but found it to be more of an extension of the social clique at my school than a spiritual fellowship.
He asked me if I really was Christian. Again I thought that odd, but insisted that I was. Being a proud goth, I thought that whole Hell, sin, death, and redemption scenario was definitely dark enough to fit my social persona. (My boyfriend at the time had even flirted a bit with Satanism, though it didn't interest me.)
Zach told me, "Wow, you're a cool Christian."
Okay..."So what the hell are you, " I responded.
"Oh, I'm Pagan, " he said. It was then I noticed the pentacle around his neck.
After enquiring what being pagan meant, he gave me the briefest of explanations. When I persisted, he invited me to go to a drum circle the next Saturday at the local pagan community center.
Wow, there was a pagan community center in Dallas? That was news to me...
The moment I walked into "Betwixt and Between, " I was, for the first time in my life, conciously aware of positive vibrations that filled the room. It was as though you could cut the air with a knife. Always a fan of music, the drumming immediately soothed my apprehensions of being a new person in a new place. Everyone was so incredibly friendly and filled with smiles and laughter. The room was lit almost completely by soft candlelight, and the air was perfumed by sweet-smelling incense, and men smoking pipes filled with herbal concoctions. Women danced in long, colorful skirts. I thought they were radiant.
Children ran about giggling and reaching for sweets on a long table filled with goodies. Beautiful paintings in full color adorned the walls. I felt foolish in my black pants and shirt. This place was utterly unlike any I had ever seen. The people were utterly unlike those I had ever encountered. This a true church, I said to myself, and for some reason I felt at home.
These people who called themselves pagan and Wiccan were so filled with life and laughter and joy and Spirit, I couldn't understand it. This was all so foreign to me, yet I was comfortable and even at peace in the presence of these pagans. As I abandoned my inhibitions and danced to the rhythm of the drums, I felt the brilliant spark of life for the first time in many months. For a brief moment in time I no longer felt hollow or lonely. I didn't know it then, but I felt Spirit.
The next few months proved to be an extremely turbulent period in my life. I moved out of my house and in with my supposed best friend who kicked me out after a week over jealous, petty reasons. I dropped out of school, bounced around for a few weeks, and ended up arrested as a runaway.
During this time I read Scott Cunningham's "Wicca: A Guide For the Solitary Practitioner". I was going through an identity crisis at a point in my life when nothing seemed reliable and nobody seemed geniune anymore, not even myself.
It was then I picked un Silver RavenWolf's "To Ride A Silver Broomstick". Half-way through the book something compelled me to walk outside and witness one of the most beautiful sunsets I can remember. It was one of the first times in a long while I had cherished the sun's beauty instead of cursing its existence. Lately, long lost childhood memories had come flooding back to me, including my fascination with the moon and how I used to insist on falling asleep in Her silver rays when they happened to visit my bedroom window.
It was then I realized She had always been there for me, through thick and thin. My limbs tingled in the warm sunlight, and I felt whole. I felt at home. I felt at peace. It was then I realized my soul was Wicca, and my life has never been the same.
I almost immediately found a new love for spending as much time outdoors as possible. Bright, lite-weight clothing and barefeet made more sense in the warm summer afternoons than high heels and lots of black make-up which was going to sweat off anyway. My horror novels took a back seat to Scott Cunnigham, Raymond Buckland, Margot Addler, Edain McCoy, and of course, Silver RavenWolf, among others. This shocked and amazed my old gothic friends. Their habits were no longer exactly copacetic with my new interests.
I was beginning to prefer my drum circles to my gothic parties and began spending more time with my new spiritual friends. In my new religion I found a way to deal with my own problems, and could no longer hurt myself abiding to the Wiccan Rede. I could no longer wallow in my own pain and depression when I knew I could be meditating, drumming, chanting, and celebrating Spirit. Wicca gave me a new perspective on my life. Wicca gave me a perspective on LIFE.
And ultimately, that's what our religion is - a celebration of Life and Spirit. And that's why our life style and gothic life styles will never mesh. I never conciously decided not to be goth anymore, I just couldn't be goth because the death, darkness, pain, depression, and melo-drama that is goth was not what I was about anymore. In short, I grew out of it.
And that's my story. I still have a few gothic friends, but since I don't hang out at The Church anymore few people have bothered to stay in touch. Every year I see a few goths come and go in our religion. Being a Witch seems different, mysterious and glamorous to these goths, who are usually rather young, but when they find out what Witchcraft is really all about it loses its appeal. You just can't celebrate life and Spirit while obsessing over death and darkness and fishnets.
Well, maybe fishnets...and leather...occasionally.
Blessed Be in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust!
Location: Denver, Colorado
Bio: My name is Mary, I'm 18, and a senior at Berkner High School in Dallas, Texas. As of late November I have been pagan for almost a year. I planon attending Dallas Art Institute next fall, majoring in fashion designand hopefully having my own pagan oriented line someday!.
Teen Goths, Vampires, and Pagans- "A Bad Name!!"
by Weeping Star
How many times have I seen it?
In chat rooms, on message boards; the following, or some other, perhaps more disturbing variation on it: "We don't need those freaks! They give the normal ones of us a bad name!" Of course, 'those freaks' is a reference to Goths.
Well, as a Goth, I must say in rebuttal:
Get over it.
Goth is a style of dress, a way of looking at the world, and attitude, a lifestyle. It's a fringe element, to be sure, but like Paganism, is not harmful, merely misunderstood. Perhaps you will take a little time to understand it, yes?
There are several different kinds of Goths. There is the type I am firmly set in, the Shadowy Aristocrat. Dressed in our ruffles and lace, we set the definition for affected snobbery. In essence, we have a thing for black antique clothes and being elitist jerks. What else would you expect from noblemen?
Then there is the Angst-Filled Poet. This poor waif is unable to escape her own pain and suffering at the hands of every aspect of the world, and sets forth her travails in elegant rhymeless verse. She wears a lot of black because "it is the colour of her soul." Ah, drama! Often seen carrying a large black book of blank pages, filled in with many angsty poems about the ending of love and the death of her own soul. Don't say the word "masochist" around her unless you enjoy her withering glares and her muttering, "Ignorant philistine, " under her breath.
And then there's the Mansonite. These are the people that are convinced Marilyn Manson is God and would display his message of individuality by dressing just like him. Most of the rest of us disavow these fellows as "fakes, " "poseurs, " and "wannabes." In fact, many Goths despise Mr. Manson for any number of reasons. And then some of us like or at least tolerate him.
Ah, yes, who could forget "le monsieur de Lioncourt, " the people that are possessed of the notion that everything in Rice's Vampire Chronicles is incontrovertible fact, or that White Wolf's Vampire: the Masquerade is just too cool to be made up. Look for strange sigils denoting clan affiliation and lots and lots of ankhs.
But, all joking aside, there is one thread that runs through all of these facetious "types" I have just detailed. That thread is a fascination with darkness, and the beauty that lies therein. It is a beauty so many miss, just as radiant as any spawned of the light. It is romanticism and drama that draw most of us to being Gothic, and these are what we are striving after. Class, dignity, elegance, romance, chivalry, and love are important to the Goth. We look to bygone eras for both our clothes (albeit with twentieth century couteur) and our attitudes.
We are not going to give Paganism a bad name. Many of us are not even affiliated with Paganism, but Christianity, Buddhism, and Atheism/Agnosticism. These four seem to be the major faiths adhered to, except amongst Mansonites, where there is an inordinate amount of Satanism (such as they practice it). We are different. We don't dress in normal clothes all the time. Sometimes, of course, the makeup comes off and the cloaks go in the closet, but we retain our Gothicness in our attitude.
Any person who would judge an entire religion on the conduct of one adherent is closed-minded and incapable of accepting the truth anyway. So, our more normal brethren, we are not going to besmirch the names of Wicca and Paganism. Besides, if you need a scapegoat to blame because your boss heard some Goth kids in the alley saying something about a Goddess and now your faith is under attack... well, blame him, not those kids. We as Pagans are so interested in freedom of religion... let's not forget freedom of thought, attitude, and conduct, eh?
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