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A Quest for Unity

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Year: 1997 ...

Survey Results - AAA General Profile

Your comments on - Witchcraft in the Public Eye

Survey Results - Explaining your Religion/Personal Belief

Survey Results - Out of the Broom Closet

Survey Results - Witchcraft in the Public Eye

Survey Results - Teachers of the Craft

Your comments on - Explaining your Religion/Personal Belief

Your comments on - Working with Groups

Survey Results - Working with Groups

A Quest for Unity ( 1)

Your comments on - Teachers of the Craft

Your comments on - Out of the Broom Closet

Unity Essays from YOUR Community

A Quest for Unity ( 2)

Your comments on - Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg2

Your comments on - Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg3

Your comments on - Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg4

Your comments on - Explaining your Religion/Personal Belief pg2

Your comments on - Working with Groups Page 2

Your comments on - Explaining your Religion/Personal Belief Pg3

Your comments on - Out of the Broom Closet Page 2

Your comments on - Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg5

Your comments on - Teachers of the Craft Page2


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Article Specs

Article ID: 2026

VoxAcct: 9

Section: unity

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 6,249

Times Read: 6,178

Your comments on - Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg2

Author: Pagan Communities
Posted: September 16th. 1997
Times Viewed: 6,178



Initial Thoughts from the Community (the first 24 hours)

YOUR comments on...

Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg. #2
(as of September 16th., 1997)



Survey Sez...

"I have been doing public relations work with various media since 1977 as a representative of Witchcraft and several different organizations. This includes the Covenant of the Goddess...The Pallas Society...The Lady Liberty League...First Wiccian Church...and others.I dont know if we can even talk about a Pagan public image. What I would like to see is actually less coverage of the Witch and Pagan community because that would mean we had become so common and accepted that it would not be necessary anymore. In the meantime I think it would be great if the media itself would think about covering our struggles for respect and dignity throughout the year and not just at Hallowmas.As a spokesperson I have always presented myself just as I am. Using my legal name and wearing my ordinary everyday clothing. The response from the media and the public has always been positive and I hope that my work has contributed to a growing awareness of the reality of our beliefs and practices thereby making it easier for others to openly worship in freedom.I encourage any Witch or Pagan who can afford to be a public representative of our diverse path to speak up with the media. There are more of us out there than we know. if we all just stood up we could see our numbers have grown and that our strength is in our unity.Harvest Blessings Rev. Marsha Smith Shaw DD"

"I personally am sick and tired of two things plauging the Pagan community. The first being the idea that were all evil or weird or deranged. The other being that people outside of the religion only wish to get enough information about Pagan religions enough to make up their own story but still stick close enough to the actualities of the religions they are trying to generalize or ostrasize.I believe that we as Pagans Wiccans Witches and the like should do something about this poor image our religions have. Weither it be openly or not."

"I missed questionair number four but here goes... I have seen several T.V. interviews and heard many radio commentaries on the practices and prominate individuals in witch craft. The one that stands out the most was a L.Cabot interview in which she was repeatedly attacked by what Iwill kindly refer to as a radically right individual. During the entire farse she held her own and her temper to boot. Many of the producers for T.V are strictly inturested in ratings and there for controversy. Shock value seems to be more important than good journalism. As for the idea that Satanism should be labeled as a Pagen religion is a little beyond even my acceptance level. Satanists belive in the undoing of all that has been created and the corruption of the same. If you can fit that into the general beliefs of Wiccans Druids Shammans etc. Your a better rationalist than I.cc"

"For the most part I see the Pagan public image as fairly negative. As far as NEEDING a public image I suppose we do to dispell all the negativity. As far as WANTING one....well....I for one would rather have my privacy to worship as I feel is right for me. At the same time though I will not stand for the sterotypes and general intolerance that admitting to being a follower of the Old Religion generates. I would like to see truth in the media about Pagan religions. Simple truth. I ask no one to convert to my way of thinking just that I am respected as all other human beings in my rights."

"I donot feel that we need an image anymore than the christians need an image. Our religion is as old and distinquished as theirs and should not have to be defended to the public. I would hate to see my beautiful religion corupted by televangalism which is bound to happen if a public image is pursued."

"I think people are very misinformed about what wicca and other pagan beliefs are. It would help to have some public image but if they are not open to listening then there will be no change."

"We definately need a public image that reflects the beauty and gentility of our religion without painting us as neo-hippies drug addicts new-agers satanists or out and out wackos. I would like to see more information about our links to nature and our spirituality and less about spell casting and all the other things that make others fear us. After a while we could then ease the public into accepting the validity of magick."

"I would like Pagans to be potrayed for what they really are. Human beings as human as everybody else."

"I would like Pagans to be potrayed for what they really are. Human beings as human as everybody else."

"I do not believe we need to make ourselves acceptable to those too small minded to care who or what we are. If they want to know they will seek just as those who find their way to us. If they are not interested enough to seek I have no need of or want for their approval or acceptance."

"i think that we have a very bad public image and need to show people what pagans are really like..."

"I think there is a double sided image of pagans in the media. The first time I had ever heard a wiccan speak was on one of the low end talk shows. She spoke about the basic principles of her beliefs along side a satainist and a couple that practiced voodoo. The diffrences were evident and what she said clicked with what I had believed all along. Also there are a whole multitiude of shows on the Discovery and The Learning Channel that portray wicca in a positive light. On the other hand there is still a section of uninformed media that insists on sensationalizing and capitalizing on wicca. Ive noticed that the local media is associating wicca with satainism. Apparently there are wiccans that listen to Marilyn Manson and have exclaimed they are wiccan or pagan. The media listens to what Marilyn Manson is saying and they tack on wicca and paganism to his satanic belief. In short I think that everyone needs to be educated. Both the wiccans and the media need to be educated in how they portray wicca and paganism to the public eye."

"Need for most postive working on the media.. were not evil they like to make us think we are"

"It would be nice if the public could see that most Wiccans and Pagans are normal people. Some of the shows I have seen which feature the most outrageous of Pagans have frightened me."

"I do not think we need a ...Public Image...per se. I think that living by example is the best we can do. Im not about shoving my belief system down others throats any more than I want their beliefs down mine. I do believe in education and would like to see pagan beliefs throughout history as well as in modern times taught in the classrooms as part of world philosophy rather than dismissed as myth and folklore."

"I live in an area where many religions are practised where the large Indian population ensures some basic understanding of polytheism. I realise that in many areas of the country there is a great deal of intolerance but I also believe that the majority of people are prepared to live let live if given accurate reliable information about religionsexuality etc. A more consistent public presentation of Witches as normal folk on both talk shows through the portrayal of Pagans on TV series would make a huge impact. Just as the gay community has done much to change attitudes towards sexual minorites though were a long way from an equal society I believe that Pagan visibility will have a similar effect. People are mainly afraid because they have no point of reference for us beyond what the Religious Right tell them. Its down to us as individuals organisations to educate them. It will take time but it can be done."

"I think the first step for improving publc image is to fight for change in the Halloween that everyone celebrates. Here the pagan world is reduced to things that go bump in the night to protect the x-tians self-righteousness and sacred images of pagans are lampooned and trivialized. Society must be made to realize that this sort of religious bigotry is wrong."

"In the Tampa Florida area Wiccans have a good relationship with the local press. We have indeed had rituals photographed and taped for newspaper and evening news. They particularly like us at Samhain go figure. We have appeared on local talk shows. Unfortunately we were not good for controversy and getting arguments going as we flooded the studio with Wiccans and Wiccan friendlies. We were all in agreement and without opposing views it was difficult to keep media attention. My High Priestess has appeared in print and is very public with her image. Being media friendly has helped us a great deal. We are careful not to rant and rave but to explain and educate instead. So in this geographical area we are very aware of the importance of the media and a public image and go out of our way to promote one. I would like to see more coverage or shows about witches that show how we actually live and cope with todays society. Our ways are unique and I believe they would help the general public to see there are ways of coping outside what is general belief. Bring this information to the public would help give them a sense of something else and maybe wish wish bring them in closer contact with Mother Earth. This would make the Mother much happier"

"I think there does need to be a push for a unified positive image. The media is a tool and like any other tool it can be used for good or ill. Babylon 5 fans will remember an episode called The Illusion of Truth where the folks on the space station attempt to tell their side of things. The TV crew and reporters there take what they learn and twist it into something hurtful. That sort of thing has happened to the pagan community repeatedly where a reporter or TV crew or radio host has promised to do an honest openminded story only to have Devil worhipping evil be portrayed. The message needs to get out that we are not evil. I think thats the most important thing we can do."

"Public knowledge needs to be increased. I display a pentacle at my work place and almost every new employee has asked about that evil symbol. Usually I give them a brief explanation and a printout of yours or other articals on the history and meanings of the pentacle. Most TV and movies make a big deal about the witch or other alternative religious type displayed in there story. Only when one of these characters can be Wiccan or otherwise without special mention will integration into the mainstream occure. By specialy pointing out the differences in Pagan characters continues to separate Paganism from mainstreem nomatter if the character is good or bad in the show.The Craft brought kids asking to learn to cast spells. Sabrina portrays a witch throwing spells and her talking cat. Most shows films have witches throwing magic at everything. I can not think of any thing I have seen that has presented witch related material as a system of inner growth and knowledge. Nothing shows the most important aspects of Paganism the philosophy. Any real information is burried in an avalanch of magic and spells."

"In regards to question 63 about allowing Satanist Setists into the Pagan community.....I do not agree on the idea however I respect their choice and if we as WiccansPagansWitches are going to walk our talk we must learn to accept all differences even ones that we may not agree with or understand. A part of me feels if we include them into our community we would be feeding the flame so to speak. Non-pagans would see that and say See We told you so Satanists are involved so all Pagans must worship Satan That is my fear. I admit to having prejudice towards people who take that path but I respect it by giving them space keeping my fearfulignorant mouth shut and not preaching to them. I hope someday they can open my eyes and help me to understand their beliefs just as we are doing with Christians and non-pagans alike. We have a long road ahead of us. May we keep our faith and learn from our mis-steps. Blessed be.....Ravynne SilverChief"

"a few note expanding my opinion on including Satanist Inc in to the general category of Paganism... SatanistsSetians are NOT pagans they are bent Christians plain and simple they intentionally follow that which is considered evil by other religions in the same form those other religions see them for the most part SatanistsSetians are not interested in peace but only in power and i find that i absolutely cannot trust them."

"I think that having a positive public image is very important because those people who are not closed minded need to have something to see before they make a decision. Staying secret does not help anyone simply because the misconceptions never dissapear. With a positive public image we can feel more comfortable wearing our pentacles in public or having a ritualor gathering in a public park. After it is our world and our country too and it is better to be understood and liked than be mysterious and feared. Rowanflame."

"I would simply like to see the concepts of WiccaWitchcraftPaganism treated with the honesty and respect that all religionsphilosophical viewpoints deserve."

"The only way for Pagans to lose their bad reputation is to come out of the shadows and show the world who we really are.All of us that keep ourselves and our traditions shrouded in secrecy make it look like we have something to hide. We dont."

"I have seen some positive presentations in the media but for the most part they like to distort what people say regardless of how much of a good witch someone is. I dont think the media is ready to openly present positive images of witches yet but we can still continue to hope."

"i hate all those wannabees... with the way they dress and act. theyre the ones that are making it bad on us."

"In my experience many people only know what they have been taught by parents or other Christian influences. Most of these people are taught that witches are bad and thats what God said. That is precisely what I was taught until my friend started teaching me about this religion. I have found myself loving everything it stands for and cares about. If there is anything I could to educate more people and helping them understand Wicca then Id do it but I wouldnt force anyone to listen."

"I think we have a public image but perhaps not the one we want or one that is even accurate. I have seen more positive and accurate coverage in the last year or two so perhaps were moving in the right direction. The more often we speak up both when there is positive as well as negative information proffered the more impact we will have. The more of us that the public sees dressed like mundane people and working like mundane people the less frightneing we will be. Unfortunately there will always those who will not suffer a witch to live but the more people we have unwilling to put wood on the fire the better off well be."

"I have tried to present a positive Pagan public image by just being myself and letting people see me as a person first and then as a Pagan. We need to dispel the negative stereotypes of Witches and by being more open about our beliefs and educating the general public we can hopefully end the discrimination and outright violence that regretfully still happens. Hiding is NOT the answer. We must present a strong positive image if we are to be taken seriously as a religion and be unified in order to accomplish our goals."

"I feel that unfortunatly when someone is chosen or goes to the media as a representative of our community at best they are ill prepared and at worst they are bad represenatives of our communnity. In the past we have seen people claiming to be the king or queen of all american witches they present themselves as authorities and yet no one in our community has ever heard of them. I would like to see a public image which is encompasing that shows us and our community as hard working individuals no different than the rest of the nation. It is disheartning to see someone speak for our community who is in no uncertain terms a nut."

"Sure we need to work on our image. But until people like me can come out of the broom closet without fear no one will know how many of us there are out there. This is a Catch 22. We cannot come out until it is safe and it will not be safe until we come out.Perhaps the Goddess in all her wisdom will help us all come out and forge a new age together."

"My son is 7 and when he was born I had him wiccand. Unfortunatly due to circumstances divorce my son resided with his father who has no religious belifs and would not let me train him in the old ways. When he was 5 I started to train him anyways so I told him that I was a witch and he freaked. He had just seen the movie the witches and was afraid of me. I was deeply hurt and somewhat offended. I whatched the movie and I could not believe what I saw Is this the image that is portrayed Now he is 7 and he is learning well he has started the herb gathering for the winter and I am so proud of him when he identifies a plant and knows its healing properties. As for what I would like to see for an image well first we have to be a little more public I mean alot of people would freak if they knew I was a witch we have to find a way to make it more mainstream. I want people to see us as gentle caring people who would not intentionally hurt some one. I want people to realize that we do not eat children and that we are not Satanist. I think that that is one of the biggest problem that pagans have is that people think that we are ALL Satanists."

"I would like to see more responsible articles and shows. Bit I would like for more pagans to project a more positive image. Too many pagans look like members of the Addams Family spooky and irresponsible."

"Everytime I see an impartial story about Wicca they always pick someone who looks very weird or scary which only solidifies the stereotypes in peoples minds. Cant they find people who look just like your neighbors or co-workers so the general public might be more open Also the worst thing anyone could do is to go on a talk show . Those things are garbage and would only cheapen the Wicca and Pagan religion in my opinion.ThanksDivaKat ps I just looked up the word Pagan in my Websters dictionary. It says...Heathen...how can we educate the world when even Websters dictionary is wrong. How can we get them to correct the meaning to Country Dweller as it should be...any ideas"

"The very natures of our religions lend to a GREAT diversity. That diversity is made up of a spectrum that runs from the professional and conservative to the outrageous and outlandish. We must understand that this diversity is at the heart of who we are. If we were conformists we would probably be Christians This diversity is not a bad thing but we must ever be aware that what will stick in the minds of the uneducated is the Blackclad-Pastyface-Tonguepierced-PentagramWearing-Goth they see loitering around the mall not the Cleancut-Professional-Polite-Familymanwoman who voluteers at school functions. We are open to whomever chooses to come into our community and we should always remain that way but dont be surprized when that kind old lady next door talks about a fellow Pagan as a damn freak. With HARD work we may someday repair the damage some of us do to ourselves everyday and then maybe repair what was done TO us in the past 1000 years."

"I am concerned with the way Pagans and Wiccans are typecast by media as well as how we are persecuted by other so called passive faiths. I am willing as well as others I am sure to discuss my beliefs in the apropriate atmosphere with the understanding that I or others in my coven would have creative control so the media does not use the information weve given them in an inappropriate way.I am not so concerned with how others see me personally for I have chosen my path or that is to say my path has chosen me and what I chose to believe is not for everyone. To each thier own.I would like to see the media as well as others learn to make informed decisions. If you want to know about Christianity you ask a Christain. If you wnat to know about Buddhism you ask a Buddist. If you want to know about Paganism or Wicca then you ask one of us. Not someone who most likely has and uneducated ill informed opinion about our beliefs.as for shows on pagans ie. Sabrina or the movie the Craft its all Hollywood the land of make believe....................get it.thank you for alllowing me to speak my mindMP and Peace"

"I would like to see more WitchesWiccans involved in media. I usually see the same face whenever the local newspaper does its Pastors Perspective. I dont feel that I am the best choice or even maybe a good choice but I would like the world to see more diversity. The one woman who writes articles is too much into the feel good bunny foo foo part of Wicca. Or at least thet is all that is ever portrayed in her articles. I would enjoy the feedback and discussion that a more radical perhaps feminist or CroneGoddess dedicant might inspire. I want to se more diversity being portrayed. I dont think he general populace buys the story that we are all just a bunch of tree huggers and free love vegetarians. Even if I myself am one."

"I feel it is hard to have a public image if we are squabbling amongst ourselves. We must find that elusive common ground so that we may work together to show the public what we are all about. I would love to see more positive portrayals of Witches as well as some positive media exposure for the efforts rendered by so many of us in environmental areas and other goodwill gestures."

"We need to present a strong positive image of what our religion is to the public at large. Unfortunately they have been heavily propagandized by movies and TV for a very long time. This means that there is absolutely no way we can change their perception overnight - there is too much to counteract. However we CAN present a constant positive image. We can be present in the public eye and open about our religion. We can correct misconceptions calmly and politely when they arise. Then as time goes by a little at a time we can finally right the injustices done by the media in the past."

"We definitely need some PR work. Unfortunately we have no agreement on what such an image would look like. I for one cringe when I see a fellow Wiccan show up on camera festooned with feathers and jewelry and draped in black. I understand when people say that they are just being true to their belief system when they dress like that but I have religiously-significant tattoos that I wouldnt parade around due to public perceptions. Our image must initially conform to societal norms before we can change it. Shock-therapy for the public eye does no good."

"I feel that the public image of Pgans and Witches has improved but we still have a long way to go. Sure there are shows like Sabrina that portray Witches as good but then again they give a false image of what witches are. Most people do not believe in that form of Witch. When they think of a true Witch they think of a group of people gathered around an altar where a small child or animal is laying. They think of them as chanting in some evil unearthly language conjuring up some demon and asking it to accept the sacrifice. There is a movie playing now in a few theatres called Faces of Death IV. It is supposed to be so gruesome that if you sit through the entire movie they give you a certificate of survival. Part of the promo for this show states Come watch as you see police enter a building and uncover the secrets behind one of the largest strings of Witchcraft murders of all times. We need to work on our public image. Hold public rituals and invite the news media to come watch. Let them film a private ritual even. Tell them where and when you meet and let them pick from several days at random otherwise they may think that since you knew they were coming you decided to do things differently. No matter what though try to let the public see what things are all about."

"Public opinion will shape the future. If a negative opinion of us persists into the future then pagans may very well have to become secretive or remain secretive."

"I would like to see more accurate portrayls of modern-day paganism in the media and film industries. The movie The Craft for instance was accurate in machanics but fell short of presenting a positive message because of the sensationalism painted over the subject material. Most of the media attention given to the pagan community occurs at Samhain during which time the sensationalism factor tends to reach a pinnacle. No matter how responsibly the representing pagan or coven presents themselves the media personnell reduce the positive to a soundbyte which distorts the message trying to be conveyed. I dont expect everyone to see the world the way that I do but respect my right to see it that way. On the subject of satanism moving in to and being accepted by communities as a result of a better public image for pagans in general I find this alarming. I am not preaching my brand of hypocrisy I just feel that Satanism by its very nature is an unhealthy belief system with very little positivity going for it. We dont usually see Satanists out in the community trying to make their part of the world a better place or using their abilites to improve the world around them. I believe that Satanism encourages dangerous and deviant behavior and preys on the minds of the young those looking for some place to belong. I dont argue with Satanists right to assemble or to believe as they do I simply suggest that those communitys who are extending a welcoming hand to the pagans who live among them exercise caution in doing so and that they be educated in order to be better able to distinguish between paganismWiccan belief systems and Satanism which is not an accepted tradition by the Pagan community at large."

"We desperately need better PR"

"I do feel that Paganism is still getting bad press. And it is up to us to speak out against these misconceptions and myths. I am for a united pagan community where we all can aome together as brothers and sisters of the Earth and be publically reconized for what we truely are...loveing and spiritual people. And as far as Satanism goes...Satanism is NOT an Earth Based Religion. It is an anit christian statement. And I feel that it has no place in the Pagan community."

"Most of society see Pagans as quirky wierdos at best and dangerous servants of evil at worst. However what Ive started seeing more and more of here in the midwest is a new view. The socalled Hippie-Shrub-Hugger view. With ecological concerns beginning to become Trendy more and more people are emulating the lifestyle andviews so prevalant during the Summer of Love. Many people Iveencountered view Paganism as a simple offshoot of this."

"I think that it is important to keep in mind the _image_ we project.however we are all induviduals and the last thing that the pagan community needs is to get caught up in our appearances.perhaps the best way to keep a good public image is to practice what we preach and keep our mouths shut about other peoples beliefs.We must speak out against discrimination most definately. We should not allow our religion or belief system or whatever you call it be called anymore crazy or wacky than believing a man saying he god or rising from the dead....."

"Merry Meet ...Right now the image that the very public Witches portray ... i.e. Laurie Cabot ... is that we are harmless ... however strange caricatures of normal people ... this is unacceptable.What Witches out of the closet Witch needs to do is fight EVERY SINGLEmisrepresentation of Witches that they find. Only through hard work and perseverence will Witches prevail. Blessed Be ..."

"The problem with media representation is often not the people who are writing about us.... its the editors who want things to look a certain way or the public who simply grabs a specific type of tabloid-ish media. What the public wants it gets.So what we need to do is make the public *want* to see the beauty of our religions for what they are. Be more public but dont be militant or Christian-bashing like Ive seen so many times here on the WWW. Be a good person and hopefully those around you will see you for who you are.BlessingsSilverCat"

"I believe that the public in general perceves Pagans and Witches as either evil or weiros. Media presentations either are negative from the start or turn negative by the end. Take for instance the movie the craft. There was some really positive and correct information in it but over all it portrayed the craft as something evil and powerful that will take you over and control you or at least escape your control and run amuk. I would dearly love for our religion to be given a fair shake in the public eye but Im not sure that its possible. I think eventually it will be but right now I think theres too much negativity ranged against us.As for the inclusion of Stanists etc. I know nothing about true Statanism but as long as they live the the rede An it harm none do as thy will I will accept them with open arms. The only problem there is dispelling the mis information as the sentiment toward satanism is even stronger than it is toward witches and pagans. Gwenafri Dun na Scaeth"

"My feeling is that Wicca is a very personal choice. As with all spiritual paths the choice belongs to the individual. Wicca does not try to recriut individuals and the anonimity that I have as a Beliver I greatly value. The media in my opinion tends to trivialize the things that investigates. So the books that are written and the word of mouth that goes on on the internet and between Belivers is enough. We know what we belive and that is enough for me."

"Paganism in all its forms is not being defined by those who practice their faiths. It is being defined by those who do not understand the religion and by those who despise it. This needs to change quickly if Pagans are every going to take control of their public image. Even if some do not agree Pagans must form united fronts when faced with the media and present coherent descriptions of the religion."

"With the dawning of the year 2000 the media has been deluged with images of things that are difficult to explain. Witchcraft is just one topic amid the aliens vampires and Greek myths that have sprung to life on TV and movie screen across the country. I have been satisfied with the depiction of witchcraft in the comedy show Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Although it is painfully obvious that the creators of the show have watered down the religious aspect of witchcraft making it seem a 90s version of Bewitched. Despite Sabrinas unrealistic magical powers I feel the show puts forth a positive view of witchcraft with many of its tenets intact. I especially liked the Samhain show where Sabrina came on after the show as a public service and explained the holiday in Wiccan terms.However several TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files for instance have placed witches and witchcraft in a negative light relying on negative stereotypes.The most effective way to let people know about witchcraft is through the media. We must not be afraid but rather use this public forum to our advantage. The first time I heard about witchcraft as a religion was on a news show around Halloween over ten years ago. I was a teenager and the news station interviewed a girl about my age about her religion witchcraft. She explained The Craft in easily understood soundbites. She did not look weird or act strange. She seemed just like me a normal h.s. teenager. Only by letting people see who we are and what we do can we get rid of the negative stereotypes surrounding our religion and personal belief systems."

"Does the idea of centuries of persecution triggered by one mistranslated word make you shudder Certainly the mistranslation of the Hebrew word for poisoner has had such an impact. That is the essential source of the Halloween-Oz stereotypical witch. The consistent bias against perfectly decent people who happen to follow a different belief system is an affront against the most fundamental principles of our society. Is freedom of religion available only to those whose religious organizations are large enough to fight back directly"

"I feel that the current pagan public image still suffers from the ignorance of the general closed minded religious activists. There are more and more informative and information show on the cable tv which is helping us and there are also a lot more of us who publicly profess our religious beliefs by comming out of the broom closets.Donna Simmons"

"I believe a more truthful and positive image of witches pagans and the like should be represented in a more positive way. To do this though we will have to open up to those who may unfortunately take advantage of this and do hurtful things because of their fears. I would like to see more emphasis on the philosophies of the Wiccan and pagan people to show that spells are something used properly and with due respect to all they encompass. It also hurts me to see many teenagersas I am also treating my religion and beliefs as some sort of game. Although the movie The Craft started them towards these actions I cannot blame the movie itself. But it would be helpful for others to show them the correct ways instead of allowing them to speak on matters they have had no experience with. I do think the halloween Witch is far beyond us although the children I know see her as an ugly person who is very nice. I send my love and patience to all......."

"We are in a time of vast communications and so are able to get the word of our beliefs out to the public better. I do however believe Wicca to be a deeply personal and private religion. It was secretive even before christian times. We need to present ourselves as intelligent responsable stable people without giving away the true practices of the religion. Unfortunately the most outspoken are usually people who got into Wicca from playing D D or from an inability to cope with daily hardships of life. Wicca is a very loving and giving religion but doesnt have to be the catcher for every maladjusted person who needs attention. We all tend to forget. we are not the only religion discriminated against. The USA is based on christian beliefs. That makes all other religions wrong The Jewish Muslims Buddist Etc. Wiccans however have been and still are at the very bottom of the list. It only takes one witch with a warped sense of the religion to destroy what fifty others have tried to correct. These are the ones the media finds for that is what sells papers and tv shows. To gain power for our religion we have to aim higher. We need elected officals supporting true freedom of religion even when its unpopular. We will always be the down trodden that is why networks like these will keep us strong. Lest we forget"

"HowdyWhen replying to the above form i selected na when i wantedto answer i dont know.Regarding Sabrina i dont have a tv.Regarding Satanists because their way is a reaction AGAINSTxianity-- it is NOT in my view a pagan religion. Satanism isa type of a monotheistic belief. Polytheistic belief OTOHpredates xianity and cannot therefore be seriously consideredanti-xian. Satanism belongs w. the monotheistic crowd.bb davearnt"

"I believe that it is important to work on the public opinion of Wicca and other Pagan religions. Sometimes however I worry that too much emphasis is placed on convincing others rather than concentrating on our own spiritual development. It is okay for not everyone to like what we do. Some peoples opinions really arent worth the effort - unfortunate as it may be to say that."

"The Pagan image is a questionable one at the least. Those who have done research and have open minds will find that everything that they read or hera is not true and that they must actually get into contact with Pagan to see what one is really like and the beliefs heshe adheres to. A lot of books about mystical arts are written by people who have done little to no research on the subject and publish only what they have learned from their parents or church groups no offense to any one. On example is that I once read a book with an article on witch craft in the back. In it the author wrote about how he has seen neighbors wearing all black going to their basement and performing rituals to demons and the pentaCLE in the name of Satan-and he called this Wicca. Its books like this that people will believe and adhere by and when some one finds a person who is actually Pagan they automatically assume that heshe is evil and a Satanist hell I find it hard enough to convince people pentacles are oler than pentagrams and NOT the same thing..older by the meaning that is."

"The Pagan image is a questionable one at the least. Those who have done research and have open minds will find that everything that they read or hera is not true and that they must actually get into contact with Pagan to see what one is really like and the beliefs heshe adheres to. A lot of books about mystical arts are written by people who have done little to no research on the subject and publish only what they have learned from their parents or church groups no offense to any one. On example is that I once read a book with an article on witch craft in the back. In it the author wrote about how he has seen neighbors wearing all black going to their basement and performing rituals to demons and the pentaCLE in the name of Satan-and he called this Wicca. Its books like this that people will believe and adhere by and when some one finds a person who is actually Pagan they automatically assume that heshe is evil and a Satanist hell I find it hard enough to convince people pentacles are oler than pentagrams and NOT the same thing..older by the meaning that is."

"I ended up putting commas...sorry. I think a Pagan public image is vital if we want to begin to secure religious tolerance and freedom for all. The first step to creating a more positive public image is to clean up our communities. We spend so much time and energy fighting amongst ourselves that if we give a public image at all we give an image of being a bunch of belligerent kooks. We are better people than that and we need to stop selling ourselves short. We need to educate those within our community about diversity issues tolerance issues other Pagan religions how to talk with people from other faiths how NOT to talk with people from other faiths etc. Then we need to begin educating folks outside our community keeping in mind the difference between education and proselytization. We need to be willing to stick our necks out a little. We need to be willing to talk to the resposible press. We need to be willing to host public rituals. We need to be willing to publicly host events that benefit the community. We will encounter resistance but at least in the process we will have the chance of building some bridges. In my mind that is preferable to the intolerance we currently suffer."

"yes we need a postive public. image. our present public image is prably pretty negative because we are so different and most of us are so private. iwould like to se pagans of all types portrayed realistically not sensationalized . but the reality of hollyweird is to overdramatize what they consider to be weird or fringry or new agey ect. i would like to see our love and respect for thr earth and the environment emphasizied and our connection to to turning of the wheel."

"Yes we need one. Preferrably a postive public image."

"The Pagan community as a whole has been getting bad media coverage for far too long. I believe it is time we stood up for our beliefs and dispell the the negative image hundreds of years of bad press has placed upon us. Yes I know it will be difficult and yes it will take a long time before most the of hype is destroyed but it is a fight we cannot afford to back down from. We ARE here. We have always BEEN here. And we will always BE here. It is time that we join society as equals and stand up to those who would have us hiding in the shadows and be silent. This is America where people have the Right to practice their chosen religion without fear of reprisal so why should we be any different."

"We should all come out and present a positive public image. If all of us did the amount of people would cause the public to recognize us"

"I hope that as Paganism continues to grow and thus gain more exposure that all Pagans will take their public role seriously by speaking eloquently dressing suitably and offering correct information to the public."

"I am living in Clorado and I havent really seen that much of a Pagan community. Everyone I have talked to over the internet says there is one but I guess theyre just as in the dark. I think the Pagan community definately needs to be stronger. I would be willing to help but without the support of others one person can only do so much."

"we need as a whole to get the word out that were not the bad that is in the minds of the public. we do need to start using the media to our advantage."

"I THINK THERE ARE TOO MANY MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PAGANS. WE HAVE A BAD PUBLIC IMAGE BECAUSE OF THIS.WE NEED TO EDUCATE PEOPLE ON OUR BELIEFS TO PREVENT DISCRIMINATION. TO DO THAT WE NEED POSITIVE PRESS . WE SHOULD HAVE A SERIES OF DOCUMENTARIES ABOUT DIFFERENT PAGAN RELIGIONS."

"TO ME IT SEEMS THAT THE PUBLIC IMAGE OF WITCHESHAS SOME SMALL POSITIVE CHANGES. HOWEVER I BELIEVETHE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE STILL MISINFORMEDBELIEFS ABOUT US I BELIEVE WE NEED TO ORGANIZE ANDLAUNCH MASSIVE AWARENESS RAISING PROGRAMS AS WELL AS MASSIVE PROTEST AND LETTER WRITING CAMPAINS THIS WILL DRAW THE WORLDS EYES TO USAND AS LONG AS WE MAINTAIN A POSITIVE IMAGE AT THISTIME I BELIEVE THINGS WILL CHANGE FOR THE BETTER."

"In my experience we are still looked down on as weird strange scarey bad insane type people that need to be converted to Christianity. We are not thought of or seen as normal middle class working people with the desire to be happy and to live in a happy environment which means taking care of this dear Earth we live on. The negative image battle will be a long one to turn about. After all Witches and Pagans have been persecuted by non tolerant religious zealots for hundreds of years and even though there are more of us coming to light it will take a huge effort from us all to prove to the peoples of the world that we must all live in harmony and learn tolerance if not acceptance and understanding of those spirits that do not hear and sing the same songs together. May the Lord and Lady Bless us with understanding and tolerance."

"Most of your questions are once again either-or. But the answers are not. One of my covens is Gardnerian and works skyclad. Clearly we would not allow filming. Another is eclectic but quite private and would not allow filming for that reason. Local public rituals have been filmed in the region and -- to be blunt -- do not film well. The words and robes and gestures lose their meaning when filmed for news clips A regional public pagan group held a rally and ritual in support of a school voucher measure in the state. The news clips of this ritual looked silly and phony to boot. Many of us speculated whether the effort was a reverse-psych effort to help defeat the Republican and fundamentalist-backed voucher measure or whether that particular group of pagans really wanted to fund a local home-schooling center. The measure lost at the polls.Still my partner and I have been interviewed about Wicca and witchcraft for a college-station interview show focused on debunking media myths. This local college station reaches an audience of 1 million. And it was not a bad show overall. I contributed a few words to an interview for a documentary early in my Wiccan practice. Movies such as Drawing Down the Moon would be very welcome indeed. Movies such as The Craft are not welcome -- the supposed accuracy of the material in that movie may be contributing to the instant-witch phenomemon that is so sadly deluding some teens and stretching pagan teaching resources to their limits. Bewitched in its day and Sabrina today at the very least help to counter the green and warty image of some fairy tales. They are no more accurate but they do reflect the beginnings of balance and they do show the witches as *normal* people with normal sorts of worries. The down side is the trivialization of magic and the FX treatment of what it can do and how it works. It used to be they made Saturday cartoons out of live-action shows when they stopped running. Today they make live-action shows out of Saturday morning cartoons. It does not say much for the quality of the dramas but it does show an ongoing interest in Witchcraft."

"I think pagans going on a show like 2020 or the like could be good if they were well prepared....but I do not think they should ever go on a show like jenny jones...etc... we need to present a positive outlook on our religion and like it or not those shows are like some sort of freakshow....parading the dredges of humanity more often than not...and by appearing in that market....we advertise ourselves as such.I hope sometime after I do get out of the closet to be able to help in these areas more....it may sound funny...but my family priest for the last 10 years has always said that he felt I was destined to be a preist and I have always felt the draw but not to the christian preisthood and when I found wicca I realized what it was I was drawn to....and now by definition as a witch and solitary practicioner of wicca I am a preist and would like to help bring about a change in the attitude towards witchcraft prevelent in the minds of most people in this great nation to help all of us."

"I was not going to post anything on this survey but after seeing everyone elses responses I felt like I needed to add one thing. I see many people saying This is what we are and this is what we believe. I think the first thing we need to realize is that Paganism is VERY diverse in this aspect. A witch sometimes is not a wiccan a pagan is sometimes not a witch. I heard alot of mention of the Three fold law and the Rede in these responses mentioned with Paganism. Well many Pagans do not follow either. I think the first thing we need to do is start understanding each other. It saddens me to see so much infighting and seperation from a group of people that are suppose to be understanding and not judgmental. We all need to learn about each other so we can portray ourselves in the public light as a group of people with many differences that CAN get along and not fight over what is the absolute right for the absolute right is different to everyone. Its a slow journey down a long road but its worth it.RS"






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