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A Quest for Unity

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Views: 566,433

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 - Working with Groups

Your comments on - Explaining your Religion/Personal Belief

Survey Results - Working with Groups

A Quest for Unity ( 1)

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A Quest for Unity ( 2)

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Article ID: 2027

VoxAcct: 9

Section: unity

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 8,099

Times Read: 6,241

Your comments on - Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg3

Author: Pagan Communities
Posted: September 16th. 1997
Times Viewed: 6,241

Initial Thoughts from the Community (the first 24 hours)

YOUR comments on...

Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg. #3
(as of September 16th., 1997)

Survey Sez...

"For the most part I do not think that pagans have an image at all. This is slowly changing as more and more people talk openly about their believes. But this could and is also causing others to spreed untrue or half-truths about us to stop us from gaining respect or recognition which they feel would undermind their power."

"Being a person who has been in many of the situations questioned above the media palys a great role in how we are percieved. If we dont try to present a positive image nothing good will happen. Part of this on our part is getting over our secrecy. This is killing us in the public spotlight. Failure to be open with the public will only be used against us as we hold no trust with the public. We are viewed very negativly and secrets only get used against us. Full disclosure is our best and only hope."

"i think they should have more images of witches being burned at the stake. Maybe it will encourage some sympathy or like maybe not ha ha ha continued laughter ok"

"I dont know if there is a Pagan public image...many people still only know the word Pagan in its Xtian usage. I use the term Pagan Witch to describe my spiritual path and I find it brings up the oppurtunity to inform others of what the word means to those of us who have not let our lives be defined by Xtian ideas. Unfortunately Xtians everywhere still use the word Pagan in a negative way often stating they live in a Pagan world- meaning one where everyone and everything has not yet been converted to their own particular brand of monotheism. I think the problem society has with Pagans is that even within our covens we are usually very self defined individuals...this has always been threatening to those who do not have self defintion and to those who can only define themselves against the establishment. How sad for these people who dont even know themselves that they will not allow us to think as individuals just because they never learned how or know how but will not because they fear what they will see if they look too deep inside themselves. As for media stories I would like to see more emphasis put on the ancestral connection within Paganism from all over. Most anglos are so removed from their own ancestry because of the church that they do not get the fact that Witches are to Euroblood what the traditional healers and Shamans are to Indigenous Americans. I am both Euro and Native American so I run into this a lot. I would also like to see more clarification about the fact that not all Witches consider themselves Wiccan. I was a Witch before I ever heard the word Wicca and although I fully respect the choice of a Wiccan to call themselves that. I wish the media would not say that Wicca is the religion of Witches. It is not. It is one path of the Craft. I understand that a lot of people use the term especially in dealing with media because it doesnt carry the hollywood connotation that Witch what. The Nazis dont like the word Jew and they didnt stop using it. Xtians and Xtian based society doesnt like the word Witch. Too bad I am going to use it anyway and bring the truth of the word back. I wonder what other Witches think about Sabrina...I know its goofy and pretty far from reality but at least there are no baby sacrifices. Thanks.MedusaJezebel"

"My concern with representations of paganpaganism by the Media is sooften the articlesection is edited and the final result is greatly different then the initial taping."

"Im not sure that we need any public image other than somthing like we are a lot like you."

"Paganism is being recognized for something more than a joke or something that is evil. But a lot more work remains. If the pagan movement wants to garner the same amount of respect that other religions have we have to voice our exsistence and show the world who we are. It is human nature to fear what we do not know so do we expect of a public who is not familar with wicca and paganism. let them know we are here and that we are good people with rights just like anyone else....and be proud to be PAGAN."

"I believe that is has improved greatly but is still lacking in truth. I think that unfortunately we do have a very negative image in most parts of the world. I would like to see the Media tell the truth and not try and get the representiives that do come forward to say they are devil worshipers."

"I would be satisified if the media and others would acknowledge that the persecution of an individual for no other reason than they have a different ideology is as unacceptable a behavior as raceism and sexism. As we all know that more often than not the portrail of people and events in the media is done for money and ratings not for its relavince to reality. Im not certain a pagan public image is what is needed the most. But I am certain that we as a group must stop bickering amoung ourselfs if we are to acomplish anything positive for our race.We are individuals and dissagrement is our nature but so is intellagence understanding and compasion. As pagans i feel that our diversity can be our strongest asset if we can all learn to use it.As we come togather as a group a I think the rest of the world will realize we really are not all that different."

"The public pagan image is changing. We just need to make sure it changes in a positive direction. The only way to do that is by setting the example with the way we represent ourselves. Whether we want it or not what we do and say will come back on all of us. We need to strive to keep replacing the negative images with strong positive ones. It doesnt matter if it is with the national or local media or just our neighbors. Any representation of paganswiccans needs to be a positive one. Otherwise it is a step backwards for our way of life."

"I would like to see some real reaserch done on the topic before shows interviews and other such things are aired. While many of the shows are really cute like Sabrina they are total in accurat. . . I dont doubt that any pagan has been asked if they could do the stuff the Sabrina does etc. And on Satanist being part of the Pagan comunity i think it is a must say NO. The pagan comunity is held together by one law DO NO HARM. It is phrased in so many diffrent ways by so many diffrent people but it always boils down to this. Satanist st least the ones i know dont follow anything like this and there for do not belong in the Pagan comunity. Ever hear the saying one bad apple spoils the whole bin. . . Kaliss"

"I wish to see someday that pagans beliefs will be shown in the samelight as Christianity Islam and the jewish religions not shown as evil or perverse. I would like to see other religions take notice that the Constitution protects all religion not just the ones that the Big Three feel are right."

"the pagan public image sometimes seems to be more a wiccan public image than anything. sometimes i feel that we sort of generic pagans are discriminated against by the larger established flavors of paganism. of course that is what i get on line. the pagan public image in the bible belt community i live in is at worst as satanist baby eaters and at best nonexistant."

"It is sort of hard to say yes to a lot of the questions due to the fact that I do not speak for any group. I would like to be interviewed but as Im trying to get into the TV world I know how things can be worded and edited to fit what the interviewer wantsneeds to show. Going on-air is a two edged sword it can hepl and it can hurt at the sametime"

"public image people now and days are visualy inclinde and us as wiccanspagansothers should use this to our advantage like a made for tv movie showing the discimination and the unknowlaged tall tails placed upon us in the modernday world then per say a newspaper could run a small articalonce a week by wiccanspagansothers for usgeneral publicmay be setting up a volinter leugue to clean towns and citiesthat way it casts a positive image on us and helps keep our planetcleanAdam"

"The public image of Pagans and Witches has come a long way but still needs work. Most positive presentations are either too short or too shallow in depth. The negative images however while fewer in numberseem to be hyped out of proportion even now days. I would like to see something in the positive light at some other time of year other than close to Samhain. The popular Halloween witch image is a BIG part of the problem."

"I think various myths need to be dispelled but I dont feel it should be our aim to have a public image. It matters very little what people think of us as long as they dont treat us any different."

"I think it is very important that we continue our efforts to create a positive image of our religion in the media. The more people know about it the more willing they will be to accept it and hopefully join it."

"yes we need a pagan public image. The current public image couples us with the likes of satanists. I would like to see the greener side represented in the mediA."

"I do believe that we need a pagan public image. Thsi would be extremely difficult however since there is such a wide variety of beliefs within the pagan community. THe public image must make this clear but it must also make clear the general concepts and beliefs that a majority of the pagan community hold."

"I dont really think we have a public image...the fact is the majority of folks out there dont even know we exist I mean I have only been involved in Wicca for a little under a year and just a couple of years ago I never would have guessed there was such a thing as Wicca or Paganism. Most people dont even know what the word Pagan means because I have yet to dedicate myself I refer to myself as a Pagan instead of a Wiccan. ie I was talking to this Muslim girl in my P.E. swimming class at school Im 16 and we happened to touch upon religion. When I told her I was a Pagan she was baffled...I said something vague like Oh its honoring nature and things like that. Because of things like this I think we need to have a public image especially around Samhain when were likely to get the most attention from the public. As Laurie Cabot often says its time for people to ask us who we are instead of asking our enemies. The fact is if we dont let the world know that we *DO* exist and that we are *POSITIVE* and that we live work play and die just like everyone else then when people *DO* find out we exist it will be because of narrow minded Fundamentalists spouting their usual anti-anything not Christian drivel around Samhain and of course since nearly no one in America these days ever questions what they read or see on the news of t.v. then they will believe them. As for the question on embracing Satanists...I dont agree with it at all. Satanists are Satanists whether they call themselves Setians Setitians or whatever. This also goes back to my previous point about the Fundamentalists. If the average American is flipping the channels one day close to Samhain and happens upon Pat Robertson or some other narrow-minded bigot spewing their usual nonsense about how Wiccans and Pagans may seem like nice people but they are really wolf lovers forgive me wolves in sheeps clothing and then flips over to the news to read about how a Wiccan organization makes an alliance with say the Temple of Set or some other similar group... Do the math. Frankly I think that tolerance is generally a good thing but you know what they say about too much of a good thing. Now this is no disrespect to Satanists because they have as much a right to practice as we do but I find that Satanism is at best humanistic unethical drivel and at worst juvenile rebellion. I think we should stand up for their religious freedom but we have no obligation to unite with them or any other such nonsense. Why should we unite with folks whose practices oft-times conflict with our own ethics Do we *WANT* to be karmically bound up with them Another thing is that there are a great deal of people calling themselves Satanists for a variety of reasons. Once we even consider ourselves united with some of them then the not-so-nice ones will come out of the woodwork to run under our tiny umbrella of legitimacy which is paper thin folks lets not lose sight of that and if we turn them away saying that theyre not real Satanists then we are just as bad as the Christian duelists who pigeonhole everything. How dare we destroy what little respect we have in the public eye that was hard won with the blood sweat and tears of those who dared to follow the Old Ones before us. How completely arrogant of us to think that we can afford to risk losing the ground weve one. We must be *VERY* careful about what we say and do right now at what I feel is such a crucial phase of our growth as a religious movement. --Morboriel"

"There is a very fine line differentiating a public image from a public presence. I feel that Witches and Pagans in general do need a positive public presence. That is to say that we should be visible in the media and on the streets exhibiting at all times graciousness and courtesy. The occasional good mainstream novel or movie dealing accurately with Witchcraft is a plus of course... but there is more to it than that. If one invited to speak or teach on the religions behalf then one should... as far as is safe given ones social situation of course. Pagan clergy should be cooperating with other clergy teaching and studying both at seminaries and in the community as appropriate. This is beginning to happen. I was at a mall in another city recently and was quite surprised and pleased to find candles in the forms of Green Man and also basic male and female statue type forms in the Wicks N Sticks national chain store. At the same mall there was a jewelry vendor who had a variety of beautiful silver religious jewelry including Thors hammers and pentacles in addition to the ying yang symbols and the crosses and Davids stars. He was doing very good business and I was not the only person looking at the religious pieces corner of his booth.Gradually we are being accepted as a minority religion... not influential and perhaps a little oddball but definitely legitimate and respectable and not evil or hostile to other religions.A public image is something a different in my opinion. An image is something that is cultivated and maintained in order to make an impression on others. When a person or a group works to project an image others assume that the image is different from the reality and wonder what is underneath. This is about the last thing we need... we need to be ourselves and to be visible but not to make a campaign out of making ourselves artificial good witches.I have to clarify my reply to question 63. I do not consider Satanism a Pagan religion and part of the Pagan community for a variety of historically and philosophical reasons. It is actually a matter of major debate whether Satanism is a religion or an atheistic philosophy. And some of the strongest arguments on both sides of that issue are as to be expected coming from within the religion itself. I have several Satanist acquaintances and I have done a lot of research about the religion. I respect them but I do not count them among the Pagans. I will continue to make this differentiation even as I contunue to show them the courtesy I show both atheists and non Pagans. Jews and Muslims are not Christians but I hear many Pagans refer to all beliefs of Judaic origin as Christian. The Satanism and Witchcraft situation is very similar. If Satanism is to be accepted it needs to acheive this on its own merit and not on the coattails of Witchcraft."

"I think a Pagan public image is vital to the future of Paganism. Otherwise were all just those weird people who do rituals or something worse. Currently we only have the barest of public images and a shaky one at that. We need to consistently reinforce the fact that were peaceful and honorable people and not the Devils own. The more people who know the truth about us the less people who can effectively spread slander and lies about us. I think it would be nice to turn on the news and see a Wiccan or Pagan churchcoven get all the same positive hype that Christian churches get over certain events and Id like to see Pagan clergy also be considered respected members of the community."

"In a way it is important that people are given a closer more intimate look at Paganism. I think it would help create more tolerance if the general public gets a peek behind the veil of secrecy that has surrounded us for so long. It is all to easy to label things that you cannot understand... especially if you do not know any better."

"Ifeel there needs to be more realistic portrayals of pagans and witches in the media. Somehow I believe though news magazine shows would do more to hurt us than not because we would as always be exploited as a cult because no matter what they say about being open minded theyre not. As for jenny jones those type of shows are a joke a farce all they want to see is a fight happen because that makes for better ratings. Ive seen shows where people say that they are witches all dressed in black with black hair and pastey white and black makeup talking like they are spaced out on drugs thats what those shows want not ligitimate pagans and wiccans. They also have a very good way of twisting thingsa and I do not like that one bit."

"Some progress has been made in lifting the Wizard of Oz image ofWitches in the last ten years. But we have a long long way to go.And here in the Deep South mere mention of Wicca or Witchcraft is to invite hostility. And you can point out the positive aspects and thedetachment from Satanism all you want. The transformation of Witchcraft from Hell born cult to the wonderful experience I know it to be is going to take a long long time for my Baptist neighbors. Patience is our best ally. Patience and extra effort on our part to show the Christian world that we Witches are not the enemy.Merry Part"

"It is necessary to be public. So other seekers may find their paths. So we may become a valuable and viable community within society. So we dont disappear in the night. And that we can live as we are called."

"Unfortunately this society has become one preoccupied with image. Spirituality in my opinion has nothing to do with image however our right to practice our spirituality seems to have everything to do with how others who dont follow our belief system see our actions. It would seem that the only way to really reconcile this is for Pagans to counteract any myths and stereotypes they find as well as educate their friends and family. As loathesome as it may be every Pagan is a spokesperson for the entire community and until this society changes its values and spiritual prejudices Pagans will need to be mindful of their actions and careful to defend their rights logically and legally."

"I do not feel I have much to say yet since I am rather new to Wicca. The public image of Paganism needs help if what I have seen is any indicator...and that is not very much. I would do just about anything I could to improve it...within my limited capacity."

"A positive public image of Witches Wiccans and Pagans is needed to help dispel the stereotype of being evil-doers and indulging in wickedness. I have found that if I can state my beliefs and thoughts clearly and in a manner that that person can understand I can help dispel concerns and stereotyped visions. We need a positive spokesperson who isnt interested in shock tactics but concerned with dispelling untruths and half-truths. About including SatanistsSetians in the WitchcraftPagan arena - I kinda agree because all paths are legitimate to the person following it but on the other hand Satanism is a corruptionrebellion against Christianity and Earth-Based religions were here long before they were. But I maintain my opinion that as long as they dont try to convert me their path is theirs to follow."

"I think that the public view of paganism would be greatly helped simply by more exposure. If televangelists are the only source of information that many people have about us then we will remain misunderstood. This can be problematic though. In my opinion it is better for Pagans appearing as public representatives to dress like ordinary people. To do otherwise sets up an us and them mentality in the minds of people who see them. Besides ritual robes and regalia are intended to produce a change in consciousness for ritual not for everyday wear. I think that appearing in public in full ritual drag contributes to the freak show quality of so much media portrayal of pagans."

"I would like to see more coverage of Wiccans and Pagans in the Mediato show people that we are normal people and not a group of misfits asit is portrayed in most of the media."

"Living in a X-tian country I can account for the BAD image that witches and pagans have - specially when these are associated with voodoo spiritism and santeria. The people who practice these are seen as evil doers. The worst part is that they have not done anything but increase those perceptions. Therefore the whole x-tian community views anyone who practices any other type of religious faith outside the x-tian religions budists islamics and zens are excluded though as evil doer satan-worshippers and black magick pratitioners. There is no understanding of what a witch is among the x-tians or those who practice santeria orisha voodoo etc. either. Let me give you an example of what I mean. Every morning on my way to the gym I listen to this very popular morning radio show. On Mondays they used to have an Orisha come and talk about certain topics. I enjoyed it very much because it gave an opportunity to compare witches beliefs with theirs. However a few weeks back he was talking about those who made no bone in casting evil and binding spells etc. and said witches could not look at themselves in mirrors for the mirrors reflected back out the evil lurking in our souls. I was so shocked I had to park the car on the free lane for a long while until I regained my composure. I took the phone number and meant to call him that night but I was too angry and did a calming ritual instead in which I also asked the goddess to please stop him spreading those lies. To make the story short the Orisha never showed up at the morning radio show again. Yet the damage was done for many radio listeners called to say bad things about witches. *sighs*"

"The biggest problem we have is that Christians are brain washed - they cant see us as we are - it is a major threat to their beliefs. I have tried with a neighbor and she just decided I didnt understand - The devil is real and out to get us. The guy at work Ive dicussed this with - He truly believes he is incapible of making a decision with out God and the devil is real and out to get you. What is really frightening there are more of those twits than the live and let live kind.I have hopes the Halloween DC gathering will be a positive force in our favor. Maybe we just have to out wait the ignorance by educating as much as possible and showing a postive face."

"A pagan public image would not be a necessary thing if people were not so rigidly insistent on monotheism...but they are. People have difficulty accepting that other religions also may hold validity and that simply because beliefs are different does not make them wholly wrong. For me the pagan public image that I would like to see would simply involve people asking POLITELY when they didnt understand something... people feeling like they could ask questions or make requests but not interrupt rudely or shake their head and tsk at my jewelry or dress. I suppose that indicates that at times our image is a bit less positive than desirable. I just wish paganism was as accepted as say Catholicism... and at least if people did not like my practice they would leave me be.In media stories about pagans et al. I would like to see FAIRNESS. I would like to see journalism without bias. I am a journalist and there are so many times that I see copy editors or generally older reporters make references to witches or witchcrafte as crazies or kooks when a reference to another minority in the same tones would be grounds for immediate dismissal. I would like to have witchcrafte viewed without fear and trepidation. Perhaps for my children this will be the case. That I suppose is what we are all working for."

"I feel we need to improve our image somewhat. It should NOT be done through talk shows because they will usually only make it worse."

"Although it would be highly desirous for all of us to be public with our beliefs there are still those who perceive us as a threat and _would_ discriminate against us at work and other places. Not everyone is brave enough to come out into the light because of this discrimination. Until WiccansPagansTradcrafters and others feel confident to stand up in public the evolution of the Pagan Public Image will not evolve much beyond what it is today."

"The pagan public image needs alot of work. I am not Sabrina or Samantha or a wicked witch. I am a human being who honors the God Goddess."

"I would like to see more discussion about paganismwicca as a religion.What the religion means stands for. That Wicca is a earth religion similiar to Native American religions. And how the Judeo-Christian religions absorbed pagan traditions and are still using that today. I would like to see more info on tv like that presented by Starhawk and Donna Reed Filmmaker. Her documentaries shown as a PBS trilogy did a lot for our image to people who actually saw it. Another person who is an exceptional spokeperson for Goddess Worshippers is authoranthropologist Riane Eisler Chalice and the Blade. Her work is presented from a totally anthropolical standpoint is well respected.If we present our beliefs from the standpoint of religion Satanist would be on the other end of the spectrem as an off shoot of Christianity. That is the main reason I wouldnt like to see Paganism wicca earthreligions associated with Satanism ."


"I do not think that all publicity is necessarily good publicity. However I do think that if neo-Pagans do not let the media know what they are all we will ever hear from them is what we are NOT. I used to think Satanists should be accepted as neo-Pagans but after reading a lot of Isaac Bonewitts stuff and whatnot I decided that they are either mono-theists or a philosophy. Neither of those makes them pagans--and I REALLY see no point in defining oneself as the negative side to another religion. They may claim that is not what they are doing--I do not see the difference."

"When asked i say Wiccan i am a biker and want a consensis ona biker logo for jackets so we will know each when we pass on ourtravels i all ready have an idea for name and logo. the Sci Fichannel on its 100 show Mysteries Magic and Miracles has donea couple of shows where they told Wicca was not bad and we wouldnt hurt and told of our beliefs.LoneBear WLVA Rep"

"I think we do need a posistive public image.Many times the loudest voice is quoted by the media...usually that voice is one of someone that isnt trully a witch but wants to claim our name as shock value.We need to let the public see what we believe and what we do for the community not what some fanatic rants about after hes arrested for murder.No wonder people think we are evil...what have we done to teach them otherwiseThere are books and websites..but the only people that access them are either already paganspagan friendlyor just want to bash on us.Most people do not look at such publications for _Fear_ of what they might see.In order to reach those people and get a more positive reaction from them we have to make our beliefs and ideas more public."

"Why is it that we as a community who believe in the care of mother earth and all beings...dont take care of ourselves. The Christian Righ and other close-minded people grows stronger each day....making our chances of being heard smaller and smaller. Why dont we all unite Pagans Wiccans etc and make our voice be heard. Have our seat at the table"

"Of course all of us in alternate religions have a public image. Unfortunately it is often a poor one and any interviews or TV shows showing Pagans or earth religionists of any type are generally at the mercy of the interviewer or producer. If they are sympathetic or even open-minded the results will be good. If not there may be an air of ridicule or distain.I feel that Hollywood in particular does not really want to show us as we are. To see a group of people doing a healing ritual trying to help or advise someone in need or working in a community outreach program is not scary enough. It makes us look like regular people the folks next door their friends and neighbors which is exactly what we are. We reach people one at a time face to face and only when enough of them realize that we are as human as they are will our public image change."

"I hope that more Witches Wiccans and Pagans will come out of the closet and help to promote a positive image. I try to do the best I can in my school and my community."

"I don't think that we don't really have a "Pagan public image" and I do think that we need one. I feel this very strongly because my parents are strict Catholics and I have had to deal with discrimination within my own family. What I would like to see is a positive image. I am from NM and there is a good size Pagan communtiy here but it is almost like a secret in that most of the people would like to hide their religion from others. This is something that does dissapoint me. But I do belive that letting Satanists/Setians into the community is a good one. I don't belive that a Witch can really be a good Witch without being familir with the dark energies as well. I don't mean that we should practice their beliefs but I do think that it is necessary to know those energies in order to continue to keep the balance of the universe. - Tamarisk"

"I think that one of Paganism and Wiccas greatest strengths is ourdiversity and it is also one of our greatest weaknesses in a sense.Since we seldom agree on even our basic philosophies in most cases I think we are in a difficult position when we deal with the public.I have seldom if ever seen a Witch or Pagan interviewed on TV orRadio with whom I agreed. Mostly I have been embarassed when I haveheard these interviews. Embarassed because they sounded unprofessional inconsistent and sadly spacey or airheaded. I think that we would benefit from established media representatives who could answer any questions from the media concerning our religionsThis does not mean that we must accept hierarchy and organization which many Pagans object to intensely. If you know of someone in yourarea who is informed educated or presents themselves well suggest that they might leave their number with the local media for answeringany questions they may have. Personally I am in favor of our finding our common ground forming umbrella organizations for purposes of representation and presentinga common face to the outside world."

"I think an important part of Pagan life that is not given audience in the press often enough is that of Pagan Failies and their values. All though showing ritual whether public or private has gotten Pagans a bit more posative attention in the past few years I think that a program or interview with a WiccanPagan family would do more to show the commanalities we have with other religions.If you excuse different names for GodsGoddesses and different places or styles of worship WiccansPagans and other more excepted religions are very similar. We all have basic moral codes about how to be a good person and most aspects are very close between religions. I think that having a program showing the mundane world of a pagan family as well as ritual and religious aspects would do well to show that we all have to go grocery shopping go to PTA meetings help with school projects with the kids etc. I think by ONLY showing us in situations such as ritual and craft related activities tends to focus others attention on the fact that we are DIFFERENT. A program such as 48 hours would be interesting for 2 days in the life of a Neo Pagan family. Show us in ritual celebration dealing with the discrimination that can be a part of our daily lives as wel as how Pagan morals and ideals help to create very strong close knit families who worship together. In the end people from all religions want to lbe good people and live good lives. I think it would be a wise move to show our common ground a bit more often."

"Id like to see a sitcom or a movie about witches that portrayed us really accurately but with as much enthusiasm as they portray Sabrina or Samantha. And for people to stop associating Pagans with every damned thing they do now including flaky newage stuff secular stuff its not a real religion evil baby-killers bad cults... and they can just damn well start capitalizing Pagan and Wiccan and Witch because were a valid religion And stop referring to pagans and witches as one big huge blur of unknown homogenity And BOTh the Pagan and mainstream communities need to actually start finding OUT what Satanism is and believes and practices and stop bashing itI just know you guys are reading this and saying here she goes again hi wren -"

"For me Witchcraft is a private and personal practice to be shared only with those of like minds and purpose.The public and media images of witches seems to run the gamut from sweet to gruesome. The witch as a folklore figure will always be so. But as an alternative belief and nature religion the image needs to be established in the public eye as one of a benevolent sane and intelligent individual if we wish to avoid being stereotyped as evil . Unfortunately the mystery and intuitive aspects at the core of many pagan beliefs are exactly what raises the most fears to others. There are many groups who are capable of reassuring the public thro their actions and behavior and if they wish to go out in the open it hopefully eases those fears. But I do not think we can get excited every time a so called wicked witch is portrayed in the media. We do not really have a copyright on the witch figure. Fantasy and reality can exist side by side."

"No comment at this time. for Australian media treatment of Pagan topics see httpwww.geocities.comAthens2962media.html"

"People as soon as they hear witch they think devil worshoper. Thats gotta change. THanx fer your time"

"Merry Meet.This topic is one that Ive been mulling over for a long time now.Something needs to be done to educate the public about who we areand definitely who we are not. I have seen too many people hurtby peoples misconceptions about Witchcraft especially youngerpeople. We need to show the world what it really means to be Pagan.Open Pagans should show love and respect wherever they are goingto be exposed to the public eye and those who have the talentshould really start community groups or functions to startspreading the truth to conteract those who seem obsessed withspreading lies.Things will only get worse for us and our children if nothingis done. We are witnessing a time when the Christian Coalitionis making a big push to sell their policies to the governmentand themselves onto the public. The inquisition itself maybe over but the burning times surely are not.I want my children to be able to wear their pentacles on the street without having some one come up to them and tellingthem theyre going to the bad place downstairs.I want my kids to be able to celebrate their Pagan heritagewith pride. This wont happen the way things are now. Just theother day a fourteen year old girl in my community was beaten upby a group of girls because she read her horoscope in class andobviously to them that makes her a Witch.Theres been 2000 years of persecution. Im ready to putthe fires out.SilverWind"

"While I admire people who look good in black and purple makeup and while I have no personal objection to people with tattoos and multiple piercings ... my husband has the latter and it doesnt bother me ... I think that for public relations purposes we should attempt to look a little less like we are deliberately stepping outside of the socially acceptable norms of society. We want to be recognized and have our rights honoured. We should be prepared to give a little on this issue too and not insist that we be accepted and honoured while basically looking like a Hells Angels version of Cruella DeVille. Nor can we expect to be taken one hundred percent seriously when we wear tie-dye Grateful Dead t-shirts while arguing the point.This is not to say we all have to wear pinstripe suits and polyester dresses. But all that gothic makeup and all that ex hippie paraphenalia set us up in the eyes of the general public as either cranks or crackpots. Like it or not this society is controlled in part by how people look. We can try to change it but we have to accept that until it is changed we are stuck with it. We have to choose between looking the way we want to look and having a positive public image. I vote for the positive public image."

"We have one we just need a better one. Not being an actual unified and organized religion should not matter. Christians have several different denominations not all of which agree with one another and that does not seem to affect what people think of them...though I must admit to not really knowing the difference between most of them. We do need a more positive public image. When you mention Wicca to the average person they have NO idea what you are talking about. Mention witchcraft and you are likely to get the same tired responses...people asking if you worship the devil or...oh so you THINK you are a witch...or calling you a godless heathen. I do not know where they get off calling us godless we have more than anybody else...Yes I would like to see more stories in the media. A few positive ones would be a nice change. Most of what I have seen regards Pagans fighting for rights that would never be denied to someone else."

"When asked what a witch 5 year old son replied that WITCHES ARE UGLY AND MELT WHEN YOU PUT WATER ON THEM...cackle can imagine his surprize then delight when pointed out that his mother was infact a witch. After another bit of giggling it was pointed out to him that many of the things we have done as a family were witchy when we sat in a circle under the shade of the park trees singing songs breaking bread and giving thanx. He shrugged his shoulders and said I a witch too.Changing a public image should start with children for it is during these formative years that children learn both positive and negative outlooks. Children arent born with hate or ignorance they learn it. I dont think it a good thing to take away or censor material which already exists. I think it better to provide as rounded an education as possible. With that said....WHERE IS WICCAN AND PAGAN CHILDRENs LITERATUREThe recent matter also demonstrates a change that be needed. When unknowing persons pass by the New Age shelf of the bookstore and see wiccan material side by side that of satanic cult survival biographies and alien abduction stories it certainly does no good for the image of our religion. However its not the bookstore at fault. It is the publishing houses that classify and mark books so that bookstores and libraries may shelve the material accordingly. THIS is very frightening to me for we have traditionally held the written word as the prime source of knowledge and education."

"I would like to see us represented equally to all other religions. I feel that our public image has been ruined by all of those bible-toting holy-roller Christians who know nothing about us and yet think they know everything. I should be able to speak freely about what I believe and not feel pressured to adapt my ideals to coincide with others."

"Witchcraft is a wordconcept that must and will be reclaimed. It will take time to undo the work of the Church and State that has denigrated practitioners of Wicca for their own greedy purposes. We have time.Perhaps the most powerful single thing we can do is to show compassion for those who wrongly - usually out of ignorance and misinformation - accuse us. In the mean time let us continue to celebrate Change in our world. And Change Will Come.Blessed BeTSM"

"Pagan public image is such a mixed bag right now Im personally not sure how the mundane public truely views us. If each of us wouldcould live out our spiritual lives as best we could I believe Witches wouldnt have to worry about neither our public image nor popular media being influenced only by the wanna-bes and frauds. Soraya"

"I believe that multiple religious and political leaders need acomic book type of enemy to justify themselves and to obtainmore members power money etc.The fall of Communism and positive relations with China andoil rich Arab countries has removed many existing and potentialcomic book villains.Comic Book villains need to be weak and few in numbers to preventeffective and angry response against this villainization.Pagans have thus become the necessary comic book villains.Attacks on Pagans based on Biblical passages only needed to be increased not intitiated.The seemingly few numbers of Pagans and their weak public relations image has made them an easy Kick me victim.An increase in the positive image of Pagans will thus probablycause an exagerated reaction with those religious and politicalleaders who were counting on bashing Pagans.For us for our families for Democracy for Religious LibertyPagans must present a better and more truer image of Pagans.I agree that UNITY is the first step for Pagans.I believe that the second step should be protesting the horridcartoons and depictions of Witches in time for this Samhain.As instructed commas have been eliminated."

"I think it is very inconsistent. A more consistent postive image would be welcome and beneficial."

"I believe that it is important for people of the Craft to have an image that is better than the one we now enjoy. Since we live in a world that is run almost entirely on public image and the ideal that is popular for the day and the time. It is one way that we can become more accepted. The media in general plays a great part in the way that the general public views things. Everytime a crime is commited by someone claiming to be a Satanist it becomes lumped on us as well. We need people in the media that will distinguish between these things. I am not a practitioner of the Craft for the Whiz Bang effect that is gained by secretive behaviour and the unwillingness to be open about my practiecs. Wicca is my philosophy of life. It is as much of what I am as a Jew is as they lead there daily lives. It forms my refference of behaviour and it shapes my moral ethic. We need a forum that shows what we are in a light of truth and of clearly stated information. Arrysahnna Selen BeatieSnohomish Washington"

"I think we should try to get the media in general to portray a more realistic view of witches. Maybe try to get people to understand that were normal people just like everyone else with homes families and jobs."

"Most people still associate my pentagram with Satanism and assume that I worship the devil. I always take the time to explain that I follow a multidiety nature religion. Once they see that it has nothing to do with the Christian devil they are fine. We need a better public image but so far the media has edited our material to warp it to their own personal agenda. I would like to see full uncut features about Paganism and Wicca. More importantly we Pagans need to be more visible. We should actively advertise our environmental and charity work. We should organize trash clean up days and food drives for the poor. Pagans care about our Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants. It is time to show this to the world so that they stop fearing us and begin accepting us. At the same time there is a lesson for Pagans. We need to stop bashing Christians. On several occasions I have seen Pagans verbally bashing Christians. This only hurts our cause. I cant help but wonder if some of our current public relation problems might come from the law of three. Are we reaping what we have been sowing We can all do better at accepting other peoples religions. There is irony in our bashing another religion just because they dont believe as we do. Have the persecutors become the persecuted"

"I live in the rural southern United States. The only image pagans have is of -evil- and -no good-. Mainstream religon is constantly touting the -evils- of satan and the such never offering any distinguishing comments between paganswitches and their devil. It would be wonderful if we were treated with respect or even given credit for being here. Usually it is as though we arent even here. The religion pages in the newspaper are always variations of christianity. The bookstores have the religious section with christian books and then the new age section with books about pagans buddists etc. One of the worst insults we faced in public school as children was being a devil worshipper. The only alternative church we have here is one that touts the use of marijuana and rituals. They may very well be in the right with their beliefs but they have been the target of a very negative image. They have spent time in jail and have had numerouse negative articles on drugs and witches. Its too bad they have been portrayed as such both for their sake and for the rest of us. Id hate to see though a positive witch campaign out there making us look mainstream and faddish. It would be terrible to turn it into a -cool thing to do-."


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