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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

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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

Unity Essays from YOUR Community

Your comments on - Working with Groups Page 2

Your comments on - Explaining your Religion/Personal Belief Pg3

Your comments on - Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg5

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Article Specs

Article ID: 2028

VoxAcct: 9

Section: unity

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 6,065

Times Read: 4,340

Your comments on - Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg4

Author: Pagan Communities
Posted: September 16th. 1997
Times Viewed: 4,340



Initial Thoughts from the Community (the first 24 hours)

YOUR comments on...

Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg. #4
(as of September 16th., 1997)



Survey Sez...

"I like to see the pagansWiccans being the good guys for once. In paticular thats why I liked a couple of episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer because everyone would have died if it hadnt been for the Tecnopagan Computer teacher. The Media especally in things youth and little kids watch needs to have positive images of pagans. In that way when the youth are running the country things would be better for us."

"I think the current pagan public image is still very negative. Even my most educated and culturally aware friends still equate paganism with evil and theyre afraid of it. Because the negative image does exist I think its not a bad idea to take some steps to correct that. Im not exactly sure why but Sabrina the Teenage Witch doesnt bother me because it has nothing to do with the Wiccan religion ... its based on a fairy-tale pop-culture idea of witchcraft that will probably never die. What we need to do is help people to understand that Wiccapaganism is a religion separate from all that. It doesnt really upset me to see a fairy-tale witch portrayed. What does upset me is to see movies like the Craft which portray the religion inaccurately. What Id like to see the media focusing on now are the many cases of religious discrimination facing pagans today. On entertainment shows I would like to see Wiccan and pagan characters portrayed more accurately. That doesnt mean Sabrina. Shes not Wiccan. Im talking more about shows like the X Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Hope this makes sense Tracey West"

"A discussion of the theaologial and philosophical foundations. A discussion of pagan ethics and their relation to other ethical systems. Panel discussions by Pagans Christians Jews Buddhists etc. for open comparison of theaology and ethics. I find it absurd that I as a Pagan should be accused of being part of a cult or some new age fad when my thealogical and philosohical beliefs are as deeply explored if not more so as those of the average Christian or Jewish person. I believe that more Pagan clergy need to obtain the socially acceptable credentials - the master of divinity degree - so they have the strength and knowledge to state their case before the theologians and ministers of the other world religions."

"I do think that the media is giving false facts about pagenism and that there should be more pagans relaying these facts"

"It is hard to present a public image because we are so diverse. We need to stress to the public that we are a positive life-affirming path to living in the here and now. We need to stress that we hold the principle of love very highly and that this means love and respect for others in all walks of life and belief. Our own diversity is one of our greatest strengths yet to the general public may make us seem at odds or not know what we are talking about. Unified diversity is an oxymoron and yet at the deepest levels there are values that we all hold deeply such as a reverence for life the earth god and goddess aspects of divinity etc."

"We need more positive PR."

"I think in this time it is important to inform the people about theexistance and the main philosophies of practicing witches. Freedom of religion should include the ability to speak openly about ones believes. Most people are so misinformed that it is a major project to explain what one is talking about. It would be nice if there would be a positive basis one could work of from."

"Pagan is a very broad term. I dont think there can be one Pagan public image. Fact is some pagan beliefs might be considered evil. But they are still pagan. I think the Pagan community as a whole should not work on a public image because I dont think we can make that work. Every individual Pagan belief I dare say every individual Pagan should work on their own public image as she he or they see fit. If enough individuals do this one might be able to get to some sort of general image. But starting out working as a community probably will not work. We are just too diverse for that."

"I feel the paganwiccan community is still very misunderstood and some positive press would be good for a change.i feel we still have to be very secretive about our lifestyles due to harrassment at work and such.while i dont give a hoot about what others may think of me personally i still feel uncomfortable that i could lose my job because of my religion....would a christian be under that kind of pressurei think not"

"It is truly a shame that in this day and age so many of us are still afraid to come forward and admit who and what we are. However right now we really dont stand a chance. The sad truth is this as long as we are portrayed as child eating Hocus Pocus evil doing The Craft wishy washy Sabrina and satan worshipping The X Files we will never have a chance. I truly hope that the Merry Meet Me In DC at Samhain will bring the much needed positive media attention that we so truly deserve. Prejudice is fuel by ignorance and where Witches and other Pagans are concerend the fire is still burning. Blessed Be."

"I dont see what tv shows say about us because I seldom if ever watch television of any sort. However I am active in my community as a Witch and therefore realize that it is important for us to build and maintain a more positive image. People wont listen what we say while theyre busy worrying about us summoning Satan on them."

"Too many people still think of Witches as connected to devil worship.Not enough people are aware that Pagan religions are valid and recognized by the government. I would like to see more groups involved in charity work or other positive actions that would help dispell the myths."

"I work in video and video produvction so some of the above questions were difficult to answer. I think that the closer we get to 2000 the more that spirtual people in general and wiccanspagans will make it into the news. But given the different sects of paganism out there it should be remembered how easy it is and will be to portray craft practitioners as nuts and perhaps even potentially destructive. As a representitive of the media I do not try to film spiritual practices whatever type or sect. I do not think that I would want a non-legitimized media outlet to film a ritual I was involved in. We do need spokespeople for the rabid general media though...people who are accustomed to how the media can shape things and of how they can manipulate conversations to present an image of a person that is far from true. Savvy spokespeople are essential when the media maxim IF IT BLEEDS IT LEADS in in effect which is always. We may know and live by the Rede but imagine how the Wall St Journal would report on that Xian Jesus Christ. So the media either demonizes or trivializes and savvy spokespeople can at times at least impart some correct information. But not always."

"By our visible existence we have a public image. What we need is a stronger more positive public image that will alliviate some of the discrimination and prejudice that exists towards Pagans."

"The best way for the Pagan community to form a public image IMHO isto focus on getting out the facts and going beyond the usual We DontWorship the Devil or Sacrifice Children etc arguments. I for one wouldlike to see more public discussion by Pagans of societal issues... current events ... and aspects of theology. Religious columnistsof other faiths get to provide commentary on such issues in articlesin the Religion section of the paper so why shouldnt we. This wouldreflect the true depth in the Pagan community and prove we dont spendall our time staring at our navels. Instead of telling people that ours are legitimate religions lets show them."

"I think we have an image for sure. Its good either good or bad depending on where you are and who you are talking to. I think that my area the Texas Panhandle needs more of one. There are still people out there who believe we are Satanists. Alot of that misinformation comes from the churches here because they are telling people that although we claim we are not evil we really are and are just trying to convert people by saying were good. This has got to stop. There arent any really public Pagans around here and there needs to be. I know some of us cannot take 5that chance but the ones who can need to band together and inform the public of what we really are. I would be glad to do it but I cannot do it on my own and I wont do it unless others are willing to stand with me.I think there is a dire need for more media coverage of Pagans. We need more movies. Hopefully things like The Craft will be a relic of the past someday just like the cariactures of Jews from back during the Holocaust. In the meantime there needs to be more Pagans on talk shows and in newspaper articles until Pagans and Pagan friendly people start writing our own movies and sitcoms."

"I dont think that Sally Jessie Raphael show is worth going on. I think that most of the people who talk about Paganism and witchcraft in the media are often flakes."

"Some of us think that by remaining quiet we will remain unseen. Some of us think that not standing up for ourselves will mean that we are unnoticed. Like it or not this is not true. Like it or not we have a public image. If we do not take it in hand others will be more than willing to construct it for us. We can either stand by and allow our image and our good name to be used and misused to the whims of whomever decides to cry Witch...or...we can come out of the woodwork and come out of the broom closet. There are very few places to hide in a media rich society."

"We need a positive public image but only if it is done in the right way"

"I think that its sad that shows like The 700 Club are still managing to have the upper hand in television and telling people what they should think and believe on religious topics including the truth about Pagans and Wiccans. Shows like Sabrina are entertaining to me...I only recently started watching it but I think its cute and sort of funny. Kind of like Bewitched but with a 90s feel to it. I dont see the point in getting offended over something like that TV show when its nothing more than a silly sit-com. Its things of a more seriously-intended nature like religious programming that upsets me personally. I think that we as a strong community that is constantly growing should work together to show that we arent evil that we arent Satanists and that we have a Constitutional Right to worship and be in the public eye without the fears that we so often have."

"I think that we should be more outgoing. If we are public then lets not be public just at Samhain when the public expects us to be out because of Halloween. That is too touristy for lack of a better word. If you are going to do a public Samhain ritual and are alerting the media to it then why not the other holidays. The media needs to know we have more depth to our holidays than just the one that has been bastardized by the public. Each of us should remember that we are a public example once we are out. We are a public example of one. Unfortunately all will be judged by one. It is hard to always be on your best behavior but until the public is educated that is what we must be. Pretend that you are a retail clerk. Anger is not an option. Civility is always the answer. Honest and simple answers are what is required with the public. It is a burden but until the time comes when someone can say they are a Witch and get the same response as if they had said they are a Methodist then that is what we must do.T"

"I dont agree with Sabrina the Teenage Witch because any potrayal of witches in the media should stand for what we are really like."

"Just to clarify I do like the show Sabrine the teenage Witch for intertainment only. I have called such shows as Jenny Jonse and others to ask that they give all religions a possitive light. After all just because someone is of a different religion does not make them a bad person Its what they say about other religions that make the world a bigited towards others."

"I responded no to Question 64 because I have seen in other civil rights movements the effects of maintaining a clean...meaning majority-values... image. Racial and sexual minorities have proven that power lies in presenting and BEING our full selves not being someone elses--the majority--interpretation of good. I do think it is incumbent on us to keep it real. We need to present our full truth and be the best we can be for OURSELVES. I do not want to act in a way that makes me look like I will be content with scraps from the Christiansecular communitys table. Nor do I want to ever have to say We are just like you. I am not content with scraps and a free woman creates her own image.That said I do believe we need to write...go to film school...act...become journalists...start TV networks...etcetera. Why spend energy begging others when we can use that same energy getting the glory and the money for ourselves Blessed be--Jayelle Lukash"

"I think that if we tried to educate more things might change. But there are always those ones out there who LIKE to be ignorant. --Sophacles"

"We are all symptoms of your Christian America the biggest satain of all. This is your world in which we grow. And we will grow to hate you."

"Pagans need a positive public image. Otherwise there would not be so many of us still in the broom closet."

"Well...first of all i would like to say that I am completely...as far as I know...to handle the media or people. I have talked to many people but never media people. And I am willing...ready...and wanting to share my opinion with the world."

"I think that we do need a public image. Though I personally am not very fond of shows such as Sabrina the Teenage witch I think that it is a good thing that such shows are on the air. I think that we need to do more to emphasize our staus as a full religion and no just some weird Cult. What needs to be done Im not quite sure press on the internet is something but not much. The people we need to get our message to wont go to those sites on the Internet. We should make as much use of TV and radio as possible."

"The Pagan Public Image leaves much to be desired. I dont even think we as real pagans have much of a correct public image. We sort of keep to ourselves and because of that others take advantage and make up an image for us - the punky hair styled people all dressed in black or barely anything at all heavy make up dark oogey boogey looking that you see on talk shows around Holloween. Those that have gone to speak in public like Isaac Bonewitz dont get t.v. or news coverage. I dont support ceremonies on television because as a solitary I like to think of it as my private moment alone with the God and Goddess and even tough it might be beneficial to those who think it to be bloody carnal and a sacraficial orgy Im not about to go there myself. However other public acts like this upcoming Samhains Blessed Be and March with me at D.C. is all good. it should get coverage and Im sure there will be numerous interviews which should be aired. I plan to be at the parade - and so should you."

"About Sabrina. There are both good and bad aspects about this show. Many times ethics come into play where Sabrina learns a lesson. It shows Witches in a positive light not to mention not showing them as ugly hags. Of course it perpetuates the notion of hocus-pocus Witchcraft and magic. Unfortunately too many people fail to separate reality from Hollywood magic. I find it entertaining when I dont have anything better to do.On Satanists. Im divided as to whether or not they are Pagan. Some Satanists say they are Pagan and some say they are not. And before anyone gets on their high horse screaming about the evil Satanists let me tell you to first learn something about them. Most do not do or even advocate the mythos that is layed on them. Those that do those things are primarily psuedo-Satanists who play at Satanism. They do these things because thats all they think Satanism is. This mythos is the only thing they have ever heard about and they never bother to try to learn the truth or anything about the path. I am not a Satanist and I do not agree with most of their philosophies. However I do not advocate showing intolerance and prejudice toward them based on a mythos. Many loudly proclaim that Wiccans Witches and Pagans absolutely do not do any of those horrid things put forth in the mythos. Yet they turn around and say the Satanists do indeed do those things without knowing the first thing about Satanism. They whine and cry about how unfairly they are treated and how people say they do those things when they dont. Then they show the exact same ignorance intolerance and prejudice toward Satanism. Before you start spreading the mythos of Satanism you should learn about it first. If you want an excellent book on the topic I recommend Satanic Panic The Creation of an Urban Legend by Jeffrey Victor. Learn about the mythos and its history before you go around spreading it.On a public image. Of course we have one. It is the same one the Satanists have. Because the mythos of Satanism is so pervasive and widespread and because it has been promulgated and expanded it is the image many people have of all Pagans. The time has come to stop creating the them and us situation. Because so many Pagans are promulgating the mythos of Satanism it is still hurting all of us. It is time to get rid of the inaccurate worldview that dark equals evil and light equals good. These are mere labels of convienence yet too many take them literally. There is nothing inherently evil about dark and there is nothing inherently good about light. They just are. If we are to someday experience tolerance and respect then we must show the same to all other religious and spiritual paths. We may not necessarily agree with the philosophies of those paths but that does not mean we cannot show tolerance. Tolerance does not mean approval of anything. It just means you respect their choice. It is their choice to make and they are the ones who have to live with it. Until we present a united front to defeat the mythos of the Satanic rumor mill all of us will have to deal with a negative public image. Let me leave you with a quote by John F. Kennedy from his Commencment address at Yale University on June 11 1962The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate contrived and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent persuasive and unrealistic.PS You really needed some different answer choices such as Not Sure or Maybe. The Yes No and NA didnt really offer much of a choice on some questions."

"The public view of pagans and witches here in the South is based primarily on what they see in the movies or on shows such as The X- Files. One of the first questions I get asked is when people find out I am a witch is if we worship the devil and have sacrifices. I think there needs to be a more concentrated effort in informing the public about what we are and are not. The media is afraid when a witch speaks out in an editorial that some harm will come to them simply by letting the public know that there are others in the community besides Christians. The local paper will run articles around Samhain about witches in major cities but nothing at the local level about the practices of witches in the community. Just recently I was called onto the carpet of the School of Education where I am completing my degree in Elementary Education. The Dean and the cooporating teacher were concerned that there might be a problem with my student teaching in a public school because I am a witch. I assured both of them that I considered myself a professional and would conduct myself accordingly. If anyone was going to have a problem it was not going to be me. I started to ask if they had problems with teachers that were Christians.I am considering writing a petition to the school chancellor to be allowed to give an additional Convocation Prayer at the graduation commencement in December.Witches need to speak out in the loving manner we are know for. Ignorance breeds fear. Specially here in the Bible Belt.Love and Light. Snow Owl"

"Information is power. Not just the information you gather but also the information you project to others. Of course we have a paganpublic image. Of course we need a better one. I would like to seemore positive information about pagans. Why should christianity getall the press Many pagan groups and covens donate to food banks...disaster relief...environmental charities...etc. Yet I havenever seen a story about this on my local news or the national news.Every year a local group collects a large amount of food in Octoberfor the Second Harvest Thanksgiving-Christmas food drive. As far asI know this has never made the local news...television...radio...ornewspapers. These kinds of things need to be reported by the media.There need to be more open...public...non-denominational circleswhere the community is invited and law enforcement...the media...teachers...city governments...etc are encouraged to attend. Let the media bring their cameras."

"Obviously a positive representation. Unfortunately all it takes is a couple of nutcases to reinforce what has already been put forth for hundreds of years."

"Many people fear what they dont understand. Many people dont understand what we are all about but if we only show them they may be willing to have a more positive opinion of us. We have to at least give them the chance."

"I wouldnt mind seeing the lies and stereotypes disappearing from the public eye. However I also would not want to see us being used as the Token Witch in television programs and other types of media that now perpetuate the lies and stereotypes. Why is it that in our society something thats been taboo for years suddenly becomes popular and everyone wants to get in on it Ive seen this happen in the Biker world as in Ive owned and riden a Harley for years and hate seeing people who used to look down on us suddenly thinking were cool and they want to get in yet dont have the faintest idea of what brother and sisterhood and a life long love are all about. The same goes for Witchcraft and any other Pagan religion. I shutter at the thought of people trying to get involved just for the sake of saying Why yes I am a Witch you know its THE thing to do now. Pardon my sarcasm Im not saying that if the public decides to accept Witchcraft there will be only insincere people trying to become a part of it for the status of being able to say they are a Witch. I would hope that if Witchcraft did become more acceptable to the public that is it would allow the many people who are not able to openly practice their beliefs now to come out and take pride in what theyve believed in and practiced behind closed doors and allow entrance to those who for whatever reason cannot even learn about it now. Im so glad that I am not in the closet and never really have been. My wish is that one day all Witches and followers of all Pagan religions will be able to enjoy this freedom as well. Katrina Web-Spinner"

"The only thing I would like to see is that when media interview a pagan or group that they dont pick the strangest ones they can find....not all pagan walk around in bones stones or wareing all black......some of us look just like everyone else by choice....and I personally dont like haveing to explain to my friends and family that no I am a real pagan....even if I dont dress strangly.is this shallow....a little but...most first immpressions are the ones that stay with you."

"There is a danger in trying to establish a public image in that a minority of people some of whom no one in their right mind would want to be represented by would be seen by the general public as speaking on behalf of ALL of Paganism or Wicca.Since no one person can speak for the PaganWiccan views of another how then can a consistent Pagan public image be maintained.The wheel turns as it does and we are coming upon a place in our history as Neo-Pagans where we will either again face persecution or survive the onslaught of fundamentalist views by standing together."

"There are many problems faced as we try to give the world a more positive image of Pagans. One is that not all of us define this the same way ---those of us who look less mainstream such as myself often get flack from other Pagans for being out while we ourselves feel that a three-piece suit doesnt represent us. There is along with this the fact that there are so many forms of Paganism that what some of us hold to be true is not true for all. The other issue is the number of people in the Community who groove on the secrecy thing --who help foster the idea that we have something to hide. My method is to just be out --to just do what I do --not court publicity but not shy away from it. And to try to present the best face of what it is I do. This includes creating a legal church accessable to all including the media if there is interest --and stressing positive values like community service."

"I think the public image about Witches WIccans and Pagans is definatly a negative one. An image wich makes people think we worship satan or drink blood. for the most part this imagew comes from the catholics. I also think that it is not their fault they think that for they were taught and brought up to trash other peoples religions and in the words of Scott Cunningham There are some who say that we and anyone else who wont follow their rituals or embrace their theology are worshipping Satan Not that we know it of coarse Satan is to tricky for that according to these expertise Such people cant beleive that any religion but their own can be meaningfull fullfilling and true to its adherent. so if we worship the god or the goddess they say were denying all good and are worshipping Satan the embodiment of all negativity and evil"

"I think that our image needs to improve but it is not as bad as some think."

"On shows such as Jenny Jones or Sally Jesse Raphael when a Witch Wiccan or Pagan is presented it seems that these shows go out of their way to find the most unusual persons. Even on the local news instead of interviewing someone who could make a positive statement about us they choose to find the most bizarre characters they can find to represent us. As long as this goes on and as long as Hollywood continues to depict us in a negative light we will not make any progress towards ending the stereotypes. I think it would be nice for once to see a real Witch or Coven performing a real ritual for world peace or healing the planet and have it presented in a matter of fact and positive way. We dont need sensasionalism. We need to get the facts across to the public in a way that makes us look like what we are REAL people. Otherwise the world will continue to see us as the freaks Hollywood portrays us as or as the helpers of the AntiChrist that so many televangelists make us out to be. Perhaps if we look at the methods used by the Jewish community or the Buddist community to get good press then we will find something that could work for Witches Wiccans and Pagans."

"Though I am a relative newbie to paganism in general I have been traveling in that direction for the past five years. In that time I have seen many negative or frivolous portrayals of pagans in the media. Wiccans seem to be targeted for ridicule quite commonly. Usually one gets to see a heavily made up woman dressed in her witches garb and acting just a little off of center. Well I am a new Wiccan and I must say that if I acted like that in public I wouldnt be able to sleep at night for embarrassment. I give them full credit for sheer guts in going in front of the camera but I think they should more carefully consider the image they portray. They seem more like Witch Hazel than Starhawk. So yes I do believe that paganism in general and Wicca in particular need to polish their images and show the Judeo-Christian dominated part of the world which we inhabit that we are not weirdos and that we can coexist even with them if they could but give us a modicum of tolerance. I personally have not yet conjured up the courage to reveal my true inner feelings and new religion to my extremely narrow-minded right wing mother whom I love dearly. Rejection from that quarter would hurt too much."

"As a graduate student I have recently completed a project researching the history of public and media peortrayal of Wicca. I would like to send you a copy so that you can either use it here or critique my methods and conclusitons."

"I feel that the public image of Witch craft does need a not-so subtile tune-up. When Wiccans are protrayed in a less-than-negative light inevariably it is always some emaciated teenager looking like she just steped out of Goth weekly. Im not saying that people like that are bad or that they should not be envolved with the public side of Wicca its just there should also be the fifty year old grandma the seven year old child and one of the many wiccans whose wardrobe is dominated by some color other than black. Also many newspapers still use Wicca as a insult... well shes a witch she must have done it. Much must still be done to address these things."

"I think that the Pagan public image is becoming less and less important. As is everything else in the peoples eye. No one cares anymore about anything really. Everything is shrugged off with an unemotional cool or whatever. Pagans seem in the eye of the public as outdated because we actually believe something. Were not that far from Christians to the public. I think that we should stick together not for prevention of steryotypes or to improve our image but for our own sake. Its a free for all out there. If anything we need each other. *Christina"

"Trying to achieve acceptance should begin in ones home and community. It would be detrimental I think if I were to invite the media into a ritual or go on a talk show try to speak in support of Witches Wiccans and Pagans but never have a good reputation in my own community as an active positive participant in daily life.Being a Witch is not just about rituals and celebrations its a way of life and if we are not letting the world see that then its not entirely the worlds fault that we are misrepresented and misunderstood."

"I think that due to the fact that so many Pagans are out of the broom closet that we are getting a Public Image. One that is not always positive and some times sensationalized by us. This is what upsets me most. Not when the unknowing blast us they only know what theyve been taught but when one of our own does it. The WITCH WARS that are starting again and will kill us faster than anything in the media. What good are Wars for anyones Public image. This we have complete control over the Witch Wars and we have some responsibility for our Public Image and its time to clean it up.I think that we need to get more involved with educating the public yes but we need to stop jockying for position amoung our selves and get the media a little less to talk about. If we continue the way we are going the media and our image will be the least of our worries.As for TV shows I have seen more with positive interviews of witches and footage of our rituals than I have slams against us. However when we get slamed we get slamed. And yet I have even used that to our advantage. I am a known as a Witch when we are slamed by one show or another I am often asked questions about the shows contents. I do my best to explain the facts and clear up any misconseption. Yes I would like to see us shown for what we are normal people with differnent belifes. Some day we will do a show of our own and the truth will be known. This cannot happen until the WARS stop. I long for that day."

"A Pagan public image is very important. I know that many Pagans would like to openly and happily proffess thier faith but are uncomfortable due to our poor reputation. Personally I would like nothing better because then I might actually meet more folks in person. How to solve this problem is beyond me. A great many people are as unmovable as mountains when it come to where they draw the line on religion. Usually that line is Mines good Your is bad k However there are a good many open minded folks who are actually at peace with thier GodsGod and will open thier arms to us once they understand what we are.Goddess Bless"

"I believe that we as pagans need to be shown in a positive light for once. For far too long we have been seen as either satianists or the wackos in the new age shop on the corner. We are seen as a threat by many established religions and we need to work to change that image."

"The community seems to be more accepting of the Wiccan sciences but still cannot come to grips with our religious beliefs. Some see us as threats to society and the morality that has been placed upon us."

"The word image brings up certain connotations both positive and negative. I disagree with an image at all aside from what prevails as Pagans provide through their example and adherance to the best of their ability the Rede. When we work at an image we place ourselves in a position to defend or to prove. This is where difficulty presents itself. I believe straight education is the key. Then of course we find yet another dilemma. I have seen Pagans provide poor information within the media which serves only to harm the whole. As we are a diverse community as groups covens or solitaires we cannot control much in this area. The entire subject is quite complex when you view it in this manner. What I would like to see and what is realistic are two very different things unfortunately. Im not sure there is an answer at all. As an aside I would voice my opinion on supporting Satanists. We work so hard to dispell the myths and yet betray ourselves by condoning this sect of Christianity. Tolerance and full blown acceptance or support are entirely different matters. I believe in tolerance. However I cannot openly support the Satanic sects as I believe sincerely that it brings harm to us and therefore contradicts us altogether."

"The Pagan community does have an image. However what that image is varies from person to person. I personally would like for the public Pagan image to be a bit more truthful. We are a religion not a fad that has to do with mystic mumbo-jumbo. For once I would like to see a show or something having to do with real life facts about us. And not just fromone source. It would be nice to watch a program and see my truth for once instead of slanderous superstisions about what I supposedly am in the publics eye."

"I think we most definately have a public image and certainly need one. From my own observations it would seem that this image is slowly getting more and more positive. I live in the Bible Belt South openly wear pagan jewelry and have answered questions about said jewelry from complete strangers. Most people are very receptive. I have however received quite a few contemptuousmistrusting glances from some people. When and if we do change our image it will be slow. The change must be brought about at first on a local level by others observing our actions and learning from our positive examples. It is quite possible that a small group of people can change the world in fact it has been said that they are the only people who ever have."

"First of all there isnt enough in the media about Wiccans or Pagans. I didnt even realize such a religion existed until about a year ago. What there is in the media is bad. The reporters present incomplete information or put their own interpretation on it usually making Wiccans appear as deluded individuals. Not necessarily evil just delusional. If they presented information about any other religion this way they would probably find themseves in court for slander. They can get away with it in case of our religion because we are not organized. I am not saying that we should form a governing body like for example the Catholic church has but by simply networking with other individualscovens we would have at least some kind of legal recognition. If someone sees a show on TV slandering Wiccans or Pagans and protests the tv station will not pay much attention because its just one individual who protested. If the same person had a way of letting the peoplecovens accross the world know about the insulting show and they ALL protested to the media or even to the law they could not be ignored."

"Im tired of seeing Pagans dismissed as a bunch of kooks with an oddball religion.. especially when it comes from people who are supposedly defending us. I think I am a pretty sensible person. I read science fiction and biographies and laymans books on quantum physics. I like mathematics and computer science and formal logic. My father is always eager to hear my recommendations on stocks to buy and when he should sell. And yet as soon as some people hear that I am Pagan.. that I am Wiccan.. all of the things I have done in my life that demonstrate good sense are somehow rendered worthless by my admission that I worship the Lord and Lady.I have never heard the rationality of a Christian questioned based on his or her choice of religion. It seems that their religion is somehow intrinsically more sensible than Paganism. A person does not have to be a kook to be Christian or Jewish or Muslim. But Pagans Oddballs. Hippies. Gullible. Perhaps a little mentally unbalanced. Not a rational and reliable person among the lot of em.I am mighty tired of hearing it."

"I think that for the most part pagans have a negative public image. Whether we need one at all is another matter all together. Who knows what an attempt to give pagans a good public image will actually do. While some might be open minded others might retaliate with force and discrimination. I think that educating the public is a good idea but I belief showing videos of rituals etc will cause more or a negative affect."

"I think that we do need a Pagan Public Image because people are so ignorant about paganism and witchcraft. I think they need to be setstraight. For example I have a pentacle hanging from the rearviewmirror of my car and so does my best friend. We cant count how manytimes people have commented on them and assumed they were satanic symbols. We have had to explain what they really meant which was hard to do because those Christians were all ready so set with their waysI dont think anything actually got into their heads. One of my good friends is a devout Christian and luckily I have helped her to somewhat understand my religion and what we believe but she also makesmany assumptions that are untrue. I think we should get in the publiceye as much as possible to educate the people and try to prevent allthese sterotypes."

"I still think the public image of Pagans needs a lot of improvement.Theres still too many people who are ignorant of our beliefs. Education of course is the key. I try to be open about my beliefs but sometimes that just isnt possible."

"I am a Witch but these questions particularly interested me because I am also a journalist. For the most part all of the print articles Ive ever seen on our religion are positive. I know for a fact that most print journalists take great pains to present a story fairly and accurately despite popular misconceptions to the contrary. I think it would greatly benefit most Witches and Pagans to be aware of this fact - the media are not out to get us. In fact the media are one of the better ways we have of combatting the lies and misconceptions that many non-Pagans hold of us."

"Remedying the public view of witchcraft is very important lest we slip back into the burning times"

"The thing about paganism is that people dont want to know the real truth of the subject they want life to be more interesting. If over exagerated ideas and stereotypes is what they want its a good chance they wont listen to anything but that. People dont want the truth they want excitement. If it new different scary it spices up the normal mundane existance. It doesnt matter it is at the pagans expence if it makes them happy to think that their neibor sacrifices chickens in their basement then they will think it regardless of the matter or truth has to do with it. I am 14 and practicing and last year I hopped out of the broom closet very happy and ready to share the joy paganism has brought me with all my chrisitan community. Instead I was greeted warmly with violence and ostrasization. Kind of hard to be a normal teenager when half the school if scared to talk to you simply on the bases of religion. My best friend was harassed right along with me. I believe that if paganism has one public image it would be scary and cold. To change it would be not only difficlut but near impossible. Once society learns of paganism and how mild it really is they may loose interest but for the most part they will subconsiously block it from their minds in order to save their personal views to avoid from being wrong. Society is based on show value not on truth."

"I find that people are NOT receptive to me when I use the words Wiccan Witch or Pagan. Most question whether I worship Satan and participate in sexual orgies. Neither I say. Surprisingly when I compare my beliefs to those of Native CanadianAmerican beliefs they become more accepting. It seems that the black witch on a broomstick flying around cursing good people continues to be a popular misconception. I also say that I believe in the Old Religion which seems to go over better. I tell them that I worship the gods and goddesses that my ancient ancestors worshipped. These are words they can relate with or at least tolerate. I like to see people on T.V. who portray a positive image for Pagans- people without the wild hairdoes and extreme make-up. Paganism is not my religion for shock value so I want people to learn that anybody can be Pagan. I want to be identified with those who love and care for their family and community and takes action for the earth and environment. I want to be known as one who shares a deep commitment to the Goddess and Her creations."

"I think that we need a good public image just as much as any religeous or otherwise group. It helps to establish public knowledge and public awareness. While I have met very good people who profess to be Satanists I do not agree with our sharing the same yard. We have spent so many years and worked so hard to dispell the connection that to put us back together is simply slapping ourselves in the face. No we have to remain separated. I am very concerned with the public image of Wicca and Witchcraft. I have e-mailed a television station in Illinois for bad press coverage connecting Wicca with Satanismevil and I will do so every chance I get. I am out at work I am in the US Navy and I answer questions people have. I deliver copies of Paganet News to other people in my workplace who are pagan. It not only allows me to help others but I can dispell negative ideas because someone will inevitably ask Hey isnt that evil I like to think that I am doing my part. Oh I wanted to add something concerning Part 4 of this survey. I dont think that collecting money from students to cover materials is wrong if the class is for a specific topic or for a specific book if the teacher is supplying the books. I do have reservations on teachers who charge simply to do so."

"Yes we have a public image unfortunatly it isnt one of our making.As to needing one well I think that we have to change the one that is already in place. I for one dont like being accused of eating babies or killing chickens -. I cant speak for anyone but myself on wanting a public image but I do. It would make talking to people much easier and less hassle. However I think that Wiccans as a whole must be unified thats the point I know as to what they want to show the world. Alot of people are still scared as to how their communities will or will not accept their religion and feel the best way to deal with it is to hide. Unfortunatly there are people who go on the talk shows that say that they are witches who dress in black wear black lipstick have lots of chains and scream that witches should overthrow the norm. They also say that they are satanists or that killing or cursing people is okay. There is our public image as well as the doctrine that is fed to people in church. I feel that it is imperitive for Wiccans to finally get together and get our voice heard to keep quiet is to bury ourselves. --Phaedra"

"The image is changing. Most of the media attention in my hometown has been pretty positive and that is because a number of pagans have cultivated and used carefully personal contact with both the media and the police. Ten years ago this would have been different here. The work is going on quietly and relentlessly. We must reach out our hands befor anyone else can shake it. Pagans here were a part of the inter-faith church fair for the last several years. All but the most ardent Fundamentalists and evangelicals were accepting. It was too much for the real radicals... but it was not because the pagans were there. They did not like some of the other Christians.. We laughed about that. I have written lettern to the newspaper when some nenative and or name calling was done. For a while the Republican Party was callong anyone who disagreed with them pagans and claimed the pagans were somehow in charge of messing up all the great things thr Republicans had planned for this country. I wrot that I had been a pagan for 15 years and no one ever told me I was in charge or had that kind of power. I pointed out that just because someone disagreed with their policies was no reason to act like whining brats calling names. no more throwing the word pagan around here at least. Mine was not the only letter on the subject either. The last time the paper made a fuss about some pagan doings most people asked said it was trying to make a mountain out of a molehill and sell papers. none of tham were pagan and that stopped that. I like my hometown."






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