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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

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A Quest for Unity ( 1)

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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

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Unity Essays from YOUR Community

Your comments on - Explaining your Religion/Personal Belief Pg3

Your comments on - Out of the Broom Closet Page 2

Your comments on - Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg5

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Article Specs

Article ID: 2029

VoxAcct: 9

Section: unity

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 6,164

Times Read: 2,983

Your comments on - Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg5

Author: Pagan Communities
Posted: September 16th. 1997
Times Viewed: 2,983



Initial Thoughts from the Community (the first 24 hours)

YOUR comments on...

Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg. #5
(as of September 16th., 1997)



Survey Sez...

"The Pagan Public Image is like all public images. It is part syntheitc and part mythical. All public images are mythical becuase they are mirages caused by a need to quantify and shoe box the world around us. Public Images have no existance beyond the minds of those mutually consent to create one.A Pagan Public Image is enirely artifical becaue it is created entirely through an indivduals collecting and reassembling bits and pieces of the world. The bits selected and the construct created from them are subject to the whims and biases of each indivdual. To the same extant that individuals differ so to do thier filters and constructs differ and hence thier view of a Pagan Public Image differ. Nor is it useful to define a public image is an additive quantity. One can get insight into some kind of the Pagan Public Image by adding and averaging or by any other population reduction method. It might be possable to imagine the existance of such a common denomiator Public Image but it iss far harder to create quantify and find value in such a thing. I would like to seein the media those things that will minimize the jeoprady and enhace security for all who seek same. It is very hard to know before hand just what the impact of coverage will be. A more direct strategy focuses on right individual action without overconcern as to how such action is percieved.BTW your questuionare would be much improved and hence the results much improved if the agenda behind were less obvious. The questions exhibit a strong bias that is likley to pregudice the outcome. Thereby proving once again that we think is in fact true wheter it be so or notWalk with the OldOnes Will"

"The problem with our image is that there are too many people screaming what we are not. If all we do is shout we lose more people than we gain. It would be better for all of us if we concentrated on what we are. I see time and again various people saying to the media Iwe are not satanists. It would be much more postitive to say that Iwe respect the judeochristanmuslim faith but we do not follow their paths.If all you have to say to the public is I am not a satanist then you have nothing positive to say about yourself or your religion."

"I feel that the media and the general public show a very negative potrail of all forms of paganism. I would truely like to see some actual facts on the TV and news papers. I am presonally very concerned about how we are represented today. And I expecially feel for the younger followers of the pagan path. The discrimination and hate that they see every day is truely heart breaking. Our children are our future and many of them are brought up in complete ignorance. Maybe if we had some positive stories and articals it would help to open their minds and hearts to every one reguardless of religion. And these stories like Sabrina the Teenage Witch and the Craft also breed lies and misunderstandin. Can you imagine the upraor we would hear if we did a spoof show on other religions say christianiy or jewdsim. We need facts about our religion right now not fairy stories. As we all know there are so many wannabees that see these stories and think I wanna cast a spell and have power. And to me this is just as sadding as some one saying we are evil. I feel that if we as a pagan comunity want to stop this misrepresentation of our religion we have to get off our butts and DO something about it. It is our right and our freedom to choose our own paths."

"When you use the word witch you have to distinguish between at least two meanings -- the Walt DisneyWizard of Oz evil monster meaning and the modern usage to denote a type of present-day pagan. Saying that the monster definition of witch is as meaningless futile maybe as saying that the monetary institution definition of the word bank is wrong and only the side-of-a-river definition is valid. The monster definition of witch has been around for a long long time and will probably continue to stand out in the public mind as the more common definition for a long time to come.However I personally believe that the media and public association of witchcraft with satanism is harmful to to the practice of witchcraft as a religion. I as a witch hold many beliefs and adhere to a set of ethical principles that are definitely not the same and are in fact contradictory and mutually exclusive to those that I understand are subscribed to by satanists. For that reason I am against grouping satanists within the present day neo-pagan movement."

"I personally have never seen a televised interview with any wiccans or pagans. Ive read some and Ive seen movies given to me by well meaning church people. The pagan image is very tarnished and I do think it needs a better one."

"There seems to be some difficulty with paganism and professionalism. As a graduatephD student in the field of environmental engineering I have found it best to be silent or even misleading as to my religion in order to maintain a professional image. For too long paganism has been perceived as anti scientific and regressive. Perhaps this image has some basis in the fact that it is very hard to explain personal enlightenment in hard and fast terms to a society where everything even ideas are prepackaged for resale. I realize I have offered only a problem and no solution but I cannot think of one offhand. The particular problem I mentioned is not easily solved because it has its roots in our whole Modern American McValues which are standard issue from before we even hit the schools. Modern paganism at its best usually involves carefully unlearning everything we have been programmed to think and rebuilding from there. Unfortunately too many of the loud self appointed spokespersons for paganism and wicca have bought the nifty prepackaged Complete Modern Witchcraft Kit and changed the name on their belief systems from God is Watching to The Lady is Watching with no real thought involved. I have met so many wiccans who have no clue and think christianity is their personal enemy. Lack of thought and the belief in christanity as an enemy has largely resulted in paganism being viewed as a silly diversion that intellegent professional scientists would never give any credit to. To even the scales at least rabid religion of any sort is usually given the same amount of scepticism in the scientific community. A Pagan Engineer"

"I believe that we...meaning Witches.Wiccans.Pagans if I may be so bold...are badly misrepresented in media portrayals...but even more so by those who would call themselves Witch.Wiccan.Pagan and know just enough of our beliefs to make themselves look foolish. I believe that it is high time we see some of the actual Witch.Wiccan.Pagan community come to the fore...those of us with our feet upon the earth...our heads on our shoulders and our minds filled with knowledge rather than New Age platitudes and fluff."

"Pagans DO need apositvie public image. I have been mildly impressed with what has been done thus far. in my opinion Pagans need a public spokespersons who can eloquently educate the public on our beliefs. I would suggest someone who is respected and intelligent possibly already known for other humanitarian work. Leave the witchcraft out of it and educate from a general Earth religion standpoint. Remember the To keep silent part. The public does not need to know any more of our secrets and ways of power. Appearances are important to the mainstream. Appear in similar dress as not to scare those already doubting. No flash and show costumes or ceremonial garb or excessive jewelry. One can leave those at home or hide them under a shirt during public things except for your pentacle of course."

"I think that our image has brightened a little over the years. Every October stations like The Learning Channel and A and E show programs from an objective standpoint without sneers. One thing that angers me is when media stories about a Pagan or Witch call that person a self proclaimed Witch. How often do you read about a self proclaimed Methodist I want to see more differentiation between Satanists and Wiccans. I want a real Witch to make a movie that doesnt turn out like the Craft. Maybe Ill do it myself someday"

"I believe that a public image becomes necessary when bad images startto be formed about the pagan community. Those that believe paganismis a form of devil worshipping need to become aware that it is not.We can do this by presenting ourselves to the public as being harmless. In my local newspaper wiccans performing a samhain ritual were featured as modern day witches. It is up to you to decide whether or not this is offensive but it shows that at least some pagans are making an efforts to become recognized in a positive light.

"I think that the associations with Satanist is what has proved detrimental to the witches public image in the first place. Sensationalist shows such as Sally would highlight the Satanist hoping to spark the fire that witches are evil and believe in sacrafice. In surfing the net I have seen articles against witches with the attached reponses that merely prove what the original article wanted. The Pagan community should be open minded and not lash out at other beliefs just as we do not want to be lashed out at by others. I guess Im still confused by the term witch because I associate it with Wicca. If the term witch also applies to those that practice sacrafice or anything harmful then I do not desire the label witch."

"Just last night a TV show that advertises itself as polite conversation on local issues was addressing the subject of late term abortions an emotionally charged issue in itself. One of the admittedly conservative white men on the panel saw fit to go into a graphic description of the procedure and the only woman on the show iterjected Sounds like a witches ritual. I was horrified and greatly offended. My daughter encouraged me to call the follow-up show and express my opinion and outrage but I felt that it would only become a forum for ridicule of myself and my beliefs. It is a sad thing that we are still dealing with attitudes derived from the misinformation campaigns of the Middle Ages."

"I think what in most cases it is probably best that we not have much of a public image on a large scale. This is simply because the media will try to sensationalize the story. What we need is a local presence wherever we happen to be. We need to look like people quietly going about our own business doing good things in the community and oh by the way were Pagan.Id like to see more documentaries and less sensationalism in stories about us. Which is not to say I want to see a boring show just not one focusing on our strangeness. Focus on the beliefs not the practices I think."

"I am a member of another organization that is often portrayed as weird by the media. I once watched a another member give a 15 minute interviewed to a local TV reporter. She gave excellent intelligent answers to all of the questions. She explained how many things she had learned and how being a member of the organization had improved her knowledge of history and her skill at arts and crafts. At the end of the interview the reporter made a joke about the organization being a little strange and the member laughingly replied that she was a little weird so she hung out with weird folks. THAT WAS THE ONLY QUOTE OF HERS THEY USED IN THE ENTIRE NEWS STORY. The moral of the story is...always be aware that a reporter probably comes into a story on wicca believing that you are at the very least weird and at worst a devil worshipper. Always keep that bias in mind and be aware of where their questions are leading you. People most often fear and misunderstand people who are not like them. Therefore the most important thing we can emphasize when dealing with the media is that we are regular human beings with the same hopes desires trials and tribulations as other people. We simply have different spiritual beliefs."

"I am not so concerned about the public image of my religion but I am more concerned with the misinformation and the grouping of Wicca with Satanism. I do not consider Satanism to be Pagan because it is not a separate religion it is an anti religion. Actually I guess the misinformation on the Craft is part of our current public image when I think about it but I think that people accept the use of the term Pagan better than they do Wicca or Witchcraft. I would just like the world to quit thinking that our religion is satanic or harmful or evil or whatever. I would like to see some accuracy in the media rather than the sensationalism one normally sees on daytime talk shows like Sally Jessy Raphael etc. And from the few episodes that I have seen Sabrina the Teenage Witch is very farfetched and does not teach where it could and should ... but on the positive side it is showing so called Witches who are not evil and are regular people. Overall I know we have a lot of work to do to get the word out there that we are here to stay ... we are not converting to Christianity ... and we are not going to harm people. BB to you ... Lunah"

"I vented on the forum about 3 days ago just on this topic. It came from the heart and was very well stated at the time. I would be pleased if you felt like you wanted to pull that out and use it."

"I dont really have an answer to this one. I have written articals guet editorials and been interviewed on radio oddly always around Samhain but I dont really know if it is a good thing or not. Part of me still believes that witches should remain dark and mysterious creatures while part of me wants to show how very human and not so different we really are. I admit ambivilence toward whole idea of a media image for witches and pagans and witches...oh my. I suppose in this modern era of media rule we must have one...but I dont have to feel comfortable do I. I am asked and sometimes do grant such interviews but I am accutely aware of my own humanness and hesitate to speak for anyone but myself. No matter the last interview I did was for a local radio station last Samhain. Although the host invited callers ...and I cringed in terror expecting a flood of fundie hate calls...no one called...not one person. HA. I guess the only people listening were my covenmates and friends plus the three cows in the town. I am leary of having a media persona for the Pagan in particulat the witch community but I guess I will concede the need for one. As for welcoming Satanists into the community as pagans...my son was stabbed in the stomach for no apparent reason as he left a public mall by a 17 year old satanist. I do not know if I could welcome him or any one else spouting HAIL SATAN in any community I am a member of."

"Well here in Oz Australia. We need one Like VERY few people in the wider community know about WiccaWitchcraft. Weve had a few stories on us and theres a mag out called Witchcraft an excellent mag at that. But most newsagents dont stock Witchcraft but do stock NA type mags. Whilst the newsagents who do stock Witchcraft hide it from view. So i have to go ot my local witchy store to buy it. Then again if i did buy it from Newsagents id get weird looks yknow Also about Sabrina The teenage witch. I answered no. But i did watch the show. I liked the show - it did portray us right sometimes. But id have to say NO becuase most of the time the good ol stereotypical witch stuff was done and she did NOT obey the law of threethe rede. The one witchy show that i do LOVE and dont have many disagreemens about is Bewitched. Its a great show Tho then again it does have certain elements that portray us badly. Why the hell do they have to portray us as immortals Samantha and Sabrina are both immortal. Ho hum. Australia still has a very long way to go. --Blessings-- Seashell"

"In my opinion until we as Witches come out of the broom closet and state calmly and intelligently what we are all about we can expect the negative media stories to continue for we are allowing others who dislike or fear us to define us to the world. Until we can counteract thousands of years of bad press we will continue to be maligned and discriminated against. But we must pick our battlegrounds carefully and we must remain in contol of the situation. Too often I have seen Witches agree to what they thought was to be a positive media exchange only to find too late that they were to be made fun of or to find that subsequently cut footage changed the whole focus of the interview. We need to let people see that we are normal folk who have kids and mortgages who work for a living who serve in the military woh belong to the PTA. To do that we must present a more mundane image on TV. If we are to be taken seriously we must drop the black clothes and pewter jewelry and appear in conservative dress we must discuss our faith calmly and intelligently and we must not engage in attacks against othere religions. As long as they can define us as fringe because of our looks and actions so long will be be considered laughable and laughable people can be ignored."

"Im an out of the broom closet witch. I openly wear a pentacle and I honestly answer questions about it should they arise. A pagan public image is growing whether we like it or not. It is up to us to provide the positive answers to get a positive image. We should not hide as that leads people to believe we have something TO hide. The media is always going to try and exploit anything and everything we say or do because shock value is what sells the news. The truth is too boring for the press to print so it will more than likely never happen. The pagan public image is what we make it so make it a good one. BrianW"

"All I want to see is for people to recognize we are out there. Once some of the veil of mystery surrounding our religion culture and way of life is lifted I think that our quest for acceptance will be made easier. The common view of witches is still the one potrayed by the film industry. Even when we do get a remotely accurate representation it is on shows such as Sightings. This places us with UFOs and not true religions.Once we have separated ourselves from the amalgam of ghosts goblins vampires and black magick that most people group us in we might actually be able to get started on any real attempt at gaining the acceptance of the world."

"THE TRUE and realistic view. The recognition that we are people following our path as is the right of anyone."






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