Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
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Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
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December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
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Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 1 (The Center)
September 15th. 2013 ...
Some Pagan Prayers
The Holocaust Survivor (Part II)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Bramble and Cerridwen
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Please, Please: Participate In Your Local Pagan Pride Events!
Article ID: 10106
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,100
Times Read: 3,305
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Posted: September 11th. 2005
Times Viewed: 3,305
I have often said to friends in the local Pagan community that language is the single most powerful tool of magic. (Or magick, if you prefer)
That has been emphasized for me recently by some reactions I have seen to the word “Pagan.” While arranging for the site for the Anchorage Pagan Pride 2005, I have been shown the power of invoking that word…and how far we have to go in the local community in terms of educating people about what it really means.
“There aren’t going to be any…uh…sacrifices going on are there?!?”
That question was nervously asked by one of the Municipal employees who had the power to approve or deny our use of the site. He is not a Fundamentalist Christian; in fact I am not sure of his religious persuasion, if any. He is, in fact, and educated and intelligent guy. He’s never shown any odd reaction to my being gay. He’s pretty worldly and generally a nice guy; he is also an acquaintance of mine. We’ve talked about a number of things and he knows me, a little at least. Yet he also asked me that question.
Needless to say I was a little taken aback!
After a moment, wherein I blinked and tried to invoke my sense of humor, I chuckled and gave said Municipal employee some reassurances that it wasn’t like that.
Later I sent him a politely worded e-mail and attached some informational pieces that I found on www.paganpride.org; I am told by a source on the inside that said employee read the information I provided. He has even apologized at the delay in getting approval for the site. He wasn’t bigoted or sarcastic - he was ignorant about Paganism. A lot of folks out there are.
One of the sad things about this episode is that I am not that surprised; it’s just the latest in a number of encounters I have had with “The Fear.”
From my earliest involvement in Anchorage’s Pagan Community, and through the Net with the rest of the Alaskan Pagan Community, I have been disheartened by encounters with what I call “The Fear.” It is an insidious enemy, with a strange paralytic power, that I have often heard cited in one form or another.
“I can’t wear my pentacle at work because it might cause trouble for me.”
“I don’t want any trouble with the neighbors.”
“Well if we advertise our open solstice in the community events section of that alternative paper we might have a Fundamentalist attack!!!”
When questioned as to details about what sort of trouble, or when offered ideas about how we could respond to a Fundie attack, I get responses short on facts or detail or logic. This is one of the many observable symptoms of “The Fear.”
“The Fear” has often caused my friends in the local Pagan Community to hold back from doing even very simple things in their own lives…including, in one case, asking their Fundamentalist co-worker to change the office radio to something other than the Christian radio station!
“They might start asking questions and I don’t want trouble…”
Sadly, Pagans aren’t the only ones who can be affected by “The Fear.” Take my friend, and his supervisor. They are two of the many people out there who have no problem whatsoever with Paganism once they know a responsible adult who practices it and can explain something of it to them directly; rather than relying on mass media mis-stereotypes and Fundamentalist propaganda to tell them who Pagans are and what they do.
The thing is, as someone who was born in the early 1970’s I grew up with a lot of that pro-Democracy, patriotically-painted U.S. history and propaganda as a kid. Including a hearty dose of the following:1
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”As a man who was raised to hold dear the ideals embodied in the U.S. Constitution, I find “The Fear” confusing. I have often tried to remind my friends that history shows, time and time again, if you do not exercise your rights under the law, you WILL lose them.
“Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’”
As a gay man who recently has had his status as a full member of “We the People” menaced and questioned by agents and allies of the current administration, I am horrified and appalled by “The Fear” and it’s paralyzing powers.
It is true that there is a lot of Fundamentalist dirt-throwing propaganda about Pagans and Paganism. However it is also true that we often do ourselves no favors by hiding within the so-called Broom Closet. If we do not show others who and what we are then we are allowing those same Fundamentalist to define for the rest of society who we are.
Shouldn’t we, as a community, be the ones to define who we are?
I truly believe that you can only change the world one person at a time, person to person. I’d like to think I have started my own changing the world with my friend the Municipal employee, and his supervisor.
I faced a week-plus delay in getting confirmation that we had a site. Then I got the opportunity to politely educate his next-higher-up in the Parks and Rec department because both of them were freaked out by the word “Pagan” and obviously were more informed by Fundamentalist propaganda and Hollywood imagery than by facts on the matter.
So, again, I sent a politely worded letter and some information about our Community…
The good news is that once she read what we were about and what sort of an event we were really having, the higher up offered to move us to a Recreation Center that didn’t have a basketball tournament scheduled for the same night and give us a complimentary permit for the Park next door to the Spenard Recreation Center for our BBQ!
In closing I would like to leave you all with a quote from another document that has touched and informed my life, my values, my ethics and my ideals.
“Sing! Feast! Dance! Make music and Love all in my praise and presence. For mine is the Spirit of Ecstasy, and mine as well is joy on Earth, and Love Unto All Beings is My Law. Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it; let nothing stop you or turn you aside.”
The Charge of the Goddess.
Thank you all for your time.
Copyright: Copyright Geoffrey Stewart 2005 except where noted.
Location: Orlando, Florida
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