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Article ID: 11123

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Age Group: Adult

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Hail! Is Anybody Out There?

Author: Ione M. Karnes
Posted: February 18th. 2007
Times Viewed: 3,324

Where are the Pagans?

I find being a Witch is like living in two worlds: There is the Pagan World and the Christian World. As Pagans, we only come out of the wood work long enough to fight the Christians for something like a Pentagram on a gravestone or to perform our annual Samhain educational program.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing but we have a lot of issues, not just certain ones. Also, everyone deserves mass support on matters that affect our standing in society.

We are told that Paganism is the fastest growing spiritual path in America. Where are they? Where are we?

I only see an occasional pagan bumper sticker. But of course, we come out in force during festivals where we sell things or buy things and every one wears medieval dress.

We have no regular gathering places. Our only support for each other is our coven if we are fortunate enough to find one that matches our beliefs. Too often, we can't find one. Practicing solitary makes for misinformation among us as well. Solitary practices make our issues solitary as well.

Christians are not afraid to tout their beliefs. Some even go so far as to pray out loud in restaurants or applaud or boo in movie theaters to show their approval or disapproval. Like theirs is the only opinion that matters. We, as Pagans, have our opinions, too.

Are we so focused on the Burning Times that we are afraid to make ourselves heard and known?

We have changed our name to ‘Wicca’ to make us more palatable to the "moral" majority. I am a Witch. I wear a pentagram. I feel if Christians can wear a cross, I can wear my pent. It's an important symbol to me because it reminds me that the Mother is all around me. I have earned the right to call myself "Witch" and be proud of it.

There has never been a better time for freedom of speech and religion than now. We need the educated Pagans to hang out their shingles. We need to identify ourselves, not only to the public but also to other Pagans. We need to get our students beyond 101 and into further studies.

We need to become more credible.

I'm sure there will be those fundamentalist Christians who will do their best to be annoying. But we face that anyway, don't we? My own parents have disowned me because I'm a Witch but I feel much better being who I truly am rather than the fictional daughter they pretend to love as long as I fit their mold.

I believe that's where Paganism is on the whole. We are trying to present an acceptable face to the Christians by calling ourselves Wiccans instead of joining all together as Pagans.

It seems that we do our best P.R. work only at Halloween. We stay in our place where the Christians can accept us. Samhain is a spooky time of year for the Christians. It makes it easy for them to see us in a darkened forest with blood sacrifices adoring a ‘god’ that only the Christians recognize.

Ministers who claim they were Witches prior to their ministry overshadow our small attempts at the truth. We know it's a lie from their stories of live sacrifices, killing babies, and other horrors they make up. Their followers however, believe every word that comes out of their mouths.

Christians advertise on TV. “Come to our church and see what Jesus is about”. I know we do not proselytize, but small educational advertisements that say, Blessed Yule or Merry May may help to make us more visible and better understood.

Everything with us is secret this and secret that. This is what gives the Christians so much room to spread lies about us. Our small counter tactics are futile at best.

It's time for us to be proud of who we are and I'm not talking about Pagan Pride Day. It hasn't worked for the gays and it won't work for us.

However, Christians know more about the gays and lesbians because they are visible. In some states same sex couples are even being given the privilege to marry. I say ‘privilege’ because they had to earn it.

We need to earn our place in society, too. People need to know who we are and where we are. They should see our Harm None credo in action.

We need to become loosely united and credible. There has to be a universal sign that we are Pagan that is not only recognizable to other Pagans but to the public as well. We must let the public see us working in society and for society to make it better.

We must present ourselves as the gays and lesbians have. Even though they remained as individuals, they made themselves known as a collective force to contend with. They don't recruit others either, but they demand to be heard and accepted.

I'm certain there are pagan TV producers, pagan lawyers, pagan doctors and nurses, pagan clerks, store owners, business owners, school teachers, I'm a fitness instructor at the YMCA. Not only do I always wear my pent, I have one tattooed on my back.

How about a TV channel just about Pagans and shows that appeal to Pagans? Just look at the traffic and support that Witchvox gets. We can do it.

There are so many things we could do. I don't believe that all Pagans are poor. We have our share of rich and poor. Many by our own choice. We may just have to break down and accept a few leaders.

We need an affordable Pagan University that teaches the principles of magic, psychology, thealogy, theology, history, Witchcraft Theory and Practice, Herbology, Ecology and Healing techniques.

There are probably a hundred more areas that I don't have room to list here. If there is anyone out there willing to teach a course, help set it up, or just offer encouragement, just e-mail me and let's see what we can do for the Path.

The Goddess IS alive! Let's get some magic afoot!


Ione M. Karnes

Location: Lakeland, Florida

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