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Witches and the Media

Author: Julie Henshaw
Posted: September 28th. 2008
Times Viewed: 5,155

“Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?” -- [Glenda, the Good Witch of the North, The Wizard of Oz]

Recently witchcraft and paganism seem to be popping up quite a bit in the media. Whether it is Sarah Palin being blessed to be free of “witchcraft” or Kathy Lee Gifford’s remarks of “those bad, nasty pagans” the media’s coverage certainly is not showing us in the most favorable light and I, as a practicing Wicca, have felt compelled to write to address a few issues.

It seems that the only exposure society has to our religion is either negative or shown as entertainment. Bewitched, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Charmed, no matter how entertaining they may be, are not true representations of our faith. We do not twitch our noses or point our fingers and magically transport ourselves to an alternate realm. We do not fight demons or send our children to Magick School to learn how to hone their powers. And we will not send our Flying Monkeys after you if you make us mad.

How often does the media and society actually try to understand us? Or show the true, positive side of us? Would you ever see a local new channel covering a Pagan Pride Day and the donations to local charities that those events bring in? Would you ever see coverage of a Pagan Festival, showing hundreds of people joining in celebration of nature, life and our faith? Would you ever see a story on a Wiccan Clergy who volunteers at local hospitals to sit with dying people, pagan or not? Would you ever hear a celebrity thanking the Goddess for the talents she has bestowed upon them or thanking their coven for support in a career? I do not think so. Why is that?

Every pagan knows who Selena Fox is. Every one of us knows what she has done for the recognition of our faith with the Pentacle Quest. How she assisted in the fight to allow our fallen soldiers’ families have the Pentacle inscribed on their military headstones. And although she has been on Larry King, CNN and other news shows, do you think that your Christian counterparts know who she is? Why would that be? Is it because she is a positive roll model for the Pagan community and she might upset the Christian Right? Is it because that would not make good television?

My high priestess just yesterday told me about a friend of hers that once told her that we, the Witches, Pagans, Wicca, etc. are going through our own Civil Rights movement. That struck such a cord with me, as the more I thought about it, the more it struck me as true, yet you will not see this as a topic on 60 Minutes. You will not see any news story on our modern day religious persecution or discrimination.

It is such a sad thing that in this modern age, Witches still feel the need to hide in the “broom closet” afraid of coming out to our family, friends, co-workers etc. Could this be because of the lack of positive media coverage?

Wicca is the fastest-growing religion in America, yet here are so many misconceptions when it comes to the Wiccan faith. We are not weirdoes, Dungeon and Dragon fiends, nor black lipstick wearing Goth kids. We do not sacrifice puppies, goats, or our children. We do not sit contemplating how to put hexes people, causing huge warts to grow on their noses while drinking excessively.

I do not deny that there are some people out there that do some of the above (less the animal and child sacrifices I hope) , but most of those people are just children trying to shock society. We are doctors, lawyers, shop owner, bankers, etc. We are the neighbors you talk to every day. We are soldiers fighting and dying for your freedom. You pass us on the street everyday and do not even know it. We are just everyday people, trying to practice our religion.

Yes, we do have ritual ceremonies, some of them outside around a fire. Yes, we do “cast spells”, and yes, we do share in wine and cakes after ritual is complete. Yet, this is no different from one of the Christian faith meeting in church every Sunday and Wednesday for service (their ritual) , no different from one of the Christian faith lighting a candle praying for someone (their spells) , and no different from one of the Catholic faith taking communion (their wine and cakes) . We do NOT worship the devil. This is because Wiccans do not believe in the devil; he is not one of our Gods. How can you worship something that, to you, does not exist? We try to live our lives according to the Wiccan Rede, “An harm ye none, do what ye will.” Sounds a lot like “Do unto others” does it not?

Society and the media seem to think it is OK to demean us. It would never be tolerated if someone claimed Christianity as a fake religion or that a Christian was a weirdo. Moreover, what is really ironic is, we as Witches, would never demean another due to their faith. We do not try to “convert” people to our faith, nor would we ever judge someone because their faith is not the same as ours. Why would we harm someone in that way?

I believe a lot of the misconception that society has about us is purely a lack of education when it comes to our religion. The King James Bible quotes “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Yet how many people know that the true translation of the original Hebrew quote was "Thou shalt not suffer a poisoner to live" and that King James I had it changed when the Bible was re-written. I, myself, have never poisoned anyone, yet I am a Witch.

Another misconception is the “black magick” vs. “white magick” idea that is out there. There is not black or white magick. There is just magick. Just as in everything in life, how the magick is used is all in the hands of the practitioner. Just as how a person going to church and reads the Bible uses that knowledge is in their hands. I will not name instances, but everyone knows that there have been things done “in the name of God” that caused the death of sometimes hundreds of people.

Our religion has been around for thousands of years. It is older than the Christian faith and it will be around for a long time to come. Maybe it is time for the media to acknowledge us and maybe show the world we are a valid, strong religion full of good people.

We are here to stay and we are proud of who we are.

Blessed Be.

Lady Jasmyne Dragonskye
Ravensgrove Coven
Indianapolis, IN area
copyright © 09252008

Copyright: Lady Jasmyne Dragonsky
Copyright © 09252009


Julie Henshaw

Location: Cherry Valley, Illinois


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