Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright
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 ...
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
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!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
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
Answering The Call from Spirit
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
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Witch Work: The Bliss of Besting Bigots
Article ID: 11864
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,437
Times Read: 4,726
RSS Views: 60,808
Author: Lady Passion, HPS, Coven Oldenwilde
Posted: July 8th. 2007
Times Viewed: 4,726
This week I succeeded in compelling the Virginia Dept. of Corrections to reverse its policy and allow Pagan inmates to use Tarot. Although I live in North Carolina, I’d been advocating for a VA inmate who’d contacted me for help. VA DoC’s resistance to my efforts on his behalf continually stoked me and turned what should’ve been an easily resolved matter into a needless battle of wills. VA DoC became my personal hobby; 60 + letters later, I was thrilled to hear the goodly news.
The rush of feelings I experienced at my latest victory felt as fresh as the first time I won Wiccan religious freedoms. I felt flush with happiness; humbled that the persistence of one woman can make such a difference; and gratitude that the Gods had given me the wits to win bigots over.
My mate and I have done a lot of successful religious activism over the years. We got North Carolina's 53 year-old law forbidding fortunetelling repealed statewide in 2004. (That campaign took 6 years to come to fruition.) My tutelage of Ohio Pagan inmates helped them fight religious repression all the way to the Supreme Court, who ruled that prison officials should not impede the practice of Witchcraft (Cutter v. Wilkinson).
We never seek out the problems: The sad fact is that Paganism and Wicca are routinely persecuted faiths across all strata of society today. And the methods that bigots use are little changed from those they employed in the past — ridicule, harassment, eviction, etc.
Many who perpetuate such repression proudly proclaim themselves Christians, yet they fail to see the irony inherent in their actions. While they say they follow a lover of children, they think it fit to fire a child’s mother for her faith – thereby literally starving an innocent child.
The complaints of pagan persecution that I receive daily from folks worldwide are not mere inconveniences. These experiences are no joke, some “lesson to be learned”, a blessing in disguise, or an opportunity to see a silver lining in all bad things. No, these instances of institutionalized and societal bigotry are as painful as they are perpetual.
It can feel daunting at first to be relied on to solve strangers’ problems that so impact and imperil their lives. What if you screw up? What if you make things worse? Let compassion be your guide — commiserate with the sufferer in one breath, and empower their Witchy backbone with the next.
Research the problem if you’re unfamiliar with it, and ask experts for advice when need be. The main thing is to do something to help another Witch in trouble — the more hopeless the situation seems, the more they need your calm, wise care.
I pick both battles I know I can win, and those I fear I can’t. In each case I work the problem point-by-tedious-point, concomitantly helping the person going through the crisis to learn myriad ways to resist religious repression and practice Paganism with pride.
Our track record of spiritual legal successes reveals surprising truths. Contrary to Witches’ penchant for secrecy and pacifism, the squeaky wheel gets the grease: Complaining mightily gets results and going public with the problem elicits popular sympathy for your plight.
Most folks raised in the U.S. are encouraged to suck it up and not rock the boat. They’re not taught that effective complaining is an art form with its own language, rules (veiled threats of publicity or legal redress are fine), and brinksmanship-like maneuvers.
Start nice then bombard your target with the tenacity of a feral Celt. Don’t confine your complaint to one person and hope for the best: Contact every person in any conceivable position to help you, any who may be responsible, and those who are working to resolve similar problems.
Advocacy groups abound on the Internet, and it is easy to find others who are or have battled similar issues, such as the Department of Justice’s First Freedoms Project and the ACLU. E-mail them frequently to cultivate them in case you need their help filing legal briefs later.
Most bigots initially respond with dismissal: There’s no such problem or there’s a policy in place that actually supports the bigotry — so there’s nothing you can do about it. This is simply their opening gambit, so disregard this rebuff.
Long delays and excuses quickly follow. Persist through this tactic, repeating the facts of the case and your demands over and over if necessary. This part of the battle represents the bigot’s hope that if they ignore you, perhaps you’ll just go away.
Pray for strength and re-double your efforts: Produce legal precedents supporting your position and supply specific ways they can satisfy you. They won’t admit it, but they’re desperate for a face-saving way out of the mess, so give them one.
By now you’ve built up a dossier of you attempts to alleviate the difficulty, which will serve you well if you end up having to go to the last resort — lawsuit.
The truth is, it rarely comes to that. Relentlessness pays off, and most bigots fold like pup tents when confronted with legal precedents like RULIPA (Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act) and Cutter v. Wilson, etc. And when they fold, it makes you bloom like a flower!
Publicizing religious wins is an important part of the process, as it inspires others to work for spiritual equality, and shows the true progress Pagans and Wiccans are making nationwide.
This is when having finesse writing lucid press releases proving the story’s news hook is most crucial. Avoid making the PR all about you; rather, focus on the issue itself, how widespread the problem is, and why it qualifies as unfair, irrational, or illegal. Cite the Amendments or common law that it violated and educate the reader on the positive implications of the new ruling.
The upshot of spiritual activism is the delicious thrill of understanding what They hope you don’t: that one person can make not only a difference in their lifetime, but many.
Lady Passion, HPS, Coven Oldenwilde
Location: Asheville, North Carolina
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