Unity Essays from YOUR Community
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Article ID: 2015
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 5,973
Times Read: 3,207
Author: Amorgen [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: August 4th. 1997
Times Viewed: 3,207
PAGAN UNITY FOR SURVIVAL
by Steve McManus
- Mexico, 1955 - 10 miles south of the Texas border. A woman is burned at the stake by her predominantly Catholic neighbors for the "crime" of being a Witch.
- Canada, 1996 - A woman is burned to death for being a Witch.
- South Africa, 1995 - Many impoverished country dwellers, land-squatters who clung to their Old Tribal Ways were burned to death in various ways for being suspected of practicing Witchcraft. Some were also hacked to death with axes.
- Chechen Republic, 1997 - A woman is beaten to death with a ball peen hammer in front of her children for "causing crops to blight with the evil eye."
Some of these people were not Witches. Some may have been. Let's suppose that some of them WERE. It's a safe bet that NONE of them were members of Covens. They did not have a support system to turn to in their time of need. They were isolated people who made easy targets. They were scapegoats for people's problems - of which there are many. They became a temporary focus for the fear and frustration in people's lives. They paid a permanent price. This type of treatment does not come as a surprise to you, I'm sure. As illustrated above, it is not only our distant past but also recent events which continue to remind us that we are not yet understood. We are still easy and convenient scapegoats for those who do not understand us. In this supposedly enlightened age, it is horrendous that people are killed for simply being Witches and practicing their religion.
CONSIDER THE Following HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO FOR A SOLITAIRE WITCH
You are a Pagan. By all criteria you are a nice person. You obey the laws of the land, you vote, you send your kids off to school in the mornings, you have friends, you even recycle. You would never hurt anyone. You are sitting in your kitchen talking to your cat. You water your plants. You light some incense and start thinking about what to eat for lunch. There are items in your home that only a Pagan would have. The coffee table which serves as a makeshift altar has a pentacle, candles and other artifacts. You keep dried herbs in baby food jars in the kitchen for medicinal reasons. Your jewelry has a decidedly Pagan flair to it. You wear a pent. Things seem normal today but there is a storm brewing. You can't put your finger on it but something is in the wind and you're not sure how to feel about it. Like all storms, it is much larger than you - and you will need shelter when it comes - for it will most surely come.
You have suffered the disintegration of important relationships because you are a Witch. When your spouse found out, the spontaneity in the marriage died. The people you thought were your friends have whispered behind your back that you have "lost it." They say you are unstable, messing around in all that "gobbledy-gook." You are now branded by some as "Satanic" and there have been questions raised as to your fitness as a parent. Agents of the State have visited your home and questioned you about your kids. They are armed with buzzwords like, "coven", "altar" and "ritual." The combination of their ignorance, arrogance and power both angers and frightens you. You kick yourself for hiding who you are at work but you don't want to risk losing the income you have worked so hard to attain.
The growing feeling of being very much alone is setting in on you.
There are several people that you have met who are like you. You have shared your concerns and supported each other morally but you don't feel that they could really help you if you were fired, your kids were taken or if you were set upon by violently intolerant types who view "your kind" as the downfall of civilization. You and yours have been foretold as rising in numbers in the "end times" and they can't have that.
If your world falls apart because you are open about your religion or are found out by those who pry into your affairs, there isn't really anyone who will stem the tide effectively for you. Do you want to know why? Too many bystanders. AND Each and every one of those bystanders figured there was nothing they could do to help. WELL NATURALLY you can't save the world by yourself. You probably won't be able to successfully intercede on anyone's behalf without adequate resources. By "resources" I'm talking about a number of people so large that the ground they cover is larger than any storm which passes over. A group of people so tightly bound together with a unity of purpose that they respond to the needs of another kindred spirit in such large numbers and in so organized a manner as to make any adversary stop and take notice. This hesitation in the system will give our people the chance they deserve. The chance to be heard. The chance for dignity and respect. The chance to live as has been constitutionally guaranteed in the Land of the Free. In the Nation under God(s) which was founded on the precept of Freedom of Religion and Justice for All. A Nation ruled by Law where everyone is equal.
Are you tired? Tired of being called crazy? Evil? Tired of people shielding their children from you? Tired of being lumped in and compared with the Satanists, Goths and UFOologists by the ignorant? Would you like to see a change in things? Then let's DO IT.
We all know that there are numerous Traditions and Pantheons found in numerous Pagan religions. I would like to address the long-standing issue which has plagued Witches and Witchcraft for too long. Prejudice. We've all heard of the various types of Witches: Natural; Hereditary; Eclectic; Solitary; Covened; Gardnerian; Strega; Alexandrian, etc., etc. We convene in Groves, Nests, Covens and who knows what-all. The prejudice I'm referring to lies in the pervasive tendency by any one type of Witch to invalidate all others. As if THEIR WAY was the ONLY WAY. How very Fundamentalist of us.
With all due respect to the Elders of the various Traditions, I say that enough is enough and it's time we knocked off this crap.
A simple statement of fact is that I am a Solitary Eclectic Witch. I WILL DEFEND TO THE DEATH MY RIGHT TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED AS A WITCH. I know that Witches in Covens who take degrees and function in a much differently structured environment than I have the very same right to be acknowledged as a Witch. What we need to remember is that our primary relationship as Witches is with THE GODDESS AND GOD, regardless of whether we are alone or in numbers. It really disheartens me (and many, many others) when (for instance) a Third Degree Witch, serving as High Priestess in a Traditional Coven remarks that someone CANNOT POSSIBLY be a Witch if they weren't initiated into a Coven. Sorry, Madame, but YOU don't make the call. If they have been called by the Old Ones, So Mote it Be.
Any efforts to cling to elitism and the intolerance of our differing views only serves to keep us scattered to the winds. We can help each other in ways that a great many of us have envisioned but which none of us has realized. The blueprint for this is quite simple: The Rede and the Law; The Charge; and Our Perfect Love for, and Trust in, one another.
Fritz Jung commented to me that "Leaders" in the Pagan community are not necessarily a viable quantity. Perhaps it is because we can't agree on who our leaders would be due to the incredibly diverse Pagan community. He went on to say that we would be at our best as an "organism". I whole-heartedly agree. Each one of us would act as a cell which makes up the whole. There would not be a need for "leaders" so much as people willing to "cover the bases".
Now I'm not saying that we should give equal time to every teenage "Goth" with alabaster skin and a $50.00 cape who professes to be a "Witch". But if you can see your way toward RECOGNITION of other people who reverently, responsibly and ardently practice the Craft of the Wise in a manner DIFFERENT FROM YOUR OWN, I merely ask that you give it a try. Even if they are (dare I say it?) Self-Dedicated. I believe it is our many differences which make our community strong, and like it or not we ARE a community. When it comes right down to it, all we have is each other.
I propose that each and every Pagan web site which can be located, as well as all members of congress, the White House and all the major elements of the media be given a statement of Unity of Purpose FOR ALL PAGANS. (A Pagan religion is defined as poly deistic.) I propose that this type of effort not be done only once but in an ongoing, organized manner. I propose that we seek not to polarize ourselves from members of other religions but show our tolerance of their beliefs while asserting the right to openly and actively pursue our own. In order for this to work WE MUST BE SEEN AS THE INCREDIBLY LARGE GROUP THAT WE ARE. It is only in large COHESIVE numbers that we will be taken seriously in the political sense.
We share with the Christians, Muslims, Jews and even the Atheists several common denominators: We love our children; We want peace; We want freedom; We want solid communities with good schools and good health care; We want equally-metered justice and effective law enforcement; And we want to be free from harassment on the basis of race, color, CREED, national origin or sexual preference.
So what do you think? Is it time to MAKE THIS HAPPEN? Let me know what you think about this and how you would like to get involved: Steve McManus
(c) August 3rd. 1997 c.e.
"The more you know, the less you KNOW.....ya know?"
Location: Conway, New Hampshire
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