Articles/Essays From Pagans
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Understanding the Unseen
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A Little Magickal History
Men and the Goddess
Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces
Kitchen Magic and Memories
Why the Faeries?
Magic in Daily Life
An Open Fire: Healing from Within
Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light
Gudrun of the Victory Gods
Ares and Athena
La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength
The Lady on the Stairs
The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives
July 26th. 2018 ...
The Importance of Unification: Bringing Together Community Members to Invoke Cohesivity
May 29th. 2018 ...
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
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Nazis Made Us Change Our Name
January 25th. 2018 ...
Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion
November 15th. 2017 ...
September 30th. 2017 ...
July 31st. 2017 ...
Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers
July 2nd. 2017 ...
On Cursing: Politics and Ethos
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The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions
April 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles
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Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
September 11th. 2016 ...
The Shadow of Disgust
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
An Open Mind and Heart
June 13th. 2016 ...
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
The Fear of Witchcraft
Magic in Sentences
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
December 20th. 2015 ...
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
May 6th. 2015 ...
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
January 1st. 2015 ...
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
August 24th. 2014 ...
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
August 10th. 2014 ...
As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?
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How Much is That Witch in the Window?
Article ID: 12132
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Sage Runepaw
Posted: October 21st. 2007
Times Viewed: 5,480
We've all seen those garish, green-faced hags smiling at us with crooked teeth snaggling out from their mouths and shaken our heads at them.
We've maybe even written an essay to someone telling them that witches are real, that they live, breathe, and look like normal people and don't have sallow, waxy skin with pointy black hats on, that they don't fly on broomsticks or sacrifice babies or spew dark Words of Evil to the Devil or even that they cackle, "I'll get you... and your little dog too!" We've even probably surprised someone by telling them we even (gasp!) had children of our own who play among all the other children.
We may have become enlightened through our personal beliefs and practices, and we may have taken offense at one point or another at the stereotypical 'witchy' image- but at what cost?
The cost of a part of our childhood?
Just think about it a moment, if you will. We all celebrated Halloween at some point or another (unless of course, we were forbidden by our parents for some reason that likely at the time seemed horrible and cruel to us). We all dressed up- put on some flimsy store-bought costume or something we thought was the best we could make at the time, or painted our faces or done -something- to get dressed up and raid the local streets in search of a free sugar overdose.
And it was great, wasn't it? In fact you maybe even bounced off the walls until 3 in the next morning.
But hey, we were kids then, right? Now we're Witches! - and we have to take Halloween seriously and point our fingers at the stereotypical witchy images we see every October, don't we? Samhain is a death-energy time, not a time where children should be dressing up in some image that was used to persecute probably innocent people centuries ago, right?
I admit, this sounds a bit harsh, and perhaps it is- but isn't there someone out there who's every bit as sick of people pointing and taking offense to the stereotypes? Sure, they might go away if we wail and stomp our feet loud enough, but seriously- just take a look around any city or even on the Internet, and you'll see that stereotypes don't go away.
If anything, they just get ignored and outdated, but they're there. If we take offense to them and work to combat them, power to you- but- and maybe this is just me- I'm tired of the fighting.
Get your robes back in proper order; don't let the stereotyping phase you. As I hinted about above, we too once played dress up and might have dressed up as a witch years ago. Sure- what's wrong with that? As it may have fooled the spirits once upon somewhen, didn't you feel free, feel -alive- then?
Where then, along the path of your life, did that suddenly get traded out for taking offense to the stereotypical witchy image?
As a child, I never did dress up as a witch, I admit- I personally favored black cats for years on end, and a few times, something else which is now forgotten- but my grandmother, who raised me (and is Catholic, though it doesn't matter for the purposes of this essay) always had this one Halloween decoration we would put up year after year.
Apparently, I'd dubbed it "Witchypoo" when I was a toddler, and the name stuck. It was this black bead-eyed, stuffed witch with black and orange felt for robes and none of the green-skinned stereotyping. And she sat on this little round wooden dowel broom. I wish I could show you it; it was very cute. Amazingly cute. But you get the point- I took childlike, innocent glee at this witchy figure that took to dangling underneath the kitchen light every October.
And just last October, my grandmother bought a stuffed mantle decoration of three green-faced witches smiling crookedly and brightly out at the world, with purple and black robes and stuffed witchy hats and a pumpkin at their feet. All of October thus far, I've worked retail and sold many such stereotypical things: hundreds of pounds of candies, spooky costumes- and witchy ones, too.
Should I be offended by my grandmother's decoration? No, not really- I could choose to if I wanted. She knew by that point what my practice was, that it wasn't Satanic (though she expressed her worries and I allayed them as best I knew how at the time) and was something I was serious about.
Should I be offended by working retail and selling these things for a large chain store? I could.
Would the same things offend someone else who’s witchy? Maybe; everyone's different. But if I chose to be offended and started fighting against the stereotypes, who knows who I could impact?
What if there was a child just down the street telling her mother that she wanted to be a witch for Halloween? Or that she wanted to be a smart witch like Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter movies? - Or something along those lines.
Now, let's take it a bit further. Supposing I stuck that stereotypical image on my living room windowsill for everyone to look at whenever they walk by my suburban home this month, or on Halloween eve next to a glowing carved pumpkin? Supposing some youth dressed up in a Witch outfit this Halloween saw it, and after some time had passed, found out about 'real' witches and that Halloween became a catalyst for him or her- a catalyst that spurred the youth on to become a real witch and transform their lives through their spirituality?
I'm tired of the fighting over stereotypes in a bid to be recognized as legitimate- aren't you? We already -know- we are legitimate. We know that, and we know also that with time comes acceptance. We work our butts off year round at our jobs and taking care of our children, and fight for our rights.
Why can't we just recover that moment of our childhood where we took glee at these figures again, if even for a little while? Sure, they might be meant to offend us- but we have the choice to -let- it affect us. Those stereotypes are images of the past. Yes, let's change it- but let us not lose a part of ourselves by becoming too jaded to smile.
Even the best warriors need to smile and laugh on occasion, after all.
I, for one, see those witch decorations on tree trunks and bushes that portray the witch as having run into a tree face first as an amusing reminder not to get too "hung up" on things in life.
So let us make our celebrations for Samhain and honor the ancestors- but times are a’ changing. Even though there may still be witch-hunts and witch wars somewhere, we cannot fight all the time.
Let us laugh for once, regain a bit of the child within, and see this coming Samhain with newer eyes. Let us release feeling as if we must fight for our rights all the time- just for a bit- and relax. While we can educate our children (if we have them) about those stereotypical images, we can still take time to let our inner child take a breather. Our ancestors, after being oppressed for so long, would want to take a breather from being persecuted.
We have the choice this time- but it is we who are doing the fighting. Perhaps it's rightfully so- but no warrior can fight all the time.
Even though it's the dark half of the year, let the light inside you grow brighter. Give yourself a much-deserved respite from the fighting- and smile. Maybe those decorations will help some young one down the road become a priest or priestess of the Craft. After all, you never really know how the universe works. Let us restore our own inner children by taking a brief break. The gods know we work hard enough all the time as it is.
Someday, we'll achieve what we desire. But we must be careful of those who could be affected- and we must be careful not to let the price of that achievement be our own inner children. We must not become jaded.
Balance in all things, after all.
Location: Nashua, New Hampshire
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