Articles/Essays From Pagans
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
Magic in Sentences
The Evolution of Thought Forms
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
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
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
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
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
My Concept Of Grey
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
A Microcosmic View of Ma'at
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
September 20th. 2014 ...
GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
September 7th. 2014 ...
Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
A Strange Waking Dream
August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Article ID: 10860
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,666
Times Read: 5,509
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Author: Diana Lightwolf
Posted: August 13th. 2006
Times Viewed: 5,509
This year I wrote a research paper on the medicinal uses of traditional herbs that covered their use in the old ways and in modern medicine. While writing this paper, I consulted some of the Scott Cunningham and D.J. Conway books I have collected. A very open Witch, I brought these books with me to my class. The first day or so no non-Pagans said anything to me; my friend who happens to be studying to be a Druid and I looked over the books, his topic being Witchcraft today. But the second day and on I ran into some problems: some Christian students decided to inquire why my books said “Wicca” in big letters.
Of course, I wasn't lucky enough to have the most intelligent students inquire, but instead the students, two boys, who were lagging behind in the class and had decided to put off their papers. Like I said, I am an open Witch, so I explained what Wicca was and how it related to my topic. I told them that experienced Witches could heal quite well by using the herbs I was studying. This information highly interested them, since at points in all my explanations I had let slip the word “magic,” and they were curious why I used the word “Pagan” to describe myself. They asked more questions, and I continued to elaborate. For some reason I considered this experience good practice, since I figured if I could repeat what I had learned I must have been doing something right.
These students seemed to comprehend what I was saying until they asked me what church I go to on Sunday. This question actually frustrated me a little, yet I answered it calmly, telling them that Witches don't have churches but covens and that I was a solitary. Suddenly, the two students became distressed, asking me what kind of Christian did not go to church. An amusing question, at least I thought, and I had a good laugh at this point especially since there are many people who call themselves “Christians” yet fail to attend church. For a moment I considered joking a little and telling them something laughable like “Eagle Heights Baptist Church.” That idea was dismissed because it could make matters worse, and I tried to be as serious as I could.
Still giggling a bit, I told them I was not Christian, and in fact the very definition of “Pagan” includes the words “not a follower of Christianity.” They accepted this definition until they found it necessary to ask, “But you believe in God, right?”
When I said, not a supreme god but one accompanied by a goddess, the boys flipped out. I tried to calm them down by saying my Goddess is the moon and my God the sun; it was comically to actually think that would help. Rants of “you're going to hell” and “burn” came my way over the next couple days.
On maybe the fourth day the class had moved on from research to typing, and now in rows in the computer lab I was “lucky” enough to sit next to the more annoying of the two boys. That day he randomly chanted in a whisper “Witch “ and “You're going to hell” and giggled ironically. I tried the old “I don't believe in hell,” but he continued. At some point he decided making fun of my love of fairies would be a nice secondary topic although this was something he had tried previously to annoy me with. My teacher soon became aware of a problem and told the boy to stop or he would be sent to the School Resource Officer on the basis of harassment. He stopped for the day, but used the same technique to annoy me when class went back to normal.
I share this story to illustrate the point that many people do not understand what Paganism or Wicca or any other branch of Paganism is about. These boys were about sixteen years old and still in World History courses or even Current Event classes. Do you think any Neo-Pagan topics were discussed in these classrooms? They were not. These boys knew all about Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism—even Buddhism and some branches of these religions, yet nothing of the other religions of the world.
Children need to be exposed to more of the diversity in the world. I love to learn about other religions; it is how I made my transition into Wicca: by learning about a new avenue I could go down in life. I am open in telling people I'm a Witch because silence is devastatingly hard and because I very rarely find people like these boys. Non-Pagans need to have Paganism presented to them in a positive way, the same why they learn about the major religions.
It would also help if old textbooks were replaced. For instance, my eighth grade English book defined “Pagan” as “an uncivilized, murderous heathen” while my tenth grade history book said it was “someone who is not a follower of Christianity, Hinduism, or Judaism.” The second definition is the more currently accurate and informative. This essay may sound like a plea for political correctness, but if that were my plea I would be complaining about the definition of “Witch,” a definition that always will have negativity mixed in. Or perhaps I would attack the commercialization of Samhain as Halloween.
My experience was an unfortunate one, but the majority of teen Pagans have heard the same words. Parents, family, friends, and acquaintances have said them. There are even other essays on the Witchvox about this very topic. What these people say is all based on the fact that they have no knowledge nor understanding of what Pagans are or what we believe. I am blessed to have one parent, my mother, who understands, but my father sees all Pagans as people who run around naked, sacrificing animals and bathing in their blood. Beginning to promote an understanding by educating the new generation could not only help today's Pagans, but also their children.
Location: New York City, New York
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