Articles/Essays From Pagans
December 1st. 2013 ...
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
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
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
The Celtic Tree Calendar
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 ...
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
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
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 1 (The Center)
September 15th. 2013 ...
Some Pagan Prayers
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Bramble and Cerridwen
The Holocaust Survivor (Part II)
September 8th. 2013 ...
Introduction to the Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage
The Druidic Concept of Nwyfre
The Holocaust Survivor (Part 1)
Giving and Helping
September 1st. 2013 ...
Use a Flyswatter for a Fly: More on the Dark Arts
How Spells Work
Is It Really 'Energy'?
August 25th. 2013 ...
Mother Nature’s Way: Forging a Distinctly American Path
Healing Moon Ritual
Unconditional Love: The Paradox of Perfect Love
Earth to Soul/Sole
August 18th. 2013 ...
How Not to Fall in the Bunny Trap
Why Are You Like That? Thoughts on Hoodoo and Appropriation
Finding the Right Coven
The Knowledge Found in Silence
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances, Hazelnuts and Magick Wands
August 11th. 2013 ...
“I Survived a Weekend with Galina Krasskova”
The Charges of the Goddess and God with Commentary
August 4th. 2013 ...
Fair Weather Witches
Pagan Studies II: Modern Paganism in the Americas
Pagan Abbeys - A Practical Heritage for Spiritual Lay and Professional Cloistered Communities
July 28th. 2013 ...
Crystals 101: A Helpful Guide For Beginners
The More the Merrier? It’s not Only an Inaccuracy; it’s an All Out Farce!
My Pagan Manifesto
July 21st. 2013 ...
I'm a Witch, Not a Wiccan: A Brief Summary of Broad Pagan Designations
Rethinking Community for Solitaries
13 Keys: The Beauty of Tiphareth
July 14th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés We Use (Part II)
Pagan Humanism: A Tradition of Rational Religion
Moon/Planetary Musings: The Holly King and John Barleycorn
July 7th. 2013 ...
Coping With Depression: Learning to Dance with the Sacred Twins
Shamanic Healing of Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Humility and Community Service
H is for Hubris
June 30th. 2013 ...
How To Feel The Energy Around You
Planning A Ritual
Why Pagans Might Benefit from Counseling Techniques
The Weight of Contemplation: When the Silent Self Grows Louder
June 23rd. 2013 ...
Magick and Play
Tarot Spell for Protection
Moon Musings and Planetary Preponderances: RE-fuse, RE-duce, RE-use, RE-pair and RE-cycle
June 16th. 2013 ...
How To Stay Spiritual Amidst This Chaos?
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Stand Up for Pagan Religious Rights or How I Spent My Independence Day 2007
Article ID: 11965
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,289
Times Read: 3,422
RSS Views: 39,746
Author: Oracle DancingGoat/ Shelly O'Brien
Posted: September 2nd. 2007
Times Viewed: 3,422
I think about Pagan rights all the time. As a Pagan bringing up three daughters up as Pagans, I let people know we are visible and out there. They get questions about their pentacles. I get the adult version, people talking all "around" me but not much "to" me.
Because of the person that I am and because I feel pride, I have taught my daughters pride in their faith. We feel no shame whatsoever in what we believe and my daughters and I do not hide in any capacity.
I also strongly believe in the codes and tenets of our faith. Personal responsibility is at the focal point of our lives and choices. In keeping with this ideal, my good friend Heidi Gleber and I started Fingerlakes Pagan Pride (FLPP) four years ago. We started FLPP for two main reasons:
1) We wanted our community to know what we do, who we are, and that we are here as good neighbors and citizens because we are Pagan, not despite it.
2) We are parents of Pagan children. We want them to have a better experience being Pagan amongst the general public than we have.
We have found that in the time we have hosted FLPP, it has worked here in our community. We have seen a real change in attitude and tolerance by the general public in our community. Not everyone in the community likes us, which is fine and is their right, but they no longer see us as threatening. Most people now understand who we are and are willing to work with us in tolerance.
That is all we have asked of the community.
Even though I work on Fingerlakes Pagan Pride, it only happens once a year. There are 364 days beyond that in which my family and I deal with the kind of intolerance and outright discrimination that goes with being openly different. Being the outgoing person that I am, I jump at any opportunity to gain our rights and illustrate what true Pagan ideals are to anyone who takes the time to listen or look.
The week before the Pagan Religious Rights Now Rally in Washington, conducted in front of the White House on July 4, 2007, I contacted the group at their Web site and asked what I could do to help. I was thinking at the time, a donation of money or possibly forwarding their press releases to our local media here.
Caroline Kenner, the event’s organizer, emailed me and asked me if we would hold a public Ritual here in Canandaigua. She asked to use the same Ritual that they would be using, possibly at the same time they were holding theirs, to represent their group and message and further their cause.
At first I was stunned – I was not expecting such an exciting task to be set before me.
When I recovered from the surprise a minute later, I said of course, I would be delighted.
I spent the next week getting the things together to accomplish this, the most important aspect of which was finding friends who would be a part of this Ritual. I started with our own group and a lot of my friends and groups that we regularly work with. Many had to work that day, which is understandable.
But to my surprise, many others were too afraid to be "that public" – and still others were too busy with family to take an hour out of their day to be a part of this.
Now, I realize not everyone's ideals and personal commitments to their faith and to the Pagan-rights cause are as passionate as mine. I truly live my faith everyday and so do my children. Our actions and outlook are very much a "we are all connected" view. Our actions, be they said or acted on, create change whether we realize it. We walk our talk personally, spiritually and magickally.
This event was about Pagan rights, which is so important to our spiritual community. Here we had the opportunity to actually help in a small way. It was and should have been important to all Pagans.
Every Pagan I know wants to have the same rights that everyone else in the "mainstream" enjoys. Pagans want to be able to wear their jewelry and talk about Circle or their holidays openly. Pagans complain about discrimination and outright bigotry by some from the general public.
Yet from my experience on Independence Day, I found the majority of Pagans I rallied could not come out and support their rights for fear of being seen. And for a cause so important to our very way of life, most could not afford a small interruption of their personal time on a holiday.
How does anyone expect to be accepted and have the same rights as everyone else if they remain silent, unseen as complaining victims?
Then I wondered, where were the other public sister Rituals to support the Rally on the 4th? I know that I could not make it to Washington, because of financial restrictions. But I was more than able to organize a sister Ritual here and invite the local Pagan community and the local media. Why did I not see others doing a public Ritual, since all towns and cities have a town or city hall, or a county complex?
When I submitted our assembly and Ritual to WitchVox, I expected to be one sister Ritual among many. I was very surprised to see that this was not the case. I expected the idea to germinate and public Rituals sprout in other areas around us after I had posted what we were doing in Canandaigua; they did not that I know of. This grassroots approach to change was a chance to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, to make a difference.
Where was everyone?
It is actually quite easy to put a public assembly together. Everyone has the right to voice his or her opinion publicly and also to assemble publicly. It is one of our fundamental rights according to the Constitution. The only reason that the police could be called to act against a group is if the group harasses others, is loud, is littering or if it becomes a general nuisance.
To assemble for a period of time and become public for a cause is easy. Announce a time and place, telling your friends and associates and if you wish call the media. The media might actually show up and spread your cause to the people who did not know you assembled or could not get to your event.
To be sure of your rights and your town or city's policies on public assembly just call or stop down to your local town, city or county complex. Ask what their policies are on public assembly just to be sure that you are following their law to the letter and you will have no problem with your own assembly.
The sister Ritual that we held on the Fourth at 2 p.m., in front of the Ontario County Court House, went very smoothly. In prep time I spent about two days total and about $25. I bought small American flags and patriotic-colored altar cloths as well as the offering and other small accessories for this Ritual.
What I spent was not even necessary - it just added a patriotic touch to our American Pagan gathering. The Ritual could have been done with no props or tools at all. I choose to do so to honor the Pagan military service men and women and our country since it was Independence Day.
We were 25 people strong that day, in the rain. The energy that we sent to our brothers and sisters at the Rally in Washington was palpable and powerful. Everyone said that it was a beautiful tribute and Ritual. We were all very moved.
My oldest daughter, who is 8, was there beside me and held the Torch of Illumination while I used my besom to Cast the Circle. She also performed the offering. My good friends stepped up and were proud and responsible in their response to be a part of this Ritual.
Some came from family get-togethers or from other obligations to be a part of this. Some worked on this before hand to make it possible. Some of our friends and individuals from local groups came to be a part of the Circle itself. Those who were now part of the physical Ritual and I were very appreciative to all that helped or came to the actual Ritual. It is not one person but many that accomplish anything.
Those of us who were now a physical part of the Ritual were all worried about turnout as our local Pagan community is not the most - shall we say - cooperative with one another. It was also predicted that it would rain that day. One of my good friends who was to call West said that no matter what happened it was most important that we just did this, because of what it was and what it meant.
She ended her thought with, 'it will and should be what it is supposed to be'. She also said that 'on Independence Day she would not want to be anywhere else'. And I totally agreed with her.
This wasn't about an individual, one group or us, but about all of our rights as Pagans. We were there to support the Rally in Washington and to support the rights of our Pagan service men and women, and American Pagans everywhere.
So, in the rain, 25 Pagans created positive change, not for just us but for every Pagan and person in this country and around the world. We stood up for what was right and did what our part on the front lawn of our local center for justice. We quoted many people and documents that day including five of our presidents. But one quote still sticks with me:
"Freedom of Speech, freedom of Faith
Freedom of Religion,
Freedom to stand up and fight
For what we believe in!"
This is a quote from the chorus of the song "Symbol", from the CD Red, Alabaster, and Blue by Celia.
On Independence Day, in the rain, we were there doing what is most American: Standing up and fighting for what we believe in.
For more information on the Pagan Religious Rights Rally please visit their Web site:
Or contact Caroline Kenner:
For more information on Fingerlakes Pagan Pride Day Please visit:
Pagan Religious Rights Rally
Fingerlakes Pagan Pride
Oracle DancingGoat/ Shelly O'Brien
Location: Canandaigua, New York
Author's Profile: To learn more about Oracle DancingGoat/ Shelly O'Brien - Click HERE
Bio: Shelly has been an Initiated Witch since 1987. Was Ordained as a Universal Life Church Minister on March 21, 1990 and she founded the Wiccan Church of Caldera the same year. Shelly has been a community leader and Pagan advocate in the media and her community since 1989. Shelly continues to teach and conduct many workshops, classes, and seminars on Paganism and Pagan related issues. Shelly is dedicated to positive public awareness of our Pagan community. Shelly resides in Canandaigua, NY with her husband and three children.
You may contact Shelly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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