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
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For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
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Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
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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
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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
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Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
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Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
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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.
When Perfect Love and Perfect Trust Are Less Than Perfect
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Article ID: 9226
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,135
Times Read: 5,955
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Author: Rev. Viktoria Whittaker
Posted: May 8th. 2005
Times Viewed: 5,955
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. As a Wiccan priestess, I hold these words dear. I regard them as utterly sacred and holy. Indeed, these words represent one of the cherished cornerstones of modern Wiccan belief. When abuse happens in our midst, that trust is betrayed, especially when it happens between Pagans. To those witnessing abuse from the outside, it can be terrifying, even unthinkable, to think that any one of us would violate another in such a way. For the victims, not only does it mean going through the usual trauma associated with abuse, but also facing a crisis of faith and sometimes a shocking lack of support from one’s fellow Pagans. The natural response is denial. This can take the form of either pretending that the problem does not exist or by blaming the victim. We cannot and must not sweep the problem under the rug, for the sake of both victims and perpetrators as well as for our precious community itself.
All too often, a person who comes out of an abusive situation within the Pagan community finds that their fellow Pagans will respond with an attitude of “This must be your karma coming back at you” or “This is one of the lessons that your soul chose to have in this lifetime, so deal with it and leave us alone.” These responses may well logically spring from certain interpretations of Wiccan doctrine, but I personally find them as disgusting and reprehensible as the old, sexist response to a rape victim: “She must have been asking for it.” No one asks to be victimized. Period.
I have heard it said that “Being a Witch means never having to be a victim again.” As though becoming a Witch means that you will live happily ever after and nothing bad will ever happen to you again! Perhaps falling into an abusive situation does represent a challenge that our souls chose to have on our path. We need to remind ourselves that there is a reason why the term “victim” is eschewed by the rape prevention movement in favor of “survivor.” This is because by the very act of coming forward, telling one’s story and seeking justice one is refusing to be a victim. A person who wallows in victimhood is the one who will not step forward and try to improve their lives or get out of the abusive situation.
When dealing with someone who has experienced such abuse, give them an ear and a shoulder to cry on. Support them in any way you can. Honor their courage for escaping a bad situation rather than beating them up for having gotten into it in the first place. We all make mistakes. Help them with the healing process and help them to nurture their strengths. To that end, it would be useful to create and promote support groups and healing circles, both online and otherwise, for victims. Most of all, we need to deal with our own fears that cases of abuse in our midst can stir up. Creating a culture of mutual support can only strengthen us as a community.
Another important step in abuse prevention within our community is education. I feel that a key part of this education would be to collectively familiarize ourselves with the definitions and behavior of cults. For many people, the word “cult” is a dirty word. Understandably so, for it has been used as a tool of religious intolerance by depicting any and all new religions and sects as being something bizarre and dangerous. Keeping this unfortunate fact in mind, I will limit my own definition of “cult” to that of any group, religious or otherwise, that emphasizes the adulation of a charismatic leader and seeks to exert an unhealthy level of control over its members. A group does not have to specifically be religious in nature to fit this category. Sadly, so many covens can fit this definition, particularly those in isolated areas without larger, umbrella organizations or the surrounding community providing checks and balances on a high priest or priestess’s power over their coven members.
In order to protect ourselves from cults, we must first understand just what a cult actually is. There are a number of online tools available that can help, the best known of which, to fans of The Witches’ Voice, would be the venerable Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame at http://www.neopagan.net. Another tool that I have found to be extremely useful is the Coven Abuse Self-Help Index at http://www.wyrdweavers.org. In many ways, it is more practical because it describes very specific examples of behaviors that are the hallmarks of abusive groups and individuals. Also the Rick Ross Institute website offers a list of the traits that healthy and unhealthy groups have as well as an extensive database of known cults and controversial groups as a way of learning about real-life abusive situations. (Yes, Wicca is included, but all of the commentary about it is positive!)
What should be done with the perpetrators? It is vitally important to report any abuses you have direct knowledge of to the appropriate law enforcement authority. In terms of punishing the offenders it should be left up to the discretion of the criminal justice system – although petitions and sacrifices to the gods of justice certainly don’t hurt!
And yet, despite all the trouble and misery that they cause, abusive groups and individuals do have their uses as well. Like the dragons and other fantastic beasts of myth and legend, they form a challenge to overcome upon which heroes can prove themselves. It is perhaps the greatest irony about cults that one eventually finds what one was seeking from the cult by the very act of getting out!
As a community, we need to get past our denials and fears about abuse and abusers in our midst. The sooner we face these issues head-on, the stronger our community will become.
Rev. Viktoria Whittaker
Location: Palenville, New York
Author's Profile: To learn more about Rev. Viktoria Whittaker - Click HERE
Bio: Rev. Viktoria Whittaker is a First Degree Priestess in the Correllian Tradition and is the Assistant Priestess of the Schenectady Pagan Cluster. She is also an Armanic rune magician, Reiki practitioner, professional Tarot reader and cult survivor. She lives in Albany, NY with her husband and four fabulous, feline furkids.
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