Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
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
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
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 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
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
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Article ID: 10086
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,103
Times Read: 3,478
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Posted: September 11th. 2005
Times Viewed: 3,478
It began one afternoon, sometime in the mid 1970s, when I arrived home from school. The TV was on - as usual - and an episode of the old Phil Donahue show was playing. Phil was interviewing an Englishwoman named Sybil Leek. I don't remember any specifics about the interview; just the interviewee's bubbly charisma, and the pride she had in being a Witch.
Soon after this, I purchased a small paperback anthology of her writing; my introduction to Paganism. I suppose I was fortunate in terms of time and place. At the time, the '60s fascination with occult matters was still strong and the backlash from Christian Fundamentalists had yet to occur. And I grew up in a middle-class neighborhood where there was a diversity of people and beliefs. Notably lacking were the rigid cliques which seem so common in high schools today.
I'm also fortunate to have been brought up in a religiously tolerant family. My mother was raised Roman Catholic - and up to the fourth grade, I had gone to a Catholic school. Catholics (at least those I grew up with) had an interesting mix of fear and fascination with the unknown. When I started studying the Tarot, my mother had no interest in learning them, herself - actually not being terribly fond of holding them for any length of time - but she did often ask me to do a reading for her.
I sometimes wonder what might have happened if Paganism had been more common back during those more laid-back times. What if a few of the people I knew in high school had gotten together, having read the available literature on Wicca, and started our own group? It probably would have had a greater chance of success than a high school group starting nowadays. And at the very least, it would have been a very good way of making friends.
There seem to be two overall philosophies regarding who people consider as being friends. Some give the label to almost everyone they become acquainted with. Others are more selective; giving that label only to those with whom they've found some real common ground.
I tend to be in the second group. The problem with the first philosophy is that it diminishes the importance of friendships - a lot of superficial acquaintances, labeled as friendships. At the heart of any real relationship is mutual respect. This does not mean ignoring a friend's flaws or never being critical; rather it means accepting this person despite their flaws as they accept you despite yours.
The first thing one will notice when visiting my house (besides the clutter), is the large number of books around. Reference books, history books, classics, Bibles (of which I probably have more copies than most Christians), and quite a few books by authors with names like Waite, Regardie, Gardner, and Farrar.
I do not believe in pretense. When people meet me they are going to see the real me; a short, fat, middle-aged man who has long hair and a beard, smokes cigars, and has a tendency to go barefoot at home - even in winter. They are also going to see someone with many interests, strong opinions, and who has non-traditional religious beliefs.
This openness is even more pronounced in my conversations with people on the Internet; where I've been totally honest about some of the most intimate aspects of who I am. This has caused a few people to shy away from me - and a few to stomp away swearing under their breath. But for the most part this has been a very positive thing.
If someone rejects me because they find a deck of Tarot cards on my shelf, or because they're made uncomfortable when I mention having Pagan leanings online, that's their choice. These are almost always not people I'd choose to have as friends anyway.
It is unfair to expect the same openness from others. Everyone has their own comfort levels and different life experiences. But when others realize that most of what we fear others finding out about us is really trivial, they will themselves become more open.
Ultimately though, for an online acquaintance to become a real friendship - one that transcends the medium - it does require that sort of honesty. I treasure my online friendships as much as I do my real life ones, and feel the same sense of loss when one goes sour.
As Pagans, we have spent years exploring our psyches. We have been modest about our abilities and critical of our failings. We have - out of necessity - been more honest with ourselves than most people would care to be.
So we must ultimately be ourselves. We may scare off some people - that's their problem. Those who gravitate toward us will be the ones that matter.
Sure, there is some need for discretion - particularly when first meeting someone. That discretion should never involve out-and-out dishonesty. If a new acquaintance is so tactless as to ask you your religion, it may be best that you simply refuse to answer. This is far better than lying - which may come back to haunt you later.
If the need for selectivity and openness are important for friendships, they are absolutely vital when romance is involved. Too many people enter relationships for superficial reasons, often without really knowing the other person. This is not to say that a Pagan must only get involved with other Pagans - far from it. Many people are tolerant of other religions, and if you respect their beliefs they will respect yours.
There are a few though, who will never accept Paganism as legitimate. At best they will always see it as a phase they keep wishing you'd outgrow. At worst they will view your form of worship as evil. This is a no-win situation; one which could have been avoided if both sides had been more honest early on.
Relationships, whether friendship or romance, are one of life's most wonderful experiences. Our relationships reflect a large part of who we are. Superficial acquaintances come and go. It takes two things for a relationship to thrive: mutual respect and honesty. Be a friend and be yourself.
Copyright: Copyright 2005 Dan Mulhollen.
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
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