Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 2nd. 2014 ...
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
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
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 1 (The Center)
September 15th. 2013 ...
Some Pagan Prayers
The Holocaust Survivor (Part II)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Bramble and Cerridwen
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Our Spiritual Rights and Public Perception
Article ID: 7539
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,738
Times Read: 4,669
Author: Taylor Ellwood
Posted: December 13th. 2003
Times Viewed: 4,669
When I was eighteen my mom burned my books on magick. And when I was nineteen I was called once on the hour, every hour by a Christian fanatic determined to kill me because I practiced magick. I am now twenty-seven.
These days it seems like a lot of people feel much more comfortable being openly Pagan of some sort or another. And I'm one of those people. You would think with my experiences that I would be a closet wizard, but those experiences taught me something. They taught me you can't hide your beliefs. The reason my mother burned my books was because she found out about my beliefs from someone else and she freaked out. She knew I'd been hiding something from her, but when she found out what I was hiding was that I practiced magick, she felt compelled to take drastic action, in large part because she was ignorant about magick. I know now I should've told her myself. There would have been no guarantee that she wouldn't burn my books, but I did not get a chance to educate her before the deed was done.
I have encountered religious discrimination since then. When I lived in Clarion, PA for instance, I dealt with a lot of hard-core Christians who for the most part tried to convert me to their religion. I only knew one Christian there that sat down and actually listened to me and accepted my beliefs as being valid to me. And this very Thanksgiving my mother challenged me to call on the Holy Spirit, hoping no doubt that if I did so I would be converted to Christianity and "saved."
Having these experiences tells me that no matter how bright the outlook may seem to be to many Pagans we have a very long way to go to achieve anything remotely like spiritual equality with the other belief systems. It does not help that Paganism is demonized as promoting Satanism or something equivalent to that. But the only way we can get past the ignorance and the attempts by Christians to change our ways of belief is to educate people about what we believe in.
And that is what stands out most to me in regards to the public perception of magick. The public is ignorant and has no real concept of what Paganism, or magick, is. What exposure they have to the occult is either through what they've been told by another religion or through the media, where Paganism is sensationalized. Some of the media exposure is good because it stimulates interest in the occult, but even that exposure does not necessarily tell people the truth about the beliefs we hold.
We are responsible for telling the public what our beliefs are. And we can do that any number of ways. For instance, Pagan Pride Day is a good way of exposing the public to Paganism. While likely the majority of people who come to such an event will be Pagan, there is nonetheless the chance that some people will not be Pagans and will come out of curiosity. Public rituals are also a way of educating people. At Kent, the campus group I belong to, KNPC, has public rituals sometimes. The purpose is to educate people, as well as let other Pagans know that we exist.
Our religious rights or spiritual rights as I prefer to call them are rights that we earn when we educate the public. It's not always easy to educate the public, but every chance we get we need to take. That way such persecution as I've gone through can hopefully be stopped. We live in a time where we have a president who would be more than happy to get rid of Paganism. He narrow- mindedly believes that we are evil and should not exist because of what his religion says. That kind of ignorance is what we must fight and we must all do our part, not relying on just one person or pop culture, but on all of our efforts.
Our spiritual rights are the rights that anyone should possess. The right to believe what you will, with no penalty in any form for having that belief, and so long as it harms no one. The right to not be harassed by someone else for those beliefs. The right to practice our beliefs in public. What we do not have the right to do is to force our beliefs onto others. This does not mean that educating the public is forcing our beliefs on others, but rather involves realizing that you do not tell a person what to believe. It is up to each and every individual to make a choice about what he/she wants to believe in.
The difference between education and proselytizing is that education simply informs a person what the beliefs are about, the history of the beliefs and where a person can go to learn more about the beliefs. Proselytizing, however, is an attempt to make a person believe in what you believe with no consideration for that person. I have often noted that people who proselytize seem to be very desperate people. I imagine they are desperate because they have a lack of belief in what it is they preach about and so feel a need to validate the belief by forcing it upon others.
In the end our spiritual rights will be guaranteed by how we present ourselves to the public. Those of us who are out of the broom closet need to act as role models to promote a healthy, positive image of what Paganism is to the public. We need to counteract the stereotypes and ignorance that can and do threaten Paganism even now. And the only way we can do that is to step up to the plate and promote Paganism for what it is. Otherwise we face the chance of going through more persecution and perhaps even the loss of life, and that's something no Pagan wants. What I want, and what I hope the rest of us want, is a world that accepts our beliefs as valid and respects us enough to let us pursue our spiritual growth as we need to.
Location: Portland, Oregon
Author's Profile: To learn more about Taylor Ellwood - Click HERE
Bio: Taylor Ellwood is the co-author of Creating Magickal Entities and the solo author of the forthcoming Pop Culture Magick (Fall 2004). He is currently working on his next book, which will be about space/time magick as well as a series of occult detective stories.
Other Articles: Taylor Ellwood has posted 19 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Taylor Ellwood... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
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