Articles/Essays From Pagans
December 10th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
October 10th. 2016 ...
Witchcraft from the Outside
September 11th. 2016 ...
How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
September 3rd. 2016 ...
Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?
What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
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 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
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
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
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Why Do We Get In Our Own Way?
Article ID: 7532
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,754
Times Read: 4,082
Author: Aidan Odinson
Posted: December 6th. 2003
Times Viewed: 4,082
Some years ago when I was heavily involved in motorcycling, a certain motorcycle dealer made a remark to me about his competitor in a neighboring city. "I really like them," he said. "They couldn't do more for me if they were on my payroll!" The principle can certainly apply to Witches and Pagans. Do we help anyone besides our enemies by bickering among ourselves? Do we accomplish anything in so-called "Witch Wars" other than standing in the way of what we really need and want?
I am addressing the fact that we, as Witches and Pagans, have not yet figured out how to put aside our differences in order to accomplish something. At any rate, that appears to be the case too often. Please bear in mind that I am definitely not suggesting that we should even consider merging together into something as meaninglessly homogenized as some Christian denominations that I could mention. I am also not talking about giving up our differences. I am talking about keeping our differences in their proper perspective so that we can accomplish more, on a broader scope, than we have been able to achieve so far.
One of the most nagging problems we have is that too many of us let differences get in the way of accomplishing anything beyond the level of the very local group. Any number of Internet mailing lists and other efforts prove that some people cannot seem to rise above such disputes as "my tradition is better than yours," or "your definition of that word is wrong, mine is the only right one," or "your initiation isn't as valid as mine." My first reaction is to wonder why anyone would insist upon making an issue of something that is actually none of their business.
At this point, there is an opportunity for three reality checks. The first is that unless laws are being blatantly broken or basic tenets that we all agree upon are being violated, what a solitary does or what happens within a coven or similar group is their own business and nobody else's. The second is that if people in any kind of position in Wicca or Paganism expect any degree of respect beyond their own little group, it will only happen as a result of their offering the same respect to others in similar positions in other groups. The third is that any religious group that has gained any degree of acceptance has done so by learning how and when to work together as a whole.
We have grown and are growing. Almost any town large enough to have scheduled airline service is also able to have at least one Pagan/Wiccan shop that does enough business to remain in business over a reasonably long term. I've seen one professor's claim that we are the seventh largest religious group in the US, and the fastest growing. Someone else has made the claim that by 2010 we will be number three. If the latter is true, then that will mean that we will be ahead of at least one group which is already well-accepted by most of the religious mainstream in the United States and elsewhere.
So, why do we sometimes have difficulties in claiming the rights that other faiths seem to enjoy as a matter of course? Why do we have to raise issues in court that other faiths do not have to take to court? Why do we see ourselves portrayed so inaccurately in the popular media when a similar error concerning another faith would end someone's career? Part of the problem might well be the fact that we are growing, and some other faiths do not appreciate the fact that many of our people used to be their people. But the bigger problem is that we have not yet learned to come together and work together when the need arises. There are times when we need to present a united front.
A quick look at a newspaper or a television news program reveals what happens when someone slanders or harms some other religious group. A top official (President, governor, mayor - and not a substitute assistant flunkey) meets with a group of their senior clergy, and things happen to correct the problem. A perfect example is the situation with Muslims since 9/11, insuring that those who follow Islam did not receive the same fate as Americans of Japanese ancestry in the US suffered in the wake of Pearl Harbor.
Whom would we send to such a meeting? I don't know, and I am not sure that we would be able to agree on who would be in such a delegation. To begin with, there is no coalition, association, or even an informal network to form a delegation and request a meeting.
There have been times when such a meeting should have happened. Several of us remember the time when Governor Dubya of Texas claimed that he did not consider "Witchcraft" a legitimate religion. There were recent remarks about Pagans that were made by a certain White House official managing the "Faith-Based Initiatives." Between those incidents, there was a young girl driven to suicide by her classmates in the same school district that had to be taken to federal court on another issue of religious discrimination against Witches. Anyone reading this is probably in a position to name a long list of such incidents. I promise you that if the victims had been Jews, Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists, there would have been such a meeting, and it would have happened quickly. Why did we have no such meetings? Because we have nobody, or even a selection of somebodies, who could be seen as being in a position to represent us as a whole!
Of course, part of the problem is that we are not yet an "organized religion" in the manner that most people think of religions. If we were to get organized based on the organizational models currently in use, we would be in danger of having our descendants criticize what we built. Worse yet, they would use the same criticism that we currently aim at some of larger present-day churches.
As a general rule, we comfortably do without the person some folks describe as "the fat bald guy behind the pulpit, telling us what to think." Continuing that image, we also don't have a hierarchy of people above that "fat bald guy" whose appointed duty is to insure that our own local "fat bald guy" follows the same party line as all of the other "fat bald guys." Our covens and groves are as sovereign as our solitaries, and they need to remain so. It's a major part of that which makes us what we are. But we must learn to work together, and come together when necessary. Witches are known for imagination and creativity, and so designing a structure that would meet the necessary goals while avoiding the known dangers should be within our grasp. That is not to say that it will be an easy task, but it can be done.
Learning to come together and work together is the first step.
Location: Collingdale, Pennsylvania
Author's Profile: To learn more about Aidan Odinson - Click HERE
Bio: As with so many others, Aidan Odinson's spiritual journey began in Christianity. He became aware of Christianity's more ancient traditions, and he found Paganism at the root of the traditions he loved. When he discovered that Witches follow The Old Religion, he became a Witch. Once known for Covenstead Grove, a dial-up BBS in Oregon, he now resides in Pennsylvania with his wife, Stormy Windwalker, whom he met when they worked together in the organization then known as the Witches' Anti-Discrimination League. Together they head the Temple of Gaia and The Grove Union.
Other Articles: Aidan Odinson has posted 4 additional articles- View them?
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