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Living as a Witch in Rural America

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Posted: January 26th. 2002
Times Viewed: 18,278

Witch...To some the word has flavor. It rolls from the tongue, reminding them of power and energy, earth cycles and hidden secrets. Others view the word in a different light. These individuals shudder at the very mention of witch. The witch is evil. Witchcraft is a cult - with all the connotations that word implies.

Today Wicca/Witchcraft is the fastest growing religion in America, perhaps the world. It is accepted as a recognized religion by the United States Government.

So our Government accepts it: What's the problem? Simply, political acceptance does not necessarily equal public acceptance. Wicca has been recognized by the Government for a few years. The religion of Witchcraft has been demonized for a thousand years. Attitudes, misconceptions, and untruths abound. The misconceptions and lies can be corrected. Attitudes are more difficult.

A case in point. A couple of years ago, while still a Christian, I attended a small Bible Church in a nearby town. Typically, as Halloween approached, the subject of witches, etc came to the fore, with the usual stereotypical descriptions.

Several months later a new pastor arrived. His wife is a born again Christian, having converted from Wicca. She explained the religion to the congregation. Suddenly Wicca/Witchcraft was no longer an evil menace, but simply a religion of lost souls in need of redemption. She is a born again Christian, remember.

In a rural area such as this, even admitting that she had been involved in a Pagan religion was an act of bravery. The fact that she is the preacher's wife may have softened the blow.

How do witches in rural areas deal with the mindset of their neighbors? Do we stay hidden "in the broomcloset, " or make our belief's know, come what may?

A city witch has an advantage over her country cousin. Cities, as a rule, tend to be more liberal and accepting of the occasional "eccentric." A witch can lose herself in the crowd.

Rural America is traditionally conservative, Bible believing, and mistrustful of change. A person's eccentricities are more obvious in the smaller towns and villages. In my community the joke is that you are not accepted until at least the third generation. So, how to survive?

You don't have to broadcast your religious preference in order to make an impression. In the two groups with which I'm involved, I've yet to hear anyone join stating, "I'm a Catholic and would like to help."

I don't wear jewelry, even preferring a pocket watch to a wristwatch. I dress in the style of the area - jeans and boots - and wear my hair short, as does nearly everyone, including the youth. This locale hasn't moved into the 1960's yet, so I fit in comfortably, except in regards religion.

Other than a brief bout with vandalism in February, which I mentioned on the forum, I've had no problems. It has been mentioned to me that there is a male witch living in my tiny community, but no one seems to know who he is. Obviously the vandals know but aren't talking. A police report was made, probably contributing to the silence.

The only noticeable difference between me and the citizens of this small village is that I don't attend church. Even this can be explained. In this small town of 150 there are 8 non-Hispanics. We are presumed to all be Protestant.

How can you gain acceptance in your rural town or village?

  • Become involved in the community. Even a small town has activities and civic groups. If one interests you, even if it doesn't, attend the meetings or events.

  • If the town depends on wood for heating, as mine does, the villagers will not look kindly on a crazed environmentalist living in their midst, trying to stop tree cutting to save the spotted owl.

  • If you wear jewelry pertaining to the Craft, keep it hidden, or at least low key.

  • Keep your home and property attractive, bright and clean. When you paint your home, use colors that will attract positive energy.

  • In public, project positive energy. Greet people with a smile and kind word. In most cases it will be returned.

  • An advantage in rural locales is that rituals can be conducted away from inhabited areas. Another plus is that most people are farmers or ranchers and go to bed early. Mine are done indoors, but not from fear of being discovered. This area is infested with skunks. The nights belong to the polecats. Humanity is not always the sole problem in the country. Our skunks are aggressive, and have little fear of humans.

This short list makes no pretense at being complete, or even remotely complete. Using these tips, you can live happily as a witch in rural America, and make a contribution to the betterment of your town. Additionally, as the people come to know you, when the day comes that you decide to leave the broomcloset, you are more apt to be tolerated and, if not understood, at least safe from retaliation. Only you can make the judgment as to when that day will arrive. In my particular situation, I don't expect it in my lifetime. I hope you are more fortunate.

Chuck Barone
(c) 4/28/97




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