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Samhain and the Wiccan Community
Acct. ID: 188157
Notice ID: 16102
Posted: November 11th., 2008
This Notice has been viewed 787 times
Proclaimed by: Rev. Alicia Lyon Folberth - A WitchVox Sponsor
Proclaimed from: Derby, Connecticut
Media Contact: Alicia Folberth
SAMHAIN AND THE WICCAN COMMUNITY
Milford, CT – October 30, 2008 - In light of recent headlines in the news about Wicca and Halloween, I would like to state the true need for well researched and responsible reporting about our religion. Some people who lack credibility within our own Wiccan, Witchcraft and Neo-Pagan Communities, along with irresponsible reporting, often brings embarrassment to us all, where we are all too often misunderstood, are fighting to prevent stereotyping and are promoting public acceptance of our Constitutional rights.
Halloween to the Wiccan religion is known as Samhain (pronounced Sow-en) which is Gaelic, and means “summer’s end, ” heralding the old Celtic New Year, a sacred and auspicious day. It is but one of the eight Sabbats, high holy days, we honor. We also worship on the phases of the moon, with the Full Moon being particularly Sacred in honor of the Goddess. Some of us are duotheists honoring both a God and a Goddess, some are polytheists, honoring an ancient pantheon of the Gods and Goddesses of old, some are eclectic drawing from various cultures, and we all honor the sacred ways of nature and its cycles. Halloween is but one of several well known holidays surviving into modern times whose origins lie in ancient Pagan religion. Christmas, known to us as Yule; and Easter, known to us as Ostara, also share this connection with European pre-Christian beliefs and holy days.
Our rituals and spells actually are active forms of prayer rather than passive, as we aggressively work with and engage the forces that make up the universe to bring about change. These are sacred acts, between us and the deities we worship. We seek to know truth, both within and without. Our religious mysteries follow the patterns of life, death, birth and renewal - the circle of life.
The Neo-Pagan and Wiccan movements and their traditions embrace people of all color, gender, race and sexual preference. People from all walks of life and professions follow our faith. Many hold professional jobs such as lawyers, doctors and teachers. Many are not public about our faith, due to the misconceptions about our sacred religions, which is still viewed in the mainstream as evil, laughable or not valid. We still, in this day and age, fear persecution in the various forms of discrimination which are still so prevalent. Many fear loss of their jobs, as I suffered myself or public ridicule by neighbors and members of the greater community. Sadly, some even face harassment and physical threats should others learn that they are a practicing Witch. However, we recognize that not all claims of this are legitimate nor is any one person representative of the greater Wiccan and Pagan community.
Wicca is a federally recognized religion, it may be a relatively recent religion in its current forms, but it has ancient roots that predate Christianity. So many have fought for religious tolerance and acceptance, including the lawsuit won to have the pentacle, our sacred symbol, placed on the headstones of Wiccan practicing U.S. military personnel by the Veterans Administration. We have struggled for many years to gain acceptance and legal rights, so it is very important to all of us that we are represented well by the media. The pentagram, the five pointed star, symbolizes spirit, the top point, ruling over the four elements - earth, air, fire & water - the lower points. This symbolism represents the divine ruling over the physical world, something which we can agree on in many of the world’s religions - acknowledging a higher power.
We are people of the heart, rather than people of the book, and so we lack much in terms of religious dogma, which has created even more misunderstanding. We recognize that we are responsible for our actions, and the energy of those actions is also seen to return to us spiritually, mentally and physically; good, bad or indifferent. Wiccans also honor the Wiccan Rede, which is advice rather than scriptural law, in its most famous line “harm none do what ye will, ” which is yet another version of the Golden Rule practiced in some form within all major world religions.
Let me make it clear that I do not represent the greater Wiccan, Witchcraft or Pagan communities. However, it is my understanding that the media may be lacking local contacts within the Wiccan and Pagan Communities to verify information about our religion and/or those who practice it. Therefore, I would like to offer myself as one of those contacts. I am the Priestess, President, and founder of Connecticut’s oldest Wiccan and Pagan Temple, the Panthean Temple. We are a legitimate 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization, now celebrating 13 years as of this month. We also hold Connecticut’s oldest and largest Pagan festival, which will be 11 years old in 2009. I have been on the Wiccan and Pagan paths for the past 23 years. I have been published in books and magazines, have given lectures, and have appeared on television in the past. I am very much a public personality in my spiritual community, and so I have no issue in using my legal name with the news media in any form.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and I look forward to working with you in the future.
Rev. Alicia L. Folberth
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