If you follow me on Twitter then you may have seen me have a mini-meltdown yesterday. If not, I’ll summarize it.
I’ve been reading this book written by a New York Times Bestselling author and thirty pages, give or take, into it I was disgusted. This author proceeded to write in such a manner that promoted the idea that Wiccans and Pagans were considered serial killers and reviled by their towns/cities of residence simply because of their religious beliefs. Furthermore, Wiccans and Pagans should hide who they are and their beliefs.
I’ve been a Pagan Wiccan for over twenty years, though I choose to follow a pantheon other than the Celtic, and that’s something else. Pagan and Wiccan are not synonymous. Yes, all Wiccans are Pagan, but not all Pagans are Wiccan. There are MANY DIFFERENT TYPES of Pagans and Wiccans. Some call themselves Hedge Witches, some will identify simply as Witch. Some follow the Celtic Pantheon, others the Greek or Norse or Aztec or even a mixture of several. One of the biggest turn-ons about Paganism is the opportunity to ‘self-style’ your beliefs. Even within Wicca, there are tons of different paths for a Wiccan to take.
Pagan and Wiccan paths are as individualized as the person that makes the decision to practice these beliefs. However, there is an underlying current, or rule if you will, that doesn’t really change regardless of the pantheon or path that is walked. Mostly it can be summed into …
‘An’ it harm none, so shall it be.’
This is the foundation of the Three-fold Law of Magick. You see, we believe that whatever we put out into the world comes back to us times three. So, think about that. Why would we send out a curse or mutilate another person or murder someone, if we believe that it will come back to us three times? I’m not saying it isn’t possible. It is, but it’s rare. Take Gray Witches, for example, they aren’t afraid to do the magick that’s needed. Chaos Magick hinges on much darker magick too.
I could go on. I could write a whole book, but this isn’t the whole point of this blog post. The need for sensitivity readers is, so moving along.
I am aware that society sometimes feels like Paganism is dead. That Witches aren’t actually a ‘thing.’ That’s dangerous. Because we are. There are real people that practice witchcraft and magick. Real people that identify as Pagans and/or Wiccan. These real people have feelings. They can be hurt as easily as Christians, Muslims, Hindus or any other religious group.
I’ve read books that project Wicca and/or Paganism in a favorable manner, so it isn’t every book. Yes, I’ve even read books that fantasize witches and pagans, but they don’t do it in a hurtful manner. I love the movie HOCUS POCUS; it is a terrible example of true witchcraft, but it isn’t offensive.
Most of the offensive books I’ve read are from authors trying to outright villainize contemporary witches for the sake of their plotlines. Need a mystical-type death – Cool! I’ll make the killer Wiccan, cause that’s the modern word for witches. Then, I’ll make up some stuff about pentacles, candles, herbs, because that’s something I glanced at once in a book in the bookstore’s metaphysical section. Then, I’ll make the murder look ritualistic for an added OMG! to the plot.
No. Please don’t do this.
Also, for the record – Wiccans don’t believe in Hell or Satan’s existence. Pentacles and pentagrams (aren’t the same thing nor are they interchangeable) are cast for protection from negative energy. Candles are used in esbat and sabbat rituals, but the colors are important. Herbs heal the ill and wounded. I have never killed a single thing for any of my rituals, nor do I know of any other Wiccan that has. Wicca and Paganism are about BALANCE. Balancing Nature from all of the causes and effects of the positive and negative energy forces. Wicca and Paganism are about HELPING, not hurting.
Seriously folks, the witchhunts ended in the seventeenth century. Let’s not revive them, okay? A lot of innocent people were hanged, or in Europe burned alive, and for what? Simply because of misunderstanding and the fear that misunderstanding stirred up.
Both Paganism and Wicca teach acceptance, so isn’t it time we were accepted as we are too? If you elect to write a story or book on these belief systems, and you don’t understand – for the sake of the Goddess; ASK. We don’t bite. That’s where a sensitivity reader will be your best friend. We understand, and we can help you. We want to help you and end the vicious cycle of misinformation and misunderstanding.
Thank you for reading. I’ve got a Yule sabbat to prepare for, so I’ve got to scoot. Tomorrow will be here in a flash.
A Blessed Yule’s Eve to all!