Because I am very public about my practice of Witchcraft, people frequently ask me where they can find a coven, a grove, a circle, or other group with whom to study, worship and practice magic. It’s not always easy.
In America (at least until the next election), we no longer condemn Craft practitioners to capital punishment. But make no mistake, there are still many, many compelling reasons why our Pagan brothers, sisters and children remain hidden and in “the broom closet.”
A person’s worship of the Gods and Goddesses is widespread fodder for personal threats and intimidation, discrimination in the workplace, cruel child custody disputes, and harassment and bullying across the board. There is limited support for fighting against these forces (the ACLU is pretty swamped these days) and it takes very deep pockets to defend us.
And the current trend towards ignoring intolerance and passively letting bigotry of all stripes slide unchallenged (other than fuming with our friends on Facebook, or blogging about it like I am here) is deeply disturbing.
Adding both insult and injury, stunningly ignorant, malevolent depictions of Witchcraft, like in this week’s dumb and creepy new TV series on the CW channel, continue to pile on the hurt and misunderstanding of our people. Who knows how many actual Pagan teens will now pay a price for such ugly stereotypes of our religion!
Like our gay brothers and sisters thirty years ago, we need to learn that hiding in silence does not make the problem go away. In fact, it is likely to get worse.
The rise of support for a fundamentalist theocracy in America is a fact. You need only take a look at the fanatical forces behind presidential candidates like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann. Our silence and inaction boil down to complicity, folks.
We must not roll over. Instead, it’s time to come out, come out, come out and be openly who you are. Let’s show America that Witches and Pagans are the people they have worked with, been married to, lived in neighborhoods with, and known for years. We are many and we are here for keeps.
It’s time to step up and speak the truth to the insults, the slurs and the ugly jokes that we have swallowed in our silence and grief.
On Saturday and Sunday this weekend, at the Raleigh Fairgrounds, the Central North Carolina Pagan Pride celebration is happening. Admission each day is at least one item for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC.
Here’s the deal: we have the second biggest Pagan Pride event in America, y’all. It’s so big, a couple of years ago, it had to spill over into a two day event. Paganism, Witchcraft, Druidry, Shamanism, Goddess worship, Asatru, Voudon, and more are all thriving right here in the middle of Bible belt North Carolina.
It’s a family friendly festival with music, vending, workshops, information, and big fun for all. It includes sword-fighting contests from Ren Faire folk, hooping, belly dancers, henna art, live concerts, rituals, and retail therapy for every age and tradition!
But it’s more than just a two-day party. Pagan Pride is a place to find your community; to get the facts; to gather information and make connections. To come out of your broom closet and remember that you are protected (for now) under the American constitution.
You and I have rights and we have a responsibility to exercise them. Use them, or lose them.
Come out this weekend and stand with us. Maybe you will find that you can stay out. With pride.