Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How to Deal with Common Misconceptions After you’re out of the Broom Closet

There are many misconceptions and questions you will probably be asked when you come out of the broom closet.
This is just a selection of more common ones, from the same questions as the link below, but with my personal experience for answers. For the answers that came with the questions originally, please check out the link!

1. Are you a witch?
The word “witch” brings to mind images of evil Disney step-mothers, or the “bad guy” who casts spells on the hero. Witches are not the weak-looking old women, or the spell casters in Harry Potter, but were people who were shamans, healers, herbalists, and probably the first aroma-therapists. Also, witches were people who were generally very in-tune with the world around them, people who claimed to have psychic powers, and who passed all this knowledge down orally.
Though pagans can associate themselves as “witches”, being a pagan does not mean you are a witch, and being a witch does not mean you are pagan. People opposed to Christianity just to rebel may call themselves witches. Pagans are not associated with them. Some people into the Gothic subculture call themselves witches. These people may also be pagan.
Now, to answer the question no one will ask: are witches evil? No, they are (mostly) harmless people who are in-tune with nature. They do not cast spells like in Harry Potter, or other fantasy works. They are people who believe that energy can be manipulated and directed to achieve their desires. They use magic, but not in the sense of Hollywood magic.
The majority of witches are “white” witches, and will not do magic against living things, and only do magic to aid themselves and others, if other’s ask it of them.
Yes, there are some “black” witches, who can curse people, but they are few and far between, and mostly end up hurting themselves more often.

2. Are you a devil-worshipper?
Simply put: no. The devil is a Christian story, and would not apply to a pagan. To truly be a devil worshipper, you have to believe in Christianity, because Satan is only in Christian scriptures. To be a Satanist is, basically, to oppose the Christian concept of God.

3. What do Neopagans believe about God?
This answer can vary. Ask a traditional Wiccan (like my mother), and she will tell you that God is the counterpart and equal to the Goddess, and both deities are required to keep the universe in balance. According to her, every deity in other pantheons are simply aspects of these two greater deities.
Ask an Egyptian pagan like me, and we believe that one singular god and goddess cannot look after everything, so there are many different gods to represent different things. This is similar to saints.

4. Do Neopagans have a bible?
We do not have a set of specific holy texts. Though much of the information is the same, such as the importance of the elements for example, are common to almost all of Neopagan beliefs, we do not all own the same book that we regard as the singular source.
We do, however, have a Book of Shadows. This is a book that contains everything pertaining to our craft. This has lists of herbal uses, pages of candle magic, and even dreams we’ve written down, or meditation guides. Some BoS’ are hand-copied from older books, or books from their teachers. Some are compilations of things they have found.
This blog you are reading is my Book of Shadows.

5. Did you say magic? Do Neopagans believe in the occult?
It depends on how you define magic and the occult. Magic is energy work, according to us. We direct our energy, much like how one can direct a prayer. The occult— or the paranormal – is a blanket term to describe the unknown like psychic phenomenon, EVP, ghosts, and even aliens. Though believing the in occult is not necessary to be a pagan, many do believe in these things.

6. But I thought that you said that you weren't a demon-worshipper?
Magic has little to do with demons. Magic is about intent. In a Christian setting, when you pray, you focus your intent on giving the prayer to God. Magic is the same idea. Demons are about evil energies that disrupt your good intent. We would not give energy to these evil things.

7. How do you become a Neopagan?
This question can be answered in many ways. Some people believe that you are born with the intuition to eventually become a pagan. Some people just enjoy mythology and paganism is a great way to really study mythology. Most people who eventually become pagans already know a bit about it, and will research it themselves.
To copy-paste: “"Becoming" a pagan is never a conversion”.
8. I've heard about witches holding orgies and such. Do you? Defiantly not. Many pagans hold fertility and sex in an almost Holy regard, for without it, we would not be here. Because of its cosmic aspect, we do not have sex “willy-nilly”, but reserve it for people we truly care about. A huge orgy would go against this concept. 9. I saw on the news that Neopagans use a star in a circle as their emblem. Isn't that a Satanic symbol?
I believe you are talking about a pentagram. The pentagram is a symbol that unites all the elements, in the form of a star. This is a very old symbol, much older than Satanism. In paganism, it is a symbol of unity and a symbol of the earth. In Satanism, it is often shown point down to represent chaos.
The pentagram being a symbol is only a symbol of Satan is like saying the Swastika is only a symbol of Nazis. Before the Nazi’s took over the symbol—and in some parts of the world still—the swastika, or “bent cross” is a symbol of good luck.

10. Are Neopagans opposed to Christianity?
Most pagans respect the views of other religions. Many of us came out of Christianity. We are, however, untrusting of the higher powers within the Church who are out for power and control. Millions of pagans were slaughtered in the name of Jesus Christ, and we still fear persecution in many parts of the world. We are opposed to the fundamentalists of any religion.
I have many Christian friends, who ask me loads of questions about my faith and are genuinely interested, not to convert but because the more understanding between the faiths, the easier it will be to work together.

Well, I hoped this three-part series helped you understand coming out of the broom closet, and helped you either plan for your own coming out, or to understand the risks with coming out.

Source/more information


Kristine said...

Point of interest: Satan isn't actually in Christian scripture overly much. The belief in the devil is one of those things where the origin of the belief is unclear. I believe there is some mention of a devil, and certainly is in the New Testament, but it's not as concrete or factually presented as the loudest "Christians" will want you to think.

Kristine said...

Another point of interest: some Satanic cults use the symbol of an inverted cross, rather than an inverted pentagram. The point is not the symbol they're using, but the manipulation of it.


A lot of my information is directly copy-pasted frm my own Book of Shadows, collected over the past couple of years from a variety of sourses. I try to credit where I can, and I try to paraphrase and change words around without changing meanings as much as I can.
IF YOU SEE YOUR INFORMATION HERE: Please let me know, I'll be more than happy to credit you. The best way to contact me is to leave a comment on the post, and I'll be sure to edit the post as soon as I get the message.

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