Tag Archives: 2004

PP Archives – White Witchcraft

A brief word: this article was written in 2004 when I was far more active online than I am these days.  Eight years later, and I had almost hoped that this article would no longer be relevant.  From what little I’ve seen of the Pagan Web of 2012, I think that there is still a need for what is said here.


I think that I am finally getting to the point where the mere mention of this phrase [white witchcraft] makes me want to run screaming from the room. But let me explain to you why…

I think that the concept of White Witchcraft is a hold over for people who are taking their first steps out of the structure of Christianity. They want to believe that there is some sort of universal punishment for those who commit misdeeds. To them, the concept of karma is much like the role of St. Peter, who tallies your sins to see if you get into heaven or not.

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Blast From the Past – Circa 2004 – The Broom Closet

The Broom ClosetThe broom closet is a term, similar to the metaphor used by the gay community, that refers to someone who keeps their Pagan beliefs and practices hidden from their friends, family and the general public. The reason for the secrecy (outside early periods of spiritual adjustment) is usually fear – fear of prejudice, fear of violence, fear losing the comforts that appearing ‘normal’ can afford us.

It has been a long time since the Satanic witchcraft scare of the 80s put everyone who was even slightly outside the socially accepted ‘norm’ under a microscope. Very few of us now need fear for our lives or our safety because we are not ‘good little Christians’. The twentieth century saw many people fighting an uphill battle so that modern Pagans would feel comfortable celebrating their holy days in public, and discussing their beliefs openly.

This freedom has lead to a great many people claiming that the need for the secrecy and protection of the broom closet is gone, and that to remain hidden in plain sight is selfish and does nothing but hurt the Pagan Community as we fight the last remnants of misinformation that float around society. To me, this seems to be a rather sheltered viewpoint.

The prejudice and hate has not gone completely away. People are still living with constant harassment … they still lose their jobs, their homes, their friends and sometimes even their children to a society that seems to have a hard time accepting that anyone who has turned away from a mainstream, Abrahamic faith could be a good, competent person.

Now, granted, these things do not happen everywhere. Those of us who live on the coasts of North America seem to enjoy a little bit more freedom to express ourselves. However, even here the fear of oppression lies just beneath the surface.

Looking at any issue of controversy within the Pagan Community illustrates this vividly – dark magic, hexes, blood, sacrifices, Satanism, etc. All these topics tend to bring out the attitude that the old ways are misguided and now that we have more options and information available to us, they are unnecessary at best, immoral at worst.

This may seem like the hallmark of the fluff bunny, but they are not to blame in this instance. There seem to be far more Pagans that I realized who change and omit rites and practices for fear of causing a backslide of acceptance for the rest of the Pagan Community. They seem to believe that by watering down their faith, they can gain the ‘ok’ from mainstream society. It saddens me that otherwise rational, level headed Pagans would cower at the mysteries because they cannot be forced into neat, easily understood boxes, ready for the consumption of the masses.

When we allow ourselves to be told that our traditional practices are barbaric or evil, simply because they may not be pretty or easy, THAT is when we begin to lose the ground that our elders fought so hard for. When we would prefer to change, rather than explain, for fear that our inquisitors may just not ‘get it’, we start that trek back to the broom closet. The road of fear, secrecy, lies and outrageous rumours ends in a church pew, where pretend devotion keeps up the appearance of normality.

The trip from the broom closet needs to remain a one way street. Part of being ready to come out is that you are no longer willing to allow conventional wisdom to dictate what is and is not acceptable beliefs and behaviour.

Now, I am not saying that everyone who is ‘out’ needs to be an activist or public educator or that they cannot have private lives. What they do need to be is true to themselves, and their path. The fact that someone might see should not be a deciding factor in how your practice your craft. The fact that some may not understand should not limit the symbols you use or the deities you call to.

We all turned to this path because there was something missing in modern secular and/or Christian culture … because ‘normal’ was not good enough.

Blast From the Past – Circa 2004 – Curses and Hexes

Curses and HexesMaybe it’s just me, but lately I seem to be coming across numerous people spouting their moral superiority over those who practice what they refer to as “black” or “dark” magick. The common definition of black magick among people who use the term is magick that involves causing purposeful harm to others. Let’s leave aside the semantical problems with this line of reasoning for a moment, and take a look at it from a practical point of view.

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Blast From the Past – Circa 2004 – Witches in the Media

CharmedLately, as I have been wading through newspaper stories about calls to book burning, Hell Houses, crusades against Harry Potter and trick or treating (which is apparently the devil’s work), I find myself wondering how anyone can take the ravings of the Religious Reich seriously. By now, any halfway educated person knows that Witches aren’t out to steal the souls of innocent little Christian children, right? Sometimes I wonder …

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Blast From the Past – Circa 2004 – The Pagan Persecution Complex

JW WaterhouseThis rant is inspired in part by the abundance of young Pagans littering various online forums with cries of “I can’t wear my pentacle at school”. Far too many of those making such complaints have not actually been told that they cannot wear a pentacle nor does anyone at their school or their home know of their interest in Paganism.

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Blast From the Past – Circa 2004 – Satanists and Paganism

Quoth the RavenIt has been nearly twenty years since Satanic Ritual Abuse Conspiracies first hit a mad fervor in the media. Outrageous claims made by preachers playing on the public’s ignorance about Witchcraft and Satanism threatened to explode into modern day Witch Hunts. Luckily for us there were those inside various churches and mainstream organizations who helped to expose many of the ‘victims’ of SRA as the charlatans they are.*

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Blast From the Past – Circa 2004 – Newbie Bashing

BrokenThis article is inspired by the many emerging conversations where the claim has been made that those more knowledgeable in the Pagan Community have turned to Newbies for sport – deriding and cruelly ridiculing them for their lack of experience and knowledge just about anything Pagan related.

This complaint is not totally without merit. I have seen the same sort of rabid fundamentalism that is the bane of Christianity pop up in popular Pagan faiths. Claiming the label of Pagan doesn’t automatically make someone into the nature-loving, soft hearted stereotype that the media has perpetuated in recent years.

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Blast From the Past – Circa 2004 – Tips for Teen Pagans

Witchy Tarot - Witch CardSo, you have discovered Paganism in all its glory. You feel like this is what you have been searching for all your life. This is the way … this is the right path for you. You’re happy … you feel a completeness, a sense of belonging that you never found in church. One small problem, though … your parents hear the word ‘witchcraft’ and freak.

So, now what? Do you turn your back on a spirituality that finally makes you feel whole, or do you keep your magick books and tools secret for as long as you can?  And what’s the deal with everyone online? You aren’t a possession! Your parents don’t OWN you – you’re practically an adult, right?

So … act like it then. Adults … we compromise. Think for a moment about the practicality of sneaking around behind your parents’ backs. Do you really want to spend so much time, money and effort on all of your tools and paraphernalia just to come home and find them being barbequed in the back yard?  Trust me, it can, and most likely will happen – nobody’s parents are as dumb as they think they are.

But you don’t want to turn away from your new found faith either, right? Here is where the compromising comes in.

Firstly, make sure that you start and keep an open a religious dialogue with your parents. Don’t use words that will shut the conversation down. Words like “Witchcraft”, “Wicca”, “spells”, “magick”, “occult” and especially “unfair” are guaranteed to stop any progress in its tracks (nothing turns a parent off quicker than screaming about how unfair something is).

Talk about nature, about environmentalism, the changing seasons, folklore and old superstitions – tell them that you are interested in learning about different cultures around the world and their belief systems.

When they are ready (and by ‘ready’ I mean that they have accepted that they cannot change your mind and that this isn’t just a phase – expect to wait at least two years for this point), pick up a book that explains modern Paganism to people who have loved ones involved in it. Scott Cunningham has a great one called ‘The Truth About Witchcraft Today’.

That is all well and good, you say, but they still won’t let me read any Wiccan/Pagan books and I have SO much to learn! There are actually a great many things that you will need to learn that no Wiccan/Pagan/Magick book can tell you.

  • Read up on the mythologies of cultures that interest you (a connection to the divine is a LOT more important than being able to cast a spell).
  • Learn about your roots and where your family comes from (a lot of people find a connection with a pantheon from a culture that is in their bloodline).
  • Get some books on herbology, candle making, cooking, geology … there are many topics that relate to your spirituality that require looking outside the occult section of the bookstore.
  • Learn about meditation and practice everyday (relaxation and visualization skills are essential to practicing magick).
  • Take out your bible and read it. It’s an interesting book of mythology, and not really that different from any other (also, you will be better able to stand up to those rabid fundies if you know what they are talking about).

Still, you are SO excited and you want to be able to practice right away … you want to celebrate the Wheel of the Year … To this I say – get outside!

Nature is what you are celebrating … get out in it! Take your holy days as a time to reconnect with the earth. Go for a walk in the woods or in a park. Does the air feel different? How do the people on the street seem? Can they feel it too even though they may not know it? Keep a journal of your Sabbat experiences – you may want to look back on them when you are older and out on your own.

Most importantly in this situation is to SHOW your parents that you really are responsible and that you are becoming an adult. Volunteer in your community, pick up trash when you see it on the street, recycle, plant a garden. Show your parents that this controversial faith is changing you for the better. Good Luck!