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And So It Begins…

This post was written by Donald Michael Kraig
on September 14, 2009 | Comments (1)

“And so it begins…” is a line from one of my all-time favorite TV shows, Babylon 5. The line refers to the manifestation of violence—in the case of Babylon 5, an interstellar war—that results from events that already occurred.

As a magician, and knowing that I have the ability to change my reality, I have to accept the notion of personal responsibility. People who do not have the magickal mind-set often look for others to blame for their own problems. Currently, many countries in the world are experiencing extreme financial distress. Some people blame “the government” for the problem. Frankly, I find this odd since many of the countries involved in this melt down are democracies. The people are the government, so to blame the government may seem like putting the blame on others when they’re really blaming themselves.

The cause of blaming government may be a result of seeing the people in government as something special, perhaps a leftover belief of royalty being innately special. There was a belief that royalty are divinely chosen and therefore have powers attributed to Jesus. There was even a belief in something called The Royal Touch, whereby if a king or queen touches you, you will be cured of disease. In the past, this concept put royalty out of the blame game. Since the French Revolution, however, they have been one of the targets for blame.

Other targets to blame for our own position are targets that are easily seen. In the past, such targets in Europe have included the Polish people, Jewish people, and Romany people (commonly called Gypsies). In the U.S. the blame for people’s problems has been placed on Irish people, Jewish people, African-Americans, Hispanics, and others. One of groups of people who have been blamed by those unwilling to accept personal responsibility has been Pagans and occultists.

In Africa, today, people are murdered simply because they’ve been accused of being a Witch. We had something similar in North America during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and 1693. Such things couldn’t happen today, could they?

According to Jason Pitzi-Waters of The Wild Hunt blog and an Associated Press article by Ron Todt, such fear and loathing seems to be rising again in a small tourist-oriented town of Stoutburg Village, Pennsylvania. A “Celebrating Earth Spirituality Festival” was held on September 12, 2009. Put on by the Reading Pagans & Witches, it featured “education, merriment & shopping.” What was the local response?

• Some businesses objected to Pagans renting spaces to put up booths and closed for the day in protest. One shop owner said, “We believe in God, not in worshipping Satan or anything like that. We can’t really support that, and as a result we’re just going to stay closed.”
• Local Christian churches organized prayer and fasting to shield the area from “demonic taint.”
• They planned to encircle the village and pray for an hour.

The lack of knowledge about Paganism is astounding. And in my opinion a focus on education should be part of a two-fold response. There is no need to get angry and carry picket signs. Instead, I suggest:

1. When someone shares false ideas about occultism, Paganism, Witchcraft, Wicca, magick, etc., try to provide accurate facts. This means you need to educate yourself.

2. If you’re in the Stoutburg Village area, visit the shops that stayed open and didn’t give in to fear and intimidation. Click on this link for a list of the shops that remained open. Consider supporting them by making purchases in those shops.

Do you have other suggestions as to how to approach prejudice? I like to say that:

Education creates understanding.
Understanding creates tolerance.

What do you think? How would you approach such seemingly irrational responses?

Reader Comments

Written By Jen Anderson-Wenger
on September 14th, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

I feel that our festival on Saturday fostered feelings of love and a better understanding of each other. With the exception of a small group of men that wound up having to be asked to behave/leave by the Owners Association/Police, the majority of the individuals there, I feel, learned a lot from each other.

We’ve updated our website with a thank you letter and a list of shops that were open. We also are working on getting pictures uploaded.

Thank you all!

Jen Anderson-Wenger
President, Reading Pagans & Witches

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