Witchcraft/Paganism Today Part II

"Teens In A Pagan Society"

As if it's not bad enough going through those teen years, throw a little bit of Magick, Herbs, & Goddess worship into that and teen life can be a..... well you get the point. When you're between the ages of 13 and 19 you are discovering life, who you are, what you believe, and experiencing everything for the first time. I know when I first found the Goddess, both of my eyes were blind. Through much trial and error, I began to see what my meaning was, how things were, and that Paganism was embedded in my heart.

Growing up as a Pagan/Wiccan can be very trying for the young, and for the young at heart! A lovely webmistress I know (Kali Weavyyre) once said, "Mom, Im a Witch! And the family cat is my familiar!" I laughed with such joy when I read that line as I feel that is truly how "Teen Witchery" is. One of the hardest parts of being a teen witch is coming out of the broom closet in a Christian/Catholic home. I feel for anyone who has to deal with the broom closet situation, it is the hardest thing to go through in the Craft. All through out life there are so many choices to be made and the teen years present some of the hardest choices young Pagans must make.

The Rede presents a problem in that we as "The New Generation" must carry on with good intentions, all teen Wiccans must know how important the rede is and use it in all magickal workings as well as everyday life. I myself have some strong convictions towards the rede, In that I feel the rede should only be applied when possible. As newbies to the Craft, teens must know that the rede is not a strict law and can't always be used in everyday life. Granted, no one should ever be harmed on purpose, but in our human nature sometimes hurt can't be avoided.

EXITING THE BROOM CLOSET Exiting the broom closet is the hardest thing for any teen to do. I have found that when explaining this to the "Parental Units", using Books, Websites, and a wealth of personal knowledge is the best way to go. I don't condone staying in the closet at all. Working magick in the closet is okay for a short time, but believe me it is no way of life. When you are in the closet, this gives a feeling of doing something wrong. Why? Because you are hiding who you are, what you believe, sneeking around, and going behind mommy and daddy's back. We as Witches, Pagans/Wiccans should be proud of who we are and what we believe. Young Pagans must know that being who you are and letting others know is not a sin.

DISCRIMINATION There are a few elders in the pagan community who don't exactly like teen Pagans. This is a fact and we all must deal with it. Young people are the future. Paganism's survival is dependent on the youth joining the Craft. Instead of loathing the fact that there are so many newcomers, we should all be joyous of this, knowing that our religion won't die.

WITCHERY IN THE CLOSET Here are a few *Helpful Hints for all you Witches/Teens In the Closet
1. "I can't burn incense my mom will kill me!"
No problem at all! I devised this solution for the Incense Problem! First empty out that old hairspray bottle in the bathroom, clean it out real well and cleanse it.

Next, add 10 drops of a base oil and 3-4 drops of an essential oil. Spray across the room or altar, now you have something almost as good as incense!
2. "I need a WAND!!"
You know what? It doesn't matter what your wand looks like. Find a nice branch out in the backyard, and there's your wand. You can glue or wrap a crystal on the end if you want to.
3. "I have carpet in my room, If I burn a candle, I burn the carpet!"
Hmmmmm..... Use a candle holder, plate, or bowl with some sand!
4. "Can I perform spells or rituals skyclad?"
Do you have a lock on your door?
5. "Help. I need an athame!"
Okay.....No problem, grab the family letter opener!

Well, I hope I have been as to some help to teen Pagans and elders in the community. If anything you had a good laugh from the broom closet help I hope!

Silver Willow (willow@pagans.org)

Our Growing Numbers

by Styra

For centuries Pagans were forced to hide in the dark but in the last decades our numbers have been increasing. Why? Here are the three most popular answers I received:

The Environmentalist Movement The latin translation of the word Pagan is "People of the Earth." In the last century we have become aware that we are destroying our planet. People are beginning to realize that though Nature can exist without us, we cannot exist without nature. Action is being taken and people are once again seeing the cycle of life. Love, respect and reverence for our planet and the life energies here is growing therefore so are our numbers.
Monotheistic Religions In North America, many of us are descendants of Europeans. Europe has been a Christian populated continent since Saint Patrick went out of his way to convert the Celts. Therefore, many of us with European backgrounds, come from Christian families. The pressure in this religion is intense, the mythology incredible and many feel the concepts just don't fit the times. Many feel unsatisfied and incomplete. Pagan religions offer the freedom to worship how you feel fit, a chance to get close to your deity, balance, and perhaps most importantly acceptance. A religion of nature feels that the concept of the "unnatural" is ridiculous and many "sinners" gain self-love here.
Media Though no witch likes to admit it, it is true that media is drawing people back to the old ways. Surprisingly, though the way we are portrayed is false, many read up on the "super-natural" and find that though it is not what they thought, it is where they belong.

Pagan religions are becoming more popular. These three answers seem to be most common. These reasons all scream one thing at me; that Pagan religions ARE for today's world because they deal with today's issues. In a century where we are looking for an identity we look to the past and return to the old ways. There is no doubt that our community will continue to grow.

Q & A

"I've been in the Craft for about 3 years. I want to join a coven. How can I find one or start one?" K.D. (16) in Ohio

To join a coven you first need to have your parents permission. (ooo the dreaded "p" word) This is important because not many covens will allow a minor to join, and those that do require parental permission for legal reasons. So if your parents give you the go ahead, then you can seriously begin the search for a coven. You shoud try the Circle Guide to Pagan Groups. You can get this for $18 (U.S. and Canada) $21 elsewhere. Send the check or money order in U.S. funds to Circle Guide, Circle Sanctuary, PO Box 219, Mt. Horeb, WI 53572 USA.

An alternative method is to search on-line (use your best judgement when doing this). Pagan groups available online include study circles, cyber covens, chats, and mailing lists. There are quite a few networking resources on-line. One of the best is "Witches of the World" at: http://www.witchvox.com/

As for starting your own coven, I suggest waiting a while longer before you take on this responsibility. Give yourself a little more time to expand your knowledge and get a clear idea of what it is you want to do exactly. However, I can suggest three excellent books that may help you along:
Inside a Witches' Coven by Edain McCoy, Llewellyn Publications, 1997
Covencraft by Amber K, Llewellyn Publications, 1998

and Wicca Covens by Judy Harrow, Citadel Press,1999

Moon SpiritWolf

Pagan Youth Resources

Young Pagans today who have ventured beyond the exploring phase of Paganism need support. We are at risk for being harrassed and criticized for our religious beliefs. This is mainly because in our society we are seen as too immature to know what's best for our souls if it goes against commonly accepted practices. Since Witchcraft and Paganism are not so well understood and accepted (yet), Pagans in high school are accused of being teenyboppers and going with whatever is the lastest "fad". In some cases, witchcraft or symbols associated with witchcraft and Paganism are presented to kids as "bad" influences. This questions our faith and sometimes has a very negative effect in our lives.

We don't just face the negative attitudes outside of the religion, we also face it within the religion. Although there are a lot of young Pagans who are just now going deeper into the faith, we aren't all doing it just because it's "the thing to do". Both the subject of Witchcraft as a fad and Witches at war with each other have been covered in an earlier issue of Starlight Voices (Vol.1, No.2).

Crystal Seifferly, a 17 yr. old whom we have interviewed for this issue was involved with a case against her school. Her school listed the pentagram as an item banned from the campus.

Starlight Review

Book Review

Goddess Meditations
Author: Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D.
256 pages
Llewellyn Publications, 1998
$17.95 (U.S.) $25.95 (CAN)
Reviewed by:Moon SpiritWolf

This book contains 73 guided meditations, all of which are useful and full of wisdom and guidance. Through these meditations, Ardinger, has given us a valuable tool for reaching out to the divine and expanding our spiritual growth.

Included in Goddess Meditations are tips on posture, breathing exercises,and advice on grounding for those new to meditation.

The meditations in this book cover "Light Work" (which includes love, compassion,healing,courage,etc.); "Dark Work" (cutting ties, setting limits, grief, divination, rebirth); "Chakra Goddesses". And even a chapter devoted to Goddesses for pure, free-form meditating.

I highly recommend this book for those of you interested in meditation. Whether you're just beginning or are looking for new and exciting guided meditations to follow, you're sure to find this book a valuable companion.

This presented the image that Paganism was a negative influence on teens and it also violated student's rights. We admire that fact that Crystal stood up for her faith. However, she didn't do it alone. Respectable Pagan organizations were at her side throughout.

We want you to know that there are organizations who take a positive and active interest in the youth of Paganism. Below are listed some sites and addresses of such organizations that do.

YoungWADL- Crystal Seifferly is on the Board of Directors as the Youth Advisor for WADL( Witches Anti-Discrimination League) http://welcome.to/WADL

Rainwater Society- Set up to increase youth involvement within the Pagan community as a whole. http://www.angelfire.com/ca2/YoungPagans

Youth for Pagan Awareness- http://listen.to/ourvoices

The Witches' Voice- http://www.witchvox.com

Awakenings- A mailing list for teens and college students. http://welcome.to/Awakenings/

Cyber-Moon Circle- A circle for those ages 12 - 20. http://members.tripod.com/~Moon_Circle

Coalition for College and University Pagans- http://members.tripod.com/ccup_org/

Youth Speaks and In the Starlight Special!

* Editors Note Crystal was interviewed while on-line. This interview is done as a combination of the above mentioned departments. We've done this because we feel Crystal deserves recognition "In the Starlight" for standing up for her faith. Since it is an interview we felt it should also be a part of "Youth Speaks".
How long have you been a practicing Witch?
I have been involved in Wicca since I was 13. I started to practice at 15.

Are your parent(s) supportive of your religious choice?
At first, they were leery. I gave my mother some literature to read and after a while she came to understand. The rest of the family ignores the issue.

What is your summarization of the young Pagan community? Who are the young Pagans in your eyes?
I have had little contact with the Pagan community. Up until this case started, I had no contact with other Pagans. Because I am just beginning to learn, this question is difficult to answer. As I see it, young Pagans are at a disadvantage unless they have personal access to other Pagans.

Are there any improvements you'd like to see within the community as well as with the public's view on teens in the Craft?
The public (the majority) see teenaged involvement within the Craft as a "phase" they will grow out of. There is an element of truth in this, as Witchcraft is alluring to teens and after they realize what the religion really is and isn't, they lose interest and move on. However, for those who are serious and have a genuine interest in learning their craft, ridicule like this makes it difficult. Young Pagans are not often taken seriously in matters like this.

**Regarding the case against her school. . .

Have there been any negative responses to the issue that you've personally had to deal with?
Some, not many. I have some psychos who are writing me letters. They are not Christians (as many assume). And one woman in particular keeps calling me. She's a born again Christian. She called to tell me I was going to Hell and she has claimed my name for Jesus. I told her a prayer is a spell and a spell without one's permission is black magick. She screamed Bible scripture over the phone and I hung up.

What were your parent(s) take on the situation? What were their feelings on you getting involved?

They were apprehensive about the reaction I would get. They were concentrating more on the 1st Amendment rights that were being violated.

Before this case did you have any problems at school due to your religion?
Once, a teacher mistook my pentacle for a gang symbol. It was sent to the police officer and he said he'd never seen anything like it. It then was sent to my asst. principal and I was called down. I explained it was a religious symbol, the ideology of Wicca. I was cleared.

What is at least one important lesson that you learned from this experience?
Stand up for yourself. Don't sit on your butt and bitch about what's not being done. Do it.

Is there anything else you'd like to add? Any advice for young practitioners? A message you'd like to get across to them?
Just because you are young doesn't mean you don't have some conviction. It doesn't mean you can't accomplish anything and it doesn't make you any less capable of making a difference. WADL has created a branch called YoungWADL. That is what the theme of this organization is. You can do anything if you try hard enough.

Interviewed by Moon SpiritWolf

Goddess 2000 Project Launches Community Art Event

Goddess 2000 Project: "A Goddess on Every Block!" is a Grass-roots community based Goddess art project. Thousand of pagans and others who honor the Earth are preparing to welcome the year 2000 by creating large goddess statues and paintings all over the country. Groups in other countries are also participating. Full details are available at the official ~Goddess 2000 Project~ Web site at: www.geocities.com/Athens/Thebes/3163/index.html

This year, all over the world, pagan groups, circles, and solitary folks will be making artwork that celebrates and honors the Goddess, the Green Man, and the CornMother. This will be the largest collection of Goddess Imagery seen in the past 3,000 years!

The official kick-off for this year long project was Dec. 21, 1998. Already many people have responded, and statues are being made in wood, plaster, concrete, clay, paper, textiles and metal. Paintings, collages and murals are also being made.

Winter Solstice 1999 will be celebrated with community Spiral Dances around the world and the dedication of the ~Goddess 2000 Project~ tributes to the Goddess.

Sponsors of this event are: Spiral Goddess Grove The Witches' Web & Circle Sanctuary. All three have websites that are popular Internet destinations. www.spiralgoddess.com www.witchesweb.com www.circlesanctuary.org

For Info contact: Abby Willowroot (WillowWebs@aol.com)
Goddess 2000 Project PO Box 403 - Benicia, CA 94510 USA

Do Unto Others...

...or, um, don't?

by Flicker

Self-sacrifice: Is this not the very foundation of the Christian religion? I find it sadly disturbing that those who would have me conform to their righteous ways would so flippantly overlook the essence of the institution that shelters them.

For quite some time now, I have watche a dear friend of mine struggle to develop his ideals beyond the cookie-cutter truths of his mother's faith. He will soon be eighteen, and (if only legally) "free at last". Unfortunately, there is no magic number which entitles him to respect.

An example: I recently traveled to the graduation ceremony of another close friend. My car has been permanently classified as a roadside sculpture, so I rode with an acquaintance who happened to be going to the same place. My friend was only an hour-and-a-half away from the town that weekend, so he offered to give me a ride home ... even though his car had recently been in the shop. The water pump had been replaced, but he was told that the car should run reliably.

It was a few minutes past ten in the morning when the police car pulled into the driveway. My friend's vehicle had broken down a little over halfway through the trip. A state trooper gave him $20 and a ride the rest of the way. Another kind soul gave us both a ride home. We were blessed with warm, sunny weather ... and our safety. The trouble? According to his mother, the car breaking down was clearly some sort of "punishment" for being disobedient unto the "Lord God's Will". How, you ask?

1.My friend should have known that his mother would not have approved of him driving the car anyplace "unnecessary" when it might still have problems.

2.(The real reason) Because of what she perceives to be my beliefs, she has declared me an "enemy of her God". Thus, any attempt her son makes to associate with me must clearly be in direct conflict with "her God's Will". She has specifically stated that she will not support any relationship between her son and myself, and that as long as he chooses to keep me as a part of his life, she will not support him. (Ouch.)

Again I ask: Is not self-sacrifice the essence of the Christian religion? Do the scriptures not encourage their followers to help their brothers and sisters in need, regardless of personal cost? Why would my friend be "punished" for this? We need to look no further than Jesus of Nazareth, who gave his life and love unquestioningly, even as he hung dying amidst his persecutors. Or, look to the night of his birth: Do we glorify the innkeepers who turned away Mary and Joseph? Of course not.

It saddens my heart to see a culture so intent on intolerance and judgement. These are not the qualities I want branded into the minds of my children. As long as our society focuses on the narcissism, exclusion, and degradation rather than simple acceptance and love, we will continue to self-destruct. Therein lies your Satan, Mrs._________" not our beliefs, but your hatred of them.

*Intro from the Senior Editor: Starlight Voices is proud to add the "The Green Life" column to the newsletter. It's focus is on our environment. This subject covers things from environmental protection to nature's remedies. So with that we'll turn this section over to the column's editor, Dragonraven.

Back in the times when pagan religions dominated the globe, there was a lot of stress, a lot of sickness, a lot of headaches, and sad to say, not a lot of preprocessed geltabs to cure these problems. The people centuries ago had to use leaves, roots and flowers as-is, and that was that. While some may say "I'd DIE without aspirin!" there may be the occasional event where you've left it at home, you've got a splitting headache, no one else has any, it's right before a big test, you're starting to see your own blood in the backs of your eyes......is this a problem?
Because you realized that you just happened to have a small collection of assorted leaves and roots in your backpack (well, it COULD happen). And if you don't have them this time, you will next time cause I'm going to tell you what you can carry around with you. Hey, if nothing else...theses things wont violate the "no drug" policies at school. (Cause nothing is more annoying than getting saturday school for carrying a bottle of unauthorized Aleeve).

*Stressed out over a test or over friendship problems or over a ritual that you're afraid wont go right? Chamomile tea will help a LOT (believe me on this one. I've tried it.)

*If you get a splinter from your broom or other wooden object, comfrey leaf and calendula flowers will be like Neosporin. They can heal the cut quickly and relieve pain. (This will not work if you rub them on your temples for a headache. Nice try.)

*If you're sick all the time due to a weak or slow immune system, or if you're just recovering from something, use astragalus. It can strengthen the immune system (which, for those of you who don't know, is the system that your body uses to fight disease).

*If you've got a cold that you want out and out NOW, echinacea root will shorten the virus's life span.

*And finally...if you have a headache (because of that big test) feverfew and meadowsweet herbs will take care of that for you.


P O L L ~ R E S U L T S

Poll commentary can be found on page 7 of thise issue. What do you think of the 'Media Witch'?

25% A. Hey they're the reason I began with Paganism
12% B. They disgust me. We need more of 'the truth' spread.
63% C. They're only meant to entertain, and so shouldn't effect our way of life.
0% D. Don't care either way
0% E. Other (please specify)

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