Now, Witchvox is in an incredible community tool in that it allows any of us to write and present our opinions about Neo-Pagan Religion and Life. The problem? It allows any of us to write and present our opinions. Sometimes I read things on Witchvox and am apalled by the tangents that writers spiral on to.

Emilioa Enchantra’s article “Organization is Key” caught my attention simply because it’s a statement I do agree with and that I’ll probably write about a number of times. I thought maybe it would be about personal study organization or community organization. What can I say – I have a problem with people who complain and preach but don’t do anything, and more so, say things that I consider just plain wrong.

Firstly, the author brings up the idea of “educational booths”, information kiosks regarding Paganism, and how they should exist, especially in smaller, more ignorant towns. I do wonder if she’s moved enough to start one herself. Afterall, especially in small towns, being “out” does leave one open to attack.

Living in a diverse city, being a “Witch” really isn’t all that weird to what else we’re exposed to. I will put forward that in Montreal there IS a public resource centre , The Montreal Pagan Resource Center, for people who want information. There’s even a library. Furthermore, many of the schools have semi-active Pagan student groups who hold Pagan awareness events. I am still involved in some, and believe me, it’s not always a nice experience.

First and foremost, to come out of the broom closet and admit to other people about our beliefs, wherever appropriate. We have to stop hiding if people need to know we exist.

I’ve already written about this. Stop being so pushy!

Tolerance begets tolerance. We understand that people have different beliefs.

Tolerance is not the same thing as acceptance. We can demand tolerance, we deserve it as a matter of courtesy. Acceptance is a whole different ball game! For example, I tolerate hijabs but I don’t accept them. I will certainly be polite and courteous to those who wear them and their families, but women having to cover their head and not men is NOT alright with me.

I feel that many speakers on Witchvox are demanding respect and acceptance like it’s owed to them. Well, it’s not. It’s something we’re going to have to be patient and work hard for. We have to stop flaunting our differences and stop pulling out the “discrimination” card whenever someone disagrees with us.

13 Goals of a Witch, The Wiccan Rede, and If they want to get into detail-Call of the God and Goddess.

Once again, it’s all about Wiccans! If we’re going to do outreach, it has to be on the behalf of all Neo-Pagans! Not all of us believe in the above! And, moreso, Wiccans often disagree on the interpretation of the Rede itself, so I doubt we can be consistent when discussing it with others.

We do not have a Bible, but we follow basic guidelines.

A lot of people feel that this is what the Bible is – basic guidelines and lessons to be learned. What silly outreach statement, really. Can not The Rede be resemble the Bible for Wiccans?

I am of the opinion that there is no such thing as “a” Bible. There is THE Bible. THE Koran. THE Torah.

The general understanding that we do not need established “churches” or “sermons” to make our religion valid.

Another silly statement, which makes me question whether the author is aware of her own Craft! We do need “churches” and “sermons”.

Our church is not built of wood, it is the sacred space we create. Some of us cast a circle and create our own little universe in which we can commune with God (God-ness, The God and the Goddess, The Divine.) Others go into the wilderness, where the earth is still as the Creator (God, Goddess) made it, and ask that it is blessed.

We do have “sermons”. In covens, High Priestesses and High Priests do lead the rituals. They do teach lessons – not from the Bible, but instead about the lessons of Harvest, the dark half of the year, giving thanks to the ancestors. They give “sermons” about the Gods and Goddesses they are working with, explaining their significance to circle members.

Even those of us who are solitaries give ‘sermons”. We speak to ourselves, retell stories about our grandparents, of hard times and lessons learned. We recite our own prayers to The Divine.

Here’s a better way of wording what the author probably meant to say:

Neo-Pagans do not believe they need a mediator to have a relationship with Deity. While a Priest-figure may be more skilled, Neo-Pagans believe that anyone can have a personal relationship with The Divine and can communicate with Them in their own way.

Many of us are absolutely against practicing any form of Black Majick, such manipulating other people, making people fall in love with us, making peoples’ hair fall out, etc.

Actually, most of us don’t believe in “black majick” period. Magic is of no colour, no moral alignment. Just like there is no such thing as “good” or “evil” guns. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Magic cannot be evil, only the intent of the practitioner.

I’ve also already written about how all magic, even “white” – ugh – magic, can have potentially negative outcomes, just look well intended actions sometimes have after-effects we didn’t mean to happen.

Most of all-we do not in any way or form believe that Satan exists nor do we worship such a being.

So what? Christians really do believe in Satan and feel that your ignorance puts you at greater risk. It’s like me saying “I don’t believe in cars, so I can’t be hit by one.” This is not the right way to approach monotheistic religions. It’s better to put forward that Neo-Pagans believe in taking full responsibility for their actions. The author of the article did mention this.

Finally, the best for last: Not all Witches practice Witchcraft.

Yup, I’ve written about this too! The word Witch always conjures associations. If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen! A Witch, by definition, is someone who practices Witchery, the craft of Witches, and Witchcraft. Many aspects of Wicca are common to Witchcraft, which is why many Wiccans call themselves Witches. Some Wiccans specifically DON’T call themselves Witches.

Does the author not understand what Witchcraft is? Does she even know what Wicca is? The above statement actually does more harm than good in an outreach situation because it’s confusing and wrong.

Now, not all neo-Pagans are Witches. This is certainly true.

Well, have you got a better suggestion?

So, what about this article is about organization, really? It’s more of an incomplete call to arms. When it comes to outreach, there are a lot of better ways to go about it that recommended by this Witchvox article.

Always work with one person at a time. Try to keep your cool, and stop if conversation starts getting sensitive. Mind your manners.

Begin with things we have in common: Faith, personal development, being a good person, helping the community, and the power of prayer. I like to bring up the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s also a good conversation ender, when sometimes people must agree to disagree.

Allows others ask you questions and answer them to the best of your ability. It’s understandable you won’t have an absolute answer – As in Neo-Paganism,there are different Christian sects too that have very different practices and beliefs beyond simply revering Christ.

Ask them questions! Show an interest in their religion. Bring up hypothetical situations – would good Christians and good Pagans really behave differently? Are not good people all similar, regardless of religion?

Is it all about after-life? Do they keep going on and on about hell? Well, then you haven’t got much choice. You’ll have to tell them that you try hard to be a good person, that you understand that they mean well, but that you’ve made your own choice. It is God who makes judgement, afterall, not man, so you’ll leave it up to Him (or Her or Them 😉 )

Give some contact information, maybe a new e-mail account that is specifically for inquiries about Paganism from your neighborhood. Sure, you might get spammed. Then again, at least those people know that there’s someone they can ask with a different bias. Every once in a while, a predator takes refuge under the umbrella of Neo-Paganism and preys upon those newly interested. Someone should be there for those who might find themselves in those situations.