Before I get into the story of my forcible eviction from the broom closet, I want to clear the air regarding some common misconceptions people (including the family) have about Paganism and being Pagan.
1. Do you worship the devil?
I put this one first because it’s the one thought everybody jumps to when they hear the word “pagan”.
No, Pagans do not–repeat, do not–worship the devil. Pagans don’t even believe in the devil, which is an invention of the Big Three religions. There are Satanists, but Satanism is not related to Paganism.
No devil worship, okay? Get it? Got it? Good.
2. Do you sacrifice animals?
I know in every movie where they want to indicate the “occult”, they have a circle of people in a candlelit room or clearing chanting over some poor animal and preparing to slice its throat.
This is not what happens. (NOTE: In Voudon and Santeria, there is animal sacrifice, but the animal is then cooked and eaten as part of the rites, with the best parts laid out in offering to the Gods. I’m not talking about that. )
No self-respecting Pagan would kill an innocent animal in a ritual. For what? For power? The power is inside you; it doesn’t come from spilling the blood of a poor, frightened animal. To kill something just because goes against our only law: “Lest in self defense it be, harm none.” That includes animals.
There was a time when most religions (yes, including Christianity) did practice animal sacrifice, but most religions don’t do that anymore.
Besides, I’m an animal lover, and I couldn’t bear the thought of causing them to suffer.
Do Pagans sacrifice? Yes, but it’s more in the line of what Catholics do for Lent. We give up something of ourselves to become better.
There are some blood rites (consecrating and blessings of tools, for example) but the blood used belongs to the person doing the rite, no one and nothing else.
3. Can you do stuff like the girls in the movie The Craft (or Charmed or insert-some-fantasy-show-here)?
Short answer: I wish! If I could, do you think I’d be living with the family I live with and putting up with their crap? I’d be gone so fast you’d have to have a high speed camera to see me leave.
But no, we can’t zap people or freeze time or make people explode. Nor can we snap our fingers or wiggle our noses to make things happen.
Magick does work, though. You know that saying “Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it”? It applies here; be careful what you ask for, because magick works, and if you do it right, you’ll get exactly what you asked for.
Remember, the power comes from you. So magick works in accordance with your will. It’s not the stuff you see David Blaine or Criss Angel do, however, so don’t expect to see anybody guessing your card, levitating, or making lovely assistants disappear.
Which brings us to the next question people ask.
4. Do you cast spells? Do you cast spells on people?
Ah, spells. Next to the devil worship question, people ask about this the most.
Some Pagans cast spells. There are some, I’m sure, who don’t. Some may have moved from one to the other in the course of their development.
For example, when I was starting out, I didn’t do spells. I didn’t understand how to craft them, and I didn’t get into this so I could cast spells and “be powerful” or anything. That wasn’t the point of this journey for me.
Now, I do cast spells, very rarely. It’s still not the point, but I’m beginning to understand that the Mother is willing to help me if I ask.
As for casting spells on people, the answer is no. So I wouldn’t use a love spell on some poor sap so he’d fall in love with me.
Well, why not? I can hear you ask. Who wouldn’t want somebody who’s totally devoted to you at your beck and call?
Have you seen the movie The Craft? The main character in that put a spell on this dude so he’d fall in love with her. It worked–too well. He fell in love with her, yeah, but in the process he became a dangerous, obsessive stalker who tried to rape her. That’s not romantic, kids, in movies or in real life.
And putting spells on people interferes with their free will. We are all free things, with the right to decide what we want to do and how we want to do it. Besides, if you did manage to get somebody with a spell, you’d forever wonder if their feelings for you were true or the influence of the spell. Who wants to put themselves through that misery?
5. Do you call up demons?
My family is notorious for this question, so I put it here to keep this post somewhat on the topic of this blog.
The simple answer is even if I could summon up demons (which I can’t) why would I want to? Demonology is a fascinating study, but I’m not King Solomon. I don’t have the power to wrestle with demons, who sound like they’re some nasty buggers.
I’ll update this post as I get asked more questions.