Take off the Blinders

Take off the Blinders

Author:   windsinger 

There are many articles on the topic of what Christians think of the Wiccan/Pagan/Heathen way of life from the Pagan’s POV and most of what I have seen is negative. I, for one, am here to try to open some minds and hearts in acceptance and understanding. It’s time for the community to take off the blinders and stop thinking that we’re in the Burning Times. Just bear with me and read through this. I think it will enlighten some of you; at least, that’s my hope.

I was raised in a family with mixed religious views. My mother and sister were Jehovah Witnesses and my father was Southern Baptist and never really finding a fit in their faiths, I searched for my own. I went to some churches with friends and other family members, did the whole First Priority thing at school, and went online to Wikipedia and just started looking up religions. So after a lot of research, prayer, and self-evaluation I found my fit in Wicca.

Now please keep in mind I am from a small Baptist-oriented town in Louisiana where literally everyone knows EVERYONE and coming out of the broom closet was pretty much taking my life, and that of my family’s lives, and putting them under a really big microscope. Not to mention, I was fifteen when I came out of the broom closet. As far as I knew, I was the only Pagan in town and honestly, it was a little scary. I had the mindset that most of us from small highly Christianized towns have when we get ready to tell the world who and what we are: that people would be talking smack, calling me a devil worshiper or any of the other things that anyone going against the status quo might think.

Remember how I said my sister and mother were Jehovah Witnesses? Well, the Kingdom Hall that they went to heard about the path I was on and that I lived with my sister. The Elders of the congregation brought my sister into the conference room and told her that she needed to kick me out of the house because of the fact that I was a witch and that I practiced “spiritism” and consorted with demons.

Now last time I checked I didn’t know any demons — not counting my Chemistry teacher of the time of course. So at this point, my sister was faced with having to put her own brother out on the streets because of his faith or she would be disfellowshipped (kicked out) from the Kingdom Hall. Now that’s a big deal because no one who was a Jehovah Witness would then be allowed to speak to her and she wouldn’t be able to go to church or anything. She, of course, chose her brother over the closed minded ideals of the congregations Elders and was then disfellowshipped.

A year later a Brother from the Kingdom Hall who had known our family for years called my sister and apologized and asked her back to the congregation. He explained that the ruling was from the older Elders who were very stuck in their ways and that they had no right to tell her to kick me out.

Now the point of this essay is to tell the reader about how Christians are NOT all closed minded fire and brimstone carrying individuals who spout the rhetoric of hell and damnation. Granted yes, there are many, many, MANY people who call themselves Christians who are just like that. There are many who like in the example I gave about my sisters’ incident are out there and put a very bad face on Christians as a whole. I have met and am friends with many Christians who go to church every Sunday, do bible studies, and fully and whole-heartedly embody the ideals of love and understanding that true Christians are.

I have had Christians defend my choice of faith against other people who called themselves Christians. They have gone to bat over and over again on how everyone has the right to choose their faith and, even though they may not agree with what I believe in, they accept that I do believe in my faith and love me still. Not once have any of the people who I know to be true Christians shown me anything other than kindness, acceptance, and love.

Not all people who call themselves Christians are truly Christians and not all people who call themselves Witches, Pagans, and Heathens are truly following and embodying the spirit of what it means to be a Witch, Pagan, Heathen, Wiccan, and so on and so forth. The saying “…there is always a bad apple in the bunch” is a fitting way to put it.

We are supposed to be an open-minded and accepting community of people who do not judge others for their faiths and practices and who are supposed to understand that no ONE path is the right and only way to enlightenment/salvation/deity. One of the reasons that being part of the Pagan community is so amazing to me is that it’s filled with so many different people of different ideals and philosophies all striving to find their place in the world and their own spiritual fulfillment and coexisting and growing together.

I don’t know if anyone will actually read this and I don’t know if half who do read it will even give this a second thought. I do hope that some of you will think about what I have said and stop thinking that all Christians hate us and that they think that we are all crazy and lost. I know that some of you truly have dealt with only the “fire and brimstone” type of people, and for that I am sorry, but just give them a chance; sooner or later you will meet some people who truly are what Christians are supposed to be like.

Let us not judge the whole of one group of people on what some have done and said.

My (Not So) Normal Eclectic Life Story

My (Not So) Normal Eclectic Life Story
Author: Greywolf

Merry Meet! My name is Jordan, but you can call me Greywolf for short. Well I guess it all starts where and how I was raised. I was born in California, but I grew up in Fayetteville, Arkansas with my mother and my stepfather. My parents got divorced when I was a young child and my father stayed in California while my mother moved away to Arkansas. My mother and father were raised in “The Truth, ” as they refer to it, although most people know the religion as the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness throughout my entire childhood. Yes, this includes me going “door to door” and knocking in the deep boondocks of Arkansas to talk about God to a lot of very interesting characters, while leaving the “Watchtower” and/or an “Awake” in a folded fashion below the handle of a screen door. (Here’s the shocker) and not celebrating any birthdays, holidays, or festivals of any kind.

I guess because of this religion, I’ve always felt out-of-place, compared to all the other kids in the classroom. Although, it did teach me to have very good social skills and an outgoing personality which I admire (most of the times) .

I’ll always remember the times in class when my classmates would stand up to recite the daily pledge on the announcements. I was always the one still sitting in my chair while my new classmates would urge me to stand up and put my hand over my heart, not knowing of my faith; or maybe it was the time when there was a birthday kid in the class and everyone would eat the pink and blue frosted cupcakes that were guzzled down by everyone. Everyone except me, of course.

But to top it off, I would always end up having to move to a different house or apartment because of financial issues. I suppose your probably wondering now how I got here now, so enough of my childhood. Let’s move on to the adolescent age shall we?

Well after an extremely long period of time and a lot of argumentation between my Jehovah’s Witness mother and my disfellowshipped (excommunicated as you might know it) father, my mother agreed for my only brother and I to go to a school in California for a year.

Middle school was one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with my entire life so far. I was not prepared for such a cultural change and shift; it still baffles me how I survived it. Nevertheless, it was horrible; kids were mean and talking about drugs (in which, by the way, I’ve never heard the names of in Arkansas) and sex.

I was constantly picked on (luckily I didn’t have an accent because of my California born and raised mother and step-father) because of my differences. Though I thought I was perfectly dressed just the way I was. But apparently my classmates weren’t fond of it at all. And they weren’t too shy to make that clear either.

On the bright side I was able to have my first birthday (in which I was 12 by the way) and I got to celebrate some of the fun holidays (I went to Arkansas Christmas break and stayed there till summer) that were once considered immoral.

I made one friend and he was my best friend as well. I hung out with some of his friends as well, so I wasn’t a complete loner. Although barely anybody at my school knew me and if the did, then it was because I was one very annoying and short little kid. Despite all of that I was failing a lot of classes and usually got bad marks by my teachers for acting out and being “disruptive” in class.

Although it sounds like I’ve had a fun original life. It was quite the opposite. I suffered from depression and tried committing suicide twice in my middle school. I down a whole bottle of extra-strength ibuprofen while I was in the bathroom during my history class period.

About ten minutes after I went back to class, I asked my teacher to go to the nurse because I was having a hard time breathing (I knew it was working by then) . But when I got to the nurse she dismissed it as the cold weather affecting my lungs. I went back to class and found out that I wasn’t going to die and the breathing problem was all in my head caused by me hyperventilating about the whole situation. I know now that the only reason I lived was because the goddess saved me. But I didn’t know it.

Well not quite yet, that is.

Since I was a dumb loner nerd I would always go to the library 24/7. The library would be full of books, that I wished were my friends that would entertain me with stories to replace so many of my friends, in which I’ve never acquired in those years. Then one evening when I was “hanging out” (in the library of course) I came across a black and white book.

Teen Witch: Wicca for a new generation” written by Silver Ravenwolf was one of the coolest books I’ve ever encountered in a public library so far. But as suspected, that most definitely wasn’t my initial thought as I approached the book with curiosity and fear as if the book would jump up and attack me. I checked my back to see of anyone was watching as a raced to grab the book (as if God himself was in the library watching my every move) off the table and made a dash to the small chair by the window in the farthest corner of the library.

As I skimmed through the pages, my heart was beating so fast and strong I thought the bottle of ibuprofen was just kicking in, although it had been three months since I took them. I decided that the book was interesting and it was not of the most evil of the world as I proceeded to the checkout.

Surprisingly my first remark about Witchcraft came from the librarian who helped me check out the book.

“Planning on turning someone into a toad?” he remarked.

I responded with a cold smile wondering if there was a spell to turn him into a toad right then.

I must admit that when I read that book, I thought I was an “Insta-Witch” and I made a book report to my English class about the book. Stupid idiotic mistake. I regretted that report throughout the rest of my 7th and 8th grade year with all the remarks of students to me.

Three years, dozens of books and a couple teachers later, here I am. Enlightened, focused and happy that I made the best decision of my life by taking that book. I’ve learned so much during these years through practice and dedication. Although I haven’t been initiated yet, nor am I in a coven, I am surprised of how far I came with this way of life. Witchcraft has helped me through my depression, problems, and my way of thinking.

Although I haven’t came out of any closets yet about my faith to my friends I have managed to keep my social life, educational life, extracurricular life, family life And spiritual life in balance and comfortably intertwined with another.

I have many friends at school and I even got nominated for homecoming lord my freshman year! From a loser and an outcast, to a popular guy at school, I consider my life to be “on track.” I do not wear black, I don’t particularly like rock at all (I prefer hip-hop, R and B and pop) nor do I wear a pentacle, nonetheless, I am proud to be one outstanding (if I may say so myself) Eclectic Witch.

Go Pagans!