Oppression and the Pagan Path

Have you recently felt the pain of oppression in your life? We, witches, often see how other people’s intolerance results in unfairness and worse toward Pagans.

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, this you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives.
– Robert A. Heinlein

With today’s political and religious climate, oppression seems to be the norm. Racism, sexism, and religious prejudice apparently surround us.

Have you noticed any intolerance in our own community of witches?

Racism

One year, at a certain Pagan festival, I heard someone express racist comments in the hallway of the host hotel. This made me feel truly uncomfortable. I even felt anger rising up.

I can’t even imagine being someone of color hearing such garbage! My own husband is a person of color, and we have had discussions about this topic.

What is going on here? We, witches, already know oppression. Why would any of us feel okay about expressing oppression within our own ranks?

As witches, we understand being oppressed. We remember the Burning Times. With the atrocities, the Church drove the Craft underground.

With our community still bleeding from such oppression, why would any of us be okay with oppressing another person? If I could talk to the person who expressed these racist comments I would say, “We are all children of the God and Goddess. They love us all, that’s right, all! Remember, we are all part of the Gods, and, the Gods are part of us. There is no color in the God’s and Goddess’s eyes. We are one!”

Sexism

The overwhelming misogyny of the Burning Times is plain to see.

However, misogyny continues today. It’s reported that women only earn $0.79 to every dollar that men earn. Why is this tolerated?

While I was reflecting on this, I realized something startling. In modern witchcraft, it appears that men are being marginalized. Many of us realize that “witch” is a term for both men and women. However, many people have the mistaken notion that a male witch is a “warlock” (wrong!). The word “warlock” is only used for people who break their oaths. And many male witches consider it a derogatory term, which it is. So, please don’t call someone a warlock.

Think about it. It’s October, and you go into your favorite costume shop and look for a witch costume. Have you ever seen a male witch costume? I know I haven’t.

Keep in mind that a male witch is just as important as female witches. Remember that the Goddess gets all Her power from the God. The God lays all His power at the feet of the Goddess because He knows She is just and fair.

Religious Prejudice

In the Burning Times, not only did our community face misogyny, anyone who thought differently than the Church was in jeopardy. This meant you could be charged for heresy if anyone heard your opinion and reported it.

Mostly women were affected, but men were also accused and killed (hanged/burned). Whole towns were wiped off the map during the Burning Times. Some have reported that leaders during the Burning Times used the accusations of heresy as a pretext to fulfill their political aims.

Even now, many of us stay in the broom closet. Why? Hatred toward witches persists to this day.

Many of us stay hidden because we don’t want to be targeted by others’ hatred.

There are forms of oppression and domination which become invisible—the new normal. – Michel Foucault

This isn’t just the witch thing either. It’s also a race thing, and a sexism thing. It’s oppression in its many forms.

As Witches, what do we do when oppression is expressed in our own community?

As witches, we need to reach out with understanding in our hearts.

Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. – Albert Einstein

Compassion is more important than intellect in calling forth the love that the work of peace needs, and intuition can often be a far more powerful searchlight than cold reason. Betty Williams

So how do we reach understanding and compassion? With the God and Goddess, that’s how.

Through meditation and ritual, the Gods can help us look within and discover the truth.

That truth is that we are all connected, both to the Gods and to each other. We are all equal in the light of the Gods. We may look different, have different abilities, and have different personalities; but we all are one.

Even though, in many ways, we cannot control our world leaders and the destructive cultural pressures around us, we can hold our own culture to a higher standard.

Lead with love and compassion towards others.

So, when you look into the eyes of a stranger, see yourself, see the God, and see the Goddess.

Blessed Be,
Moonwater


 

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See my designs at Redbubble. For more of Moonwater SilverClaw, consider some of her books:

 

Goddess Style Weight Loss: Wiccans — Happy, Healthy and Confident

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Be a Wiccan Badass: Become More Confident and Unleash Your Inner Power

As a Wiccan I found this an inspiring read. Written in a way that makes it accessible to everyone irrespective of their current knowledge. – Shona Cathro

 

 

Goddess Reveals Your Enchanted Light: Peace, Prosperity, Possibility Along Your Wiccan Path

I don’t generally write reviews on books I’ve read…but this time i feel lead to. This book spoke volumes to me, as if the author knew exactly where I’m coming from and what I’m struggling with. It’s not often a book can make me cry, but this one did by making me see the many blocks I’ve put up in my life. I knew they were there, but I’ve gotten skilled at pretending they’re not. Thank you for helping me see I’m not some freak because of circumstances throughout my life that have caused the blocks, and that i need to stop hiding from or burying them and face them one step at a time. – Crystal Sparks

 

Real Magick

Beyond the Law of Attraction to Real Magic: How You Can Remove Blocks to Prosperity, Happiness and Inner Peace

This book is a must have for all of those starting out on the spiritual path of Wicca and for all of those who are just looking for some light and love in their life. MoonWater SilverClaw uses her knowledge of Wicca and her personal experiences to not only teach the Law of Attraction in a clear manner but to help you use the Law of Attraction to better your life.

Through simple guided meditations and tips on living a happy healthy life this book takes you on a journey that will teach you how to love yourself, better your self image, and rid yourself of the negative energies that prevent you from reaching your goals.

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MoonWater SilverClaw is truly an inspirational writer for a newer generation of Wiccans and those seeking to use the natural energies of the earth to make changes in their life. Her writing style speaks from the heart because she has been where the reader is, she has used these techniques and steps to better her own life and now she is helping the reader use the Law of Attraction to better theirs – Amazon Customer

 

Goddess Has Your Back

Goddess Has Your Back: How Wicca Can Help You Raise Your Self-Esteem and Make Your Life Magickal

This is an absolute gem for the witch with issues. Rituals for things like self-esteem are something i have never seen before. Moonwater’s writing is engrossing and draws the reader in. I am a witch with PTSD M.S. and other issues and this book made me feel hopeful and capable. – t’air

 

The Hidden Children of the Goddess Book

The Hidden Children of the Goddess Embrace Wicca, Become Strong, Be at Peace with Yourself and the World Around You

Ms. SilverClaw has written a book that is really great for the beginner wanting to learn about Wiccan or wants to start practicing the art of Wicca. I found this book wonderful, easy to read, and extremely helpful and informative. It covers everything from what Wicca is, the history of Wicca and how Wicca became misassociated with evil, along with how Wicca can help/save people’s lives. Ms. SilverClaw also discusses practicing Wicca either in a Coven or Solo, and all the things you need in order to have in order to perform your ceremony, and she explains what each item means. She explains how to create spells and gives examples to use, and explains the pitfalls of creating certain types of spells. Ms. SilverClaw has truly created a book that is a cast all net the seems to cover everything that I needed to know to begin practicing Wicca. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is searching for their first book on the topic and wants to start practicing the art of Wicca or is just curious about the topic. This is truly a Must Have book. – Tamra L. Shipman

 

 

Goddess Walks Beside You: How You Can Listen, Learn and Enjoy the Wiccan Path

This is a terrific book! It is like talking to the author over a cup of tea like one of the bloggers says. –  Kitri

 

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Why is Sexism More Acceptable Than Racism?

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I was sexually attacked when I was a teen. I share this fact in light of recent events …

Brock Allen Turner, the former Stanford University student, was recently convicted of raping a 23-year-old woman (outside a Stanford frat party taking place on January 17th,  2015). Turner attacked his victim while she was unconscious. Additionally, he took a photo of her breasts and shared this damn photo with his swim team buddies. For the criminal act of rape, he will only serve in jail for 3 months.

At least he can leave his cell one day. His victim is trapped forever in hers. I know something about this. As I mentioned, I was sexually attacked when I was a teen. I still can’t leave the prison of my mind. The attack affected me then, and the attack still affects me now.

I have grown with therapy. Yes, I am a survivor. But no matter what window dressings you put on a cell, it’s still a cell.

Turner’s father said that his son should not have to go to prison for “20 minutes of action.” This is not about 20 minutes. A person can lose a limb or be rendered paralyzed in the fraction of a second. We’re not talking about time. We’re talking about damage.

In this post, I’m talking about “Why is Sexism More Acceptable Than Racism?”

In a written statement the 23-year-old woman-victim of Turner’s CRIME, wrote: “He is a lifetime sex registrant. That doesn’t expire. Just like what he did to me doesn’t expire, doesn’t just go away after a set number of years. It stays with me, it’s part of my identity, it has forever changed the way I carry myself, the way I live the rest of my life. [her whole statement is here ].

51.9% of American women experience physical violence in their lifetime.

What if 51.9% of white men had their arm cut off—do you think some preventative action would happen?

Maybe that is part of the problem here. Rape and its after effects are not something you can readily see.

Let’s look at this further. Many men in countries around the world use women like tissue paper and then discard them like trash. In some countries women are considered property. In America, women are paid only 79 cents of each a dollar a man earns for the same work. Tell me that is not sexism.

In many places, a number of religions or sects of religion have supported sexism. Why are they pushing this archaic idea that women need to be obedient to men?

Imagine a better world in which equals, regardless of gender, are kind and supportive of one another. Certainly, Wicca honors the sacred feminine and honors equality.

The 23-year-old woman-victim of Turner’s CRIME, ended her written statement with:

“And finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you.”

When is the U.S. culture going to believe women, support women, and throw out archaic, horrible behavior toward women?

In American entertainment, women are beaten, raped and killed a lot.

However, American entertainment has progressed to have African-American characters in co-lead roles. Some African-American actors have their own television shows, feature films and more. (Hispanics and Asians are not always included.)

Apparently, showing non-racist depictions of ethnic characters has become a priority of some entertainment creators. So racism, at least in this situation, is not tolerated.

I ask you: Is it true that sexism is more accepted than racism?

I cannot be sure. I do not have access to all of the data. Still, my observations include seeing women verbally abused by their boyfriends, women mistreated at car repair shops, and more.

What do you see?

And I wonder about questions like: Do women get paid less than men of various ethnic backgrounds? The statistics reveal that women get paid only 79 cents per 1 dollar paid to men.

There is a statistic that Asians make 8% less than white men (that’s 92 cents per dollar). So it looks like being an Asian male has advantages.

As I mentioned, Wicca honors the sacred feminine.

The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn. – Gloria Steinem

Wicca shines the way for religion to embrace and empower women.

What is it going take to make things better for women?

Positive change IS possible. In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott held a conference to gain the right to vote for women. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was not ratified until 1920. That’s 72 years of effort until women gained their right to vote in the USA.

Let’s continue to speak up and take positive steps forward.

 

Blessed Be,
Moonwater

P.S. To sign up for our E-Newsletter click here.


Looking for gifts?

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See my designs at Redbubble. For more of Moonwater SilverClaw, consider some of her books:

Goddess Reveals Your Enchanted Light: Peace, Prosperity, Possibility Along Your Wiccan Path

 

 

Goddess Has Your Back

Goddess Has Your Back: How Wicca Can Help You Raise Your Self-Esteem and Make Your Life Magickal

 

 

The Hidden Children of the Goddess Book

The Hidden Children of the Goddess Embrace Wicca, Become Strong, Be at Peace with Yourself and the World Around You

 

 

Real Magick

Beyond the Law of Attraction to Real Magic: How You Can Remove Blocks to Prosperity, Happiness and Inner Peace

 

 

Goddess Walks Beside You: How You Can Listen, Learn and Enjoy the Wiccan Path

How does the Goddess view you?

Hands of different color
Color

How does the Goddess view you?

Do you imagine She looks on you with favor and kindness?

There’s another question: How do we look at ourselves?

This jumped into my consciousness when I was recently watching ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.

One story shook me up. It was the updated results of the Doll Test. What is the Doll Test?

In the 1940’s, Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark gathered young children for a research study. They placed two dolls (one Caucasian and the other African-American) in front of each child. The researchers asked, “Which doll is the nicest?” [The only difference was skin color otherwise the dolls were identical.]

The startling results included African-American children choosing the white doll as “nicest.” They rejected the black doll as “bad” or “ugly.” 63% of the African-American children said that they would rather play with the white doll.

Many of us might dismiss this result as part of the “unenlightened 1940s.”

In 2009, ABC World News redid the experiment. 88% of the 19 children of color surveyed identified with the black doll.

However, still in 2009, with President Barack Obama in the White House, 47% of the black and brown girls said that the “pretty doll” was white.

This “doll test” process was repeated again in April 2014 and the brown and black girls were asked, “Which doll do you want to take home?”–and the girls got into a tug of war over a blond, white doll!

What?!

Since I’m Caucasian, I cannot know what it is like to live as a person of color. Still, I’m concerned. I believe that the Goddess comes in all shapes, shades and sizes. They are all beautiful.

For more insight, I asked my friend Crystal Blanton to share her thoughts:

 

crystal

“The influence of racism on black and brown people in this country does not just stop at adults, but also children who are influenced by the over culture without the adequate critical thinking skills or experience to process it. The conditioning that happens for those who are Black in this country goes back for generations, and continues to influence the way that Black culture is created, and how Black people see themselves in relation with the rest of the world. Standards of pale skin, long straight hair, and thin bodies as the definition of beauty are all around us and this influences us from the time that a child can formulate what it is to be a person. Not only is this trans-generational trauma passed on through the lineage, but we are also subjected to it within the media, and mainstream culture.

I am not sure what the Goddess would say to someone who feels less due to the color of their skin. I think this largely depends on the Goddess herself, and the depiction of the Goddess. Most of our mainstream Goddesses are also Caucasian, and do not reflect the black and brown either. If I were talking about the greater spirit of the Goddess, regardless of archetype and pantheon, I would say that she would be concerned with the implications that anyone feels inferior due to characteristics that they are born with. I also think though that she would encourage strength through the challenge and not to take that away. I believe that we, Black people, are often stronger in our resolve because of what we have walked through, and I think that is a part of the Goddess’s plan.

I don’t think that Wicca addresses racism. Some Wiccans and Pagans are doing a lot of work to bring racism into the conversation on a conscious level, so that we can use that awareness to combat it. But I think that the foundation and structure of Wicca itself was fashioned as a Eurocentric construct without the consideration that multicultural, or multifaceted individuals would be a part of this spiritual path. I think it is one of the roadblocks that we need to continue to discuss in our community as a whole.”

I agree with Crystal that having the conversation about supporting all of us—all of us beautiful people with various colors, sizes and characteristics—is important.

Frequently, in current news, there is a group of people who say that we are in a “post-racial” world in the United States. (By the way, those voicing the opinion are NOT people of color.) They imply that no consideration be shown for people dealing with inequities due to color and ethnicity.

However, when I talk with my friends and my sweetheart (who is a person of color), they say that they have all experienced different treatment due to their skin color. They disagree strongly that the United States is “completely enlightened” at this time.

Let’s keep the conversation going.

Blessings,

Moonwater SilverClaw

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