Against The Witch Hunters
"All this has happened before. And all this will happen again. But
this time it happened to ..."
Thebeginning of Sir James Barrie's PeterPan must echo what many of
us are feeling, as we watch a new and loosely-knit conglomerate of
yellow journalists, right-wing eco-spoilers and Evangelical and
Fundamental Christians move slowly towards a Witch hunt for the 90's.
Our spiritual ancestors faced similar problems in many times and many
Recall the Priestesses of Eleusis, last of an ancient line, in
decline, falling at last to the stratagems of Theseus and his new
Attic Gods. Recall the Etruscans, their vision of sexual-political
balance overpowered by the might and organization of the husband-
headed Roman empire. And most tender to the touch, recall the agony of
the middle ages, as the Catholic, then Protestant churches consolidat-
ed their grip on the rural population, killing six million alleged or
actual Witches in the process.
The hunt is in a beginning stage and beginnings are important. The
formal focus of the television specials, Redbook articles, diatribes
in the LaRouchite New Federalist, "Occult Crime" seminars and newspap-
er articles is some thing called "Satanism", which bears little or no
relationship to Wicca and Neo-Paganism.
In fact, media "Satanism" bears little resemblance to any histori-
cally verifiable Satanism. It is neither classical Egyptian Set-
worship", Romantic Ceremonial Satanism a la Huysmanns nor modern
Egoist flamboyance per La Vey. Sometimes it's heavy metal sullenness,
drugs and violence, but that's usually only for starters. The heavy
metal boys, we're usually told, are just dupes of the Great Conspira-
cy. And when you get down to the real stuff, the genuine complaint,
it's generally the stuff of horror movies and nightmare -- baby-
eating, virgin-sacrificing bloodsucking monsters!
All this has happened before. And all this will happen again.
There's a limited range of things that can be used to stir up the
anger of a populace against a group, or deaden moral sensitivity to a
persecution. It pretty much boils down to baby-eating, virgin-sacrifi-
cing and bloodsucking.
This has been the century of Hitler's Holocaust. but the Russians
who butchered entire Jewish villages in the Pogroms, the inhabitants
of York who slaughtered nearly every Jew in the city in the 1100's
didn't merely think the Yiddim dressed and talked funny. The accusa-
tions were the same. By Jesus, those Jews ate babies! They were just
like Satanists, with one exception.
You could find the Jews.
There probably aren't any "Satanists" as portrayedin the articles,
seminars and diatribes. If there are, they're certainly not Neo-Pagans
or Wiccans. But in the lucrative atmosphere in which the press,
missionaries and so-called "Crime Advisers" publicize and proselytize,
the word "Witch" creeps in every third sentence.
Naturally,we Witches and Neo-Pagans have spent a certain amount of
effort pointing out that we love children like anybody else, have no
particular attraction to virginity, and tend, in the most extreme of
our diets, to vegetarianism. In short, we have tried to educate our
detractors and the media to our harmlessness.
This tactic is true, andthis tactic is good, but I thinkthat if it
becomes our primary response to persecution we will ultimately fail to
Imagine a Witch inthe Middle Ages in front of aCatholic or Protes-
tant tribunal. In some cases she has been denounced by a business
competitor, or an envious rival in love, or a spiteful neighbor. In
other cases she has been brought to the dock by an expert in "Occult
Crime" -- the traveling Witch Finder.
She stands bound before her Inquisitors,plain or pompous depending
on their religious persuasion. Perhaps there's a crowd around. She
tries to educate them to the simple fact that she's a worshipper of
the Old Gods, loves children like anybody else, has no particular
attraction to virginity, and tends, in the most extreme of her diets,
They, in turn, accuse her of worshipping a living fiend, blighting
the cattle, and eating babies.
She doesn't stand a chance.
Now picture another scene, one that has not occurred often. She
stands before those assembled, and begins, shall I say, to point out
some facts. She points out the medieval physician with the two per
cent live delivery rate who wants the local midwifery practice shut
down. She points out the priest and bishop who are terrifying the once
fun-loving populace into penury and pestilence with the twin threats
of damnation and the noose. She denounces the Christian nobles who
will brook no interference with their rule, least of all from the old
Nobility of the land.
She'd be shut up in short order, but in a different way, for she
would be addressing the real issues. The nonsense about babies, Black
Men and cattle was then, and is now nothing more than a smoke screen
to mask real and significant religious and political differences. It's
all a cheap trick, a coward's cheat, a way of throwing muck until some
sticks. It is only used when the real terms of debate cannot stand the
light of day, and it works only if we permit it!
Our situation is in no way as dire as that of our ancestors. Only
now have things moved to the stage where one group, the far-right and
sometimes farcical Limonites, actively bait Wiccans and Neo-Pagans as
being "as bad as Satanists". And unlike our ancestors, we have a
freedom of speech they could only dream of. We will not be silenced if
we speak, certainly not at this time.
So let's not waste our opportunity! Whenever the "Witch-Hunters"
bait us or attempt to smear us with their cannibal taunts, let's find
out what the real agenda is, and address it. Make the Lyndonite defend
himself against whipping up the population against a minority religion
as Hitler stirred hatred against the Jews. Make the entire La Rouche
crew explain their suicidal environmental policies, and their editori-
al statement that "the worship of Mother Earth does indirectly lead to
mass murder ..." Engage them on the real issues -- just what the
worship of the Mother really means, and what people are really like
that scapegoat innocents and despise nature!
Likewise with the "Occult Crimewatch". Ask them about theirsources
of revenue. About their religious agendas and connection with Evan-
gelical missions. Ask the if they support religious freedom, and if
non-Evangelical religious belief, in their opinion, is a hazard to the
public. Ask them, if you can corner them into a frank reply, what on
earth they are doing lecturing hate to police officers sworn to
protect all the public, Christian and Pagan!
The media deserve the same. Let's not spend more than a breath
denying lurid charges. Instead, ask them why they are sensationalizing
and smearing a legitimate religion to make sales. Inquire as to
whether the German press in the 30's had a responsibility for the
slanders on the Jews that they printed. Ask them how they'll feel if
harm comes to one Pagan woman or man, girl or boy through their
negligence, indifference to non sensational fact and search for sales.
In every case we have an opportunity to turn the tide, by coming
right out with our real differences in front of the public, and
insisting that the terms of debate be on genuine issues. We must
refuse to be backed into a defensive posture, denying ever wilder
Instead let us bring our active advocacy and love of our Gods, of
Mother Earth, of our families and children and ourselves to the fore
in every debate. We must require our opponents to bare their genuine
beliefs and motives, and contrast them clearly with our own in full
view. We must sharpen the terms of debate so keenly that no person can
leave the scene without having to make a clear and conscious choice
about what they value and believe is right.
There's no point in lecturing to the Cardinal. The audience for
every debate is not the Witch Hunter, it is the neutral observer. Let
them see the love of the Earth, and contrast it to nearsighted greed
and poverty of emotion. Let them see the love of the Old Gods and
contrast it to a cringing fear of the Father's judgment. Let them see
generosity and intelligence and refusal to be sacrificed, and contrast
them to venality, cunning and scape goating. In every debate, let us
rise to the height of our capability, and let our opponents have it
in the Values -- right where it hurts!
Next: Charging Crystals (Ian Kesser)