Saturday, September 02, 2006

Nightline: Are There Any Real Pagans Out There?

On Sept. 1, the date of the Warner Brothers' release of a new version of Wicker Man, originally a 1973 scary scary film about bad evil pagans, ABC's Nightline did a piece to let us know that there are people in the U.S. who call themselves Pagans–over 100,000 of them, according to Nightline host Martin Bashir. Should we be scared? I was hoping not, and you know what? The story was almost balanced.

After moving from a film clip showing the big bad Wicker Man to a clip from the Burning Man Festival, the story turned to a more placid and typical group of Pagans (Witches, mixed gender coven) in a circle, holding hands. The reporter mentioned that Witches often do their rituals half-naked (Which half? America wants to know! But okay, as long as it isn't full nudity. Now that would truly be scary! ;-)). The Witches they showed were fully clothed. He also mentioned that some people feel that women are treated better in Paganism than in Christianity. The reporter said that Pagans worship nature, and one of the Witches said strongly and clearly that there was no Satan or worship of Satan in Witchcraft.

The last sequence was an interview with Susun Weed , identified as a Dianic Witch. We were told that Dianics worship goddesses, but I don't remember there being any statement about other Pagans worshiping goddessess or gods, and the word "feminist" was never used (we wouldn't really want to scare them!), nor the fact that most Dianic groups are all women. The interview with Susun was mellow, with the reporter attempting to maintain some skepticism (especially when Susun wouldn't let him go on the part of her property occupied by fairies) and ending with Susun helping the reporter cast a spell, a rather mild spell consisting of three very positive affirmations. Unfortunately host Bashir couldn't let this groovy ending be. After the spellcasting segment, in a spooky voice Bashir warned us: "You shouldn't try this at home!" Yeah, scary.

Update: Already at least one person, signing himself "paris c" on the ABC News Dateline Forum objects to having a Dianic represent what he terms "wicca," because he doesn't consider Dianic legitimate and because she/it is feminist. Anyone can post on this forum hint hint.

Update 9/4: Click here to see video, which wasn't available when this first posted.
Technorati tags: Nightline/WickerMan/Dianic/Pagan/Wicca/Witchcraft/feminist/Witch/Susun Weed



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Judith Laura

More blogs about /goddess/feminist theology/spiritual feminism/pagan/feminist spirituality/.