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 Stereotypes and Misconceptions of Modern Day Pagans

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morningstar
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PostSubject: Stereotypes and Misconceptions of Modern Day Pagans   Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:27 am

Stereotypes are something that we have to deal with on a daily basis, whether they are stereotypes directed at us or stereotypes that we direct at others. As the world progresses and technology improves, we have the ability to clear up many of these stereotypes and biases simply by putting the word out on the internet. That is my intention today - to clear up some of the distorted views and perceptions of modern day Pagans and their ways. While I do not consider myself a devout Pagan (I am a bit of a Christo Pagan), I do feel it is necessary and relevant to tell the truth about this ancient way of spirituality. Maybe in doing this, I can aid in the effort to tear down the walls of prejudice that is still left in the world...even if it is just a little bit.


Misconception: They are Satanists/Devil-Worshipers!
When most people hear the word "Pagan" they automatically think "Satanist." If you have never met a Pagan or learned anything about true Paganism, you might be inclined to have the same thought. Unfortunately, society has put a stereotype against Pagans...automatically labeling them before even getting to know who they are or what they believe.

FACT: In fact, Pagans are not Satanists at all. Satan, the horned evil, fallen deity from the Christian religion, doesn't even exist in Pagan beliefs! That's right! I know it's shocking to hear that Pagans don't dance around a bonfire on May Day, chanting to the Devil and having orgies, so I am sorry to disappoint you. Many Pagans believe that there is good and evil but that there is a balance of it. Some Pagans believe that the only good and evil in the world is whatever is in the heart of a person. In truth, the main rule of a Pagan is this: An Ye Harm None, Do As Ye Will. Obviously this rule doesn't leave much room for "Satan's" work.

While we are on the topic, I can also tell you that the Pentagram (a Pagan and Wiccan symbol) is not a Satanist symbol by any stretch of the imagination. Its mistaken identity can be attributed to the Satanist community that has taken the Pentagram for their own and flipped it upside down...sort of like the peace sign has taken the cross and broken the limbs in order to form a new symbol. The Pentagram is a 5-pointed star, with each point actually representative of the five crucial elements - earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. It is encircled, tying the elements and all of us together into one circle of life, if you will.


Misconception: They Are All Witches That Cast Spells on People!
All Pagans are witches and witches cast spells on people! Many people have a picture of an old hag witch leaning over a large black cauldron, stirring some eye of newt and mole's tail into a pot of green boiling liquid. She then uses this revolting, stank potion to put a spell on the nearby child neighbor or she hops on a broom to go for a midnight ride around town...cursing families and their crops.

Fact: Not only is this image of a Pagan incorrect, it is also a figment of the Hollywood imagination! While it is fun to dress up as a witch for Halloween or watch them on movies such as Hocus Pocus and The Wizard of Oz, the green haggy witch is merely a stereotype! Second part to this is that not all Pagans consider themselves witches...which is another misconception. While witches are a type of Pagan, there are different types of Paganism...just as there are different types of Christianity or Hinduism or Islam.

Misconception: They Are Going to Hell!
If Pagans and witches are Satanists, then they are indefinitely bound for hellfire and brimstone! They will burn and feel the gnashing of teeth due to their wicked and evil ways. At least, this is the statements that I have heard when the word "Pagan" or "Witch" has been mentioned in the presence of a Christian.

Fact: While it is all good to have your beliefs and opinions, not every religion in the world believes in a place called Hell. Paganism is one of those religions. Certain Pagans believe different things about the after-life; however, many believe that one's soul goes through reincarnation until reaching a level of when it is time to descent to the "Summer Land", if you will. Is Hell a place in any of the Pagan religions? Not that I have ever come across, no. Since they believe that every soul has meaning and has lessons to learn on this planet, why would these souls be damned eternally? If they have not learned these lessons but continue to make the same mistakes (as grisly as they may seem), they will continue to reincarnate, until the lesson has been learned.


Misconception: They are Nerds!
Pictures flitting the internet when one types into the search engine "Pagan" may pull up groups of what appear to be...NERDS!

Fact: At first glance, the typical Pagan may seem a bit unique..maybe a bit of an outcast; however, not every Pagan is from the "Nerd" way of life. I, myself, while I consider myself Christo Pagan, have to admit that I may not be the "coolest" person in the world; however, I am not your typical stereotype of a nerd...therefore I am not a stereotypical Pagan...therefore, the stereotype of Pagans being nerds is unfathomable! I do not have long scraggly hair with big-rimmed glasses and out-of-style clothing. I do not wear pocket protectors or suspenders (usually). While there are nerds in every walk of life, and I am sure there are nerds in the Pagan ways, there are also normal people. But, what defines "normal" anyway?


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