Letter to the Webmaster
Please Note: We at Holidays on the Net work hard to present factual holiday information. We has received numerous objections about our presentation of Halloween folklore involving witches. In fairness we present this letter from one of our visitors wishing to address this stereotyping. This letter is unedited (aside from spelling corrections).
Holidays on the Net is great! There is only one really big problem that I see here.
You see there is this religion that IS recognized by the United States of America as an actual religion. We hold the SAME religious freedoms that you hold. It is called Wicca, for short we are witches.
Yes its true that we do gather on Halloween and May first. Actually their names would be Samhain, pronounced Sow-wan, Oct. 31.Yule, Dec. 21, Imbolc, Feb 2nd, Ostara, March 20, Beltane, May 1st, Summer Solstice, June 21, Lammas, Aug 1, Mabon Sept 22, then back to Samhain again.
We, however, do not worship the devil as your story put it. In fact we have no deity that we call the devil, Lucifer, Satan, or whatever. We believe is a balance of both male and female. Thus we worship the God and the Goddess. We honor Mother Earth, and hold all of nature with great respect.
Also we do not harm anyone. The Wiccan Reed states that, AN IT HARM NONE, DO WHAT YE WILL. This one line encompasses all of the ten commandments the Moses supposedly brought down off of Sanai. We do not seek to destroy nor harm others for their beliefs. And we always try to understand everyone for their own system of beliefs. We do not believe that Wicca is the only true religion, and that we are all heading in the same direction after life, but we all get there on different paths.
If you were to sit down and actually study the Christian holidays you would see that many of our traditions were taken by them. Many of the rites that Christians perform were here long before there was a Christian church, or Jewish for that matter. These are rites and ceremonies that were and still are practiced by Wiccans.
Just to name a few, yule is on December 21. That is when we celebrate the birth of our Lord. Ostara is right before Easter. This holiday, or sabbat as we call them, is a fertility rite. Hence that is why there are bunnies and eggs. We believe that on Samhain the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest. So this is when we gather to honor our past on ancestors. To tell them that we love them, that we miss them, and ask for help if needed. Its our memorial day. Not a day that we gather to fly out on "brooms" and bring harm and evil upon the world. To be quite honest, the Samhain ritual is very emotional and touching. There are lots of tears and hugging.
We also do a little ritual at our sabbats called cakes and wine. This is when we break bread and offer it to the God and the Goddess. Then in turn we each partake of the bread. After this we do the wine. It is offered to the God and the Goddess, then we each partake of this. It seems strange how a pagan ritual has been put into a Christian ritual, communion.
On Yule we celebrate the birth of the Lord. This falls on December 21st. We decorate our homes with Yule logs and holly. Funny how Christmas songs still sung by Christians today talk of "pagan" rites for the sabbat. The holly is placed to honor the Holly King. The Yule log is set with three candles. They honor the maiden, mother and crone. The three forms of the Goddess. The Christians use the three as well, as the father, son and holy ghost.
Also we DO NOT use the term "warlock". This word means oath breaker. A male witch is called a witch, not a warlock. Many witches will take offense to this. Myself being a "male witch", and High priest and ordained minister of the Wiccan faith, I am not very fond of people calling me a "warlock".
The myth that people formed about us flying on brooms is a very old crop fertility rite. The people would gather together at their fields with brooms and pitch forks. They would jump over the brooms and such as a gesture of showing how high the crops should grow that year. The higher they would jump, the higher they believed their crops would grow. We did not fly through the air on the full moon wreaking havoc.
This is just a very small portion of our belief system.
And as usual, people have misconstrued us out to be some evil beings trying to bring harm to the world. Its sad that people can't understand who we really are. Even the Hebrews worshipped the Goddess for a time.
If you don't think so look in Jeremiah chapter 7:8. Everything was fine until good old Jehovah got mad. In all actuality, he didn't get mad. It was more likely that the male governing body couldn't keep control if the woman were not brought down. Probably where they got the saying of let your women be silent in church.
Understand that I am not trying to bash you for your story. But it would be nice and VERY appreciated if after the stories you could put the actual truth. It may have been just a Halloween tale, but people read this stuff and believe it all to be true.
There may be no more witch burnings in America, but we still lose our jobs, homes, families, and children because of belief. Because we are not following the "one true god" as the Christians would put it. That is why there are organizations like the Witches League for Religious Discrimination. We are still here, and growing in numbers. Our belief will never die out, no more than the Christians. But we do hold the same religious freedoms that they hold.
When you do your holiday net stories and such perhaps you should add people of other faiths as well. Not just the Christians and Jews. Maybe then the world would be more at peace and people could understand one another better.
Rev. (Name Withheld)
* Holidays on the Net has chosen to leave the writer anonymous because we have not been able to contact the writer to get permission to publish his name.
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