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Just Because You're Paranoid Doesn't Mean They're NOT Out To Get You
by Pat Carbonell
So, when last we saw our heroine, she had just been "outted" by her best friend and decided to do it up right by plastering her car with pagan/witch bumper stickers....
One of the first bumper stickers on my car read "My Goddess Gave Birth To Your God". If you actually read about the history and evolution of religions in the Mediterranean region, that is a true statement in an anthropological sense, never mind the metaphysics of the issue. It's also pretty guaranteed to piss off the Religious Right - hey, that's my favorite button: "Doing My Part to Piss Off the Religious Right!" Followed by "Lord, please save me from your followers!"
That bumper sticker got me stopped on the production floor at work by our very Catholic Boston Italian company president. He wanted to know what it meant. I looked him in the eye and replied "Vic, it means I'm a pagan." He thought about it for a minute, said "Oh, okay." and walked away... after he was around the corner I started to breathe again!
Now let me explain something: I live in Vermont, so while I'm technically pretty safe here, there's all kinds of un-safe. Like Vermont employers don't have to have a reason for firing you. Lucky for me, Vic turned out to be reasonably tolerant.
I do, however, suspect that some of our local law enforcement folks aren't. I have an incredibly clean driving record. No, I don't pot along at 40 m.p.h., and heaven forbid the garage ever actually checks my emergency brakes when they do the annual inspection, but I don't get pulled over. Until this past year. First it was getting pulled over for a dead headlight and fined $137
Actually, I wound up in a wonderful argument with a Born-Again over the Pagan DNA one. I had written an article for a newsletter about the evolution of Halloween. Come on, folks, this one is WELL documented. Started as pagan Samhain, got ripped off by the early Christian Missionaries and renamed All Hallows (Saints) Day, hence the night before was All Hallows Eve'n, and finally slurred into Halloween. Well, this guy took great exception to my statement that it had started out as a pagan festival - hung around the shop until he could nail me on it, then just flat out wouldn't listen to anything I said. I finally got so pissed I dragged my friend out of a session with a client, told him he had to man his store, and walked out. Sometimes it isn't worth it to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.
Now don't get the idea that all of the responses I've gotten to being a witch have been negative; they haven't. I get a kick out of my doctor, who asks about it every time I see him and seems to be tickled pink that he has witches for patients. Just yesterday he came back with what I've found is a very standard question when I'd told him about a nasty, complicated situation in my life: why don't I hex the other person?
So why don't I extract witchy revenge on people who screw with my life? Because I'm a white witch; I don't use my abilities to hurt people. Sure, I know how. I even know how to make a voodoo doll that works - but I don't. There's this thing called karma, which is basically "you reap what you sow". I told my doc, and a whole lot of other people who've asked, that I don't want to spend my next lifetime as a dung beetle in an elephant herd. Think about it. Too much shit, too little time - major frustration!
There are also two philosophical statements that white witches live by: "An it harm none, do what ye will" (known as The Wiccan Rede or Law), and the Threefold Law, which says that what you put out there will return to you threefold. Be kind and loving and helpful, and you'll get the same back tripled. Be a four-star bitch, and you will get that back threefold, too. So I try to harm no one (unless I'm defending an innocent), and I try to keep my input to the universe positive.
There's also this little issue of having promised, many many years ago, that I wouldn't do nasty things to others. There are some promises you just have to keep.
The other really cool thing that's happened since I went public is the number of closeted witches that have found me. Some I met through that discussion group I facilitated; some through the Internet via my postings on a site called WitchVox. Then there were the ones who introduced themselves to me at the Farmers' Market this past summer. I have a business, tradenamed "The Witch's Broom Closet", making semi-precious gemstone jewelry and essential oil therapuetic blends, and I started doing the Market this year. Some of these witches would come right out and start chatting me up about the Craft; others kind of sidled in and gave themselves away by how they handled the crystals on my tables - hands spread wide, eyes closed, "reading" the energies... gotcha!
Every one of them wound up shining with this incredible joy, finding that they aren't alone out here. It was very humbling. We are so fractured and hidden, even now. Why?
Because of things like the note left on my windshield. That one assured me that "Jesus loves you!" Not a problem, that's great, I don't have anything against Jesus. He was an incredible rabbi, with a wonderful message of love and tolerance that I still don't think the human race is ready for (Gospel of John, Chapter 13, verses 34-35: "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."). I've had a Lutheran friend tell me that I'm one of the best Christians he's ever met, even though he knows I'm not a follower of Christ.
It's His followers that I have a problem with....
Well, I couldn't have set up that segue to the next installment any better if I'd tried, so I'm going to end this one here.
Next installment: "The Last Time We Mixed Politics and Religion, People Got Burned at the Stake"
A Vermont Village Witch