The Witches Come To Slate.com

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Slate.com contributor Lee Ann Kinkade (she previously wrote a piece on intentional communities) outs herself as a Witch, and reveals the less glamorous side of practicing Paganism.

“This picture leaves out an important detail, and I don’t mean the whole human-sacrifice-and-stealing-Christian-babies thing. Planning a ritual, whether it’s for Halloween or any other holiday, is a conflict-filled battle. It’s like trying to herd jack rabbits on horseback. Those who practice witchcraft tend to be strident nonconformists, and the very nature of paganism, which has no unifying body or text, means that we have no obligation to believe the same thing or listen to anything beyond the dictates of our own consciences to unite in perfect accord. Often we flow together, achieving unity in which we are transported beyond ourselves, connected with the earth we love and the energy we feel from it. And just as often, we don’t.”

Kinkade shares some personal ritual mishaps from her past, and her annoyance at those who want to be “Pagan for a day” come Samhain.

“It seems like half the people I know want to be pagan on Halloween. I have no problem with a little religious tourism. I’m a bit of a spiritual slut. I have never turned down an invitation to a Seder. Bach thundering through a church transports me. But when I see visions of bacchanals dancing in my nonpagan friends’ heads, I get a little testy. Certain experiences are too comforting, too sacred to be spectacles. For me, Samhein is one of them.”

When an essay run in a major online publication discusses “Pagan standard time” and sloppy ritual preparation, I guess we really have hit the mainstream.