Pagan Voices: beyond the veil edition 2017

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Pagan Voices is a spotlight on recent quotations from figures within the Pagan community. As Samhain approaches, we turn instead to the voices of those who have gone before us, be they Pagan leaders themselves or influential in the intersecting Pagan, Heathen, and polytheist communities.  Look into the cauldron, and hear the words of those who came before us.


Aleister Crowley

To practice black magic you have to violate every principle of science, decency, and intelligence. You must be obsessed with an insane idea of the importance of the petty object of your wretched and selfish desires. . . . I despise the thing to such an extent that I can hardly believe in the existence of people so debased and idiotic as to practice it. — article “The Worst Man in the World” in the Sunday Dispatch (2 July 1933); quoted in the Magical Revival (1972).

Doreen Valiente

Let my worship be within the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. Therefore, let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. — Charge of the Goddess, c. 1953

Gerald Gardner

I have been told by Witches in England: “Write and tell people we are not perverts. We are decent people, we only want to be left alone, but there are certain secrets you mustn’t give away.” So after some argument as to exactly what I must not reveal, I am permitted to tell much that has never before been made public concerning their beliefs, their rituals and their reasons for what they do; also to emphasize that neither their present beliefs, rituals nor practices are harmful. — Witchcraft Today (1954)

Isaac Bonewits

We know full well that new witchburners seek to once again light the stakes of persecution with the fires of bigotry and hate. Equally well do we know that, despite our innumerable differences with one another, the time has come for us to stand together against the forces of fear and oppression. The very survival of ourselves, our children, and our planet depends upon the outcome of our present struggles.

Therefore: we will use whatever means exist to preserve, protect and defend our religious, civil, economic, and human rights, as well as our reputations, from all those who would slander, libel, defame, suppress, or otherwise persecute us for our beliefs.

We will no longer allow self-righteous followers of anti-life beliefs to prevent us from the free exercise of our human and constitutional rights. We will no longer allow anyone with impunity to publicly accuse us of being “Satanists,” “devil worshippers,” “charlatans,” “lunatics,” or any other loaded terms of slander and libel designed to denigrate, defame, or prevent us from the peaceful and legal spreading of our beliefs. We will no longer hesitate to bring civil suits and/or criminal charges against our would-be inquisitors whenever possible, no matter how wealthy or powerful they may be. — the Aquarian Manifesto with Historical Notes (1973; 2001)

Margot Adler

Magic is a convenient word for a whole collection of techniques, all of which involve the mind. In this case, we might conceive of these techniques as including the mobilization of confidence, will, and emotion brought about by the recognition of necessity; the use of imaginative faculties, particularly the ability to visualize, in order to begin to understand how other beings function in nature so we can use this knowledge to achieve necessary ends. — Drawing Down the Moon (1986)

Raymond Buckland

There are no hard and fast teachings about what should be done with the body after death. After all, it was only a shell for the spirit, or soul, that inhabited it and has now gone on. Many Witches (I think, probably the majority) favor cremation; others leave their bodies to hospitals. It is a personal choice. Few, if any, Witches see the sense of the elaborate and (for the relatives) expensive trappings of today’s funerals. — Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft (1986)

Judy Harrow

The present use of the word Wicca was originally a workaround. Twenty years ago, when I first came into contact with Witchcraft, we were thought of as either devil-worshipers or delusional misfits. To avoid these inaccurate and unpleasant connotations, many of us adopted the original Anglo-Saxon spelling, but not the pronunciation or grammar. In Old English, the double c is pronounced “ch” as in cherish, so the pronunciation is “witcha.” Wicce means a female Witch in Old English. Wicca means a male Witch (and yes, there certainly are male Witches). Wiccan is the plural, Witches, and wiccian is the verb. Wicca Covens (1979)

Scott Cunningham

That perhaps is at the core of Wicca–it is a joyous union with nature. The earth is a manifestation of divine energy. Wicca’s temples are flower-splashed meadows, forests, beaches, and deserts. When a Wicca is outdoors, she or he is actually surrounded by sanctity, much as is a Christian when entering a church or cathedral. — Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner (1988)

What is remembered, lives.

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