Is There a Witch Next Door?
Photo by Sashala
And the truth is, you may never know. Because followers of Nature Religions are still persecuted–yes, even in places that tout freedom of religion–many cannot afford to come out of the “broom closet.”
They’re not hiding who they are on the inside or ashamed of their religion. Not at all. Yet if they are open with their spirituality, they are often met with misunderstanding, prejudice, hostility, and even death threats.
Pagan employees may face discrimination that will cost them promotions, raises, or even their jobs.
Pagan students are harangued to the point of dropping out of school or they’re threatened with expulsion for wearing jewelry representing their religion.
Pagan parents risk custody of their children to bitter ex-spouses, uninformed judges, and fearful grandparents.
Adult pagans are frequently ostracized by their Christian parents and family members as well as neighbors and long-time friends.
Pagan authors learn to deal with threats and hateful book reviews and may be blacklisted at non-pagan publishing houses.
Pagans everywhere read sharp-tongued editorials and biased news articles that make them feel ill at ease outside their homes.
How seriously will some zealots take the re-written “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”? Freedom of religion is not so free as those of mainstream religions might think.
Often these cruelties come from well-meaning people of other religions who have never dared to read outside their own faith to see what anyone else believes. They genuinely think that anyone with a different experience with Deity is wrong or disillusioned–what arrogance to think that their personal beliefs trump someone else’s relationship with Deity!
Then of course there are those who have watched too much bad TV and don’t even realize that Witchcraft isn’t about hokey Hollywood special effects.
For the best idea of the type of discrimination pagans face and the very real threat to everything they hold dear, we recommend the suspense thriller, Flying By Night.
So who are the witches next door?
They’re students in junior high school with straight A’s, and they’re college professors with Ph.D’s and a string of awards. Many are school teachers, like Mirabella in Maggie Shayne’s short novel, Witch Moon Rising. Teaching seems to be a natural profession for followers of Earth Religions.
They’re protectors and defenders, another occupation frequently found in pagan circles. They’re detectives and cops, like Robyn in Lorna Tedder’s suspense thriller, Flying By Night. They’re security specialists, private investigators, auditors, and soldiers. Sometimes they’re lawyers, like Grant in Flying By Night or Lydia in Access and its prequel, Witch Moon Waning.
As expected, many followers of the pagan path follow a more creative career path into the arts.
Healing is another popular profession for pagans. Doctors, nurses, Reiki masters, and–like Kestrel in Flying By Night –hypnotherapists who help victims of car accidents recall the preceding events or aid smokers in putting down their cigarettes.
Even though some would prefer to be full-time priests and priestesses, working to heal and to teach, they’re hard-core scientists, stockbrokers, and Government bureaucrats. They’re engineers on cutting-edge technology programs. They’re program managers of multi-billion dollar projects and, like Lorelei Madison Steele in Access, they’re negotiators for the Department of Defense.
And then there are less artsy, sometimes less prestigious or less wealthy professions for pagans. Library aides, piano teachers, bookstore employees, landscapers and gardeners, printing press operators, gas station attendants, waitresses, taxi drivers, mechanics, and retail sales assistants, among others. Meg, in Waiting on the Thunder, sold pharmaceutical supplies before moving back home to take care of her uncle’s farm.
Still other pagans are likely to branch out on their own, rather than deal with existence as a rank-and-file employees of a major corporation. Teddi Jo, in Thunderstorms and Convertibles, a planned novel for the Coven of the Jeweled Dragon series, once sold books and greeting cards at a major bookstore before taking up the entrepreneurial reins in her hometown and opening a tiny cafe featuring her artwork.
And let’s not forget the pagan mom (or dad) next door! She’s probably a little bit of all the professions mentioned above. More and more often, she’s like author Kristin Madden of the non-fiction guides, Pagan Homeschooling and Pagan Parenting.
So is there a witch next door? You never know. As pagans like to say, “We are everywhere.”