#46:  Out of the Broom Closet:  Paganism Meet Up

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“I’m going to a witch meeting tonight for prayer #46.  We’re making magic wands!”  I said to Patrick enthusiastically.

“Wow.  If you see a black cat cross the street, head in the other direction.” He suggested.

A few weeks back I attended the paganism group, “Out of the Broom Closet” composed of self-proclaimed pagans, a few proud wiccans and one shaman.

Once I learned about the group, I emailed the organizer Tam to admit that I wasn’t a pagan, but interested in learning more about her practice and asked if it’d be okay to attend.  She kindly extended the invite and suggested that I just bring a snack to share and drink of my choice.  Like always, I waited until 10 minutes before I had to leave to prepare. I stood in my kitchen, staring blankly into my pantry.  “What do you think witches eat?”  I asked Patrick.  “Do you think they like granola?”  “Yeah, sure.” He said.  “Who knows, maybe they’re hippie witches or something?”  I grabbed my unopened tray of granola, a bottle of water and headed to Tam’s house located on a small side street off of Parham road.

After I pulled up to the 1,000 square foot home I sat in my car for a moment, a bit apprehensive.  As is my usual ritual, I bowed my head, closed my eyes and said a little prayer.  “Lord, be with me while I’m in this paganism meeting.  If there is something you’d have me say about You, give me those words to speak.  If you want me to remain quiet and be a silent observer, I ask that You guide me in that way as well.  Whatever Your will in this house, I pray it be done.  In Jesus Name, Amen.”  When I opened my eyes, I felled compelled to immediately close them again.  Apparently there was something I was hiding from God that I wasn’t ready to admit until now.  “I’m scared, God.  Is this wrong to do?  I’m going to walk in a room full of witches.  What if they cast some spell on me or something?”  Without a moment’s hesitation, it almost seemed as though God replied.  “Relax, Jessica.  I’m with ya” and in an instant, I was completely at peace with what lay ahead of me.  Knowing I was in His presence, I opened my eyes, and my car door and made my way toward the witches home, all the while praying that God would give me the words to speak if there was someone who needed to hear about His unwavering Love. 

I approached the steps.  Before I could my ball my fist to knock, a woman came to the door, “You’re looking for Tam.  She’s out back in the garage.  You’re at the wrong place.”  I apologized for interrupting their evening and made my way toward the back of the home.  As I approached, I was met with a sign that read, “Welcome to the witches home.”  “This must be the place”, I thought.  A voice called from inside, “Come in!”  So I took a deep breath in and opened the door.  Tam warmly greeted me. 

For once, I didn’t have any preconceived ideas about what these people might look like.  I never conjured up any images in my head of the witches depicted in Hollywood films that had long grey straggling hair that hung past their waists.  I knew she wouldn’t dress in dark clothes or have sticks and brooms in every corner of her house. Clearly, that’s just in the movies.  Well, much to my surprise, Tam was either 11 months early for All Hallows Eve or modern day pagans looked an awfully lot like the old school witches that dropped houses on their sisters.

I followed Tam through her vestibule where she stored some outdoor items and passed through a cloth curtain to meet with the rest of the group.  “There’s only one rule in my house.  You have to hug me when you get here!” Tam said.  She moved toward me with a big smile, wrapped her arms around me and gave me a tight squeeze.  As soon as she did, I felt safe.  “How could I be scared of a friendly bear hugger?”  I wondered.

I was quickly introduced to 2 other pagans, Lisa and Alice and the 4 of us sat around a small poker table which was covered in beads, stones, ribbons, and wire.  Tam’s living room, bedroom, dining room, prayer closet, guest room, and office were all located in the same room. 

It was painted bright yellow and the words “Do no harm” covered the wall.  There was a 5 point star with a circle around it that I had always equated with Satanism displayed behind the chest were I sat.  I had known from their website that they didn’t condone this type of worship so I wondered what the star was supposed to represent.  After getting acquainted with Alice and Lisa, Tam asked if I wanted the tour.  Of course I did so I left her living room and took one step into her bedroom.  I then looked to the left to enter her study.  After leaning my hip toward the right, I entered her prayer closet.  “This is my altar dedicated to my son.”  She said.  “He passed away a few years ago.”  The altar was covered with pictures of him, stones, little trinkets of colorful fairies and candles.  I felt compelled to hug her again but I resisted.  “This is my cleansing altar over here.”  Tam explained that this was the sacred area where she removed the energy from the stones. Apparently it’s a huge no-no to touch someone else’s rock because you transfer your vibes to their stone and that’s just not cool at all.

I then looked up at her ceiling where several Native American dream catchers hung.  “What are these?”  I asked.  She explained that she was a Native American Shaman.  I admitted that I knew very little about these practices and warned her that if I asked anything ridiculous, I apologize for it now. Tam seemed pleased that I was interested in her practice and proudly explained where her faith originated.  “When I was younger, I had a traumatic event and a spiritual eagle came to visit me to keep me safe.” she said. I inquired more.  “How young were you when you became a pagan?”  She replied, “I’ve been a pagan since I was 5.”

It seemed like a good opportunity to ask the other girls when and where their faith originated.  Alice was a brand spankin’ new pagan only practicing for a year.  Lisa said, “I’ve been a pagan on and off for 5 years now.”  Both were initially introduced by Tam who seems to be quite the pagan evangelist.  She organizes the events, opens her home for worship, and continues to grow the pagan community here in Richmond.

Once I was given the grand tour and got to know the girls a bit, we all started making our magic wands.  I didn’t bring a stick but it seemed Tam had plenty.  She also provided me with the ribbon, wire and stones.  “How do I know which stones to use?”  I asked.  Tam explained.  “You just take your hands and lay them over all the stones until you feel one pulling you in.”  “Um, pulling me in?”  I inquired.  Tam went on.  “Yes, Jess.  Just allow the energy to be with you.  You’ll feel a warm or tingly feeling and you’ll know that stone belongs to you.” 

My Magic Wand

My Magic Wand

As she suggested I put out the palm of my hand and slowly ran them over all the stones that were scattered along the table.   I didn’t feel anything.  Maybe I wasn’t going slow enough, I thought.  I tried again.  I flattened out my palm and hovered over the stones. I felt that one stone in particular was crying out, “hey you!  Put me on your magic wand.”  So I picked it up, and while smiling, I decided that this tiny turquoise stone belonged to me.  “Oh good choice!” Lisa exclaimed.  She then handed me a book that described each stone’s energy. I continued searching out the other rocks that belonged to me as I purposefully crafted my magic wand.

About an hour into the meeting, another pagan joined the group.  The more we spoke about religion the girls revealed that each one of them were brought up in a Christian church but something about it had turned them off.  One rejected it because God was seen as male and she needed a goddess to identify with.  They poked a bit of fun at my faith when explaining why they left it but nothing too extreme where I felt the need to defend God’s honor or anything.  Another mentioned that Christians were judgmental and they didn’t practice what they preached.  At one point, Alice started to bad mouth the Christian faith a bit too much but Tam reminded her of the pagan motto, “Do no harm” and that included judging other faiths. 

I felt a bit awkward as they discussed Christianity because I knew if they asked me about my spiritual background, I’d have to be honest and they’d just spent the past 20 minutes discussing what was wrong with my religion.  As anyone could imagine, that could certainly create a weird environment.  Then, Tam asked the very question I feared “So Jessica, in these 52 weeks, have you found a faith you identify with?”  I gave a very vague response.  “I identify with a lot of them.”  “Oh!” Tam said joyfully.  “You’re a seeker!  That’s wonderful.”  I sat silently asking God how to proceed.  Part of me wanted to reveal that I was a Christian, the other part thought it wiser to remain silent.  But what did God want me to do?  I was technically a seeker, I reasoned silently.  But at the same time, I found what I was looking for. I sat urging God to give me the words to speak.

Thankfully, somehow the subject then changed back to paganism.  As the girls talked about their god and goddesses, I played out in my head how I could have handled the previous question.  How am I to be an effective witness while still remaining true to God and not turning people completely off so they disregard anything and everything I say?

The new girl, Amanda, then said that she was in a relationship with her god Odysseus.  Without even thinking, my mouth opened and words started to pour out.  “When you say you’re in a relationship with your god, do you mean like you talk to him and he talks to you?  For instance, I’m a Christian so I hear what God has to say through Bible study and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  And He hears what I say when I communicate with Him through prayer.  Is it like that?”  Amanda appeared happy to find common ground, “Yes!  It’s exactly like that!  We communicate also by doing spells.”  I then inquired about where they got their spells from and how they know who these gods are etc.”  Tam pulled out a couple of books off her shelf and said that she tells her girls the following, “If you hear about a particular god from at least 3 online sources, you can trust that it’s safe to communicate with that god.”  I thought to myself, “I can find 3 people online who think they’re God.  What does that prove?.”

After about two hours of wand making and discussing paganism, my magical masterpiece was complete.  I had covered it in bright colored stones and it was wrapped in hot pink and purple ribbon.  Alice, who was holding a dark brown and emerald wand said, “I’d just die before I used pink ribbon for my magic.”  I sat there smiling cheerfully and replied, “pink is my favorite color!” 

I thanked everyone for the experience and let them know I’d be writing my blog post soon.  I promised to keep those anonymous that requested I do so.  Apparently it’s hard to get a job promotion as a pagan so they keep their religious choices under the radar.  As I made my way toward the door, Tam insisted that I take with me a sacred rock before leaving.  I looked into the bowl and reached out the one that called out to me and put it in my pocket.  I then thanked Tam and the rest of my new found pagan friends for having me. 

Before the door shut behind me, an unusually happy Tam then said, “Oh, Jessica….One last thing.”  I turned around to face her.  “One of my gods has been impressing upon me that someone was going to come into my home and try and spread Christianity at one of these events.  I have been doing spells ever since to stop that from happening.  I had a deep feeling someone would come and try and convert our group.  When I got your email saying you weren’t a pagan, I was certain that it was you.  Thank you for not being that person.”  I replied, “I would never muscle anyone into my faith.  That’s not how my God works.  So don’t mention it.”  I then waived good-bye and walked out. 

When the door closed behind me, the hair on the back of my neck stood up a bit.  I quickly made my way to the car, got in and locked the door.  I then closed my eyes and prayed for each person inside by name.  I prayed that they would find the no-pressure, authentic, gentle love of a Savior who desperately wants to have them enter into His rest.

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30 Comments

  • Scott

    Scott December 18, 2010

    You should not have gone there, Jessica. On the face of it, this is a “cute” tale, but from the Bible’s standpoint that was not a place for a believer to be.

  • Dave VT

    Dave VT December 18, 2010

    Jess didn’t do anything wrong by going there.  God called her to this project.  God didn’t call her to “52 Prayers except witches”.  She did not go there with any serious intention of becoming a practitioner of Witchcraft.  She called on God’s protection before going in.


    God willing this may provide a basis to one day evangelize these people.
     

    I know the verses you will cite so it’s not necessary for you to bother.  God does not intend for us to completely abandon these people to their mistaken beliefs.  Maybe by spending an hour with these people now, a year from now Jess will bump into one of them at the movies or the grocery store and have an opportunity to speak to them when they are ready to listen.  We must trust in God’s plan.

  • Scott

    Scott December 19, 2010

    Dave, I still do not believe that God “called” Jessica to do the 52 “church visits.” There is no Biblical precedent for it and read Jessica’s posts, note how many times she relies on “feelings.” Some good may come from these visits, but because of God, not Jessica.

    God does not call a believer to go where they should not be. For example, I am not going to go inside a bar to interact with the people even if I have called upon God for protection. If God wants me to witness to them, I will do it in a way that is in obedience to Him and will bring glory to Him and not present a stumbling block to others.

    Being a believer in Jesus Christ means being different from the rest of the world, not acting like the world. Remember, the believer is suppose to be a new man—a new creation—and not to behave as the old did. 2Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

    The believer in Jesus Christ is to show others that Jesus Christ is the answer. People are out there looking for something, but they do not know what it is. They are searching but do not realize that Jesus Christ is who they are looking for and He is different from everything else they have tried.
    But if christians are behaving the same way as the others, then how is their life showing that Jesus Christ is different? For example, if christians are calling Jesus Christ “their homeboy” or how they look forward to “chillin’ with Jesus”, they are not showing the different solution that those others need.

    Going to a place of false worship is essentially condoning the practice. For example, how many times does the Bible show Jesus Christ going to the temple of Mithra? None. Jesus Christ ate with the harlots and the tax collectors and the Pharisees, but He did not partake in their activities. Paul may have gone to Areopagus, but he also clearly and pointedly gave the Gospel message. And he did not stay when they rejected what he said. Paul did not stay to listen to what non-Christian philosophies they believed.

    Dave, you may wish to dismiss what the Bible says about witchcraft, but to me they are strong, dire warnings to those that even dabble in it. I do not wish to “abandon” them, instead they should be warned and they should be told the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

    Is Jesus Christ any less loving in Matthew 23 than He was in any previous chapter? His approach is different, but still loving. But would you say the pressure level was different too?

    Time is short, Life is precious, and Christ Jesus is coming soon.

  • Jessica

    Jessica December 19, 2010

    Hi Scott,

    I always love hearing from you. You challenge me to look at myself with an honest eye.  I don’t always agree with you, but I appreciate where you’re coming from.

    You said:  “I do not wish to “abandon” them, instead they should be warned and they should be told the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.”

    Honestly, ...which scenerio do you think is more effective?

    a) I come in guns blazin’ (or actually, in your scenario I don’t go at all) and immediately say,

    “Jesus loves you.  You’re a sinner.  Witchcraft is wrong.”

    OR

    b) “Tell me about yourself.  Tell me about your practice.  Interesting….I’m sorry you lost your son, that pain must have been overwhelming.  Let’s hug.  Oh, that stone does that.  Neat.  Now let me tell you a bit about my practice, my God, and how I communicate with Jesus Christ.  Oh, and before I go, let me tell you one thing about His character.  He doesn’t push in a forceful way, He draws.”

  • Scott

    Scott December 19, 2010

    Exactly. You should not have gone. Maybe you were not suppose to witness to them. Even Jesus Christ did not witness to everyone. Did He reach out to the Greeks in John chapter 12? And read Matthew 13, especially verse 13-15.

    The point is that Jesus Christ did not go to a pagan place of worship. He preached in the streets, from boats, and on hillsides and in synagogues. Look at the directions He gave to the seventy (Luke 10), they were to stay in homes of believers. He did eat at the home of Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7). Consider how Jesus Christ spoke to Simon as the woman was washing His feet with her hair.

    As for your version of scenario A… I do not give a three sentence witness when witnessing. And Christ did not teach that kind of witnessing approach. “Turn or burn” or “All liars will be fryers” are horrible methods of witness and sadly, I have heard of those methods being used. And again, I would not have found myself in that scenario, because I would have put myself in that situation. But the way to witness is to teach and use the power of God’s Word. Scenario A did not give me much credit. You have been to the website I reference, and I am sure you have looked at the “One Needful Thing” page. Does it look like we use a three sentence witness?
    And how would I have witnessed to her? Maybe she receives a Gospel tract from me at the grocery store (not the movie theater—I have not been in one in eight years). Maybe I end up knocking on her door. Maybe God puts her in my path in some other way, but I trust God to reach out to each person at least once.

    Scenario B is not any more effective either. A believer should not be inquiring about such practices, especially a young believer. It is too easy to be pulled off course. A better way to go? How about bringing up David and the son (his first with Bathsheba) that died? The fact that David knew he would see his son again one day, does Tam know if she will see her son again?
    Building a magic wand makes for a fanciful story, and I realize that you do not believe the wand would work, but they do. You may want to clock me over the head with it smile. The thing is that you have affirmed their beliefs by participating in them.

  • Jessica

    Jessica December 19, 2010

    “How about bringing up David and the son (his first with Bathsheba) that died? The fact that David knew he would see his son again one day, does Tam know if she will see her son again?”

    Okay, so this advice doesn’t make me want to clock you over the head with my not-so-magic wand:)  You have a really good point here.

  • Zee

    Zee December 30, 2010

    Scott: Being a believer in Jesus Christ means being different from the rest of the world, not acting like the world. - true. but Jesus called us also to be IN the world, yet NOT OF the world. i think this is exactly the case here. if we stay in our cozy communities, we will never reach out to those in need.

    Jess: a pink wand? :D Mr. Ollivander would be disappointed… :D

  • Scott

    Scott December 30, 2010

    Thank you for your input, Zee, but I did not advocate staying only in my cozy community. Considering what the Bible says about witchcraft and practice of it, going to someone’s home and participating in making a “wand” is not something that Jesus Christ is shown doing in the Bible.

    Jesus Christ did not go to a pagan place of worship. He preached in the streets, from boats, and on hillsides and in synagogues. Look at the directions He gave to the seventy (Luke 10), they were to stay in homes of believers. Believers should not place themselves in spiritually compromising places. If Jessica wanted to reach Tam, maybe she could have invited her to Taco Bell and they could talk while eating a Volcano Burrito. She could give Tam a Gospel tract. Or even visit her home on a non-pagan worship day.

    Zee, do the Harry Potter books fall under the guidelines set by Philippians 4:8?

  • Tam

    Tam March 09, 2011

    I knew there was a reason Goddess kept sprinkling “forget me” dust over me when It came to this LOL. First things first smile Love, I never said if you found three sources about Gods the same, I said three sources about the metaphysical meanings of stones or herbs. Thats a very big difference.

    We were very happy to have you at our very personal and close fellowship. I have had very real fears of having people in my home under the guise of seeking and then to try to convert me or worse. Since Ive been in Richmond my car has been vandalized (my bumper stickers slashed) and Ive been spit in the face by young men screaming “JESUS RULES!” Such anger and fear reside on both sides Im realizing. But I told you that story and the one where my Catholic Priest told me to quit tempting my molesting step father (I was 10).

    I thank you for your prayers. All intentions given with pure intent are welcome.

    I DO know I will see my son again. In my belief I dont have to wait. He is with me now and always will be. In fact as I sit here in tears once more thinking I screwed up opening my heart and home, he reminds me…...all paths lead to US (Universal Spirit), whatever you call him/her/it.

    Thank you for coming to my home. It was a joy meeting you and it is now a true lesson for me too. I hope you find what your seeking. Its a rare journey. If you keep your heart and mind open it will be one that helps you grow.

    Bless

  • Tam

    Tam March 09, 2011

    @Scott smile Maybe you would like to join me at Taco Bell for a Volcano….Im sure Hades would not mind the reference smile

  • Sun Badger

    Sun Badger March 09, 2011

    That was an extremely rude and closed minded article.It in no way even resembled reporting or even an acceptable essay. I would have flunked you for failure to consider the merits of only one side…F. You read the bible (how many died on the rack of the inquisition. Well God did not like them anyway) you objective view is totally at odds with the view of trying to understand, you had already condemned them for not believing as you belie. You would make a fine communist. You read your bible for denotation rather than connotation, which although not very bright you must realize that it cut down the true much grander meaning,. than a mere history book, or maybe self help. Too bad you were so prejust it give christianity a bad rap, intolerant. Your ignorance and biblical Idolatry (the worship of a physical object as a god…bible). You came to mock just as they did too Jesus, just must be blind followers with the comfort of a crowd, who hides to throw stones. Just in case you do not know christians are in the minority in the world and the hate they make is equal to they take. Thinking as you do killed 6 million plus Jews in the Holocaust. You sound as if you would fit perfect Seig Heil [“Hail victory!”]. Lets kill them all and let god sort them out.Somebody cared enough to share with you something that had meaning to them, now that is the devils wife.

  • Scott

    Scott March 09, 2011

    Tam,
    I am sorry for the horrible examples of “christianity” that you have been exposed to, those people are not following Jesus Christ at all. Not all believers in Jesus Christ behave that way or believe as they do. Who knows, one day my wife and I may meet you, but in the mean time take a few minutes and peruse needgod.com

  • Scott

    Scott March 09, 2011

    Sun Badger,
    What is the “true much grander meaning” of the Bible?

  • Tam

    Tam March 09, 2011

    Badger although I dont like the tone (we havent met yet so its all I have to gauge you), I reread this a dozen times now, and Im truly hurt. Your right. Jessica came into my home with a preconceived notion and when she left went to her car and LOCKED her door? Im STILL trying to figure out what I did that scared her that bad?!

    Ive decided I need to clear a few things up. First off I got the cute humour at the beginning “Hippy Witches” really cute.

    ““I’m scared, God.  Is this wrong to do?  I’m going to walk in a room full of witches.  What if they cast some spell on me or something?” ” Why come to my home if your afraid? That wasnt humour that was your honest assessment of MY faith…I could hurt you. Thats nonsense if you did any research at all. The Wiccan creed is plastered all over the net..where you do most of your research.

    Im going point by point here…...You say you didnt knock on the door up front before someone opened it….I doubt that and will inquire today.

    The Ornament on my door is a witch’s hat that says I quote “Spells and potions at the witches Inn est 1527” (the year the Protestant reformation started in Sweeden)

    “Well, much to my surprise, Tam was either 11 months early for All Hallows Eve or modern day pagans looked an awfully lot like the old school witches that dropped houses on their sisters.” THAT’s where I got it! THAT was hurtful. Not funny, not humorous. I have a house broom and a ritual broom in my very humble tiny “tipi” (house) yes I have many sticks (each with a story and a healing) Ive been going grey since I was 13!!!! Seems that being molested and the stress of a controling step father set my hair grey prematurely and I try to cover it with my natural color (blond) I dont own a bike and I dont steal dogs named Toto.

    “It was painted bright yellow and the words “Do no harm” covered the wall.  There was a 5 point star with a circle around it that I had always equated with Satanism displayed behind the chest were I sat.  I had known from their website that they didn’t condone this type of worship so I wondered what the star was supposed to represent. ”

    My walls are not yellow (I only say this because most of this is mis quoted and down right made up, you took no notes and wrote this weeks later) The quote you are referring to says “An it harm none, do what ye will” as for the pentacle, I explained to you the Satanist use the star upside down denoting “satan” Ours repesents the 5 elements fire, water, air, earth, spirit. In fact I specifically remember showing you my rings and telling you I have to be mindfull on how I put them on. So when I show them to people they arent upside down. “

    The altar was covered with pictures of him, stones, little trinkets of colorful fairies and candles.  I felt compelled to hug her again but I resisted.  “This is my cleansing altar over here.”  Tam explained that this was the sacred area where she removed the energy from the stones. Apparently it’s a huge no-no to touch someone else’s rock because you transfer your vibes to their stone and that’s just not cool at all.”

    Youve lumped four alters into one and made my “cleansing” sound rediculous. Do Christian Priests allow just anyone to “play” with their tools? Are they blessed and revered? yes they are. I would NOT go into a church and play in their holy water.


    ”  “You just take your hands and lay them over all the stones until you feel one pulling you in.”  “Um, pulling me in?”  I inquired.  Tam went on.  “Yes, Jess.  Just allow the energy to be with you.  You’ll feel a warm or tingly feeling and you’ll know that stone belongs to you.” ”  That is NOT what I said at all. Not at ALL.

    “I felt a bit awkward as they discussed Christianity because I knew if they asked me about my spiritual background, I’d have to be honest and they’d just spent the past 20 minutes discussing what was wrong with my religion.  ”  Why in the name of ALL that is Holy to YOU and ME didnt you?! Wasnt I clear enough? I told you if you are uncomfortable about ANYthing to say so. We were ALL are seekers of truth in that room (INCLUDING the reporter from Style Weekly that was there interviewing us).......how do we know we are stepping on your truth if you dont speak up. At what point did you think I was a liar? At what point did you feel I or mine were trying to harm you or convert you in ANY way *tears*

    (to be continued)

  • Tam

    Tam March 09, 2011

    “The new girl, Amanda, then said that she was in a relationship with her god Odysseus. ” No One worships Odyysseus in our Circle. In fact Im the only one that has a Greek God as her personal God but its Pan.

    “Tam pulled out a couple of books off her shelf and said that she tells her girls the following, “If you hear about a particular god from at least 3 online sources, you can trust that it’s safe to communicate with that god.”  I thought to myself, “I can find 3 people online who think they’re God.  What does that prove?.””  You totally were NOT listening to this conversation. The books I pulled were herb books. I dont own books on “God comparisons” And the OTHER half of that conver was that it was METAPHYSICAL properties NOT medicinal…..Im NOT an herbalist Im a Kitchen Witch! What’s the difference? Life and Death.

    “Alice, who was holding a dark brown and emerald wand said, “I’d just die before I used pink ribbon for my magic.”  I sat there smiling cheerfully and replied, “pink is my favorite color!” ” Alice was teasing you and you took it personally JUST like Im taking this personally….....do you see my point?

    “Apparently it’s hard to get a job promotion as a pagan so they keep their religious choices under the radar.” Thats a TRUTH

    “I then thanked Tam and the rest of my new found pagan friends for having me. ” and until this moment I thought we had made a friend.

    “efore the door shut behind me, an unusually happy Tam then said, “Oh, Jessica….One last thing.”  I turned around to face her.  “One of my gods has been impressing upon me that someone was going to come into my home and try and spread Christianity at one of these events.  I have been doing spells ever since to stop that from happening.  I had a deep feeling someone would come and try and convert our group.  When I got your email saying you weren’t a pagan, I was certain that it was you.  Thank you for not being that person.”  I replied, “I would never muscle anyone into my faith.  That’s not how my God works.  So don’t mention it.”  I then waived good-bye and walked out. ” Again reworded. I said my biggest fear is to have someone show up to one of our rituals (that night was NOT a ritual) at my home and try to convert us. I open my home to Many people in many ways. My other group is a Volunteer group I started in Richmond, my friends number many in many different sects of religions. I hug them all and I open my heart and home to them all.

    “When the door closed behind me, the hair on the back of my neck stood up a bit.  I quickly made my way to the car, got in and locked the door.  I then closed my eyes and prayed for each person inside by name.  I prayed that they would find the no-pressure, authentic, gentle love of a Savior who desperately wants to have them enter into His rest.”

    I sincerely apologize if I made you uncomfortable in my home. I was lacking as a hostess if you walked away fearing for your well being, be it you soul or your body. I also lacked as a Priestess. I allowed you in my home and put MY peoples well being in danger by allowing you to unjustly paint us and inaccurately “print us”.

    Jessica I hope you find your Truth. I hope you find happiness. We have. I have. I dont find myself wanting to die any more. I dont find my self feeling abandonded any more Ive found Peace in Faith. Its people that come short. I need to work on not trusting that everyone has me and mine in their best interest. Thank you for that reminder.

    A free tip for you. Take notes. Dont quote unless youve written it down or recorded it. Its ok to say “this is MY perspective” “this is how I remember it”

  • Tam

    Tam March 09, 2011

    @Scott I really dont want a philosophical conver online about my beliefs.Thats why I invited Jessica to my home. I dont believe how you believe. You dont believe how I believe. Thats ok. Its perfectly O. K. I just ask that you do as YOUR creed ask of you….........“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12, see also Luke 6:31) Jesus would NOT go into someones home and disrespect them. Neither would I.

  • jesd

    jesd March 09, 2011

    Hi tam,

    I hate that I hurt your feelings.  You know, when I wrote this post I never thought it was negative, I saw it as lighthearted, but from your perspective, I see why you’re unhappy. I apologize that your hurt, so much so that I’d be happy to take it down.  You are right that much of my post is probably not accurate. As you mentioned, I don’t take notes. I’m not a journalist, this is just a personal blog with my perspective. So I write as I remember it. I pour out the thoughts in my head onto paper and paint the picture I saw.  Most importantly, please remember how I feel is honest, and human. If you’ve never had judgement for others you wish you didn’t, you’re better than me. I admit it, I don’t filter on this blog because its almost like my diary but ppl read it and I should consider that. This project showed me just how judgemental I am. It’s a character flaw that I pray God remove from me.  Finally, you were right about every criticism. Now, reading it, I can see why this hurts you. What I saw as personal humor upset someone else who takes their path seriously. I hope you can forgive me. If you want me to take this down, just say the word.

  • Tam

    Tam March 09, 2011

    Of Course I forgive you. There’s no doubt that I do. And I have a great deal of Prejugice that I work through on a DAILY basis. You are just a mirror of that. You cant hurt me unless I allow it and I saw in your writing the part in me I REALLY am working on myself. Dont take it down it YOUR feelings. I just wanted your “audience to see my side” I have diaries too. (I dont share them with channel 8 news though wink ) Im REALLY sorry if we scared you. It hurts me most the thought that you were uncomfortable in my home. That just really makes my heart ache.

    Be Blessed on your path. You touch many people remember that. I can only teach you by being me. You can only teach me by being you. Be proud that you are the VERY best you in every moment.

  • Suzie

    Suzie March 09, 2011

    I think a big point of this discussion is that we all judge people on some level - it’s a natural and human tendency. It is a primitive instinct for survival. If some strange tribe were to come onto our hunting grounds, would we trust them? No, because we don’t know them. Therefore, we try to protect ourselves from harm, but I don’t think that means we should be proselytizing and committing such nonsense as trying to defend the honor of Deity. Deity doesn’t need defending, for heaven’s sake! It just Is. No matter how much someone bashes another person’s faith and belief in Deity and tries to bury it in lies, the fact is that the other person’s faith still exists by the very fact that you try to condemn it! So the idea of passing judgment on another person, place or thing is perfectly natural. I’m just saying it Is, it exists, like Deity, neither good nor bad. Besides, if we were all perfect, what is the point of living? We are all on this planet to learn many lessons, and I think some of us need to hear this more than others.

    The thing is, Scott, we all would probably like to sit and preach the so-called Truth to others from our safe, cozy little high places and not get too involved. Many humans do this on some level. We get too comfortable and set in our ways of thinking and doing, when it is actually healthier to explore different modalities, and I think that is what Jessica was trying to do, consciously or unconsciously. I commend you for that, Miss Jess. Most people aren’t even open-minded enough to do what you did. Another major point I want to make to everyone except Tam (because I’m fairly sure she has already done so) - do your research. If you do, you will find that, for example, most witches are definitely not like what Hollywood tells us they are. Witches do not worship the Devil. The people who claim to worship Satan are just as lost in their minds as people like Scott… lost in their own personal ideals. Not necessarily a bad thing, it just Is. And truth be told, very few Christians follow in Christ’s footsteps and do what he actually did. But it’s not all their fault. The Church tells us lies all the time and we don’t even know it because honestly, after you’ve been told something so many times, chances are you start to believe it, whether it’s accurate or not. Any verbally abused child will understand this concept. Do some research on the early Gnostic Christians and that is where you will find out more about Jesus. Read about Paul’s argument for the authority of Jesus, and you will find that Jesus is of the priestly order of Melchizedek. While it is still a mystery, some say Melchizedek was a Canaanite pagan priest.

    This just goes to show you that we all have many things to learn in this lifetime. If you truly follow Jesus’ teachings, you will intuitively try to love one another as people… not as Christians, not as Pagans, not as any other label, just people. And that is where you will begin to find common ground.

    Peace everybody.

  • George

    George March 09, 2011

    Scott: you really are the one Jessica should be scared of! Such bigotry is very disconcerting for it reveals a view tainted by an inflated collective psychology and therefore can become literally dangerous as Sun Badger reminds us (very forcefully too!). Lighten up, you don’t have “The Truth”—you just believe you do. Revel in The Mystery of the unknown and Unknowable; it’s a blast! It is the realm of miracle and magick! wink

    Whether Jesus entered pagan temples or not is not declared in the Bible but we are all aware that Jesus’ life between ages 12 and 30 is a complete unknown; so the possibility of our Lord spending years in Tibet or other pagan places as some have postulated is tantalizing in the least. However, we do have the biblical account of Paul having no problem whatsoever entering pagan temples and that he even went so far as to declare the alter of the “Unknown God” in the Greek temple as being in fact the alter to the father of Jesus (not necessarily El!) 

    I challenge christians on this blog to contemplate the following biblical teaching of St. Paul’s from the book of Hebrews: Paul argues that Jesus was a priest “after the Order of Melchizedek” to show our Lord’s superior initiation over that of initiation into the Order of Aaron. The latter, as you know being a racial requirement dictated by the god of the Old Testament, El. David too was initiated into this prestigious priesthood of The Most High (The position El aspired to as a Canaanite deity before he called Abraham to himself and founded the Jews for himself). Paul’s point is that since Abraham bowed to Melchizedek, and Aaron was in Abraham’s loins in that Jacob, Abraham’s unborn son was Aaron’s dad (whoa, I think I got that right!), then, Melchizedek is greater that Aaron making Jesus’ (and David’s) priesthood superior. Soooo…who was Melchizedek: he was a Canaanite, and thus pagan, priest! Hence, according to Paul’s argument, Jesus is a pagan priest too. Got to love it! Ok, you don’t, but I do!

    Thanks to all of the women on this blog who want harmony; we men love to argue. It is the nature of the feminine to so desire (and achieve!) wholeness, and illustrates the critical need for the Goddess to return from her exile—imposed by christianity. Thus the rise of modern witchery that focuses on the femininity of life and Mother Earth. You go Tam! Cast your magickal spells of love, peace and harmony in these last days of Pisces, the end of the christian era…the bride says come, even so come Lord Jesus…for Jesus is Love.

  • Robin

    Robin March 09, 2011

    I was raised Methodist and VERY involved with the church through to my young adulthood.  Then I spent a dozen or so years questioning God because I felt he “took” my infant son at birth.  I tried different Christian churches and found no peace.  Mostly, I was told “it was just meant to be” and that I should move on.

    Then I found a Wiccan/Pagan woman—she was my college Psychology professor—and we had many long talks about my spiritual journey.  After some time, she gave me written material about Wiccan beliefs.  Instantly upon reading, I felt a warmth and peace come over me. I knew I had found a path to God that I could travel without fear or anger.

    My God and the Christian God are mostly the same.  My “Gods and Goddesses” are personifications of the elements of His word and His power.  I invoke thier guidance through ritual which is EXACTLY like prayer except that I use physical tools like sage or a wand or any number of symbols.  The only real difference is that I don’t personally believe that Jesus was any more the son of God than any of the rest of us.  He was a great man, but in my opinion should not be worshipped or honored any more than someone sitting next to me on a bus.

    While I do believe that God’s “word” is final and all encompassing, and I do believe that the bible is God’s word, I don’t believe that the bible is God’s final word.  People and societies change and to apply an ancient law to today’s life is a bit like using leeches to cure a headache.  It may have been the best thing back then, but there are more efficient tools available now.  Use the ancient text for learning, but speak to God directly for instruction.

    My husband is Christian.  He’s also a Presbytery Member, a Church Board member, and an extremely active volunteer in the church.  Our son is raised with both traditions in a frank and honest manner, allowing him to choose what works best for him.  I also attend and volunteer at thier church and am ALWAYS welcome, even when proudly wearing my pentagram.  Ironically, I am a member of their small Communications committee—entrusted and charged with the responsibility to spread the word that the Church is good and accepting and open.

    There need not be division.  Christians can live, work, and even worship with anyone so long as there is respect on both sides.  Some of the statements made here have made me cringe on behalf of God—MY God would NEVER be so hurtful.  MY God loves EVERYONE.  So I have learned that the issues come from the BRAND of Christianity et al, rather than from the faith itself.  And because I know that, I can forgive and cast a spell asking for healing guidance for those that are imprisoned by this hurtful attitude.

    Good on you, Jess, for “taking a walk on the wild side”.  ANd for being honest about your fears.  I wish more people would deal with what IS rather than what they think SHOULD be.

    Merry Meet and Blessed Be.

    Full disclosure:  Tam is a dear friend of mine, the officiant at my pagan wedding, and a truly, truly good soul.

  • Scott

    Scott March 10, 2011

    George:
    You stated: “Soooo…who was Melchizedek: he was a Canaanite, and thus pagan, priest”

    An interesting set of connections that you attempted to make, George, but Genesis 14 points out the problem with this thought.

    Genesis 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

    Melchizedek was a Gentile, he may have been a Canaanite, but then, Abraham was a Gentile too. Clearly, Melchizedek was also the priest of God—and not a pagan.

    For good measure, here is the passage in Hebrews too.

    Hebrews 7:1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

    Please help me, George, where in the Bible is it recorded that David was initiated into the priesthood?

  • Robin

    Robin March 10, 2011

    @Scott By definition, a pagan is anyone who is not a follower of Christianity or Judaism or Islamism.  Non-pagans don’t “own” God.  My God is the same as yours.

  • Scott

    Scott March 10, 2011

    Robin, you stated:
    “The only real difference is that I don’t personally believe that Jesus was any more the son of God than any of the rest of us.  He was a great man, but in my opinion should not be worshipped or honored any more than someone sitting next to me on a bus.”

    But Jesus Christ said that He is the Son of God. And that He is God. If Jesus Christ was only a great man, then following your statement, He must have also been either a liar or a lunatic. And if He was either of those, then He could NOT have been a great man.

    Jesus claimed to be God, and he accepted worship
    from men (Mt. 2:11; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 20:20; 28:9,17; Mk. 5:6; Lk. 24:52; Jn. 9:38; 10:30-33; 5:18,23; 8:56-59; 9:38; 20:28).

    Sadly, Robin, no, the god you worship is not God as described in the Bible. I do not “own” God, I belong to Him. The Bible is just as true today as it always has been and it is His final word. We cannot remake Him to suit our desires, because He is unchanging and true. Do I hold the Bible up as an idol? No, but it is God’s Word—written by Him and preserved by Him. And since it is from Him, it only makes sense to read it and to know it and to follow what he says in it.

  • Robin

    Robin March 10, 2011

    @Scott I pray that you are able to open your heart to a living God, and invite him to mold you in His image.  I encourage you to read more about Wicca and gentle pagan beliefs.  I implore you to rethink the idea that the bible is His final word, as if it is such the treatment of women alone would make him a horrible deity.

    I wish you peace, joy, and love, and the embrace of the Wiccan Rede ( “An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will” )  and may you ever be mindful of the Rule of Three.

  • Scott

    Scott March 11, 2011

    Robin,
    Thank you, but He is already molding me.

    Romans 12:1-3 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  (2)  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  (3)  For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

    And I would encourage you to read the Bible—from “In” to “Amen” before deciding what the Bible does say. As you can see from Romans 12:1-3, it is better to do what God wills, than what I will. I pray that you will see that too.

  • Tam

    Tam March 11, 2011

    The first time Jesus sent out the disciples, he gave them some pretty specific instructions: Go two by two, take a staff (presumably a shepherd-style staff, not an office staff), but don’t take anything else — no food, no satchel, no money. Wear sandals, but don’t take a change of clothes. When you get to a town, stay in the first house you enter until you leave that town. And if anybody doesn’t welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet on your way out of town.


    Walk out of town Loves smile

  • Scott

    Scott March 11, 2011

    Tam,
    You stated: “Jesus would NOT go into someones home and disrespect them.”
    I wonder what your take would be on Luke 7:36-50 and Jesus Christ’s visit to this man’s home. Did He disrespect him?

  • Dave VT

    Dave VT March 13, 2011

    “Melchizedek was a Canaanite pagan priest”.  OK, let’s assume that he was.

    We know that Melchizedek is mentioned in the Old Testament.  He was the king of Salem, as in Jeru-salem.  He was a priest of God, the same God referred to in the Old Testament.  We know that his priesthood was passed from Father to Son.  We know that he offered and acceptable sacrifice to God.  That sacrifice was bread and wine.  Thus, Melchizedek worshiped the God of Israel.  His decedents became their rabbi’s.

    The Melchizedek priesthood endured for generations, until the exodus.  When Moses came down from the mountain, he returned to find this people worshiping the golden calf.  As punishment for reverting to paganism, the Melchizedek priesthood was ended and transferred to the Levites.  God ordered the idolaters, including the Melchizedek priests, slain.  The once sufficient sacrifice of bread and wine was no longer sufficient.  Blood sacrifice of animals was instituted.  However, the sacrifice of a finite slain animal is by definition insufficient to redeem an offense against an infinite holy God.
    So, fast forward 2,000 years and Jesus reinstitutes the Melchizedek priesthood. He can do this b/c it was God’s priesthood and Jesus is the Son of the Father.  He can do this b/c he voluntarily makes the one infinite blood sacrifice sufficient to redeem all sin.  Note, that Melchizedek is a priest sacrifices are not offered by just anyone.

    So what is the meaning of Paul’s passage?  Not that Jesus was a pagan priest.  Rather, it is that Melchizedek was the first priest of God.  His priesthood was lost when he failed to keep the people from idolatry.  Jesus, the true son of the father, was the only one able to reinstitute the Melchizedek Priesthood.  The bread and wine is again, the only sacrifice sufficient to God, it must be offered by a Priest, under the line of Melchizedek.

    As for truth? Well, as the Highlander would say, “There can be only one”.  Just saying things like “I believe what I believe and you believe what you believe” is a false definition of truth, respect or tolerance.  It is not respectful for Scott or I or anyone to accept anyone’s beliefs on face value.  Mind you, that is different than accepting YOU on face value (that is what Jess did by attending the pagan / witches meeting).  What is respectful and truthful it to honestly and respectfully challenge your beliefs.  Presumably, we can’t both be right.  Therefore we should look objectively at what is the truth. 

    Let me say also something about the Christians that have failed you all in the past.  Of the many universal truths of Christianity, perhaps the first is that we are all sinners.  We all fail.  Some of us in little ways every day, others in spectacular ways every once and a while.  Even among Jesus’ 12 closest followers, there was Judas.  If Jesus was the new high priest in the order of Melchizedek, the true son of the father, should you leave him b/c there are Judas’ among his followers?

    Finally, let me say something about the difference between Paganism and Christianity.  Paganism, as I understand it, is the worship / calling on of spirits / forces / nature. One definition offered is non-Jew, non-Christian, or non-Muslim, but still “the same”.  Objectively, one says they get fulfillment out of it, and I won’t debate that.  Paganism, is however, ambiguous.  It is entirely subjective.  You say you pray to “mother nature” and she hears you and answers you.  (I am not trying to make light of your beliefs, I just don’t know what example to use).  However, in contrast, Christianity is historical.  God entered into history w/ Melchizedek, again w/ Moses, and certainly w/ Jesus.  We might debate whether Melchizedek was a “pagan priest” but there is no doubt that Jesus was a historical person.  THOUSANDS of people witnessed his miracles.  Thousands more followed him in life.  Hundreds, if not thousands, saw him after he was resurrected.  Conservative estimates put the conversions immediately after his death upwards of 10,000.  Vast purges sought to put down the new “Christian cult” but thousands were willing to die rather than recant their beliefs.  Since the resurrection of Christ, paganism has not inspired great movements; it has not inspired the creation of hospitals, schools, or charities.  It has not converted nations.  It has not created saints that have worked miracles and performed feats of faith that inspire awe.

    I know, I know, the Catholic Church has done horrible things in its 2,000+ year history.  But that has little to do w/ your personal relationship with Jesus - the one person that identified himself as the unique Son of God.  Denying Christ, who provided the evidence you need to rely on his claim of authenticity, for an alternative belief system, that God has told you he has abandoned, does not, strictly speaking, make sense.

    May the peace of Lent be with you all.

  • Coming out of the broom closet?

    Coming out of the broom closet? April 29, 2011

    ARE YOU PLANNING TO COME OUT OF THE BROOM CLOSET, OR OTHERWISE TELL YOUR LOVED ONES ABOUT A SECRET YOU’VE BEEN KEEPING? IF SO, AN AWARD-WINNING TELEVISION PRODUCTION COMPANY WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU!

    We are developing a new documentary television series about individuals who are ready to unveil a secret to their loved ones. We are especially hoping to hear from people who have struggled with the decision of whether to reveal their truth, and who are currently ready to hear the responses of their friends and/or family members.

    Whether you are:
    —Coming out as a follower of a particular religion/coming out of the broom closet
    —Quitting school to pursue a secret passion
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    …Or otherwise experiencing a transformation, then we want to hear from you!


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    revealed it?
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    · A few [non-returnable] photographs of yourself.
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