Heathen's Lair

Crossing Lines

Alter Setup
Past, Present, Future
Make A real difference come out of the broom closet
Bringing ritual into your every day life
America is under Attack!!
A Christian Speaks of Wicca and Witchcraft
The Goddess
The Old Ones Live in New Things Too
The Quest For Power
The Religious Experience: A Wiccan Viewpoint
The Rose
The Skeptical Witch
There Are More Religions in America Than Just Christianity
This Shall Not Be!
To Heal or Not to Heal?
Values in the Balance
Views of Deity
We Are the Other People
Weight of the World
What is drawing down the moon and how do you do it?
Where Did Magick Originate?
Wicca: It's Traditions and Concepts
Wicca and Body Image
Wiccan Basics - What is Magick?
The Celtic Vedic Connection
The Dichotomy Between Sex and Faith
The First Congregational Church of Wicca[credits]
The Fundamentalist's Problem[credits]
The God of the Witches
The 'W' Word (Witch), What Does it Mean?
The Delicate Balance of Pagan Ethics
Safety With Herbs in Healing and Magick
So What is a Blue Moon
Spiritual Conception
Synaesthesia: The Crossing of the Senses
Talking to Goddess
Saturday Morning Cartoons Aren't Pagan-Friendly
Polyamory: Loving Unlimited
Principles of Wiccan Belief
Responses to Nasty Fundies
Ritual - Expression of Will, Art and Creativity
Ritual and Ritual Preparation
Rituals, invocations and sacred space
Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Irish Witches
Jesus Christ! Youre acting like one of those Christians
Magick and Science
Modern Pagan Persecutions
Music and Magic
Namaste - Meaning and Usage
Nipping Trouble in the Bud: Community and Child Custody Issues Affecting Heathens
Obedience: On Being Sheep
On the heaviness of weight
Our Pagan Village: The Importance and Persuit of Honor
Pagan Fundamentalists
Pagan Musings
Pagan Mythology
Pagan Sexuality and Sexual Freedom
How to find a Coven or Group
Howling at the Moon!
I am Pagan
In Nomine Babalon: Sacred Whoredom in a Thelemic Context
Ethics In Magick
Experiences of a Pagan Practicing Pranic Healing
From Agape to Praxis: The Fourfold Nature of Love
From Self-Doubt to Self-Assurance: The Inner Journey of The Fool
Grounding and Shielding
Healing Routine: How to setup a Healing Ritual
Ethics Or Etiquette
Everyday is Sacred
Crossing Lines
Descent Into Confusion
Disease and The Creative Process in Magick
Can you be a Christian and a Witch???
Creative Visualization and Wicca
Can You Bhoga All Night Long?
Consciousness & Politics
Children of the Gods
Building Shadows
Blood Sacrifice
Chingle Hall
Chinese Dragons
Absent Healing
All One People
An Earth Religion
An Open Letter To The Pagan Community
An Opinion on Magick
An Overview of Clairvoyance
Are there such things as White Witches?
Christianity vs. Paganism: Why?
Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are!
Coming Out as a Witch at Work
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Asatru, an Ancient Religion Reborn
Aspects of Religion: A Wiccan Viewpoint
Comming Out
Bambi Pagans
A cup of Hemlock
Astronomy in Ancient Civilisations
Being Jewish And Wiccan { One Women's View }

Crimson's Favorite Articles


Crossing Lines

Pagans and Group Dynamics, Interfaith Relations and Private Life

Quill Mastercraft

One of my Cocker Spaniels likes to sleep in my closet, but she's kind of screwy on the best of days. Fact is: no human being goes "into the closet" of their own free will. That secrets must be kept is done of necessity, because external forces pose a threat to the truth. No wonder there are so many Pagans practicing as solitaries. Over the years, it has proven far safer.

Little by little, however, Pagan groups are stepping forward to declare themselves, and the validity of the Pagan lifestyle and practices. Courageous Pagans seek acknowledgement, from the media, from mainstream churches, from society. The lines crossed by these people are making it possible for all of us to be more open about our beliefs.

Still, this openness is new, and a challenge. Some Pagans may have a difficult time adjusting to the dynamics of a group setting. If the majority of members of a fledgling group lean toward a certain tradition, it may be difficult for individuals of differing traditions to "fit it". Many groups are being organized to specifically cross the lines of tradition, though, welcoming Pagans of all beliefs. Such groups do not focus on ritual, as would a coven, but on planning public events, making important public contacts and promoting understanding.

Holding public events, contacting the media or other groups to advance the truth about Paganism is, itself, a challenge. As outlined in many books which chronicle the history of Paganism, stereotypes have come down through the centuries, and are difficult to get past. Caution must be used in taking even small steps, since the opposition is unknown. How will be group be received? Will there be acceptance, respect, or rejection? In many cases, people are willing to listen and encourage the group's efforts. In other situations, the reception is cool, though not blatantly hostile. All factors assessed before going in, armed with tact, facts and genuine smiles, the challenge can be well met.

Especially when it comes to interfaith relations. As with other minority religions, Pagans simply wish to be allowed to freely practice their faith, without being harassed or attempts being made to evangelize or convert them. The best presentation to cross these lines is simply to demonstrate that Paganism is not "immoral", as has been assumed by some mainstream denominations, and that practitioners are ordinary men and women, concerned about the community, the environment, and their families. By getting involved with non-sectarian charities, sponsoring projects like adopting a highway, or even a softball team, it is possible to get the Pagan word out that we care. Once Pagans are working side by side with Christians, Jews and Muslims for the good of all, the lines will truly be crossed.

And, this way, it won't come down to a bickering match about individual theologies, which isn't the point at all.

Yet another challenge is balancing the "public face of Paganism" with private life. Pagans may join efforts with people from all churches and walks of life for a laudable project, but at the end of the day, they go home to their own space. They may have had to smile all day, or allow casual but rather offensive remarks slide off their backs like a duck in the rain. There may be personality conflicts which are overlooked for the good of the cause which, in private, cause sadness or anger.

Key in this situation is being true to the self. Not all people one encounters will become good friends. That a common goal is shared will cross many lines, but in other settings, two people simply might not be compatible. Personal interests and lifestyles may differ vastly and make conversation or interaction away from the group setting irksome.

There is nothing wrong with this. Just as no one can be friends with every one of their co-workers, so it is that no Pagan can honestly be good friends with every other Pagan with whom he or she deals. To be able to handle oneself within a group, working together, and beyond the group, being comfortable with one's own circle of friends, is of the utmost importance. Respecting others' opinions, even though they may conflict or be different from one's own, is vital. That way, at the end of a busy day holding a Pagan picnic or other event, everyone goes home with a sense of accomplishment. No one will harbor resentments about little slights, or desire undue recognition, because all efforts will be equally valued. Mutual respect will also eliminate much of the "infighting" which occurs in some groups, or the gossip, with all individuals comfortable with their own place in the greater scheme of things.

A tall order? Yes. But crossing the lines to understanding on all levels of existence is worth it.

American Indian Prayer for Peace 

Let us know peace. 
For as long as the moon shall rise, 
For as long as the rivers shall flow, 
For as long as the sun shall shine, 
For as long as the grass shall grow, 
Let us know peace.