I've been digging through the Internet lately to find all the stuff I wrote in the 1980s,
and am adding them as I find them. It's easy to get a big head -- I'm finding everything in the Sacred
Texts Internet Archive, including one article I don't remember writing (but certainly did). The OLD stuff
will be listed at the bottom of this menu.
Door to the Beyond is being updated and republished in Peppermint and Sage ezine. Look for it there.
Spirituality Without Dogma
Gerald L. "Moss" Bliss, D.D.
"Religions only look different if you get 'em from a retailer; when you go to a wholesaler, you find that they all get it from the same distributor."
"What is in your heart is more important than what is written in a thousand books."
"Kashmir Shaivism just means two words: ParamShiva - the Ultimate Reality. Call by any name. Anugraha (Divine Grace) - also called Shaktipath, the descent of grace. It is independent of human efforts. There is no third word."
God is One -- everything is God, is within God, and God made it the way it is.
Three Step version:
1. Deity is One, Creator and Creation; the physical and metaphysical Universe and all within it is within Deity. Deity has one face, two faces (male and female), and many faces (gods, humans, Creation itself), depending on our current perceptions; the gods of all religions are merely faces of the One -- as are we ourselves. There is no "them", only "us".
2. It is our purpose to find Balance -- of Human and Nature, of Light and Shadow, of masculine and feminine, and of body, mind and soul/spirit/heart. We help guide ourselves and others to find this Balance; we allow ourselves, and help others, to grow -- in love of ourselves, each other, and the Deity we serve and are part of, and to be more whole within humanity and Deity.
3. Whatever path you follow, honor the paths of all others. Deity can be likened to a mountain, too large to be seen in totality and towering above the clouds; there are an infinite number of pathways up this mountain. We may journey alone or together, but whatever our experience of the mountain, it is valid.
That is all there is. There are many things that are obvious from the above; the following Corollaries are the most obvious to me.
Corollary One: There Is No Evil, there is only a range of experience. God experiences all things through God's creation, including emotions and actions. What we perceive as evil is a learning experience, and what we are learning is How To Love. For example, things such as "war", "hatred", "gay-bashing", poisoning our environment, hurting ourselves, etc., show we have not learned the lesson.
Final Comment: Anyone who attempts to use these precepts to prove anything except what is in their heart - can go to Hell (see Corollary Three). This is not intended as a substitute for Science, only as an overlay for global spirituality.
"I pledge Mother Earth as my one country
Sub-corollary - You cannot personify Evil - not as Satan, not as Hitler, not as your next-door neighbor...
Corollary Two: You Can Only Change Yourself, not the world/universe. We can only learn our lessons one person, one concept at a time. We cannot force others to learn OUR lessons. We cannot force them to learn THEIR lessons, either. If you can't find it within yourself, you won't find it outside.
Corollary Three: There Is No Hell, only different learning experiences. For some, Earth may be Hell; for others, the deepest Hell may be the finest University; and no Hell is permanent.
Corollary Four: We Do Not Die. God lives forever, and we are a part of That. Our mode of existence may change. It does not matter how that changes, our existence continues. What we believe beyond this is not worth fighting over - but is to be respected (see Rule 3).
Corollary Five: What Makes You Angry Shows Where You Need Work. There are things that caused us pain that have affected the way we think and feel about others. These need healing. If something makes you mad, it is something you don't like that you still keep yourself. If it's not within, you won't see it in others.
I pledge Humanity as my one people
I pledge Life as my religion
I pledge Love as my prayer
I pledge Peace and Freedom as my birthright
And the birthright of all humanity.
My heart beats one with all my Relations."
- Grandmother Drum Pledge
"We practice compassion through acts of forgiveness, releasing resentment, anger and hurt. We understand forgiveness when we realize that every act is either an expression of love or a call for love." - Mary Manin Morrissey
copyright ©2006 by Gerald L. "Moss" Bliss, D.D. Quotations are copyright by their authors. This document may be copied and distributed freely (without charge to you or the recipient) so long as it includes the entire document including this copyright statement.
Return to Top of Page
Hinduism In Brief
Gerald L. "Moss" Bliss, D.D.
There is a paucity of information in the West as to what is the religion called “Hinduism”. The truth of the matter is that it is
no single religion, but a grouping of religions, all of which originated at different times and places in what is commonly called
the Indian Subcontinent.
Anthropologically speaking, the earliest two religions of the Bharat Peninsula (as the Indians themselves often refer to their
country) were Vaishnavism, as epitomized by the various Vedas and Upanishads, and Saivism, found in the earliest texts in Tamil.
Vaisnava and Saivism
The Vedic civilization is believed to have formed around the Saraswati River, now mostly a dry ditch seen only in satellite photos,
which relocated to the area around the Indus River when the Saraswati dried up (in other words, modern day Eastern Iran and
Afghanistan, relocating to modern Pakistan). The Vedas themselves may (or may not) predate the Saraswati civilization; indeed,
some find passages in the Sama Veda which appears to have originated either in the farthest Arctic regions or even off-planet,
depending on who you believe. The infamous caste system of present-day India was due to a mis-reading of the Vedas; originally
it was little different from the European system of Guilds.
At any rate, the Vedic civilization was based on the Vedas, which spoke the worship of Vishnu (hence Vaishnavism) and his ten
avatars (the tenth is assumed to be incarnated yet in the future). The Upanishads expanded upon the Vedas, and other great poems,
such as the Mahabharata (of which the popular Bhagavad Gita is a part), further resulted in the religion's growth among the people.
The ancient Tamil documents spoke of Shiva as the Creator (with his Shakti, which can either be seen as his creative energy, his
feminine side, or even his wife). The Tamil-speaking (and related languages) people were in the southeast of India, now the
states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and the country of Sri Lanka.
Apparently at some point, the two cultures traveled widely enough to meet one another. In what is perhaps the only time in the
history of mankind, these two cultures examined each others' religions, and rather than declaring war, declared them co-equal
(which through the centuries has confused even Hindu scholars into thinking it truly is a single religion).
In the background, for whatever reason the women were mostly left out of the observances of this religion, and from this rose the
worship of Devi, or Shakti, which today is called Shaktism. All Hindu groups today include male and female worshippers, but
(almost) only the Shaktins have any females in the priesthood.
The fourth, and smallest, sect which makes up “Hinduism” is called Smarta or Smartism. The Smartas believe in the Vedas and other
Vaishnava writings, but rather than believe in Vishnu as the Supreme Deity, they feel it is up to the believer to choose his or
her primary deity from among the gods. The main proponent of ancient Smarta Sampradaya is Adi Shankaracharya (788-820 c.e.); in
modern times, the most famous teacher is Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati (1892 – 1954 c.e.).
Reforms and New Faiths
Around the 6th Century b.c.e., the 24th Tirthankar, Mahavira, solidified the Tirthankar teachings into Jainism, still a powerful
sect despite its small size and belief non-procreation, as well as in the holiness of the tiniest creature on the planet. This is
perhaps the gentlest religion on the planet, as it reveres all life and seeks to harm nothing in any way.
The next “reform movement” in Hinduism was begun by Gautama, called “the Buddha”. At one point in time, Buddhism encompassed not
only most of India but also much of eastern Asia. The earliest origins are clouded in history, but the Second Council (which
became schismatic) was thought to have been held around 100 b.c.e. As the Buddha mostly taught the same basic spirituality but
was essentially non-theistic (practice was emphasized over belief), it engulfed many other native religions in the region, but
this was ultimately responded to.
In Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kashmir, from 800 to 1100 c.e., new versions of Shaivite thought emerged, adopting the Vedas
but promoting Shiva as the Supreme Deity and expanding upon both ancient teachings and the more modern Buddhist teachings, showing
the “fallacies” in either or both, resulting in Virashaiva and Kashmir (Trika) Shaivism. In the predominantly Vaishnavite areas
of Punjab and Bengal, Krishna emerged from the Mahabharata as the Supreme Form of Deity (Vishnu).
Around this time also came the Islamic invasion, which nearly wiped out Vedic teachings and destroyed thousands of books (some of
which survived by having been transported out of India by Buddhist monks over centuries). Remember, by this time even the Shaivas
had adopted the Vedas.
About 1600 c.e., the great teacher Arjan Dev, in Punjab, collected the greatest surviving teachings in the Hindu world, in poetry
form, forming what became the Adi Granth, and created the Sikh religion using this book as their center. This book by itself
preserved much of the sacred poetry from the torch of the Moslems, as the Sikhs became known as ferocious fighters and, slowly,
beat back the invading Moslems. The Adi Granth was expanded by later Sikh Gurus, until, upon the death of the 10th Guru, the book
itself was proclaimed the True Guru (Guru Granth Sahib).
The various forms of Hinduism have changed the West in many small ways, but are still largely misunderstood in the West. For
instance, Buddhist monks created “malas”, necklaces of meditation beads, as early as 1100 b.c.e.; the Roman Catholic Church
modified this into the Rosary over a thousand years later.
The Theosophical Society, founded by Mme. Helena Petrova Blavatsky in England and promoted in India by Annie Besant and others,
adapted Smartism to their own ends, and this movement had a profound effect upon modern India. Mrs. Besant hand-picked a young
boy from a Smarta Niyogi family named Jiddu Krishnamurthi to be the Avatar of the New Age; upon reaching majority, J. Krishnamurthi
decided he wanted no part of this, but went on to become a leading philosopher and speaker. Mrs. Besant also had a young student
names Mohandas K. Gandhi raise himself to international prominence. The Theosophical viewpoint largely is the Western view of
Hinduism, naming the ultimate deity as Brahman, as God is often referred to in the Vedas, and allowing Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma
to be seen as a tripartate form of Brahman, trivializing these gods to the roles of “preserver, destroyer, and creator” or
considered each and all to be full Brahman.
Much more could be said; indeed, much of what I just presented is in doubt and the sources may be fuzzy. Hinduism today consists
of (in the view of Hindus) Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Smartism, and Shaktism, but it is easily seen how one could include Jainism,
Buddhism, Sikhism, and even Theosophy as well as other sub-sects (such as ISKCON, a branch of Vaishnavism), into the mix.
In the last 20 years, Western Pagans have found many similarities between their beliefs and those of the various Hindu religions.
The result is IndoPaganism, which was reported on in PanGaea Magazine, Spring 2007, by Devi Spring.
There is no end to this subject. It is my fervent hope that this document can be improved, especially with the addition of
January 30, 2008
Expanded and corrected April 26, 2009
[Note: This article was written in response to a listing on Hinduism at Occult
Underground website which I felt was too sketchy. I complained to the Webmaster about this, and he invited me to write my
own article. I attempted to get someone on the IndoPaganPaths Yahoogroup to write it or make suggestions, but eventually wrote
it myself due to a lack of response. Since I completed the article, I again offered it to the group for comment; a few people
offered to look at it and offer suggestions, and again no suggestions were offered. Either I'm totally nuts, or got it in one.
This article is published on the referenced website. (Amended to "got it in two", and I have asked Occult Underground to update
this article on their website.)
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Articles Published on ScotWeb
In 1999, I was asked to begin writing articles about Wicca for ScotWeb, then hosted on freeserve.co.uk. There has been a total revamping of the website in the past few years, and these articles appear to be no longer available on the new website. I wrote five articles; four were published, the 5th has been lost. Here are the four articles:
Cowan or Coventry?
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CultWatch Response Editorials
These are pretty short, so I'll just lump them in as a single file. If you object,
let me know.
From The Editor
by Gerald Bliss
Vol. I, Issue 1
WHY CULTWATCH RESPONSE?
It seems like anyone can get away with saying anything these days, so long as they hate something
enough. We at CultWatch Response have seen article after article hating paganism and witchcraft, with
no facts and not even very good fantasies, merely because pagans are a convenient group to hate. Many
of these articles were directed straight at police, others were for various fundamentalist groups.
Why? Because hate is an offspring of fear, and people always fear what
they do not know -- and they do not usually know much about paganism. Further, their hatred drives
pagans into hiding, for fear of a return of the Burning Times of the Inquisition.
It is the primary goal of CultWatch Response to supply at least one
reasonable, well-thought-out, and FULLY RESEARCHED article per issue, in order to promote
understanding, because we do not believe that the followers of a God of Love should spend so much
time hating something that they know nothing about. This first issue includes an excellent article on
Samhain (Halloween) by Rowan Moonstone, and a set of "the laws of the Craft" that show how much
different we pagans are than most Christians believe us to be.
WE ARE NOT SATANISTS!
Basically, Satan did not reach Europe until the coming of Christianity in the 3rd to 5th Centuries
C.E. Paganism is a wide group of religions that existed in Europe prior to the Christianization of
Europe; the fact that it was an extremely viable religion caused the Church to decide it needed to be
eliminated, and so one major deity was singled out as being the equivalent of Satan and the
persecutions went forth. This is not an act of God, but rather one of very greedy men who were
pursuing temporal power in the guise of ecclesiastical power.
There ARE Satanists in the world. Most of them are harmless, and most of
them do NOT consider themselves pagans. As pagans, we abhor criminal acts such as murder, child
abuse, and the torturing or slaughtering of animals (not including feedlots, of course, although many
of us are vegetarians and others have worked for more humane treatment of animals AT feedlots). We
regard people who do these types of things as sick. Prosecute them, get them help, do something to
stop "ritual crime". Most of us are willing to do our part to help find and prosecute these people,
and it is evident to most police officers around the country that ritual crime does not involve
pagans. It is usually found in gangs of children, led by other children or by sick adults.
WHAT DOES "GOD" MEAN TO WITCHES?
Nearly all Witches and pagans in America believe in one God. However, that God is usually felt to be
totally beyond our understanding, and can only be understood by humans by looking at "parts" of God
that we CAN understand.
The first division is obvious; Masculine and Feminine. We call these God nd Goddess, and
sometimes attach names from our heritage or from mythology to these aspects. (Indeed, most pagans
prefer the Mother aspect of God to that of the Father, and use the term Goddess for the highest
understandable form of God.)
We also look at what the highest attributes of ourselves are, and
sometimes separate these into masculine and feminine (Hunter Aspect might be Herne for the masculine
or Diana for the feminine). While we call these aspects and attributes "gods", most of us never lose
sight of the fact that they are merely small parts of the one God. (C.G. Jung called these aspects
"archetypes", and his theories have blazed new territory in understanding what it means to be human.)
We also consider everybody (not just witches) to be a part of God. Our God is not merely everywhere,
but even everyTHING. A common greeting in one branch of paganism is "Thou art God". This does not
mean that we believe that every person is a god, but rather that all things are a part of God.
We even have our trinities. The Triple Goddess consists of Maiden,
Mother, and Crone aspects; the Triple God might consist of Lover, Hunter, and Grandfather. Each group
or individual might use different names for these individual aspects of God.
WITCHRAFT IS NOT AN ORGANIZED RELIGION.
Each individual is trained in the "Tradition" he or she finds access to, and upon completion of
training is usually initiated into that "Tradition". Once that process is complete, it is expected of
each person to think for and be responsible for themselves. There are no mind control games, no
brainwashing techniques, no death threats, and, in most cases, no authority figures. There is usually
a couple named High Priest and High Priestess for a ritual, but in MOST groups, this function is
rotated among the members of the group.
American paganism has its roots mainly in English and Welsh [Editor's Note: And Irish... and some
would add Norse...] forms of
paganism, but we seem to have picked up extra material from a variety of sources (including American
Indians), as well as pruning some of the things we found to be unnecessary and adding new material as
it strikes us. Some American traditions sprang from the imaginations of people from seemingly
nowhere, and other follow the "Old Ways" fairly strictly.
WE ARE NOT AFTER YOUR CHILDREN...
It is against our religion to proseletize (recruit). We do have bookstores open to the public, and we
may be involved in open religious debates, but our gods do not need your souls.
BUT PAGANS ARE DANGEROUS, AREN'T THEY?
No. We believe different things than most Christians, but the differences are not great enough to
cause the misunderstandings that exist. In fact, we are not very much different from the Unitarian
Universalist Church or the Society of Friends (Quakers). We believe in going where our own conscience
takes us, and each Tradition teaches ethics at a level not usually found in Christian denominations.
We hope that you enjoy CultWatch Response. Please let us know how you feel; you may wish to fill out
and return the questionnaire in this issue. Please also read the Editorial Policy listed elsewhere in
this issue. Subscriptions are free to police departments and organizations; this will make for
limited free distribution in some areas. Others are welcome to write for the current subscription
price or to make arrangements to help with distribution.
Gerald Bliss, Editor and Co-Founder CultWatch Response
Vol. I, Issue 2
FROM THE EDITOR
by Gerald L. Bliss
"Why are you a Witch?" This is the question most frequently asked of me, by the police, by our
families, by the media. It isn't an easy question to answer without running comparisons between
Christianity and the Craft; the world is far too complex for old answers to deal with.
One major factor drawing people to the Craft is that we feel a lack of opportunity for personal
growth and/or psychic development. Many people simply cannot sit back and accept someone else's
authority over their lives, and that means you have to do a lot of self-discovery; Witchcraft affords
a system of instruction that demands questioning and includes hundreds of hours of ethical, as well
as magical, training, and you simply have to find out what works best for you.
Another reason for becoming a Witch is to get religious training in combination with using our
own intrinsic power (magick, if you will). The alternatives to the Craft usually develop from a
desire for power, rather than a desire to be of service.
As a result of the ethical, magickal, and religious considerations being addressed by the
Witch, we have been known to gravitate to various causes: vegetarianism, the ecology, personal
freedom, gun control, with each Witch making the decisions that seem "right" to them (and believing
nobody else qualified to make that decision for them). Few Witches will share the same ideas of what
is "right", but we each try to understand that everyone has the right to make these decisions.
Another question has arisen: "Why do you think the police equate Wicca with Satanism?" I admit
I was shocked to receive this question from a police officer in Florida. When the movies, the
newspapers, and certain fundamentalist ministers are not busy trying to shove this equation down our
throats, the police are next on the list. At CWR, we choose to believe that this is due to a lack of
information (something that is NOT true for Hollywood and is usually not true for newspaper
reporters); otherwise, we would not be publishing this newsletter. We hope that, by presenting topics
on cults (whether called witchcraft, satanism, or whatever), we can provide you with the information
you need to determine the difference between a cult and a religion.
Our first issue generated quite a bit of response from a number of police officers and
departments, including a request for information on a specific group.
Let me state that, first and foremost, CultWatch Response, Inc., exists for the purpose of
educating law enforcement officers and the media as to the reality of Witchcraft in America. We are
not, and never intend to be, some kind of clandestine Wiccan Police Force, and we will not, now or in
the future, release any information that we do not have firsthand knowledge of AND which is not
acknowledged to be public information by the group involved.
It is, indeed, a terrible temptation to set ourselves up as the people the police turn to when
they can't get the information to "bust" some "obviously unethical" group; we simply cannot obtain
enough information to be certain of the charges, and it cannot become our job to interfere with
police work on these and related issues. We can, however, help teach and inform the various law
enforcement agencies (and the media) what to look for in determining "occult crime", and would be
happy to do so on a first-hand basis; however, we also feel that there is adequate information
available in print in dealing with these issues, although it is frequently overlooked by various
people who are involved in presenting "occult crime" issues. We hope to fill in that gap, with this
newsletter and with any other materials we can disseminate.
If you responded to our questionnaire in the last issue and have not heard back from us, please
let us know; we have, to the best of our knowledge, given a written reply (at least) to every
questionnaire and letter we have received, and have copies on file.
Being aware that this issue is late, I will end my ramblings and get to work.
Volume I, Issue 3
From the Editor
by Gerald L. Bliss
Another hot question: Why do I want to be called a Witch? Why even use this loaded word?
Again, there are no easy answers, but let's look at the meaning of the word. There is still some argument
among etymologists as to whether the word originates from one of two Indo-European roots, both called "weik".
One of these roots means "wise" and is the pre-cursor to the word "wizard"; the other means "to bend or shape".
Not being an etymologist, I don't know why most etymologists say that the latter meaning gave rise to the word
"witch", but the modern Witch would take this to mean bending or shaping reality, not imitating Uri Geller;
in like fashion, the true meaning of alchemy was understood to be transforming the "lead" of one's heart to
"gold", not the transmutation of metals.
However the word was derived, from the date that the Bible was
published in English, this word was used in the places wherever sorcery and
necromancy appeared in the Hebrew and Greek. In the verse, "Thou shalt not
suffer a Witch to live...", current scholars are still bickering about the
actual word. Most either use "poisoner" or "whisperer of (evil) spells" in
current translations, and even if it did refer to the pagans of ancient
Palestine, there are significant differences between Palestinian paganism,
Roman paganism, and the Celtic forms (from which modern Paganism is most
derived), and so the comparison should be considered invalid; likewise, if
a scriptural reference said, "Thou shalt not suffer a Buddhist to live",
one would not expect adherents to persecute Taoists.
Isaac Bonewits writes, "When `wicca(e)' was translated into other
languages at the time, the words chosen in those other tongues were usually
ones with these meanings: sorcerer, magician, singer, healer, midwife,
charmer, drugger, and diviner. Frequently the translation words had a
feminine gender, but this seems to have depended upon the cultures
involved. Almost none of the foreign terms (except in Ireland) had any
specifically religious meaning -- a very important point to consider for
those who wish to claim that the earliest witches were the clergy of one or
more prechristian religions." (Real Magic, p. 105, by P.E.I. Bonewits, 2nd
Edition , Creative Arts Book Company, Berkeley, CA)
Nonetheless, nearly all modern Witches (including myself) consider
ourselves clergy, perhaps because most of our traditions come out of or are
directly influenced by Irish (and Welsh and English) traditions. And since
it is a source of honor and pride in our traditions to be a Priest/ess of
the Wicca, we pay far less attention to the prejudices of others which were
caused by errors in translation in the 1600s. Thousands of years of pride
cannot be erased by 350 years of defamation, no matter how fervent.
New developments in Cult Watching. The Salvation Army lost a
controversial suit in Biloxi, Mississippi. We have included the entire AP
news article in this issue. The latest issue of File 18 decided to lay off
Witches and attack the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientiis); this could prove to
be interesting, since the O.T.O. just settled a major lawsuit and might
have adequate funds for yet another court battle.
Volume I, No. 4
From the Editor: My Heretic Heart
by Gerald L. Bliss
Another question I hear often is: "If I become a Witch, what's in it for me?" I can just see
those Fundamentalist visions of wild orgies swimming before the eyes of some preachers. Sorry, but
that's just not the way it is.
I suppose that the greatest thing the Craft has to offer is the fact that no single person has
more authority over one's belief than oneself. As Catharine Madsen put it in her song, "Heretic
"Though law and scripture,
priest and prayer
Have all instructed me,
My skin, my bones, my heretic heart
Are my authority!"
I was taught the fundamentals of a flexible set of ethics, and was encouraged to develop them
further. I have been given some things (rituals, spells, history, etc.), and developed others on my
own. I was taught the "Wiccan Rede" (which states that I may do anything within the dictates of my
conscience, SO LONG AS IT HARMS NOBODY), the Three-fold Law (which states that any energy I put out
into the world returns to me three times over, thus making it an act of stupidity to do "negative
magick"), and the basic Laws of the Craft. I am sworn to the Rede, and am affected by the Threefold
Law whether I like it or not; the other Laws were taught to me as guidelines, and so I apply them as
Another issue is the equality of men and women (indeed, the equality of all creation); in nearly
every branch of the Craft, the few imbalances are in favor of honoring the feminine aspects of what
is "human", and so the High Priestess is given ascendancy over her circle.
Oh, yes. That silly little thing about "selling your soul to the Devil"... my soul is a gift
from Goddess, which would make it redundant should She wish to "buy" it.
My relationship with my God/dess is not defined in any book; it is far too personal to be covered
with someone else's words. I feel His/Her hand in every facet of my life.
My God/dess gave me a brain and feelings, sent me teachers who gave me the training and
experience to enable me to discern for myself what is right/wrong for me, and gave me the right to
decide my own life and path.
For me, there is no more one "Right, True, and Only Way" in religion any more than there is only
one "Right, True and Only Way" to drive to work.
Please to not feel that I am criticizing your beliefs; these are merely statements of some of the
things I believe. May you find peace in your path, as I have in mine.
Volume I, Issue 5
From the Editor
by Gerald Bliss
Witches are citizens. We are involved in making our neighborhoods safe,
providing useful services, working with charities, just like any other
American citizen. Even so, we keep getting asked by some people, "What are
you doing in the community? You aren't building churches, or hospitals, or
day care centers, so what are you doing?"
I know of a number of things that we are doing. However, since we
are Witches, and since many people have a strange idea of what that means,
we tend to do these things as individuals or network through groups with a
single contact individual.
There are many groups who accept our support as Witches, and many
others who accept our support as individuals regardless of our beliefs.
Until recently, there were no reports of groups rejecting our help (in time
or money) because we are Witches. This has changed, as one animal rights
group started returning money raised by Witches and forbidding them from
raising any further funds for them. (Which is why we published "A Your
Type" last issue...) There was also one report of a group in the Pacific
Northwest that turned down a donation of food from a Wiccan group (another
group gladly accepted the gift, and stated that all future donations would
Major areas of involvement deal with issues such as Freedom of
Religion, Women's Rights (since the majority of Witches revere the Feminine
side of Deity as well as the Masculine, this is a natural for many
Wiccans), Nature Conservancy groups, Animal Welfare, and Food, Clothing,
and Housing activites for others who are less fortunate than ourselves.
In many communities, you will find Wiccans involved in blood drives
or petitioning City Council to build needed community facilities. An
informal polling of Witches and Pagans around the country found an
unusually high number of us serving as EMTs, Paramedics, and in the Nursing
field or involved in other community service agencies.
I personally support the American Friends Service Committee,
subscribe to The Freedom Writer, and receive the Religious Freedom Alert,
(Religious Freedom issues), have been a member of the Sierra Club, the
Naturist Society, and Greenpeace, and I often take a trash bag with me on
my frequent hikes in the mountains. I am a member of an activist labor
union, and make frequent appearances on local and regional stages as a
folksinger and filker (filk is Science Fiction/Fantasy folk music).
[Editor's Note: Most of you reading this know of my work with the homeless
population of Asheville, beginning in 2003, and my psychiatric rights issues.]
We care about our families, children, pets -- and yours -- and the
Earth itself at least as much as you do. Please welcome us and make room
for us in your activities. All we ask is acceptance and a willingness
toward understanding, and together we can all make this world a better
place in which to live.
Vol. I, Issue 6
From the Editor
by Gerald Bliss
That Dangerous Dabbling
Many "cult-bashers" talk about "dabbling" (trying a few things from a magazine article or book
and reading a few more books) as being "the first and least dangerous step into Satanism". But is it
the least dangerous?
Not according to Steven Daniels, a probation and parole officer in Green Bay, WI (as quoted in
the November 27, 1988 Appleton, WI Post-Crescent, as reported by Maija Penikis). "Teen-age dabblers"
are the least sophisticated, but account for a great deal of crime. They are mostly white,
intelligent, alienated, bored and somewhat affluent.
"They surround themselves with a barrage of heavy metal music whose lyrics are filled with
drugs, fantasy, suicide, violent sex -- primarily against women."
"Self-styled" occultists account for 28% to 35% of the sociopathic serial killers. "They pick
and choose whatever they want out of the satanist beliefs to give themselves 'permission' to be as
brazen and bizarre as they want to be. They are the dangerous ones," Daniels said.
Also not according to Sandi Gallant, an officer with the San Francisco Police Department. In an
article from the Nov. 16, 1988, Juneau (Alaska) Empire, she is quoted as saying: "I am less concerned
about cult groups acting together than I am with the individual who's dabbling in satanism on his
own, looking for a way to justify doing sick things."
Why do certain witch-bashing ministries say that dabbling is less harmful? Because the people
they consider "experts" as being "former witches" were dabblers. These people are very invested in
believing that they weren't very deep into satanism. An article in Cosmopolitan, a book by Zolar or
Paul Huson (most of this type of thing we call "Witchcrap", but it is still very dangerous if
believed), a copy of the Necronomicon (a hoax, but a dangerous hoax), and they think they can call
themselves "Witches" and start throwing around terms like "White Witch" if they really think they are
To us here at CWR, the only difference between the "dabbler" and the "self-styled occultist" is
that the latter has gotten more serious. There is no training, no actual study, no belief system
other than what the person selects from dubious, sensationalized materials.
We have been using the term, "legitimate witch". While we make no claims as to what is and is
not legitimate (determining this is what Goddess gave each of us brains for), here are some
guidelines. All of these are basic concepts, and there will be exceptions.
This is a start. There will be exceptions, and there are many more things that most trained,
experienced, legitimate witches do/are. If you have questions, contact us here at CWR, and/or refer
to Kerr Cuhulain's "A Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca", available from CWR for $10 ppd. CWR will soon
be publishing a variety of brochures on the Craft for further information.
- Legitimate witches do not charge for lessons, other than paying for renting the teaching
space and making whatever copies are necessary, etc. This is written into the Craft Laws.
- Legitimate witches do not publish how-to books containing harmful or manipulative
spells. Major legitimate published witches include Raymond Buckland, Marion Weinstein, Margot Adler,
Scott Cunningham, Doreen Valiente, Starhawk, and Stewart Farrar. This list excludes legitimate Ritual
Magicians (such as Israel Regardie), since Ritual Magick is not a form of our religion (and many do
not practice RM as a religion at all).
- Legitimate witches do not teach the Craft to minors without informed parental
permission. They seldom teach minors at all, since there are legal problems even with written
- Legitimate witches never ask their students for blind obedience, and usually encourage
inquisitive examination of everything they are taught.
- Legitimate witches do not break the laws of their country of residence, with exceptions
sometimes being made in areas of civil disobedience and matters of conscience.
I was still Editor for Vol. II, Issue 1, but the Editorial was written by my then-partner, Rowan Moonstone.
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