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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

                                PR Flyer 
                                By Raven
 This may answer some of the questions being asked about Wicca on
 PODSNet. If you print it up nice, it may also help in answering
 questions OFF PODSNet.
 Mind you, it is only ONE possible rendition; opinions are GUARANTEED to
 About three years ago, I did a little PR flyer to hand out when Wiccans
 were doing public events (for instance, Beltane Maypole dancing in the
 local park) and curious passersby would ask just what the heck was going
 on.  If you like the idea, use it -- and feel free to adapt it as
 needed, for your own group.
 Written 1991 by Raven.  NO COPYRIGHT.  This is placed into the public
                What You Wanted to Know about Witches *
                     * (but were afraid to ask)
 Q.  Do you worship the Devil (Satan)?
 A.  No, for three reasons.
     First, we don't venerate evil in any form:  our chosen religion is
     a celebration and affirmation of life and living things, as opposed
     to their destruction or harm.  As we believe that good or evil done
     will return upon the doer, this does not encourage doing evil.
     Second, Satan is a figure in Judeo-Christian beliefs -- originally
     not even an opponent of Yahweh, but more like his prosecuting
     attorney (as in the Book of Job).  Those who do worship Satan
     actually accept the later Christian theology, with Satan as
     Yahweh's opponent, but choose to support Satan's side of the
     battle.  We are not Christians or Satanists, and do not accept
     their theology or worldview, so we would no more worship Satan
     than, for instance, Christians would worship the Aztec God
     Quetzalcoatl; he simply has no place in our beliefs.  (We prefer
     the figure of Pan, who does have horns but is a much nicer fellow.)
     Third, we think history shows that, if you invest belief and
     emotion in any idea or thought-form, you give it strength and power
     in your own life -- it becomes more real TO YOU.  We have no wish
     to invite hostile entities into our lives and give them such power
     over us, which is why we don't venerate any form we consider evil.
     That's also why we're shocked to see how much energy some
     Christians invest in Satan.
 Q.  Then why do I hear those things about you?
 A.  "Devil-worship", baby-killing, cannibalism and all that?  These
     are typical accusations made by one religion against another.
     The Syrians accused the Jews of ritual murders long before Christ;
     then the Romans accused the Christians (who at least claimed to be
     eating someone's body and blood every week); then the Christians
     accused the Jews and Muslims and every other religion; today
     different Christian denominations even accuse each other.  Making
     wild accusations not only sells newspapers, and books, and movies;
     it helps drum up support for the Religion Of Your Choice.  This is
     a cynical use of hate, fear, and ignorance, but as long as it works,
     it will be used. (And there will always be psychotics willing to
     live up to the image -- then claim "the Devil made me do it.")
 Q.  If not Christian theology, what do you believe in?
 A.  Life.  We see the entire Universe, all matter and energy, as
     bursting with life, loving its own living parts -- including us --
     and gathered in one eternal dance.  We try to catch the tune and
     dance to the beat.
     Sometimes we call the leading dancers Light and Dark, or Sun and
     Moon, or the Lord and the Lady, Cernunnos and Ceridwen, Pan and
     Diana, or by other names.  These represent the duality in all
     things -- male and female, yang and yin -- neither side of which
     can be denied or ignored, even within ourselves.
     (We hope this helps us avoid the error that some worshippers of a
     single deity have made, such as thinking that "since God is all
     good and God is male, therefore anything female or feminine is
     Our feeling about the Gods is that they are teachers, family
     members, and fellow dancers:  not some untouchable abstraction
     infinitely distant, but an intimate part of our own lives.  Our
     feeling about other religions is that they, too, are part of the
     universal dance: not enemies, but fellow strugglers seeking as we
     do, to live and learn to keep time with the music.
 Q.  What is this ceremony you're doing?
 A.  It depends on the moment.  You may be watching a circle dance, or a
 Maypole dance, or a feast of "cakes and ale", or just a group hug.
 (We like to have fun.)  Possibly, since you were handed this, you're
 watching us "cast a circle".  That's one of our basic religious
 When we "cast a circle", we mark off a space as dedicated and protected
 for our use, rather like Christians consecrating a church.  (The
 difference is, we don't need a building, and we let the space go back to
 normal after we've used it.)  Within this circle, we ask for the
 protection of guardians -- call them the four elements of Air, Earth,
 Fire, and Water, or the four archangels Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and
 Uriel -- again, the names may vary.  Then we invite the Lord and the
 Lady to be with us for a time.  We have a nice visit, a little snack of
 cookies and wine (or fruit juice), and then everyone goes home.  It's
 very friendly.
 Along the way, sometimes we ask for help with our problems, such as
 healing an injury or illness; if you believe in the power of prayer,
 it's the same sort of thing -- but we try to put our own energies into
 the task, rather than asking someone else to do all the work.
 Q.  How will what you are doing affect me?
 A.  If you're not participating, then probably no more than any other
 religious service you watch from outside.  If you're shocked by other
 religions, you might choose to be shocked by ours.  (Ours is just out
 where you can see it, instead of hidden by walls.)  Or you might choose
 to accept our part of the universal dance as valid if different from
 your own.  You might even choose to participate -- and people of good
 will are generally welcome among us.
 Even if you do participate, there's no reason to take any effect from
 our services that you don't choose to accept.  Since -- for our own
 sakes -- we ask for nice things to happen, the biggest possible results
 involve no danger.  If we ask for more harmony in the world, and your
 life becomes more harmonious, then you benefit from the same general
 effect as if a church's prayer for world peace had worked. (After that,
 if you don't like harmony, you could always work to make your own life
 more discordant; whatever suits you.)
 Q.  Do all Witches practice the same way you do?
 A.  There are about as many "denominations" of Witches as there are of
 Christians, and since no-one is forced to keep One True Orthodox Way,
 even a single group may do things differently from time to time.  The
 two mottoes that apply here are "If it works, use it" -- and "AN IT HARM
 NONE, do as you will."
 Q.  How can I find out more about you?
 A.  Ask one of us.  We're easy to talk with.  Or read some books.  Good
 books include Vivianne Crowley's WICCA: the Old Religion in the New Age,
 Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon, Starhawk's The Spiral Dance, and
 Raymond Buckland's Complete Guide to Witchcraft.
 There's also a lot of shocking nonsense and pulp fiction out there
 -- notably in movies, paperback thrillers, and the sort of newspapers
 sold at supermarket cash registers; we can only ask you to take anything
 you find there with a skeptical pinch of salt.
     (This was written in May 1991 as a general information handout for
     the use of the CUUPS group of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
     Please feel free to copy and adapt this for use by your own group.)

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