Challenging superstition, reinforcing faith

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“You want your beliefs to change. It’s proof that you are keeping your eyes open, living fully, and welcoming everything that the world and people around you can teach you.” Anna Rowley

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In attempting to remove motivation for accusations of witchcraft, activist working in this field must address the underlying beliefs people generally hold and share about witchcraft and witches. Without doing so, calls for an end to accusations and violent witch-hunts will find no fertile ground in the minds of those who make such accusations. We must appeal to science and reason in order to sweep away centuries of untested and unchallenged beliefs.

For those of us who are Witches, it means reaffirming our faith without reinforcing the superstition that clings to the words with which we identify and define ourselves.

Witchcraft is a religious belief system that employs ritual actions as expressions of worship and veneration. Like any other religio-magical belief system, what Witches believe about themselves and their religion is a matter of opinion. But whilst religious belief does not require any rigorous proof, allegations of faith that contradict the laws of Nature must be re-examined with sincere and honest circumspection.

Can, for example, magical actions change the laws of physics and chemistry? Can Witches fly on twigs, pitchforks, winnowing baskets and brooms? Can Witches go to sea on a kitchen sieve? Can Witchcraft turn a human into a frog? Can Witches blight crops, flocks and whole populations by uttering curses?

These questions and their underlying premises are largely derived from historical imaginings concocted by people who have claimed all sorts of nonsense about Witches and Witchcraft without themselves possessing any actual evidence therefore. These fantasies of error have been retold by generations of gullible believers as “fact”. The actual facts are a lot less sensational than the lies perpetrated against us.

Our brooms (and other mythical modes of transport) don’t actually fly. If we put to sea in a sieve we will drown. Our rituals and incantations cannot change the laws of Nature, and we cannot turn men into frogs. Our words don’t kill, and we are not responsible for the inevitable misfortunes of drought and disease, famine and death.

Those who, like Lewis Caroll’s White Queen believe “as many as six impossible things before breakfast”, tend to treat their ‘beliefs’ about witchcraft and witches as if these beliefs were confirmed knowledge about the subject. Belief and knowledge however are not synonymous and have never been so. Under certain conditions, a belief may be grounded on tested and proven scientific analysis, or proven through the presence of actual physical evidence. Without such evidence however, no accusation based simply on belief alone, is ‘knowledge’.
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Accusations of witchcraft are NEVER based on knowledge!

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Given the sheer volume of idiotic beliefs circulating as nothing more than hearsay, it should not surprise anyone why accurate knowledge about Witches and what we actually do to give expression to our personal religious beliefs, should find it so difficult to compete for space in the market-place of ideas. People will unfortunately continue to believe anything; the more outlandish those beliefs, the less evidence they will require for them before passing them on as gospel truth.

Don’t let that stop you from shouting even louder than those who preach their ignorance! ¬†Challenge historical and contemporary stereotypes about witchcraft and witches every day. Challenge people who make false accusations of criminality or complicity to stop fabricating falsehoods. Let’s stop witch-hunts in the 21st Century.

 

Touchstone Advocacy

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Support ’30 days of advocacy against witch-hunts’
29 March to 27 April

Because accusation is NOT proof !

For more information visit
http://www.paganrightsalliance.org/30_days.html
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