Serving the Community

I have been reading everything I can find about Pagan support in communities. What I’m finding is….very little. And I’m frustrated.

Did you know the majority of American hospitals and hospices do NOT provide a pagan “chaplain”? For pagans facing death, difficult decisions, loss of family, there is no one available for them. Oh, well, there are of course the Christian and Catholic chaplains. We can’t forget about them.

That scares me. I don’t want to be lying in a hospital, again, and have my faith left in the hands of a chaplain who doesn’t believe as I do. I don’t want to be dying and have someone trying to “save” me. I want someone there who understands my beliefs. Who believes as I do. Someone willing to light the candles, cast the circles, burn the incense, and say a blessing. I want familiar.

Where does one start though to become a “chaplain”? Other than going to seminary. Is it enough to say, “I am Pagan, hear me roar!” and volunteer? Somewhere in my “there are always more rules then sanity” mind I know there has to be more to it. Someone, somewhere has worked their hardest to make sure “evil pagans” are kept out of acceptable society. A world where only “serious” chaplains should be allowed.

Yes, my frusrtation is growing. I would apologize, and in part do, but when you’ve heard the biased rhetoric for the majority of your life….your optimism fails a bit. What is worse is I know how large the pagan community is growing around here. Our groups grow by leaps and bounds constantly. And we’re still considered small by most standards.

Another thing…. local law enforcement. Are they trained to deal with ‘alternative religions’? That is probably a question I should ask my brother-in-law. In fact, that is a great idea. I mean seriously, how would our local law enforcement react to an occult crime? Would they turn it into a “satanic” crime, not knowing any better?

As our group grows, and as we become more open with our practices, it is something we really need to start thinking about. Putting together an educational class would be a good idea. Who would listen though? Where do we start?

My fear is, we will be doing all of this wonderful stuff for our pagan community and the outside world will start making our lives difficult because they don’t understand. I have read the transcripts of interviews conducted by police professionals. In fact, here is a short transcript of one interview:

Police Officer: “Do know anyone else who, or have you heard of anyone else who, practices the occult?”
Pagan Follower: “No. I don’t know of anyone who practices that kind of religion.”
PO: “Have you any knowledge of the use of statues in practicing the occult? What about the ritualistic killing of animals? Ritualistic dress, as in gowns, that type of thing? Do you have any books about witchcraft?”
PF: “Umm, Wicca witches and things like that? Yes in the kitchen?”
PO: “Wicca witches? What’s that?”
PF: “Well paganism, you don’t know about paganism?”
PO: “I don’t.”
PF” “It is not against the law. Paganism is basically about people who believe in mother Earth. It’s not witchcraft as in, you know, flaming voodoo sort of things.”
PO: “I have information that you were involved in devil-worshipping ceremonies. Have you ever been into devil worship?”
PF: “Not at all.”
PO: “The information we have is that it has taken place and that you did use it to dress up in a long white gown and wore masks, as did your wife, and that you carried out some sort of ceremony during which there was dancing, and that your children were dressed up in a similar manner to yourselves and there was music being played, described as Indian music. And also that during this, some form of chanting and praying took place. Further to that, there was information given to us that whilst this was being conducted, it was being videoed on a camcorder. Have you been in a position of seeing any videos which would depict serious sexual abuse? People being killed, and I’m not talking acting here? Have you ever drank the blood of a chicken? Have you ever witnessed anybody else doing that? Ever drink the blood of any other animal?”

This is where a little local law enforcement education might have came in handy. Movies and superstitions have made our lives complicated. We have to combate it with truth and education. The question becomes….where do we start?

It is something we need to be figuring out.

If anyone has ideas or suggestions, please feel free to email me. I will be more than happy to listen to anything you may have to add. I’m always glad to help and different view points.

For tonight though, I’ll continue in my reading and mayhaps do a quick inspiration ritual.

Blessed Be my friends, Blessed Be!

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