Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wiccans thrive in NM

Wiccans, followers of a federally recognized religion that practices a form of shamanism, is alive and well in New Mexico with a nationally known seminary in Jemez Springs.

And followers don’t shrink from being labeled a witch

“For me, it’s the same thing,” said Jim Blanchard, one follower of the religion. “I am a Wiccan. I am a witch.”

While the word “witch” inspires negative images of hags toiling over bubbling cauldrons of evil potions, practitioners say their faith is more about celebrating the natural world.

“The roots of witchcraft, or Wicca, are from shamanism, and that’s earth based, celebrating the natural spirit of the land and of deity,” said practitioner Sharon Lamont.

Wiccans believe that nature is sacred and they celebrate the seasons and lunar cycles. They honor many different gods and goddesses – Greek, Celtic, Hindu and others.

“I’ve always had a personal connection to the natural world,” said Brian Rasmussen, a convert to Wicca from Mormonism,” and I saw the beauty of divinity through the natural world.”

A point of concern for some, especially Christians, is the use of the pentagram in Wicca, the same symbol used by Satanists.

Wiccans say that’s one of the misconceptions they continue to fight. They say the five points of the pentagram, in Wicca, symbolize the five elements of earth, fire, air water and spirit.

Followers point out that last year the U.S. government agreed to allow the pentagram to be used on headstones at national cemeteries.

“There are many countries where there’s so much intolerance right now that to have a different religion or viewpoint is your death warrant,” said Amber K., another practitioner of Wiccanism. “And I cherish the fact that New Mexico is so open to diversity and that having harmony among the different cultures is so important to us.”

Dogs hanged, burned over satanic symbol in Fayette County
The Tribune-Democrat, PA - Mar 14, 2008
Linden says authorities also found the image of a pentagram on the ground, a five-pointed star commonly associated with Satanism. ...

hecklerspray, Los Angeles - Mar 17, 2008
Satanists can certainly be a pesky bunch. Not only do they insist on slitting goats all over town and hanging the entrails in a tinsel-like fashion around ...

Boys arrested for $20k damages, including pentagram
The Northwest Florida Daily News, FL - Mar 20, 2008
Lawmen say Carite entered the house twice: Once between Feb. 13 and Feb. 21 and again between Feb. 21 and Feb. 26. The first burglary had about $4000 in ...

Wonkette (satire)
McCain Shocker: He Lives And Loves With DC Satanists
Wonkette (satire), DC - Mar 7, 2008
Lobbyist-lover John McCain has a lot of problems, including being 712 years old and completely hated by his party, the Republicans. ...
n ...

The Sun
Flesh was ripped off my body as evil mother dragged me behind her ...
The Sun, UK - Mar 18, 2008
Chris says: “Eunice told me my parents were satanists and, even though they would send birthday and Christmas cards, she never told us. ...


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