18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
That is a verse of scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible. So imagine the lives of open Pagans in the deep South better known as The Bible Belt. As an Eclectic Witch living in Alabama I had to overcome many hurdles put in my path. I am not the only witch in the Bible Belt to face uncertainty because of the religion we choose.
“Some may ask what is the Bible Belt exactly The phrase “Bible Belt” is an informal term for a region in the southeastern and south central United States where socially conservative evangelical Protestantism plays a strong role in both the political spectrum and in society in general. The Bible Belt is in the southeastern quarter of the U.S. running from the New Mexico-Texas border up to Kansas and then northeastward to Missouri all the way to the east coast and includes Kentucky and Tennessee all the way to West Virginia and Virginia and all the way down to Florida.” – Jack Wells, “What is The Bible Belt?”
Predominately a conservative “God Fearing” region it is extremely difficult for Pagans to come out of the broom closet.In the Bible belt Pagans are considered evil because we worship “false Gods”. In the Christian faith there is only one true God. The Christians believe we worship demons.
“Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of The Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both The Lord’s table and the table of demons.” (1 Corinthians 10:19-21 NIV” http://www.keyway.ca/htm2000/20000924.htm
When you are an open Pagan in the deep south this is the thought process you have to deal with.
I remember one day at work in the ER one of my doctors noticed my pentacle necklace. He immediately stopped and turned to me and asked if I knew what I was wearing. I laughed and told him of course. He immediately wanted to start preaching to me telling me I was going to hell. I was a demon worshipper. I went to the computer printed off some pages from a few of my favorite sites and gave them to him. I told him to educate himself a little then come back to me because I refused to fight with an unarmed person. He never approached the conversation again.
My ex-husband used my religion against me in a custody case for our children multiple times . At one time he actually got a judge to believe I was evil. I lost my kids for nearly 2 years. He later in life told the deacon of my boyfriend’s church I was a devil worshipper, etc. The good deacon didn’t let his shirt touch his back before he told Matthew’s mom. That destroyed any hope of a lasting relationship for us. I don’t understand why but southerners believe any type of Pagan religion is devil worship.
I have talked with some of the local pagans in my area about what if any problems they have had because of their faith.
Robert-Tony Papoi told me ” I have been open about my Spiritual Path, and except for a couple of people who I have met at my job – One when they meet me stated they went to mental health. I have NOT experienced any problem.
I have been able to gain decent employment, even management positions dealing with millions of dollars of inventory flowing under my control daily.
I honestly think the biggest problem is the mental fear of being bashed as if we are in middle school and Big Boob Betty will not go to the prom with us if we are different.”
He is one of the most fortunate ones I talked with of late.
Brian Meetze had this to tell me. “my son and I have had a very strained relationship all his life (his mother and I divorced while he was still in the womb and I have played immortal hell trying to see and spend time with him as he grew up) in 2010 as he started his adult life and college for the ministries we had decided to try to start a relationship but it was very short-lived. I found out recently that the reason he backed off and broke all contact was because of my involvement with (at that time Satanism, a practice that didn’t even have anything to do with the “Christian Satan”) even as this discovery came to light he still is apprehensive about my pagan walk now but at least he wants to talk and gain a better understanding of what it is about. Not to convert or like that but to better understand. I’m very proud of his attaining his bachelor degree in the ministry and now starting classes on his masters.
The point of this bit of information is that I have lost my son not from our strained relationship but my spiritual belief. Although most will shun you, they will also eventually, come around seeking understanding as to whether or not this is wicked or evil or if it’s just another spiritual way of living that is innocent and good. I refuse to allow my spiritual belief and walk to be dictated by those who simply don’t understand and refuse to be , at very least, open-minded enough to respect and acceptable to my choice of belief just as I am of theirs.”
Lady Amethyst, who requested I use her Magickal name for the protection of her family, told me ” I have kept the bulk of mine private for my children’s sake, but the Goddess continued to push for this group and for the community we are now building …. I find myself trying to walk a fine line between staying in the broom closet and following my heart.” The group she is referring to is a Facebook group she is administrator of.
I have my own experiences and opinions as most people do. I have lost a lot of acquaintances who feared me and my faith. The battle we have is that the southern roots are so deeply in Baptist Christianity. Most of us were raised Southern Baptist………at least in Alabama. We either found that faith lacking or such as my case hypocritical. I believe that the Bible has been translated by man so many times that it has lost its true meaning.
Matthew 6:6-8 of the King James Bible says….
“6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
The verse above accuses Pagans of being vain and long winded………….LOL. Who has turned on late night television to see the preachers asking for money. According to their very own Bible they shouldn’t be doing this. Our religion was distorted and changed to their holidays. Our people were burned and tortured by their people. THEY CALL US EVIL?