Come from the Shadows
A job transfer had moved us 1200 miles. The hardest thing to deal
with was the isolation. No one in our home Circle had contacts in the
new town. Instead of lessons twice a month, Circles twice a month,
and the loving safety net of out circle, we had each other, phone
calls, and homesick letters. We were suddenly involuntary solitaires.
We had to find new ways to deal with things. Holidays, once filled
with an extended family of 25 or more, are a trifle flat when the
turkey only has to feed two. So we volunteered to work at a charity
dinner for senior citizens, and I wore my pentagram tucked inside my
shirt. As I was pouring coffee for one of the guests, it fell out.
She: "Is that what I think it is?" (pointing)
Me: "Yes, Ma'am."
She: "But if you're a...I mean...What are you doing HERE?"
Me: "My religion teaches me to value and respect others; and the
elderly are our memories."
She nodded and went back to her meal. Next time someone tries to tell
her that witches are evil, it will be my face she remembers.
Finally we met another group, and shared a Circle for the first time
in months. It felt like coming home. Later, it turned out one of our
newfound friends knew a lonely solitary in our home town. In the same
city where we know four covens, countless solitaries, and a rich Pagan
social life, she is alone. She can't find anyone, and the isolation
Excuse me while I get on my soapbox.
This has gone on long enough. I am tired of hearing the Lady's name
spoken in whispers. I am tired of pretending, tired of hiding, sick
unto death of knowing Pagan parents must teach their children to hide.
As I write, it is March '87. I am about to put to paper my favorite
"gee-if-only." Indulge me. Join me. Dream along.
Let it begin small. The first year, we will all agree on some
recognition symbol; a green button. Anytime you see someone else
wearing a blank green button, you'll know this person is a fellow
Pagan, one who has read this and shares the dream. (I hope you'll
share it as well: start by finding someone with a button-maker, and
become your local supplier.) Anytime you see someone wearing a blank
green button, give them your name and address and get theirs too.
This is called "networking" - and suggest they send their address also
to us at "Come from the Shadows".
Pass the word. Every time you talk to a friend who's in the Craft,
share the dream. Make sure they get a button, too.
The second year we change our blank buttons for ones that say "I.P.T."
That's the easy part. We also intensify our work. Kindred, our
neighbors are afraid of us. It is a fear born of misinformation and
it will continue only as long as we permit it. The second year we
work to raise public awareness, challenging stereotypes. That means
we all get to do our part, with articles like this, with letters to
the editor politely responding to silly Halloween articles, and with
volunteer work. We walk a Path that teaches the Threefold Law; let's
start putting some time, energy, and love into our towns. Answer the
crisis phone line, visit the elderly, donate books on the Craft to the
library, become an active member of your community.
And in your spare moments, print and distribute the buttons for the
big day. Let's dream big; let's plan on Winter Solstice of 1990. The
buttons would be available all the preceding year at our rituals, book
stores, lectures, etc., distributed and put away until the appointed
Here's my dream, see it with me.
She's a para-legal, and after three years of preparation, she's still
very scared. Meditation helps. She pins the button, kept on her
alter for months, to her blouse, Her phone rings. A friend across
the city needs encouragement. Reassuring him reassures her. She
walks out to her car with her head held high.
He's a telephone lineman. He pins the button on his work-shirt, helps
his second-grader pin one on as well. "Let's do it," he says, and
they smile. From the door, his wife calls, "Good luck!"
A couple exchange kisses in the driveway. The buttons clatter
together. He gets into his car, headed for the shipyard. She drives
the other way, headed for the university.
They aren't alone. Winter Solstice has dawned bright and clear, and
across the country every Pagan we could reach in three years is taking
part. This is the day it all pays off, the networking, the community
work, the countless rituals for healing and understanding. It's
Solstice Morning and they have walked out of their doors to go about
their daily routine wearing buttons that say:
I'm Pagan too!
Come from the Shadows
How many? Estimates of the number of Pagans in this country vary, but
thousands at the very least. Can you see it?
The para-legal and the parking attendant exchange shocked glances.
The telephone lineman takes a service call and the farmer who answers
the door is wearing a button. His wife gives her "extra" button to a
woman in the grocery store - a solitaire, somehow missed by the
networking efforts, she is close to tears when she realizes that she
is not alone. The shipyard engineer counts buttons in rush hour
traffic, while his wife loses count on campus before lunch.
The media go crazy, interviewing people all over the place. The
public are suddenly aware of the Pagans in their midst, not as
isolated freaks but as a group. We are not the faceless enemy - we
are their neighbors, their co-workers. We are their league coaches,
their Red Cross volunteers. We are citizens concerned about out
towns, our country, out planet. We are contributing to the care of
our fellow wo/man and asking for the right to worship as we choose.
We are the children of the Earth and the Sky come home, reclaiming our
right to walk in the sunlight. "Enough. It is time."
Please send comments, suggestions, etc. to:
Come from the Shadows, c/o B.C. Fogle
2041 1st Street East #118, RAFB, Texas 78150