Come from the Shadows A job transfer had moved us 1200 miles. The hardest thing to deal wi

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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 is painful. 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 time. 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

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