Come from the Shadows It was a chastening experience. A job transfer had moved us 1200 mil

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Come from the Shadows It was a chastening experience. A job transfer had moved us 1200 miles. I can always find a bookstore. We will find a new 'favorite' restaraunt in time. The hardest thing to deal with is the isolation. No one in our home circle has contacts in the new town. Instead of lessons twice a month, circles twice a month and the loving safety net of our circle, we--each other, phone calls and homesick letters. We were suddenly involuntary Solitares. It was an enlightening experience. Adrift in our new town, cut loose from our circle, we had to find new ways to deal with things. Holidays once filled with an extended of twenty-five people,can seem 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 our guests my pentagram fell out: She: "Is that what I think it is?" Me: "Yes,ma'am." She: "But if you're a...I mean ...What are doing here?" Me: "My religion teaches me to value and respect others; and the elderly are our memeries." She nods, and goes back to her meal. The next time someone tries to tell her witches are evil, it will be my face she remenbers. It was a bittersweet experience. Finally we met another group, and shared in a circle for the first time in months. It felt like coming home. Afterwards, someone asked, "Where did you say you came from?" It turns out one of our new found friends knows of a solitaire from our home town. In the same city where we know of four covens, countless solitaires and a rich pagan social life, she is alone. She can't find anyone in the Craft and the isolation is painful. EXCUSE ME WHILE I GET OUT MY SOAPBOX. This has gone on long enough. I am tired of hearing the Lady's name spoken in whispers. I am tired of sacred songs being sung behind locked doors and shuttered windows. I am tired of pretending, I am tired of hiding, and I am tired of getting by. I am sick unto death knowing that pagan parents must teach their children how to hide. As I write this is is March 1987. I am about to put onto paper my favorite post-ritual "gee-if-only." Indulge me. Join me. Dream along. I have a dream, born in shadows and under hills, in groves and in suburban living rooms. I have a dream,that one day the Craft will rise as one and say,"enough. It is time." Let it begin small. The first year, we will all agree on some recognition symbol: a green button perhaps. Anytime you see someone wearing a blank green button, you will know that person is a fellow pagan, and one who has read this article and shares the dream (it will be hoped that you will share the work as well.) Start by finding someone who has a button machine and become your local supplier. Anytime you see someone wearing a blank green button,get their address and give them yours. This is called "networking." And make sure you send their address to us at 'Come From the Shadows.' Pass the word. Everytime you talk to a friend who is 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 is the easy part. We also go to work. Kindred, our neighbors are afraid of us. It is fear born out of misinformation, and it will continue only as long as we permit. The second year our network goes into high gear, raising the public awareness, challenging religious stereotypes and demonstrating our community concern. That means we all get to do our part with articles like this, and with letters to the editor politly responding to the usual silly Halloween articles and with volunteerwork. We walk a Path teaches the three fold law, let's start putting some time, energy, and love into our towns. Answer the crises phone line, visit the elderly, donate books on the Craft to the library and become an active member in the 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 will be available all the preceding year at our rituals, bookstores,coffee shops,etc. Here's my dream, see it with me. She's a parelegal, and after three years of preparation, she's still scared. Meditation helps. She pins on the button, kept on her alter for months, to her blouse. Her phone rings. A friend accross the city needs encouragement. Reassuring him reassures her. She walks out to her car head held high. He is a telephone repairman. He pins the button on his work shirt, helps his second grader pin one on as well. He says "Let's do it," 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 had dawned bright and clear, and accross 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 rituals for healing and understanding. It's Solstice morning and they have walked out their doors to go about their daily routine wearing buttons that say: I'M PAGAN TOO. Come From The Shadows How many? Estimates on the number of pagans in this country vary, but thousands at the very least. Can you see it? The para-legal and the parking lot attendant exchang shocked glances. The telephone repairman 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, is close to tears when she realizes she is not alone. The shipyard engineer counts buttons in rush hour traffic, meanwhile on campus his wife loses count sometime before lunch. The media goes crazy,interviewing people all over the place. The public is suddenly aware of the pagans in their midst, not as isolated freaks but as a group. We are not the faceless enemy-- we are the little league coaches, the Red Cross volunteer. We are citizens concerned about our towns, our country, our 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 Earth and Sky come home, reclaiming our right to walk in the sunlight. "Enough, it is time." Send comments, suggestions, ect. to: Come From the Shadows P.O. Box 27465 San Antonio, TX. 78227-0465 This letter was written by a good friend of mine who wishes to get the word out. I was given permission to print this. I believe in her dream. I only hope this letter reaches a few like-minded folk. Weather you are into ceremonial magick or Wicca or any other non Judeo-Christian -Moslem faith this dream pertains to you. Also to the open-minded Christians (are there any left?) I hope! I have also left a message on a few of the boards. Bapho-net for one Wierdbase for another and a few others.

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E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank