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This is a description of what Windfire Coven does to attract positive media
During the latest period of Satanism hysteria the energies were flowing in
a negative direction as far as Wicca is concerned. The media loves
controversy and knows that to have controversy they must present more than
one side of any given issue. Consequently when planning some report that
may be negative in context they will go out of their way to present another
view of that same issue.
This, of course, is reactive not pro-active in nature. This is how Windfire
got the media exposure the last two times. I'll start with the Denver
It was a few weeks after File 18 was given to each member of Windfire that
we dedicated a full moon ritual for magikal work toward a solution.
Windfire is not structured so every member got to focus their power in
their own way toward the solution. The solution was to promote a positive
understanding of Wicca in the local mundane communities.
The very next day, not 24 hours after the ritual, we got a call from
channel 7, Denver. They were in the Springs and wanted to talk to some
witches about ley lines and power spots. The two person crew was at
Celebration Book Store but the attendant didn't want to be on camera.
Fortunately the store attendant had our number and called us. We talked
with the camera crew and arranged an immediate interview.
Two considerations are important here. The first is that just like any
other form of magikal work the magik takes it's own form. So be ready for
anything. And two, when the media calls they usually will not wait around
for interviewees. Be prepared for anything, at any moment. When the
Channel 7 told us that they were doing the interview to balance out some of
the reporting on Satanism, but they didn't stress the fact that the report
was about Satanism. Further we didn't know enough to ask what the focus and
content was for the report. Always ask what the focus of the report is.
You may find yourself, just like Windfire, shocked that we are being
visually, if not verbally, assocoated with Satanism.
For the interview, be positive. I can't stress that enough. Smile and let
them see that you are sincere in your faith in the Goddess. Laugh. All the
reporters see in Satanism is somber faces, confessing their sins. Let them
know that you are happy with your path. Stress the difference between
patriarchal monotheism and pre-Christian, pre-Hebrew Goddess religion.
Have your resources ready for the reporter to look at if they need a quote
for something. Trot out your tools and instruments if you feel comfortable
with that. They love to see the various tools. You don't have to show them
all or any of your tools but it sure helps them get a picture of what is
The media people like robes so wear your best. Covert groups that have
fears about discovery of illegal activities will not don their robes or
show their tools. By doing so you show that you are not aligned with
covert, illegal, fearful groups. And by disassociation you show that you
are doing nothing illegal or dangerous.
There are three parts of the interview: the preview, the personal
interviews and the ritual. In some or perhaps most cases, the ritual can be
left out. [Please note that these terms are descriptive of their function,
not their technical names. The reporters may have a different technical
name for them.]
The preview is a time for the reporter to get to know the members of the
group, circle or coven. They will talk to you for a period of time. For
Windfire that was about an hour for each camera crew. Please remember to be
civil as a group and not blurt things out all at once. Believe me it's hard
not to do that in the excitment. During the preview the reporter will
select who they want to interview.
Personal interviews last about 10 minutes. The reporter will generally
select different questions for each interviewee. Be prepared for some hard
and personal questions. At the end of the personal interview the reporter
will sometimes ask if you have anything particular to say to the public.
Please don't waste this opportunity. Have a personal message ready for the
The ritual can be anything you feel comfortable with. We genearlly choose a
related focus such as increasing understanding in the mundane public. The
camera crews seem to like this. Be patient, they may want you to duplicate
some particular action for different camera angle. Accommodate them when
you can. We got through a partial ritual before the second camera crew ran
out of tape. Don't forget to complete the ritual before them before you let
them leave. Be complete.
Remember that there are generally two people in a camera crew, the reporter
and the camera operator. When the reporter is previewing the coven have
another witch talk to the camera operator, telling them what the tools are
for and what incenses and crystals are used. Be discrete but talk to each
and every camera crew member because they all have input into the editing
of the tape. If the reporter has a good feeling about the coven but the
camera person thinks you stink you may have visual problems later. Make
sure each and every camera crew member goes away with a warm fuzzy feeling.
Offer them refreshments. They will generally refuse alcohol but water,
sodas, coffee and fruit juices are welcomed. Help the crew as much as they
will let you. If they need cables or furniture moved, do so.
Now for Channel 13 in Colorado Springs. This reporter was doing a report
on Satanism alone. Unfortunately the ONLY resource she had was James
McCarthy in Boulder. The reporter used the "S" word, the "W" word and the
"P" word all in the same sentence without differentiating between the
three. Admittedly the context of the sentence was ritual. Still no
differentiation was made. We started a telephone campaign and had about 15
people call the newsroom at the station and complain.
Here it is especially good to not bitch unless you have a solution. If you
complain to a reporter do not leave them hanging with no way to clean up
the mess. Talk to them, give them your phone number so they can call you
back later. They are busy people. Try to make sure they can successfully
reach you, not your children, not your message machine, not your dog. If
you give them your number and they don't call you back, call them. Find out
what the problem is.
During the phone campaign we left the reporter numerous ways to contact us.
She did and we scheduled a time for the interviews. We scheduled it for our
regular weekly meeting time so that all the members could be there and a
generic ritual could be filmed. Members who didn't want to be on film were
situated so that their faces were not on camera. The camera crew will do
this for you. They don't want to inadvertently expose unwilling and
innocent people to possible harassment.
On the appointed day the camera crew showed up fashionably late. We went
through our usually horror story about being butchered by the media in the
past and they (both crews) were sympathetic to our concerns. Don't be
afraid to stress how badly the media has treated witches, but don't bore
them; everyone has a story to tell but boredom is out these days.
Let them see a generic ritual with a generic focus. The immediate focus was
understanding in the local community. That works well so you might want to
try that with your group or coven. It impresses the camera crew so that
they will be a little more interested.
Proactive means acting before something happens and puts you in reactive
Perhaps the best thing to do is to put together a packet that you can send
to your local media: Tv. stations, radio stations, and newspapers, which
also include your local neighborhood weeklies if you're brave enough.
Send a well put together packet to these medias and be sure they can get in
touch with you on a few days notice. You might have more than one contact
for your group, circle or coven. Windfire has three or four.
I suggest for this packet that you include three or four brief statements
from willing coven members, a longer essay on Wicca with resources, the New
Woman article, some artwork and poetry. Include also a reading list of your
favorite Wiccan authors. Be sure to include names and numbers to call back.
While the reporters won't read everything they will probably read the brief
statements from your coven members and look at the reading list. You might
suggest book stores the reporters can find the reading list books at.
The main time of the year for reactive procedures is Halloween.
Funnymentalist just love to hammer us during Samhain. So be proactive and
let the media know how you view Samhain. Send the media an article about
Samhain about two weeks before. Let them know that there are other views
and that the funnymentalist are slandering a perfectly good holiday.
In fact you could emphasize any holiday/s that seems appropriate for your
area or group. Include your resources and/or xerox copies of other articles
you may find, with copyright if needed, on any holiday you deem
Reactive Response Summary
Be prepared to act at any moment if they should call you. Be positive,
smile and laugh a lot. Talk to all the camera crew members. Let them know
your concerns, stress the problems of the past but don't offend the media
people. Make it a magikal time for all the people involved including the
camera crews. Remember to augment your mundane activity (interviews) before
hand with magikal work.
Proactive Encounter Summary
Prepare a good information packet. Sound like you know what you are talking
about. Don't be mousey. Be aggressive and call them if you feel the need.
Make sure they can return a call to you successfully. If you get an
interview be positive and firm. Media people are strong people, they like
other strong people. Be prepared to act at any moment when they call you.
Devote some personal and collective magikal time for magikal work to
attract positive media attention.
I'm sure that you will be challenged by the opportunities your magik will
bring you. The Goddess will bring your efforts to full fruit if you are
ready to support Her when the time comes. It's not an overused saying to
state that we should be prepared for the effects of our own magik.
Copyright Ammond Shadowcraft
August 3, 1988