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Witchcraft/Paganism Today Part I:

Witchcraft as Fad

What is a witch? When someone calls themselves Witch, what do you think of? Do images of bubbling cauldrons, cackling hags, warts, and flying broomsticks fill your cerebrum? Or do you conjure up visages of young teenagers dressed in black Goth garbs with pentagrams dangling from their necks? For the most part, both are true; but it is the latter of which this piece is focused.

To get to the root of it, a Witch is a person who (to generalize) worships the Lord and Lady,holds a reverence for the Earth and the Elementals, and who practices the art of magick or "witchcraft".But what has happened to this wholesome religion in these modern times? It is now more likely for people, especially teenagers,to claim that they practice witchcraft just for the shock factor or to rebel against their parents and other authority figures. Sadly, Wicca, Witchcraft, or Paganism in general has become a fad among today's youth.

With the influence of movies such as "The Craft", "Practical Magic" and television shows like "Sabrina, the Teenaged Witch" and "Charmed", teens are drawn to the mystical part of Paganism and not the spirituality. "It was my unfortunate experience to know a couple of teenagers who claimed to be Wiccan, but hadn't even heard of the Goddess,and were simply in it for 'doing spells'," exclaimed Brae, a Pennsylvanian Pagan. "The books I loaned them weren't good enough because there was 'too much spirituality', 'too much work involved in ritual', and 'there wasn't enough spells'".

"I think [that] between the breakdown of the traditional coven, the mass publication of low-quality paperbacks, and the fadism of Wicca in the movies over the past few years, it has become a fad. There are a lot of youngsters who play with it, then grow out of it," states Gawain, a native Pagan from Pittsburgh. But what can we do to combat this ever spreading nuisance? Among the people I interviewed for this article, one of the highest forms of "fad eradication" was education.

"I say, embrace the fad and the opportunity to educate what Paganism is about!" exclaims Eliza, a Pagan from the northeast region of Pennsylvania. This would give the elder,more seasoned Pagans a chance to expound their vast knowledge into the minds of their eager young pupils. Education is a viable, effective way to reach those in need of guidance. But should one teach minors whose parents may not approve of the interference?

This issue comprises a small network of issues including the one above. The only right solution would be one that fits the situation of the individual. This may be a lesson taught by an elder or as simple as picking up a few books at the local library. So the next time you see a lost little Wiccan/ Pagan puppy of a teenager,point them in the direction of the Lord and Lady and leave it at that.

Arianna Stillfield