Re: Belief in magic and witchcraft

John Hoerr (
17 Nov 95 07:21:00 GMT (Xochi Zen) writes:

> Do any skeptics have friends who believe in this sort of thing?
>How do you deal with it?

Keeping in mind that paganism does not jive 100% with the type of witchcraft
you describe, I have a story you might find interesting.

I have a pagan friend who also happens to be a skeptic. This past summer,
she held a workshop at the Pagan Spirit Gathering addressing skepticism
(or the lack therof) in neo-paganism. The gist of the workshop revolved
around the fact that most pagans tend to scoff at Christian mythology and
rituals, yet they seldom turn the critical eye upon their own beliefs,
which are certainly no less ridiculous. Needless to say, she made very
few friends that day.

She once told me of an incident which sort of drives the point home:

At most pagan gatherings, there is a "sacred" fire which serves as a sort
of community center. Sometimes, people will enter (or fake) a trance-
like state and do strange things such as jump over or through the fire.
Well, on one occasion, a man fell upon landing on the other side of the
fire, and broke his leg. The seriousness of his injury was compounded by
the fact that they were a good distance from the nearest road, and the
intervening terrain was muddy and slippery. So as some of the more sensible
people were trying to get medical attention, build a stretcher, etc., one
woman stood up and said, "Let's do a healing ritual." These same people
would, no doubt, readily give a scathing criticism of Christian Scientists.

John Hoerr