Jason has an incredibly important post up over at The Wild Hunt that you've really got to go read.
He explains that: Yesterday a coalition of U.N. officials, NGOs, and representatives from affected countries addressed the United Nations asking for governments to face the full extent of witch hunts across the world. Far from being a localized phenomenon in “primitive” or isolated villages, witch hunts and witch killings are now global in nature and spreading. Further, Jason notes that According to some U.N. experts tracking the issue “at least” tens of thousands have died due to witch hunts, while millions have been beaten, abused, isolated, and turned into refugees. Perhaps a few centuries from now, people will come along and insist that it couldn't possibly have been that many. Likely, some hysterical feminists inflated those numbers.
The most chilling part of the post? Some unscrupulous pastors, many linked to Pentecostal churches, have a lucrative trade in making unfounded accusations of witchcraft against young children. [The pastors then agree to “cure” the witches for a substantial fee. Many children are being ostracized and abandoned by their parents as a result of these accusations.]
These Christian pastors aren’t isolated to Africa, they tour churches in America bragging about their battles with the occult, and have established ministries in Ireland and the UK [, c]ommingling with an increasing anti-occult fervor among some Western Christian groups. Meanwhile, actual modern Pagan communities in places like India and South Africa are facing the possible ramifications of intensifying witch-hunts and witch persecutions.
If this trend isn’t seriously addressed soon, we may find this madness turning its eye towards “safe” occultists and Pagans in places like America, the UK, Australia, Brazil, and Canada. Don’t think it could happen? All it takes is a pseudo-militant occult-fighting Christian movement cross-pollinating with a reviving “Satanic Ritual Abuse” movement, stir in some anti-government populist anger and frustration, and you have all the makings for an American witch-lynching.
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The anger and hardship that cries out for a scapegoat is right here in our backyard. Right now “socialism” or “the government” may be the popular/populist nightmare, but that can change. It could change especially quickly if those who profit from stirring up hatred start tying the "evil government" to increased government recognition of, and protection for, oh, I don't know, Pagans in the military, just for example. Imagine if Glenn Beck decided to spend a few weeks on the topic.
This is a serious problem and it calls for serious actions. As Jason notes, signing a few internet petitions isn't going to cut it. I'd like to call on the Pagan community to -- in addition to serious political action, donations, and pressure on our own elected officials -- plan to do some magic on this topic at Yule, when we turn from the dark to the light. What can you do --as a solitary, a member of a coven or grove, a worker of magic, a shaman, a worshipper of the old gods, a priestess or priest of a public ritual, as one who moves between the worlds where what you do between them affects them all -- what can you do to put a stop to this modern day slaughter of witches and those labeled "witch"? If you plan an action at Yule, please share it in comments; if we can collect enough ideas, I'll do a separate post on the topic a bit closer to the Sabbat.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."