Paganism, Witches, and the New Age

Paganism, Witches, and the New Age August 8, 2016

​Over the weekend I worked as a volunteer at a New Age/Psychic Expo that was held in my hometown. This was the first one put on by this organization, Healing Body and Spirit, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The husband and wife duo, John and Beverly Stephen, do other expos in the Indiana-Michigan area. They are wonderful people who sincerely love sharing their passion and calling. Beverly is also an accomplished clairvoyant. She and her husband John have travelled to many Psychic Expos together looking for the most talented and reputable psychics, readers, and mediums. They were both a pleasure to work with, and they are obviously living their passion. I look forward to heling them next year.
​The event lasted Saturday and Sunday, amidst a National Scrabble Tournament being held in the convention center as well. Until yesterday I was unaware how seriously some players take their Scrabble.

​There were various speakers that held free half-hour seminars on a number of topics throughout each day. They discussed things like: tarot, palmistry, crystals, and various holistic and alternative techniques. There was even a gentleman selling medicinal Cannabinoid (CBD) products including tinctures, vapes, and lotions.

​Now that I am a little older, I have come to realize the importance of participating in the community. I was happily surprised by the number of attendees. I believe that the people here are hungry for different things like that. We are such a diverse city, but we are still remembered for our ultra-conservative past. I hope next year that the expo is even larger, that more vendors come and the community will respond for sure. Especially after such a successful first year!

​Another reason that I am writing this article is to reflect upon and point out something that I have noticed which seems to be a common occurrence within the metaphysical community. Up until now I haven’t experience this in person, but I have seen it referenced in articles detailing other people’s experiences with the New Age community. As witches, we are often reminded of the apparent distinction between New Agers and light workers, and Pagans and witches. This distinction is often made whether Wiccan or otherwise.

Johan Jakob Wick Chronicles
Johan Jakob Wick Chronicles

​Of course being the seeker that I am my studies have taken me in many different directions within the occult and esoteric systems. Like many of us find out, many topics in the New Age and/or occult categories share similar histories, influences, and ideas. Many New Age practices like Reiki, crystal healing, smudging, etc. are adopted by practitioners of modern witchcraft as well. When looking at modern practices, these seemingly disparate categories have more in common than not. They are often grouped together in the same New Age/Spirituality section of the bookstore.

​It was through the New Age section at Border’s Bookstores and the public library that I found my earliest resources. I often found myself like many young witches spending a lot of time gazing over the titles in this section. I consider myself part of both communities, and I have acquaintances on both ends of the spectrum. For example, I practice reconstructions of traditional witchcraft, but I have also taken Reiki attunements, like many other people probably have as well. Although my interests are very broad when it comes to learning, all of my experiences are seen through the eyes of a witch.

​Unfortunately, I noticed in a couple of instances that witchcraft or something related was tactfully avoided. Understandably, as it was a Psychic Expo, the focus was on readers and healers, which is awesome, but it reminded me that there is a lack of representation for the Pagan community in my town.

​Other than a few New Age stores, and the small Pagan Pride Day held in September at a local park, there aren’t any gathering places for Pagans, witches and other magical practitioners. Our only access locally is through the New Age community, which at times would rather not be associated with witchcraft as it moves more into the mainstream. To some lightworkers we are all dark, and there is a sense of superiority over us. There is one individual in particular who is locally known in my town, and acts as a spiritual mentor to other seekers like myself. She has been part of the community for many years, and I have spoken to other individuals who were put off by her “celebrity” attitude.

However, there are many people that love this individual. She is one of the few local resources available, which brings me to my conclusion. My town needs a reputable member of the Pagan/witchcraft community to step up and create a safe space for Wiccans, witches, and all other heathens where we may come together and celebrate our gods, our magic, and our knowledge with one another. My community needs an anchor to form itself around. I feel it is part my responsibility to facilitate the building of that foundation so that others may build from it and create a strong and true representation of our diverse community.

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