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Pagans, Wiccans, Muggles, and the Law

 by Keith Goetzman

Tags: Wicca, paganism, Samhain, Halloween, ritual, law enforcement, religion, spirituality, Witches & Pagans, Keith Goetzman,

Bonfire dancer

We’re nearing the time of year when many people celebrate Halloween, and when many pagans and Wiccans celebrate Samhain, an ancient ritual with Celtic roots. But it appears that gathering around bonfires, a Samhain celebration staple, can be an act fraught with uncertainty: not because of spells or ghouls or human sacrifices, but because the law might show up.

A wiccan reader from Halifax, Nova Scotia, writes to Witches & Pagans magazine (Summer 2011) about the way it usually plays out:

Aside from the gratuitous slap at Satanists—fellow pariahs should stick up for each other, no?—this Wiccan is on to something: Many law enforcers and emergency responders simply don’t understand religious and spiritual traditions that fall outside the mainstream.

Not all are unenlightened, though. In fact, Witches & Pagans in its last issue reported on David Chadwick, a high priest of a Wiccan church in Jonesboro, Arkansas, who happens to wear a blue uniform in his other gig. He sees his dual role as, um, a blessing and a curse:

Sounds like just the kind of guy that most pagans and Wiccans would welcome at the bonfire.

Source: Witches & Pagans (articles available only to subscribers) 

Image by andy.v, licensed under Creative Commons.