Thursday, March 23, 2006


Unlike some people, I've only heard the anti-homeschool "socialization" argument brought up once. I discount it completely. I know all about the "socialization" that goes on in mass schools. It's taken me decades of work and thousands of dollars of therapy to recover from it. I swore before I turned 18 my future children would go through that nightmare over my dead body.

Studies have shown that homeschooled children are actually better socialized than mass schooled children because they have more time to devote to being with a greater range of people. Parents who care enough about their children to homeschool them in the first place are generally going to care enough about them to find them groups of people to socialize with. After a few years the homeschooled child is usually up to his or her neck in socialization opportunities. That said, the first few years can be rough until the family finds people for their children to socialize with, especially if the family lives in a rural area where resources for children are few and quite far between. This is the situation we are in.

The nearest town (pop. 3,000) has no playground, no dance classes, no Girl Scouts, and no Campfire Girls. The Big Town has a small inclusive homeschool group we take part in. They also have Christian homeschool groups, but they don't advertise their meetings because they don't want to risk "contamination". We've stumbled on two of these groups over the years. The people running them acted exactly like members of junior high cliques, including staring through strangers, not speaking when spoken to by newcomers, not playing with children they didn't know, incredibly strict but arbitrary standards of conduct, malicious gossip, and cutting down junior members. In my opinion, junior high school socialization is textbook "bad socialization" and the exact experience I want my children to avoid. I'm not going to rush out and embrace Fundamentalism just so I can relive Middle School Hell.

What a recruiting poster that would make: "Find the 'Real Jesus' and return to the glory days of Junior High conformity! Spend the rest of your life trying to get along with people who have the social maturity of 13 year-olds! Relax in the delightful company of Queen Bees and backstabbers! You may even become the Queen Bee yourself in 30 or 40 years!" I think not. I've been to churches like that before, so I'm not imagining them. I'm remembering them.

So my friend tells me of a wonderful group she takes part in that's started hosting children's activities. We go to the first one, and it's great. But the hosts aren't really fond of children, and each subsequent event gets less great until before long they stink.

My friend and I decide to revitalize the children's activities by bringing stuff from home. We spend hours coordinating on the phone, ransacking our houses, and running to the store. We show up with cookies, art activities, a boom box, music, show-and-tell, storybooks, childrens' game books and lots of determination to make this the greatest event ever! The kids love it.

At one point toward the end of the day I come back from taking a load of stuff back to my car to be told that my six year-old girl has upset a nine year-old girl by trying to kiss her. I tell the six year old to back off, that not everyone likes being kissed, and make a note to schedule a talk on boundaries.

Next morning I get this email:

Due to the unacceptable behavior of your oldest child towards another child last night at the ****, I have to inform you that you are no longer welcome at *****. We are not judgmental people. However, the safety and innocence of our children will be protected. As parents, I am sure you can understand this.

Understand what? I couldn't make heads or tales out of it! I ask for clarification and was told that my six year-old had "sexually harassed" the nine year-old in ways my children don't even know about, and that my children must have been "sexually abused" to know about such things.

My day melts into a pool of shock, outrage, horror, and disgust.

It's a few days later. Phone calls have been made, more emails have been sent, bridges have been burned, and nobody is happy. My inner voice of experience tells me, "It's better to find out that people are jerks sooner rather than later." I don't want to listen.

My friend and I are talking about using our new-found organization skills to do some stuff for our kids. The 4-H lady wants me to call her and find out about 4-H clubs in our area. I'll probably call her back in a few days. Right now though, I'm feeling a little bruised.


Anonymous said...

Ouch! I am so sorry. I remember only to well how it hurt to have someone tell me that my 3 yr. old ds was "passive agressive" because he trying to hug other kids. True, they didn't want to be hugged, and true he was not reading their social cues... but come on he was 3, and he just wanted to give someone a hug.

Still homeschooling six years later, I think groups are over rated. Kids do not learn social skills in a group- they learn social skill in twos and threes. Numbers where they have to resolve differences, and have to find a compromise or the game doesn't work. In a group they can make one person mad/sad and then just find a new person to play with. On a playdate if they make their friend mad/sad they then have to find a way to make them feel better or the play is over.

We only do " group" things until we have found who we want to be friends with, then we switch to playdates. Although I do hear that where you live there doesn't sound like there are many groups to do that with.

I hope you have some good luck with 4-H. It has worked well for many on our homeschool friends around here.

Also, thanks for the pagan proverbs. I'll definitely use them as copywork for my youngest next time we study the ancients.


Rowan Falar said...

Oh my dear sweet Goddess! My 3yr. old daughter is very affectionate, giving her friends hugs and kisses all the time!

If our playgroup had that kind of policy, my child's normal expression of affections would have been used to make her feel inadequate and "different".

That is appalling. I hope that the 4-H thing works out for you.

Anonymous said...

Hi. It's Heather. I believe our children played at the park together once:(. Our violin lesson day was changed so, we don't make it for park days. Anyhoo, this attitude makes me sick. My dd(6 yrs.) often hugs and kisses those she loves. These are the people who try to sexualize children. To take a simple expression of innocent love for something more. Ugh.

RedMolly said...

These hideous bitches are probably akin to the "women" who threatened to report me to CPS for letting my 6YO and 4YO little ones share a bed.

Ugh. Perverts. Bastards and perverts, every single one of them.... how else are we supposed to describe people to whom every touch is a sexual expression?

This story made me horribly sad. I am crossing my fingers that you soon find a group where you and your family can feel comfortable and be yourselves.

Hera49 said...

Well, I have read all that you are saying and I have to tell you there were a few holes in the story you wrote if this is the group I am thinking of. I was at their Ostara celebration and saw the "incident" of which you speak. Personally I find the fact that you left out the part where your child tried to french kiss and caress the 9 year olds breasts strange. If you are going to rant and rave about injustices, you need to tell the whole story. Like the part where you were told that your child was acting badly. Also like the part where one adult woman there pulled your child off the 9 year old to make her stop, told you about it and you blew it off as nothing. Need I say more? I can.

Hera49 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lioness said...

Thank you, Hera49. You just made my point for me much more effectively than I ever could. It's all a matter of interpretation. The interpretation you give it is clearly perverse.

As my children don't even know what a "French kiss" is, they could hardly do it. They've never seen us do it, we don't have the TV plugged in, and all they watch is science programs and classic cartoons. It may have been that they saw someone at the festival doing such a thing, but that would have to be where they learned it. Did they? I found our later that my child had seen "grownups" tickling each other under their shirts. I wouldn't put it past her to try to mimic that, if she had seen that it was considered appropriate at that place and time. We had't specifically told her not to do that beforehand, as we had never had any reason to since she had never seen it done.

Since when do 9 year olds have breasts to caress? It may have been that my child ran toward her with her hands outstretched and moving like a kitten's paws, pretendng to be a cat. She does that sometimes. That is normal play for a 6 year old. That same group of children played "Monster" at the last gathering and the one before that, which if you had paid attention you would have noticed consisted of one child running toward another child with hands outstretched like a monster and moving up and down, trying to hug the child being chased. The game was taught to my children by the other children present. If you find it salacious, you should inquire where they learned it. You should also rinse out your brain.

As I wrote, I was informed that my child had upset another child by trying to kiss her. That is all I was told at the time. I told my child to stop it, not everyone likes to be kissed, and that we would talk about it more later. We did so. Should I have attempted to hold such a delicate conversation on the spot, among strangers whose presence would make the conversation uncomfortable for her, surrounded as we were by 101 distractions fighting for my child's attention? I think not. Anyone who knows anything about 6 year olds would have realized that under those circumstances my words would have gone "in one ear and out the other".

Anonymous said...

Was that the same 9 year old girl who claimed the other little boy pooped on her face?

Lioness said...

I don't intend to name children here. I wouldn't do that sort of thing to a child.

Tatianna said...

I find it interesting that so many people seem to be ready to jump on the group in question without having heard the other side of the story. I am certain that there was no sexual intent on the part of your child but I do know that, by the age of 6, many children become curious about their bodies as well as the bodies of others. It is a natural thing. However, as a member of this group, I find it unacceptable to allow any child to be put in the position of fending off another child in this manner. The child herself said she didn't know how to handle it but told us it made her very uncomfortable.
I myself was offended by several things that night, not the least of which was this incident.
I was upset by the fact that our group could not conduct the services we had planned due to the loud and boisterous behavior of your children, which I witnessed during the entire time you were present. I was offended by the fact that you did nothing whatsoever to control their behavior. I myself had to move candles out of ther reach because they continued to try to play with them even after adults had told them to stop numerous times. I was annoyed that your children could not remain silent in a workshop that required silence for effective learning but you insisted that they participate, thus ruining the workshop for the others present. I was disgusted at the way you tried to take over storytime during the event by interrupting the storyteller continuously and rudely. It was her time and you had no right to try to take it away from her.
I realize that you expected gifts at Yule but it had been decided that children's parents would bring their gift. I apologize if you were not informed, but it was posted on our Yahoo group, of which you are a member. I realize that egg hunting for the children was cancelled due to the forecast of rain forcing us to hold the festivities at a different and less conducive location. I understand your disappointment but there are some situations that are out of our hands. Having an egg hunt in that location would have been a disaster as your children could not seem to calm down and pay attention to where they were running and jumping.
I have no problem with homeschooling and, in fact, believe it to be an excellent alternative to sending children to schools where discipline is not enforced. I do, however, have an issue with permissive parenting when it creates children that disrupt events for everyone. Your children are not the only ones in the group and we must take into consideration the feelings of other children and their parents. No child is perfect, but that is fine as long as they are learning to corrrect their mistakes. I also have an issue with parents who think their children can do no wrong and that seems to be the situation here.

Lioness said...

My, how this story keeps changing. I haven't heard it told the same way twice.

Tatianna, the organizers of this event set up a lose-lose situation. They invited very young children to an outdoor event, then changed the location at the last minute to a small enclosed building which had NO place for the naturally disapointed children to stay and NO organized activities to keep them occupied. They then expected them to stay there, do nothing, and keep out of the adults' way for hours on end. There wasn't even a child-friendly video for them to watch. Can you say "disaster"? Su-ure you can...

In an effort to prevent just such a calamity, my friend and I sacrificed half a day running around expending our own time, energy, money, and resources gathering stories, activities, snacks, and games to keep the children occupied and out of the hair of the adults. I tried to take the children outside so they could wear themselves down playing games in the bright sunshine on the dry grassy side yard, but I was prevented from this by people who seemed afraid to have children seen around the building. I wonder why?

When those efforts were thwarted my friend and I tried to create a children's area away from the main area where the children could play without bothering the adults. We had cookies there, played games there, told stories to them there, and had crafts activities there.

Our efforts were directed at preventing the children from disrupting the adults and helping the children enjoy the event to which they had been invited. No one said anything in our presence that evening to indicate that our efforts were successful or unsuccessful. No one except for the children that is, who loved having something to do.

The workshop was scheduled for 6pm. In anticipation of this event, my friend and I finished the children's activities at 6pm. At that time the children were fairly calm, quiet, and looking forward to the workshop.

The workshop actually took place at 7pm. After twiddling their thumbs for an hour, the preschooler's and younger elementary children's anticipation had long since turned to agitation. By that time all the children capable of walking were playing with the candles whenever our backs were turned. The "best" behavior of all the children present and many of the adults had long since worn off.

If my friend and I had been informed that the workshop had been rescheduled for a later time, we might have been able to hold the children's attention longer. Such proactive steps as we took were hardly examples of "permissive parenting". They were examples of "disaster prevention".

All in all, the organizers showed no understanding of the attention spans and energy levels of the babies, preschoolers and early elementary age children they had invited. They made absolutely no arrangements for the presence of those children. If they are not going to factor those "special guests" into their future events they should not invite them.

But don't worry about our children. We have a strict policy about keeping promises made to them whenever possible, and not exposing them to continual disappointment and broken promises. We don't like such behavior ourselves and see no reason to treat them that way.

I was told that my child had already apologized to the 9 year-old girl. I owe her and her parents an apology as well, but I have not been able to obtain contact information for them. If you want to help, you can send that information to my email addy.

claudia said...

so, children are meant to be seen but not heard. and inyour case not seen either. we hear you tattiana, loud and clear. you have all the hallmarks of an adult who cn't control her own life, so she tries (without much success it seems) to control others then just bitch. so, how many others are there like you? got any teachers up in there youre trying to defend? like you? go do your workshops - far far away

Lioness said...

Thank you Claudia, but I think there's been enough bruising going down.

Tatiana said...

I was not the one who said that children should be seen and not heard. That was Lioness, in an attempt to twist the very nature of my words. None of the other children had problems with occupying themselves in a non-disuptive fashion, even those of a younger age.
In case my letter did not make it clear, it was not the bahavior of the children (including yours)with which I had a problem. You seem to be trying to divert the readers' attention away from the real issue with what is an admiitedly very effective red herring.
I must admit you are right about the story being changed so often. And I must also ask why you didn't post the reply to your e-mail inquiring about the incident that sparked this mess.
In any case, it is all water under the bridge. You are happier without us.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lioness said...

"Tatiana said...
I was not the one who said that children should be seen and not heard. That was Lioness, in an attempt to twist the very nature of my words."

Please point out where I said that children should be seen and not heard.

"In case my letter did not make it clear, it was not the behavior of the children (including yours)with which I had a problem."

What letter?

"You seem to be trying to divert the readers' attention away from the real issue with what is an admiitedly very effective red herring."

So what in your opinion is the real issue?

"I must admit you are right about the story being changed so often."

Yes, I have to wonder why?

"And I must also ask why you didn't post the reply to your e-mail inquiring about the incident that sparked this mess."

Would you like me to? Please, please, can I? Just say the word and I will. I must confess my first impulse was to forward my email reply to all of the dozens of local, state and regional e-lists I belong to. Blogging it was Plan B. I have zero tolerance for such accusations against my family.

As you can see on my blog, I didn't post about the Yule debacle. I had nothing good to say about it. I did not intend to post about Oestara either -- until the charge of perversion was made against my house. Some lines which should not be crossed lightly, madame.

"In any case, it is all water under the bridge."

It will be water under the bridge after the malicious slander and libel against my child and my family is satisfactorily addressed.

"You are happier without us."

Finally, something we agree on.

Lioness said...

"Anonymous said...
You left out the boy talking the whole time and the couple feeling each other up by the wall."

There was an adult couple up against each other in the room where we were trying to have children's activities. Did they try to cop a feel in front of the children when the parents' backs were turned? That would correlate with what my daughter said about grownups tickling each other under their shirts. Why has no one questioned their propriety and priorities?

Trish F said...

Greetings, Lioness!

Was that your jewelry I saw up in Southern Enchantment a few years ago? I went there a few times when I was at the W, but it wasn't there for long. What happened? (Or did you set up by the Post Office?) I checked out your web site, and it is extremely pretty, like I remembered. I had wanted to get one for my then-boyfriend, but I never could find it again.

News of your blog is really getting around! Don't feel too bad. The really interesting people left just before I graduated.

Brightest Blessings,

still laughing... said...

Yo, idiots!
Why do you want to come up on this woman's blog and post all your garbage?
hera49 said
" one adult woman there pulled your child "
Lioness, you need to see who this person was! Putting their hands on somebody else's child? What would happen to a stranger who picked up some child in WalMart? Can you say under the jail?
anonymous said
"They looked at everything in the store, but I never saw the kids touch anything, much less break anything in the whole time they were there."
You did this in a store? Do you not realize the liabilities? If nothing was broken, you ought to commend the parents, not criticize.
tatiana said
"egg hunting for the children was cancelled due to the forecast of rain forcing us to hold the festivities at a different and less conducive location"
And yoy picked the store on purpose? That is increasing your liability right there.
anonymous said
"LadyHawk got it all mixed up while she was lighting her cigarette"
Allowing smoking in a retail store while children are present? Not too bright either.
hers49 said
"saw the "incident" of which you speak"
You saw it, you did not tell the parents then, and you did not tell the shop owner? Then, you either saw the adult touch a 6 year old, or did the touching yourself. You are liable either way.
tatiana, LadyHawk, hera49, whoever was in "charge" of this workshop (unless you are all the same person), if the person in charge knew an adult had touched the child, and did not notify the parents right then AND CALL THE COPS IMMEDIATELY, that person is liable and guilty of a felony - child endangerment, just as much as the toucher.
And you put this up for the whole world to see like you think you are in the right.
And then tatiana caps the stack
"I am certain that there was no sexual intent on the part of your child " and "it was not the bahavior of the children (including yours)with which I had a problem" after hera49 had said
"about injustices, you need to tell the whole story. Like the part where you were told that your child was acting badly."
Then what is the complaint about? Obviously, the mother did something you did not like, but are not willing to spell out even here, even after admitting online to felonious assault of a child and concealment. I think conspiracy would be a given as well.
Maybe you better ask yourselves "Does Lioness want this shop and all I own?"
"Do I want 10 years in jail for child assault and abuse?"
I hope you advertised this online too. That will make it all Federal.
What a bunch of idiots!

Anonymous said...

Lioness, who sent you that first email?

Lioness said...

The person who sent the email signed it in the name of the HPS. When I asked for a clarification, the wording of the allegations made in the followup email was very similar to the wording used by hera49.

I have just been asked to take down the post that names a child, and I will do so.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I was there too, and it did not happen like that. The kids were not doing anything unusual for kids. They were not louder than that Phil Collins that kept playing. I wanted a Circle, but your little crew decided to have your workshop, and do it later when I had really wanted to go to supper. They looked at everything in the store, but I never saw the kids touch anything, much less break anything in the whole time they were there. It looked like they were ready to go, but LadyHawk invited them to stay for the workshop, which they did not disrupt. LadyHawk, LadyHawk, LadyHawk.
If you had wanted them to leave, you could have gotten everybody out of the door. They would have been more of a disruption had they left. The whole thing was disrupted by that argument over candles and lights at the start. Then you turned out the lights, put the thing down where they could see it, and never said anything to anybody about not touching it. I think they all came over and looked at it, but none ever touched it. And I was sitting where I could see that, but not read those chakra sheets it was so dim. Did you set that up so you could blame kids later?
I gave up completely when LadyHawk got it all mixed up while she was lighting her cigarette. The storyteller had stuff all mixed up, and LadyHawk asked for anybody else to throw in. What was expected?
A lot of other people were too tired of this to say anything. Why do you have to lie like that?
You have not told everything either. Like why the grove got cancelled when it was sun and nobody got the email and some people went there and found the gate locked. You left out the boy talking the whole time and the couple feeling each other up by the wall. Nothing got said while those kids were there, but it got started afterwards. Tell her how her friend from Aberdeen got put ont he spot. We all know XXXXX lies - just like XXXXXXX. Tell her that. Tell her who does not want even her grandbaby there at all, and why she does not want any seen around her store. Tell her what went down after her friend left. Tell her what you say about her friend behind her back. Then there is what you did this weekend. You want to tell the whole story, so do it. Or shall I?
Not everybody agrees. I wonder what you say about me behind mine, but we are talking now. I wish I had something else to do on my weekends.

2:45 PM

Anonymous said...

Wow! It's getting uglier by the minute! From an outsiders perspective it seems pretty clear. The event was very poorly planned, but someone had expectations that they did not share with everyone. Someone else tried to take control, since there didn't appear to be any control and that really pissed off a few people so scape goats were found....let it go, move on. Apparently, you have lots of supporters, make a new group with them and vow to never be like those few who are accusing you of being a bad mother and having a 6 year old child molestor. Again, from an outsiders perspective, it's all pretty funny. Someone needs to write a book about it. I love all the wild accusations against this poor woman who was just trying to help. I say, "RUN as fast and far from these people as you can" You don't need to clear your name b/c the accusations are so ridiculous I can't believe anyone would take them seriously except for those who were obviously trying to find a reason to get rid of you! Good luck!

claudia said...

no, takiana, you just did't want children there. or was the problem too much supervision from the parents so they couldn't be gotten off alone? strange, how you jump to such conclusions, then back off and try to change the subject
you lost control. you lost control of your workshop. you lost control of the children. you lost control of your smear campaign. you lost control of your mouth right here. you lost control of your group. look how they contradict you.
i'll bet you are chewing yourself apart trying to figure out who else has posted, who else is looking, and who will jump your case for this mess at the next workshop. if there is one.
you shit your drawers. you hung them out in public. you got mad when people told you they stink. they do. and you're filthy. go crawl back in your hole and pull the dirt in on top of yourself. that's what happens to filth.

Anonymous said...

I have read though this post with some interest after recieving an email from Lioness about this topic off of an article Witchvox posted.

My group, Family Wiccan Tradition, is geared to and designed to create a community that involves children. We are fortunate that we haven't had 'bad children' so to speak come to our events; however, if we did, our response would not be the same as this group. Wicca is too quick to say "YOUR OUT!" and not quick enough to say, "Let's work this out."

I am a frazzled mom. I yell at my kid. I make poor choices as a parent and my kid does stupid irresponsible things. I don't need and neither doese any other devoted mother need, someone telling them what is wrong with children they are trying to raise.

My ultimate advice to parents is this, take your kids and go home. You take it in hand to create community that includes your childre and takes a common sense approach to community with children. Don't waste one more ounce of energy or time on groups who don't get it! If we as Family Covens get bold we can demonstrate to our children how community and paganism is done.

Keep the faith Lioness, you obviously have all the skills you need to do what you need to do.

Family Wiccan Tradition

Anonymous said...

Are these the same people?

A Witch's Coven
10/28/2006 9:48:55 AM
Daily Journal

By Charity Gordon
Daily Journal

On a neglected downtown Columbus street, a dusty minivan sits across from a store. Nothing suggests what’s inside the shop except for the vehicle’s bumper sticker: “My other car is a broom.”
Store owners and self-described witches Lady Hawk and Ole Bear have kept a subdued business since 2001 – for the same reason they gave only their Wiccan names for this article.
“I don’t go around telling people I’m Wiccan,” said Ole Bear, a stout man with a neatly trimmed silver beard. “In the South, people will hate you because of your faith.”
These two witches – and the couple hundred others in Northeast Mississippi – have no stereotypical features – no pointy hats or Goth makeup. Although predominantly female, witches are both men and women. They are the co-worker, next-door neighbor and volunteer in our communities.
And even though most practice magic, Wiccans say they are not to be feared. The principle “Harm ye none, do what ye will” leads them.
“The public fears what it doesn’t know,” said Lady Hawk, who sat just inside the store playing simple, soft melodies on an electronic keyboard. “Hollywood has done us no favors.”

Regular meetings
In the couple’s shop, witches from Lowndes and surrounding counties meet every first and third Saturday. This coven, Sacred Pathways: Grove of the Mystic Unicorn, is a 501(3)(c) organization and a valid church in Mississippi.
Most area Wiccans are “solitaires” who practice their beliefs in private. However, over the past few years, the witches that make up Sacred Pathways have carefully connected with each other. They did so with trepidation. Ole Bear says some local Wiccans have been thrown out of their communities when word of their beliefs reached the wrong people.
During the coven’s Oct. 21 Moonlight Meeting, around 20 witches trickled in. Ole Bear said one regular member couldn’t come.
“Tabitha had to go to a hospital fundraiser,” he said. “She wishes she could be here.”
Over 50 canisters of basil, catnip and other herbs lined one store wall. The smell of incense filled the room. Strings of beads rattled as the resident 25-pound black cat roamed where he wished.
With Halloween approaching, Phoenix, a petite brunette from Tupelo, showed off her latest Family Dollar store find – a two-piece “The witch is in” sign. The lower half could flip to read “is out.”
The coven proceeded as any informal class might – with one exception. With her fingertips Lady Wren of Columbus sprinkled water around the circle of chairs to cleanse any negativity.
She then began the meeting with a prayer to the lord and lady, how this Wiccan church addresses its dieties. From there, Ole Bear acted as moderator, following an order of Q-and-A time, singing, prayer requests, a prayer of healing and a closing chant.

Harnessing energy
To Wiccans everything in the universe has a spirit – even air, trees and rocks. Their rituals aim at keeping or bringing balance to nature.
Mystic Dragon of Belmont, a 35-year-old mother of three, says she has practiced Wicca for six years but has carried pagan beliefs within her since she was a teen. In her daily life her faith leads her to pick up litter off the roadside or help a hurt animal.
“When I’m walking in the woods,” she said, “the sense of peace I feel because I’m connected to the earth is like hearing the stars sing.”
Wiccans believe in no absolute good and no absolute evil, no Supreme Being and no devil.
“We believe that all divine is in us,” Ole Bear said. “We’re all interconnected.”
The witches practice magic by harnessing and releasing energy from the universe and within themselves. Energy can be created through any repetitive motion, such as tapping a foot or beating a drum.
During the meeting one witch, Peleana, harnessed her energy through needlepoint. Likewise, on most of the coven’s eight annual holidays, called sabbats, the group will form an outdoor circle and put arts and crafts on its agenda.
The witches will give away their creations, which they believe store their energy. In this way the recipients, who are oftentimes chosen because they are in need of healing, can receive a positive force.
In addition to crafts, Wiccans use pentacles and chalices as tools to help them focus their energy.
“These tools help us to enter into a magical frame of mind,” Ole Bear said.

The Law of Three
Lady Wren says there are people who practice bad magic, or magic done for a negative purpose.
However, “If you’re Wiccan, you’re not going to do bad magic,” she said.
That is due to Wicca’s Threefold Law: Everything people do – both good and bad – will return to them threefold in this life. This law motivates Wiccans to be aware of all they do.
“It’s incredibly hard,” said Ole Bear. “Everything you do causes a reaction, like throwing a stone in a still pond. We believe we’re going to pay for what we’ve done now – not in hell.”
Lady Wren says magic is a perk of being Wiccan, but she doesn’t practice it every day.
“Magic promotes good karma,” she said. “Whatever good I do is returned to me three times.”
Charles Young – his real name – of Florence, Ala., is not a member of Sacred Pathways but began studying Wicca 10 years ago when he lived on the Coast. While there, he would often lead public rituals on the beach, where passers-by would observe.
“What hits most Christians is the sincerity of our worship,” he said. “It is a belief system that’s just as powerful to us as theirs is to them.”
Mystic Dragon says the most popular misconception about Wiccans is that they are evil.
“Most people think we are Satanists that sacrifice children and small animals,” she said. “But there’s nothing evil about it. We love and need everybody.”
Phoenix, who left the Christian faith years ago, says Wicca is the most beautiful religion there is.
“The whole spirituality of it is beautiful,” she said. “There’s light and energy and goodness all around.”

Appeared originally in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 10/28/2006, section 0 , page 0

trish f said...

Yes, they are. The shop is Southern Enchantments, just south of Main St. in Columbus on Short Main and 21st St South, facing the railroad tracks. Shop Address: 100 21st Street South , Columbus Mississippi. The owner is the self-styled HPS, and probably hera49 too, - Lady Hawk; her husband Old Bear got where he didn't do much as HP or hang out much there any more. Used to they were open all week long, but now just occasional weekends. The store has gone down since I was in school. I would have to say she was the one who kicked off this whole fiasco. So much for their newspaper write up.

Brightest Blessings,