Professionals uncover truth about paganism

NWITimes.com, Jan. 27, 2003
http://www.thetimesonline.com/
BY BRADLEY COLE, Times Staff Writer

HOBART — Seven years after
John Luke / The Times

Kele Ivey is a self-professed witch that meets with others at meetings of the Well Read Witch Book Club at Barnes and Noble in Hobart. The book club reads and discusses pagan fiction and nonfiction.’, HAUTO, VAUTO, SNAPX, ‘5’)” onMouseOut=”nd()”>Kele Ivey discovered pagan religion she has decided to share her love of faith and literature with others by forming the Well Read Witch Book Club.

The club met for the first time Jan. 20 and will continue to meet on the third Monday of every month at Barnes and Noble in Hobart.

“I came up with the idea last October or November,” Ivey said. “I had seen a book called the Well Read Witch, which is a bibliography of what should be on (witches’) bookshelves. I thought it would be interesting to go through it and start picking books, reading them and discussing them.”

Ivey, a 27-year-old paramedic, said she wasn’t sure how well the club would be received, but her concerns were alleviated when 33 people attended the first meeting.

There are thousands of pagan book titles, many available at libraries or in bookstores, Ivey said. The club, which concentrates on pagan fiction and nonfiction by such authors as Starhawk, Scott Cunningham and Marianne Zimmerman-Bradley, is open to the public, but Ivey said there’s one key rule for those attending.

“All I ask is that people be polite and have an open mind,” Ivey said. “There are a lot of misconceptions about witches and paganism. We are not Satanists as many people suspect and we’re not new age flakes as others call us. Most of us are professionals and live their lives much like others.”

Ivey, a self-professed witch who practices magick, said she thought the book club would be a good excuse for the large number of pagans in the area to get together, read and socialize. She said the Northwest Indiana Pagan Association always is trying to come up with new activities. Each month the association hosts a number of outings, including pagan’s night out, and a witchy movie night in LaPorte.

Ivey said the group wants to dispel misconceptions about pagans and witches. She said many of the members in the area, both men and women, are professionals who are no different in appearance than others in the community.

“No matter how many times I wiggle my nose, I can’t make money magically disappear,” Ivey joked. “I don’t practice black magick or cast evil or harmful spells on people. One of the basic rules in the Wiccan religion is we do not harm others.”

For centuries, witches and pagans have said they’re simply misunderstood, as some insist on branding them as cultists, Satan worshippers and heathens. In most Wiccan and pagan religions, the mystical aspect doesn’t go beyond the use of herbs and crystals, a far cry from the stereotypical candlelit ceremonies where wands are waved, potions are made, spells are cast and brooms or stools are ridden.

Ivey said in reality, pagans and witches believe in good and evil, but don’t recognize an evil being. The pagan religion is based on a belief in a God and Goddess, the balance of man and woman, the crucial role of balance and harmony in nature and the belief that people are responsible for their own actions.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday January 28, 2003.
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