Fearing the unknown is human reaction. It has been a vital part of our existence, for what we don’t understand may cause us harm. This is part of the evolutionary cycle.
We live in a time where information is available and people have the opportunity to understand what they do not know.
With technology and information at everyone’s fingertips, people can learn without fear of witchcraft, Wicca, and Paganism to gain a better understanding and knowledge of the beliefs.
Lyn Brown, 58, is a witch who grew up in Pueblo and sits behind the telephone switchboard at Colorado State University-Pueblo. A witch, Brown said, is a seeker of wisdom pointing out everyone is a seeker of wisdom.
Witches, Pagans, and Wiccans, Brown said are basically the same thing, labels.
“It is not an organized thing like a church where you go sit down,” Brown said. The craft is generally practiced alone.
“Where I worship is right off my back porch,” Brown said.
From there she watches the seasons, stars, birds and trees. Following the cycles of life is a part of witchcraft; it is nature based.
“We are not Satan worshipers” and “We don’t eat children,” Brown said.
She also pointed out she did not have a large black cauldron in order to mix potions.
Brown said she understands fairytales were invented to keep children from harm. She just wishes witches were not always portrayed as evil.
She mentioned a Disney movie. “The Three Lives of Thomasina,” shows witches in more positive light, she said.
The movie has had a large impact on Brown’s life. It is about tolerance, kindness, people’s cruelty and how people should always choose to be nice.
Brown said she has had the same group of friends since junior high school. They all believe the same thing, but they do not call themselves a coven.
They generally gather once a year on St. Charles Mesa where they set a bonfire in order to purge negativity, Brown said.
The word bonfire is a derivative of what people used to call bone fires, Brown said. Bone fires were an old fall practice. When people were preparing for winter and slaughtering animals for food they would create a large fire out the bigger bones.
Brown said a friend of hers brings bundles of sage, believed to be a purifier, to burn. Sage has also been used by Native Americans for the same purpose.
The friends gather and write lists of what they wish for in order to burn. Brown said the lists can include things such as world peace or personal.
Brown said she will light a white candle in order to put things in a circle of light. This is done for protection.
“I am scared to death of flying,” Brown said.
She said when she has to travel she stands in the center of her house and chants. The chants are meant to protect. She also does the same thing if she is aboard an airplane.
She recently went through a divorce and instead of wishing evil on her ex-husband; she banished him from her life.
“Harm none, do as you will,” is the main tenant, Brown said. There is good and evil in the world and the line she believes she needs to follow lies on the side of innately good.
A proverbial stone being dropped into a calm pond causes ripples. Effects must always be taken into consideration before an action is made, Brown.
“Everything you say and do has a way of coming back to you three times,” Brown said about the rule of three.
“There are three fazes, maiden, mother and crone” in a women’s life and Brown said she considers herself a crone with a daughter who just turned 40.
Witches have rules they try to abide by. Brown said tolerance and kindness are essential to her beliefs and most witches believe in being kind to others.
Brown is also an advocate for animals and said she has many of her own. She takes in the animals no one else wants. She took in a puppy that got dropped off near her home.
She said she believes animals are intuitive on a different level than people and are nicer than people can be.
“I can’t stand going to the animal shelter,” Brown said.
The image of the horned beast with hooves came from the image of a faun. It is known as Pan in the practice of witchcraft, explained Brown. Pan is one of the many gods and goddesses that are woven into teachings.
They do not believe in the devil, Satan or in hell, Brown said. The image of the devil did derive from witchcraft, but not in a sense of what is traditionally believed.
Some of the gods and goddesses taught about through the ages have derived from as far back as Greek mythology. Pan, for example, carried a flute and was the god of wild nature.
Other things have also derived from Wiccan or Pagan beliefs. Easter was originally a celebration of fertility and comes on the spring solstice, Brown said.
Old Hallows Eve, or Halloween, is another holiday that started when people would prepare for the dark winter.
Saturnillia was an old Roman festival and it was during the time now often called Christmas. It falls on the Winter Solstice, Brown said.
Brown’s parents raised her in church and she attended until she was an adult. Brown said her parents have always been open-minded and lenient to her beliefs.
“As I got older, I was bothered by hypocrisy and intolerance,” Brown said. “Based on all the stories and everything I don’t think Jesus would like this.”
“I do believe there was a guy named Jesus,” Brown said. “I think he was phenomenal, he was a great teacher; he was a good person, but son of God, aren’t we all? ..We did horrible things to him.”
“I get really angry when I read about vandalism and nastiness toward churches,” Brown said, because she understands churches are sacred places for others.
Brown said she believes in reincarnation, but has never sought out her past lives. She believes we are here to learn life lessons well enough so we may carry them into our next lives and not repeat the same mistakes.
“All of us should respect each other and our mother earth,” Brown said.
Brown said she does not like “right-wing Evangelicals” like James Dobson from Focus on the Family. Focus on the family is a religious entity in Colorado Springs, Colo..
Brown believes if Jesus came back right now it would be people like Dobson that would build the cross again and Jesus would be hanging with homosexuals and people with AIDS speaking out against our societal ills.