Just in case you did not know Me and mine here at the Temple just got interviewed by the local television station for starting a Wiccan Temple. Now, I found this amusing because we founded it several years ago; but no one knew about us until we had a building in the main part of the city. This was just fine with us for a bit, because we did not want people to know about us until we felt we had something to be proud of. We did not go seeking the news people out, we were just fine where we were and I am going to admit I was very nervous when all the sudden that day arose that they were all calling us. We were not prepared really, we had no "stock answers" (I had wanted to have those prepared and ready) but with a little will power, and keeping it positive what was said, and alot of the love from Isis and the Gods it seems that Memphis came off as loving its Wiccan Temple, and this ATC Temple does love itself some Memphis, TN. (Sekmet and Ptah rule this city)
The reason why I am mentioning all this is------ for the first time in my life the Popular media gave me and mine some Positive coverage and portrayed us as being open minded and loving and the other faiths in town as not being as much so. I smiled, because this is really how most of us Pagans see them and for the first time it was if they (the Camera and Reporters) were showing the world our point of view and no one had a problem with it. If anything, they thought...GOOD, these people are brave and want a place to worship! That is the case you know, we are people that needed and wanted a place to worship and we gather together many times a week to do just that; but seriously we are no braver than you and yours.
Our Pagan/Wiccan/fellow Witches seemed to think we were clever hiding the fact we were really only a coven or coven stead; but we are not either of these things. I find it frustrating that we as Wiccans/Pagans/Witches cannot seem to think beyond the box of Coven or Covenstead. You see we have so many people that are Pagan/Wiccan/Witch in Memphis a coven cannot possibly serve all their needs for socialization and learning (and I bet your town is the same). The Temple of the Sacred Gift-ATC really does consistently serve 40 adults and almost 20 children on a regular attendance basis and we know if we had MORE space (we just signed the lease four months ago) that we would serve more people. There are just that many of us in this city.
None of the Clergy (all four of us licensed through the Aquarian Tabernacle Church) want a coven, we have all run covens for years and years or been in them. We outgrew covens and the numbers were too large for anything else...we wanted a building with air conditioning, indoor plumbing, heat, a place to gather our tribes for activities with more than picnic tables or the ground to sit on. We wanted something to leave behind to our Children and the future Neo-Wiccan-Pagans coming behind us. We were tired of saying, "may we leave the path better" and doing nothing material to make that happen. So we did it; and I am hoping this article will inspire you to do the same.
Now I do not think that there are more Pagans/Wiccans/Witches in this city that in your own home town proportionately. We are no exception if anything we felt/and still feel we are the standard and the model to show you an alternative to just coven-steading (nothing is wrong with that either but hear me out).
The Clergy here do not get salaries or any monetary compensation (something the media was surprised to find out and many of you ask about) we pay for the rent, utilities and needs of the building (cups, plates, napkins, paper towels, lights, forks, etc) just like everyone else. Our Clergy took a vow to serve the people of the whole community here, and while we know the Temple of the Sacred Gift-ATC is not the whole community it is our little Family and if you cannot take care of your own family how can you be expected to serve a greater world? So here we are, every member sustaining the bricks and mortar and incense of the Temple every Clergy pitching in alongside of them...and we find we are double proving something. IT IS A LIE to say that we the Pagan/Wiccan/Witch community will not support or own buildings or needs. We are! Let me repeat, WE are not the exception to the rule WE are you!
I have gotten hundreds of emails asking me how we did it. People want to know how to get that building. We got it the same way the Christians along time ago got a Building to worship in...we raised money and saved it then shopped until we found a deal. It took us a little over two years to collect (ten dollars a month from every person) enough money to do this but we patiently edged toward our goal. With that little amount not one family or Witch/Wiccan/Pagan found themselves financially hurting if anything they found that they could with very little give an amount that would make a difference in the long run. We say..."If you drop a pebble in a pond it makes a ripple" or "one grain of sand at a time makes a beach" but have we really been patient enough to make that occur? I know I was not until I got fed up....the question is are you tired of the way things are and want more?
I GOT FED UP and at the SAME TIME I was getting FED up so were MANY of other people here. I was tired of working and giving and loving a faith and Gods for so long that all I had to show for it was running to another park hoping to be able to reserve it then having to hope that the authorities liked us and had a relationship with us (because if one of them is fired or retires you have to start all over again). I Got tired of having great festivals that pumped me up to only come home to the same rigamorole circles that the HPS or HP was expected to pay for or sustain. I got fed up with only being able to hang with 9 or ten people. Seriously if you are going to give every moon and Sabbat to something then you need more than 9 or ten people to be friends with every weekend. I got tired of having separate lives and identities why should I have to hide something I love and defines so deeply who I am and why you might like and admire me or not?
I got TIRED of reading hundreds of books encouraging me to be afraid be very afraid of coming out thus I should stay shut up and in the closet and be a SOLITAIRE. I am not saying that being a solitaire is BAD but I cannot be the only person in this country that has wondered WHO or WHAT wants us all to not gather together unite and start worshiping out in the open. I am saying this because it is equivalent to Propaganda to scare people and use fear to tell them they cannot gather together if they do they might get tortured or lose a job, etc. Pagans know more about conspiracy theories than any group I have met and yet they never stop and ask themselves...is it possible that the books being published over and over by mainstream companies might be wrong? What if the reason we are being encouraged not to get a leg up and get buildings and become legitimate is because as long as we are considered freaky and isolated then we have no voice, and no say in this country...world or anything in the material plane that we walk on. THUS all these gifts the Gods have given us are useless if we cannot use them to CHANGE the planet we live in and on.
IT'S Great if you can summon dragons, but why not summon dragons for the city you live in to help eliminate crime and do it in a way that is visible and people see? If we want people to perceive us differently we have to first perceive ourselves differently. WE KNOW as Witches/Pagans/Wiccans that we define a thing. WE have power, and that words are uber important and yet we as a group seem to be doing nothing to seize that power and utilize it for the greater whole. Why not? Why are we scared? Who are we scared of? Ask yourself these questions...and if you have power and know how to utilize it then WHY are you scared? If you really can manipulate energy then why not manipulate Energy to change peoples perception of us and change your planet that is why you are here right? Surely you are not here just to do love spells and magic for your bills.
Minorities have fought for their rights since the beginning of time and won them. Women got the vote! Homosexuals are more open than we are and gaining ground! YET, even though someone fought a fight for us and got us legal recognition we still hide and refuse to seize or opportunities and march, speak out, and COMMUNE with our home towns. I don't want people to be scared of me, I want people to accept me for who I am. What's so wrong with that? I want to have my Goddess ISIS have a beautiful clean facility to walk in and be worshiped at just like she did in days of old but cannot have in her country today. I want to do that with groups bigger than 13 because bigger groups can do MORE good than little groups of ten.
I realize that this blog is going to not win me a popularity contest...but ask yourself why that is? PLEASE Question . Utilize more than the right to vote and stop thinking small THINK BIG! The people at the Temple of the Sacred Gift-ATC are no more brave than any of you. We are regular people who have families that work regular jobs. We have the same issues in our communities that you do we just lay them aside for the greater whole not letting bickering and gossip tear us apart. We all decided that to be strong we have to UNITE and be strong at the core of our being. I pray that this blog inspires you to question, to look around (because many of you have more experience than I do) and see how you can utilize your rights and promote our Spiritual path in a positive way and to more than six people who you already know! If you dream BIG you will hit the stars!
Remember we believe in Magic and to believe is to ACT on something no one else can see.
Thank you for the gift of your time------------------and know that you are always loved and cared about by me.