Hollywood, the name alone sparks the interest of the public and invokes dreams of being famous in even the most humble soul. It temps us, influences us and whether we would like to admit it or not plays a role in our way of thinking. It plays a key role in Pop Culture and through movies, TV, radio and the ever expanding wave of magazines, Pop Culture and its influence seems to flow over the world like a great wave of information. One of the strongest areas that seem to be affected by this undeniable influence is the way in which we perceive other people, particularly people of other faiths. One faith that has acquired a particularly wicked reputation with the help of the negative propaganda provided by the many influences within American and European Pop Culture is Paganism.
Most people when they hear the word Pagan, they think of the old haggard Witch who stirs her dark caldron that contains some unknown malicious concoction. Unfortunately much like the old sailors stories about mermaids that turned out to be nothing more than manatees, the stories of evil witches are greatly exaggerated. Nowhere is this seen stronger than in Pop Culture, Pagans the world over fight to be understood and have paganism accepted for what it is and not what it isn’t. In fact many people who do buy into this media driven stereotype have little to no knowledge of what paganism actually is and where it comes from. Sue McCaskill an accomplished writer for Times Colonist (Victoria, British Columbia) explains this best in her article published October 5, 2013:
The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. The nasty woman with the candy cottage in Hansel and Gretel. But not many people know where the stereotype came from. In medieval Europe, the old-nature religions were practiced before and alongside Christianity. There were Druids, Norse Odinists and the witches who were the healers, priestesses and wise elders in many country villages. When the Inquisition was launched, all these groups came under attack, and in order to feed the frenzy, the inquisitors pictured the witches as evil, ugly [devil worshippers]. It was propaganda in a religious hate war.
A tactic that unfortunately was so effective that it has carries itself into today and has embedded itself in Pop Culture. This kind of propaganda was the first string in what would become a confusing knot of truth and fictitious stories that surrounds Paganism in Pop Culture.
Furthermore the fact is that the word Pagan refers to not one but dozens of other religions is a surprise to most people. These religions range from the more well-known forms such as Wicca, Witchcraft and Voodoo to the less thought of forms such as Druidism, Odenisum and Native American Shamanism. In fact it is Ironic that the one religion most strongly associated with Paganism has absolutely no connections to any pagan faiths and that would be Satanism, a fact that Hollywood has conveniently overlooked in its many years of horror movies and...