Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Witch Separates Myth from Fact; the Local Practicing Pagan Describes the Aspects of the Ancient Earth Religion

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Witch Separates Myth from Fact; the Local Practicing Pagan Describes the Aspects of the Ancient Earth Religion

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF BRUMLEY

Delaware's U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell created a stir by declaring, in a televised political ad, that she is not a witch.

While meant to ease the concerns of evangelicals over reports of her interest in witchcraft many years ago, the ad has offended real witches by implying they are evil, says Jacksonville's Judith "Holly" Charland.

"If someone is mad they'll say, 'oh, what a witch she is' - they're just using the [word] in a derogatory way," said Charland, high priestess of the Temple of the Mystical Ancient Circle in Arlington.

Witchcraft is simply a part of paganism, which Charland described as "an Earth-worshiping religion."

As a third-degree witch, Charland conducts weddings, funerals and other nature-based rituals and tries to get the word out that pagans are not devil worshipers who cast spells on people. Given the publicity surrounding O'Donnell's controversial "I am not a witch" TV spot, The Times-Union asked Charland to explain more about what witches are - and aren't.

WHAT IS A WITCH?

A wise woman or man. We're not the creatures people have made us out to be with pointy noses and green faces.

HOW DID YOU BECOME A WITCH?

I found out I was that way because of the behaviors I had had. I had always gardened, had always had my eye on the moon. That was when I was a practicing Christian ... about six or seven years ago. When I found out I was a heathen - which is what the Bible calls it - I thought, "Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?"

DOES THAT MEAN PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO GARDEN MAY BE WITCHES?

By all means no. We are more of an Earth-worshiping group. ... We're more in tune with the gifts of the earth. ... I happened to come across a website, just that talked about doing crafts at home - like making beeswax candles we use in spellwork - and come to find out that is what pagans have been doing all along. I believe it's something the goddess picks you to understand. It's more or less that you are picked.

WHAT GODDESS ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

There are many different deities out there. …

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