One is a superb report of the Magical Faerie Festival and parade, which took place in Canterbury over the Easter weekend. Entitled Performing Pagans Parade with Pride, the report on This Is Kent said: "A pagan parade of fairies, drummers and goddesses carrying toadstools cast a spell over shoppers in Canterbury on Saturday morning."
It went on to describe what a great time was had by all "as stallholders wearing wings, elaborate costumes and pointy ears sold fairy art, oils, aura photography and magical paraphenalia" and "visitors had their fortunes told with tarot card readings and fairy and angel readings".
To me, this news story was a wonderful example of how pagan events can enrich a community by providing family fun and entertainment as well as being a spiritual celebration.
Contrast that news story with the one put forward on a US website entitled VIRGINIA: Occult crimes seminar scheduled
"The Virginia Gang Investors Association will host a training seminar April 30 on the subject of “Occult and Ritual crimes” at the Accomac Elks Club. The speaker will be Don Rimer, who has been involved in many high profile cases involving this subject matter. Rimer will discuss several topics including, New case studies, Satanism, Witchcraft, Goth, Animal abuse, Fantasy role playing, Death/metal music, etc."My thoughts are expressed perfectly by some of the comments left on the website:
"As a practicing witch I find it appalling that witchcraft is included in this seminar. Anyone who practices any type of "occult" or "ritual" abuse in the name of witchcraft is not a true practitioner of the Craft."And
"From the brochure (http://www.vgia.org/training/occult2010easternshore.pdf) the speaker has made up his mind that anyone involved in an alternative lifestyle is predisposed to violence. The gothic lifestyle is a culture of music, fashion and fellowship--not eating babies and hacking away at oneself in a darkened room. Wiccans believe the rede "An it harms NONE, do what you will" (pretty strict guidelines in which to execute a murder, huh?). And fantasy RPG players, well, they just like their worlds."From tales of sunny days and fairy festivals to brooding paranoia about imagined crimes, this world is sometimes a very strange place and I don't know if it is more appropriate to be happy or sad...