November 1994By Edward O'Brien, Jr.
Edward O'Brien Jr. is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Literature at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
Ed. Note: In this fictional letter from a neo-Pagan to a sister in her coven, Edward O'Brien Jr., an orthodox Catholic, explores some of the sources and nuances of modern Paganism.
Merry meet; Lammas is nigh, so I might as well write you a sort of "Sabbat Letter." I have long felt that, to a certain extent, you've been a little too nonpolitical, and in the last few years have kept your dear heart too much in the sand about what's happened outside our coven. Things are moving in the straight world so much that, I hope, it will someday be more bent than straight.
I must get some considerations off my chest concerning our old enemy, and you're in a good position to appreciate my musings, since like me, you left the Catholic Church to embrace the Pagan Way. We both went through the same magical transformation back in '86. Remember how hard it was at first? And I always looked back more than you did. Giving up our old faith for a "new" one which was even older than Catholicism, going skyclad at coven meetings, getting used to Witchcraft principles and rituals: This has been a more honest religion, a whole new ballpark, really.
I had my doubts back then, I'll admit, but when you consider, Morgan, what we left behind -- the patriarchy and the hostility to women, the rigid monotheism and all the pious claptrap of Catholicism -- well, it's been a liberation for us, hasn't it? I feel so much more of a woman since becoming a witch. Let's hear it for wimmin!
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