Fundamentalist Christians here in Buncombe County, NC are upset because a local Pagan mother, Ginger Strivelli, is forcing the county public school district to stop distributing Gideon Bibles in elementary schools, after exposing the hypocrisy of school administrators in allowing Christian books while refusing the Pagan spellbooks she brought to test their self-proclaimed policy of equality. One outraged Christian parent wrote to the Asheville Citizen-Times to defend the values the Bible supposedly imparts, and sarcastically asked: “What values do Pagan spellbooks teach?”
Here is *Diuvei’s answer to her question. It will be published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Wed., Feb. 8, 2012. (You can comment on it on the Cit-Times website.)
A recent letter defending the handing out of Bibles to schoolchildren asks, “What values do spellbooks teach?” Having co-written a Pagan spellbook that’s a popular textbook of magic, I’d answer that spellbooks’ magic teaches values absolutely critical for today’s schoolchildren to learn.
Magic imparts emotional maturity by teaching self-empowerment: To cast an effective spell, you can’t rely on money, popularity, beauty, muscles, drugs, guns — only your own intuition and will, guided by ethics and divination rather than commandment. Intellectually, magic teaches the “art of correspondences” — how to recognize the fundamental patterns that interconnect all things — which develops the skill of creative problem-solving by seeing whole systems rather than isolated parts. Physically, magic perceives the world as animated with spirit — an awareness that teaches students to treat nature and their fellow human souls with compassion, wisdom and love rather than materialism, violence and exploitation. Spiritually, magic embraces many goddesses and gods, teaching respect rather than intolerance for diversity of opinions, cultures, histories — and especially religions.
All in all, I’d argue that handing out Pagan spellbooks — on a Constitutionally equal basis with Bibles, of course — could even be America’s secret key to education reform.
Steve Rasmussen is the co-author with Lady Passion of The Goodly Spellbook: Olde Spells for Modern Problems, and can be reached via http://oldenwilde.org/.