Thursday, May 26, 2011

Salem witches start Witches Education League

By Sean Teehan, Town Correspondent
Members of Salem's witch community have long lamented being a misunderstood demographic. Rather than bemoan perceptions of creepy ceremonies and wicked intentions, some local witches are doing the same as many groups an image problem: some PR.
In a press release, the Witches Education League announced its formation and intentions to ingrain itself into Salem's community.
"We're not eating babies or drinking blood," said Teri Kalgren, W.E.L.'s vice president. "[We promote] a better understanding of what witch craft is."
The new league comes as two active organizations, the Witches Education Bureau and Pagan Witches Protection, merge, Kalgren said.
"There are many untruths about Witches and the craft, born out of hate, fear, or other issues causing these untruths to flourish and grow through the centuries," the W.E.L. release said. "W.E.L. encourages all to ask their questions and to learn about one of Earth’s oldest religions."
The organization, which recently received nonprofit status, intends to continue with community services such as the annual W.E.B.-founded "ask a witch, make a wand,"  where children are invited to make magic wands with area witches near Halloween, Kalgren said.
They also intend to reach out to witches beyond Salem, Kalgren said.
"There are still places out there where people do lose their job and have their kids taken away" for being a witch or pagan, Kalgren said.
While the W.E.L. is in its beginning stages (they have yet to launch their website), Kalgren said their board of directors includes druids, pagans, wiccans, and other witches. Their Facebookpage has generated much membership interest, she said.
As they ramp up operations, Kalgren said the W.E.L. is planning a number of events coming up including a pagan family day tentatively set for August.
Increased awareness of witches and integration into the community will help people better understand their practices, Kalgren said.
"Even in the year 2011, there are still a lot of people who come to town and they don't have a clue," Kalgren said. "We want to give back to our commuity."

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