Willow believes that the following Bill of Rights crafted by Charles Mars in 1998 accurately reflects what Willow thinks any person who is spiritually seeking the pagan paths has a right to expect. Willow feels strongly that a Community/Coven has a Bill of Rights as well. Follow the link (forth coming) to read the other side of the coin.
Seekers of the Pagan Path are often extremely vulnerable. In their quest for teaching and fellowship, they risk encountering those who use our faith to prey on others. Since Paganism is still struggling for public acceptance, there is little sympathy from authorities. Neither can the elders of our community effectively address this issue. The most they can do is denounce these predators, and they are usually accused of starting a “Witch War” when they do.
The answer to this dilemma is to empower those most vulnerable, the Seekers. To this end, the Seeker’s Bill of Rights has been drafted. This tool will help to alert seekers of a problem if a group or teacher violates any of the ten rights described. It will also remind seekers that while they may not have “degrees”, they are still human beings with rights and dignity.
The Right to Verify Credentials: Seekers shall not be obstructed from contacting persons who can substantiate or disavow the claims made by a group or teacher. In the case of elders who were inspired to create a new tradition, the seeker has a right to know the circumstances surrounding the inception of that tradition.
The Right to Anonymity: Seekers have the right to keep their involvement in the occult a secret to preserve their professional and personal lives.
The Right to Financial Security: Seekers shall not be required or coerced to take on financial burdens on behalf of a teacher or group.
The Right to Compensation for Goods and Services: Seekers have the right to be paid for goods produced from and/or skilled labor from which they would normally receive income. Seekers shall not be required or coerced to provide “freebies” or discounts on behalf of a teacher or group.
The Right to Sexual Freedom: Seekers shall not be required or coerced to have sexual relations with unwanted persons. Nor shall seekers be restricted from sexual relations with consenting adults.
The Right to Physical Well-Being: Seekers shall not be required or coerced to submit to any form of physical injury.
The Right to Abide by the Law: Seekers shall not be required or coerced to commit any illegal act.
The Right to Consistency: Seekers have the right to expect consistent practices from a teacher or group. Seekers should be informed in a timely manner of any policy changes.
The Right to Separation Without Impunity: Seekers have the right to discontinue association with any teacher or group without the fear of harassment or reprisal.
The Right to Be at Peace with One’s Conscience: Seekers shall not be required or coerced to commit any action contrary to their own sense of ethics and morality.
The Seeker’s Bill of Rights © Charles Mars 1998 Hern’s Wood Coven, published in The Accord copyright C.M.A