THE GROVE OF THE UNICORN
Lady Galadriel and Lord Athanor
And what a tale we have to tell! Only the beginning of it, for
we are sure there will be much, much more to come. We know there will
be if we have anything to do with it, for we are furious and intend to
pursue the matter as far as possible.
A bit of background: In early Spring a friend of Lady Galadriel
and Lord Athanor gave the group permission to use his land (a rural
spot outside Atlanta) as our outdoor Temple. The group spent many
hours clearing the site, building a stone altar, ringing the circle
with stones, erecting cornerstones, planting herbs, etc. All were
delightd with the spot and were willing to expend their time and energy
in working to make the site as beautiful as possible.
Sabbats and Esbats were celebrated there and we felt very
fortunate to have such a spot. At no time did we have any indication
that anyone resented our being there. There were never any "wild
parties" or disturbances of any kind--this was our Temple, we certainly
would not desecrate it! As the spot was completely surrounded by dense
woods, we felt there was also a natural sound barrier. Everyone would
be gone shortly after midnight, or sooner, for most of the group are
working folks who must be at work the next day.
In late July, one of the group went out to the site and
discovered that vandals had struck. Cornerstones had been overturned, a
number of items had been stolen (statuary, cauldron, candles, etc.).
Everyone was heartsick, to say the least. But, we got busy, rebuilt
the Altar, replaced the cornerstones, cleaned up the mess, put things
back in order and felt we had learned a lesson--don't leave removable
items unattended--especially in a place that is infested with red-neck
Now to the gist of the tale: On Wednesday, September 18, two of
our members went out to the site to do a bit of "housekeeping." To
their horror they found that someone else had been there and much
damage had been done to the circle. A cross had been erected in the
center of the firepit, the place was in shambles, and the words "Jesus
Saves" and "In God we trust" were scratched in the earth in front of
the altar. They rushed back to inform Lady Galadriel of what had
happened. Oddly enough, at that time the gentlemen who owns the land
was visiting with Lady Galadriel. He, too, was outraged. He left,
stating that as soon as he reached home he would file a complaint with
the police. Shortly after he left, the phone rang...it was a
Lieutenant from the county police, informing Lady Galadriel that the
police had been notified that the neighbors at the site had formed a
coalition "to stop the witches" and had called a press conference to
complain about the witches and the fact that the police would not do
anything to stop them! A bit more conversation which boiled down to
"stay away from out there or someone may get hurt."
An emergency meeting of the Grove was called for that evening to
discuss the situation. All were outraged, but common sense prevailed
and all agreed that the best thing to do is to refrain from going out
there again. We're sure everyone can understand our sense of violation
and frustration in such a situation. In the middle of the meeting the
phone rang. It was a reporter from the local paper who had been at the
meeting of the neighbors and wanted to hear our side of it. Lady
Galadriel spoke with her at length and two somewhat sympathetic
articles appeared in Thursday's papers.
THEN--the next evening (Thursday, September 19) we were even
more outraged by local TV coverage of the matter. On one station, we
were treated to full views of the site with police, reporters and
"curious spectators" (as quoted by the media) crawling all over the
circle. Some of the comments made were less than flattering, to say
the least, and many were out and out falsehoods. Then we turned to
another station and were even more shocked--they showed basically the
same scenes, but with shots of people desecrating the circle site! One
man was shown in the act of dismantling the Altar, stone by stone, "to
find out what is in there..." while everyone stood by, watching, and
allowed him to do so! Another was picking up stones from the circle
ring "as a keepsake."
We were outraged not only by the actions of these people, but by
the fact that others stood by and watched as they desecrated our place
of worship. We can't help but wonder what would have happened if such
a thing had occurred at the "litle white church in the wildwood!"
Shock waves would have raced across the city and the uproar would have
been felt nationwide.
Now it was our turn to act/react. And act we did. Lady Galadriel
immediately contacted the TV stations to register her protest. One
station sent an interviewer out the same evening and small segment of
her response was presented on the eleven o'clock news that night. The
other TV station responded the next day (Friday), did an interview, and
presented another small segment that evening.
Several radio stations touched on the matter briefly. One,
however, may be named in our law suits...announcers on the station made
many derogatory remarks about our religion in general and about our
group. One can understand that uncomplimentary statements may be made
by participants on a "call-in-talk-show," but you would expect
announcers to be more professional than to air their own personal
opinion. Unfortunately, no one was able to tape the programs at the
time, but we are requesting tape transcripts from the station under
F.C.C. Regulation 73:234. (Thanks to Pat of the Georgians for passing
out information on that subject many years ago--even our attorney was
not familiar with the regulation and was delighted to learn about it).
(F.C.C. Regulation 73:34 -- Attack Against a Person or Group.)
Lady Galadriel has had several radio interviews and one
interviewer plans on putting together a taped program which will go
across the nation via satellite. No date for this as yet. The
program is "Southwind", so if you hear of it in your area, tune us in!
Also, a live TV interview is scheduled for Wednesday, October 2, on the
local NBC station noonday news.
Monday, September 23, we "got in OUR licks," so to speak,
through a local radio talk show: WSB AM--750--"Sound-off," 9 p.m. week
nights. It is a four-hour program which covers two-thirds of the
States--a 75,000 watt station. Reference was made to the news about
the witches, then WE started calling in. Not all of us were able to
get through--the phone lines were jammed--but many of us did manage to
"speak our piece." The program began with the talk show host being a
bit snide and tongue-in-cheek, ended with him being defensive of us and
our rights. AND an invitation to Lady Galadriel to appear on his
program as a guest interviewee. Needless to say, she accepted,
although a date has not been set. (We'll try to let as many know as
possible when a definite date has been established.) Lady Galadriel is
a very good speaker, mentally quick on her feet, armed with a vast
amount of knowledge, and able to express herself clearly and concisely,
even under adverse conditions. We look forward to the program--it
should be a good one. (Note: Lady Galadriel is not typing this,
folks...so we can say these things.)
There were calls from Pennsylvania, New York, Tennessee,
Kentucky, the Carolinas, and many other states. Of course, there were
those of opposing views who called in to voice their opinion, and the
usual garbage one expects to hear when the subject of witchcraft is
brought up. But it was very rewarding to note how many people
expressed a positive, tolerant attitude. We look forward to the
upcoming program--it should be just as interesting and informative.
And perhaps educational for some of the listening audience-- at least
those who open their ears just a little and HEAR what is being said.
Since this report was begun, there has been another development.
The plot begins to thicken (or should we spell that "sicken?") One of
the group members who had let his religion be known, and had been
overheard on the radio talk how, was dismissed from his job. The
supervisor who gave him the news almost told him the true reason he was
being dismissed, but caught himself just in time, then made the lame
excuse that the fellow "just wasn't a team player." Which is
ludicrous, as the man had received several commendations from
management for the great job he was doing. What will we do? We don't
know at this point--no one else was present when the supervisor was
speaking with him, so he has no witnesses to what the man said.
Without proof, there is little one can do. It makes us even more
determined to follow through.
We, personally, feel that it is past time that the Wiccan
community stood up for their beliefs. We are all sick and tired of the
derogatory remarks, being run out of places, and being generally
classed as "low-life" because of our beliefs. And if we have to "get
out our soap-boxes and go stand on a corner of the public square," we
will do so. The group members are in complete agreement, and so far
most of them have said they are willing to go public, if necessary.
All of us have something to lose by exposure, but we all feel that we
have much more to gain! We intend to take every opportunity to present
our viewpoint and to stand up, publicly, for what we believe in. We
realize that many people don't believe they can take the chance of
going public, realizing the possible repercussions. None of us look
forward to what could happen...but until someone stands up to the
bigots of the world, they will continue to push us, and all other
people with a different belief system than their own around. And,
frankly, we are tired of being pushed! Non-Craft people in the area
have suggested that it would be best for us to "go back underground,"
back into the basements and living rooms (with the blinds pulled down,
of course), then there would be no more furor. WHY SHOULD WE?
So, there is our tale. We'll try to keep everyone updated as to
what happens next. We would appreciate any positive energy which
anyone out there would care to send. We've got a feeling we are going
to need all the help we can get!
Lady Galadriel, High Priestess
Lord Athanor, High Priest
Lady Rhea, Elder
and everyone from the Grove of the Unicorn.