&quot:I think that a lack of knowledge, the knowledge being about what we believe in creates fear.&quot:

&quot:If someone chooses to call themselves a Witch, that means that, Oh I’ve read something about Wiccan or I saw a movie, but again that’s a denomination in a broader faith and I think your question about have I experienced discrimination, being a woman, yes. Being a woman of size, yes. Being part of this organization, no, or no not yet.&quot:

In fact, Deana, who’s studying to become a Priestess after growing up in a Catholic family, still holds on to some of the Christian traditions of her youth.

&quot:I have to say here in the Temple, I have never been discriminated against for wearing a cross. This is one of the few days that I don’t have a cross on, that is a symbol to me of a faith system that I grew up in, that speaks to me still, that there is so much of that, that is good, and is guidance for how I live my life and my spirituality and here that has been accepted that I wear my cross.&quot:

According to a study by New York University, there are about 200 thousand Pagans in the U-S. That number is hard to pin down since many don’t publicize their beliefs.

&quot:People being in the broom closet, so to speak, so that they for fear of difficulties at work or with friends and family and that is a possibility and for that reason we don’t share with anyone who belongs here. If someone wants to say I’m a pagan or I’m a Witch, or I believe in the Wiccan faith, that is their responsibility. We don’t share it for them.&quot:

Joyce is even a little hesitant to say how many people attend the Temple of the Feminine Divine, saying it ranges between 25 and 80 members…

They don’t recruit new members, but they are welcome.

However they did change their listing in the religious section of a local newspaper to alternative religion…

&quot:What I discovered was that perhaps some of the other churches didn’t like the terminology Pagan next to their denomination.&quot:

&quot:I don’t see us as an alternative religion. I see every other religion as an alternative religion because Pagans, everyone was Pagan in the beginning, all religions came from the basis of Pagans.&quot:

Members of the Temple are just like any other church member, looking for spiritual guidance.

&quot:If what you seek is a connection and a relationship with the devine, this is one way, our way of connecting to it.&quot:


If you’re interested in learning more about the Temple of the Feminine Divine, or Pagan beliefs, the Temple is holding the Feminine Divine Fair at the University of Maine in Orono in the DP Corbitt building on Saturday, November 22nd from 10 to four…there will be a concert too, starting at 3.