A thought provoking article, tells it as it is!
“Some things become apparent when gathered with true elders of the Craft, especially when talking about the community as a whole.
So many of the same questions come up, many of the same complaints, and if you only hover on the surface it sounds like conversations in other aspects of society and culture, what you hear is “What the hell is wrong with kids these days?”
But it goes far deeper, and it isn’t limited to kids, not by a long shot.
I listen and I hear and I am learning to understand the questions and what they truly mean and I think I am coming closer to some startling and devastating answers.
The questions that I hear are the same no matter who I talk to.
Why is everyone always at each other’s throats?
Why doesn’t the public take us seriously?
Why are events just glorified craft shows?
Why don’t people support events that are truly spiritual ones (with no vendors)?
Why are all of the events indoors?
Why don’t the elders police behavior especially during rituals?
Why aren’t we teaching the young in an open way instead of pushing them to books and youtube to gain their knowledge?
Why does every pagan event look like a cross between burning man and a renaissance festival?
Why does so little actual working take place at these gatherings?
The answers to this multitude of questions and even more like them are actually all the same few answers.
The Pagan community has a contingent of people who are role-playing in religion instead of actually being practitioners.
These are the folks that are all about playing dress up, pulling out their cloaks, their giant pentacles, their glue on puck horns and their Gandalf sticks and parading around pretending to be Queen Ambrosia the Fae and hoping that no one asks them to bless the altar. Typically they are known by a nickname. Not a magical name because those are kept very private and guarded because there is extreme power in names, but a nickname and man, I have heard some doozies over the years. I was once introduced to a guy who called himself Odinstaff… Really.
These folks while mostly nice and generally harmless make us and our faith look like a carnival. To quote Eric Draven from The Crow. “A whole jolly club, with jolly pirate nicknames!”
I think that people into the whole pagan thing as an elaborate live action role-playing adventure should be allowed to do their thing but I think in order to move forward we need to stop catering to them.
Nothing to See Here
A certain percentage of practitioners don’t actually have any practical or useful knowledge and their egos are too big to admit that out loud. They can’t bring themselves to go back and actually learn the basics and so when asked to lead or share, they instantly find a dozen excuses such as the intensity or personal nature of their rites, or that they were sworn to some kind of code that doesn’t allow them to divulge their Way.
These folks because of their secret, feel truly powerless. For the most part I believe that they actually want to be a part of the Path. They want to learn or to know but they got in over their heads when they were young and they can’t bring themselves to admit that they know very little. These people are usually very kind and would do anything for someone else but they are not extending themselves the same courtesy. Especially when there are genuine teachers available if you are willing to actually dig through the chaff to find one.
The saddest part about these folks is that they themselves would make fantastic teachers, healers and possibly leaders but they are frozen by fear that they don’t know what they are doing.
The Great and Terrible
Then there are those who put themselves in a place of power. They were not chosen to lead, they do not have the experience, the personality or the empathy to be a true, healthy leader but they exploited an opportunity or created one and got lucky and suddenly they were at the head of the table and then their egos took over.
All it takes is a rudimentary understanding of psychology and some basic observational skills to see that these folks hold their places by bullying, threats, passive aggression, blaming the other guy and a heaping dose of “Oh poor me…” martyrdom.
Nothing that they do is for the benefit of the community. They will claim to teach only to bring on students to be used as ego boosters and lackeys who are too innocent and hopeful to realize that the knowledge they stand to inherit is all Hollywood façade and shadow puppetry.
Their way is THE way and all other paths have terrible weaknesses. They are self-taught at best and at worst, making it all up as it goes along and nothing they do religiously is ever done for anything except for effect.
These people are one of the great dangers to our faith because they are dug in, entrenched and can only be uprooted by a community of elders and warriors willing to stop playing patty cake and getting serious.
The Silent Minority
This is the group that breaks my heart.
It took me a while to pin them down because I suspected that they existed for a long time but I really didn’t want to believe it because of what it would mean. But over the last year as I have been talking to more and more people, I have gotten several of them to speak up and what I learned stunned me to my marrow.
Many members of the community don’t believe.
They do not believe in a Goddess, in any permutation, nor a God, Horned or otherwise. They do not see Nature as a matronly spirit, they do not look to the universe, to Hecate, or to Bast or anyone else across the dozens of pantheons represented in the Craft.
They are scared, they want to be a part of a community that accepts them and the way they look or the way that they act. One that will care for them, defend them, hold them when they are hurting and will listen to their woes but they carry no belief in their hearts or souls whatsoever.
They want to. Some of them need it. Some of them are so desperate for it that they are harming themselves hoping to find clarity and they are looking to their elders for guidance and praying that someone will show them a path that makes sense and feels complete.
And what do they see? The folks listed above.
They don’t see the Goddess. They see her followers badmouthing and backstabbing each other.
They see events that could easily be mistaken for flea markets. They see giant pentagrams and guys who have joined the community because “Witch girls are freaky and easy.”
They see out of control egos and manic people screaming “Look how damaged I am! It’s my birth sign’s fault! Feel sorry for me!”
Missing is the pageantry that they imagined. The breathtaking beauty that their imaginings promised them. The powerful experiences that would lead them closer to a Mother and perhaps even give her a name that would resonated in their breasts.
They come hoping for a transformational and uplifting experience and found a poorly scripted reality show that has gone on for about twenty seasons too long.
I think it is time to cancel that show.
I think it is time for the elders to step up, speak out and begin to change things.
Because if we don’t, we will find ourselves in one of the categories above.”
Green Serpent – liftingserpents.wordpress.com