Wednesday, 6 April 2011

In which I get incredibly cross with the "Pagan Community"...

I spent last night pacing up and down the Kitchen in a state of rage.  I was so deep in rage I blew three of the four halogen spotlights above me.  To preserve what little light was left, Husband send me upstairs to have a bath, whereupon I blew the bathroom light.  That took some doing, because it is - was - an energy saving one.  (We have saved lots of money replacing all the tungsten bulbs we could with energy saving bulbs; they seem to be more resistant to the energy fluctuations I tend to give out when happy/vengeful/orgasmic/hormonal - delete as applicable.)

I suppose I should explain.  I have spent over twenty years as a solitary witch.  The last eight years I have been living with, and subsequently married to, a wonderful man who is very pagan-friendly (although I filled in the census form and he is now - on paper at least - pagan) and we've managed to produce two pagan babies. 

Last year, for the first time ever, I dipped a very hesitant toe into the muddy waters of the local Pagan Community.  I attended a few moots, a couple of open rituals, the North East Pagan Federation Conference, and was all prepared to commit a lot of time and effort into GETTING INVOLVED.  I met some lovely people, we got along, and a few I now consider GOOD FRIENDS.  Don't have many of those, so a few extra - and pagan to boot - is very welcome. 

Now, however, I am emphatically removing said toe from the Pagan Pond.  I'm outta there, dried off, socks and shoes back on and returning to the path of solitary bliss.  All of a sudden, this local community seems to have been swamped by liars, egomaniacs, self-righteous pompous idiots and control-freaks.  There has been abuse by e-mail, bitching in facebook groups, even accusations of improper sexual conduct.  (I'd do a list, but I'm not sure on libel laws!)

I respect everyone's right to follow different paths, to have different opinions, to make those opinions known.  But there are ways and means of doing so, folks, and mouthing off behind the safety of your computer screen instead of directly to the person concerned is pure cowardice.  I've tried to explain this, I've jumped in and suggested that people take up any issues they have in private, but apparently that's not an option. I give up, I'd had enough of the shit.  This is not what I wanted out of the Pagan Community.  So I've cut contact with those I don't want to have anything to do with (oh, the satisfaction of a Facebook cull), opted out of the groups that have been used as a platform for this shit, and vented my rage.

Supposedly these people follow the rede, or rules of karma, or something.  Personally I prefer to think that shit is shaped like a boomerang - you throw it, it'll come back and splat in your face, which is the same thing but less pretentious.  Anyway, if they are these spiritual seekers they claim - why do it? 

Because they can.  Because they can't stand to be wrong.  Or told they are wrong.  And because many odd little ol' witches and pagans like me will not ride in and fight to oust (or at least muzzle) the crap-meisters that behave so badly, they take over the groups and eventually drain them dry.  Now I'm not afraid of wading in and confronting them - but I have neither the time nor inclination.  Frankly, I can't be arsed.  And I can't afford to keep replacing the bulbs.


  1. I know the feeling, lol. Unfortunately the pagan paths are a bit more susceptible to the charlatans and pains in the ass because there is no set path to ascendancy. They don't have to actually take any time or effort to start spouting off that they are the grand high pubah of whatever and therefore everyone has to listen to them, and they are so much more witchy/pagan/nature loving/spiritual (delete as necessary) than everyone else and everyone should do it their way. Why? Because they say so.
    yeah if you can't tell I'm a solitary too, lol. Too much BS for me.
    I just worry that this type of division rife through the community, at a time when civil rights are at their weakest is going to in the end cost us a lot more than we can afford to lose. le sigh.

  2. Organising pagans is a bit like herding cats. And personally, I've always felt the odd one out in any company, and tend to withdraw when this sort of thing arises. I'm all for diversity; my path is mine and no-one else's and I respect everyone has a right to their opinion. It's when they try to force it on others (or do the whole bitching behind backs thing) that I get mad. I'd love to see more coherence and, frankly, tolerance within the pagan ranks, but I have a feeling I shall be disappointed. Hello, Traveller, by the way. Lovely to meet you!

  3. I'm so sorry...and for that reason right there is why I'm now solitary. I'm happy! lol I was the HPS of a coven up north and i was so stressed out and pissed off most of the time that i just retired. Did i mention that I"m happy? lol Get your anger out then let it go...those kinds of people aren't worth a moment of your emotional energy anyway.

  4. Ah, you are so right MidnightSage, so right. I've always been a bit of a square peg stuck in round holes, and I was trying to do a bit of "fitting in"... but I'll never cope with the egos of groups, I guess. Back to my solitary oddcraft, at home, where nobody buggers about with my sensibilities! Anger released, bulbs replaced, I can see what I'm cooking again. I'm guessing as HPS you did all the work and had to take all the crap... glad you're happy now!

  5. I know I'm a little late to comment, but I'm a new reader of your blog. I don't really participate in the larger Pagan community too much, as I already have my hands full with the smaller groups I'm involved with. However, I wanted to note that not ALL groups are full of ego-ish people. I'm a HPS of a coven that's been around for several years, as well as a co-founder of a large womens witchy social group. Since the larger group is open to all witchy women, you're going to have bitchy, and crazy people.

    I mean, think of the population. A good percentage of the population are mentally ill, or egotistical, at least. It makes sense that a similar percentage of people within a group would be the same. Give those people a soapbox, and voila! Crazy train!

    One of my main pet peeves, are those who are solitary who look down on those in some sort of established groups, as if ALL group leaders are ego-driven. Not that you are doing this. There are great groups out there, it's just finding one that is a good fit for the person. For example, if a HPS is stressed and pissed all of the time, then she most likely has the wrong people in her coven. Burnout within the Pagan leadership is a problem for many reasons- some preventable, some not so much.

    I'm glad I kept my toe in the community pool. Though I had to swim through many crazies and egos and worse, it was worth it in the end. However, if you feel like it's detrimental to your practice (or your state of mind) then you should absolutely leave the pool.

    Do you really feel that karma and/or the rede are pretentious? Or were you just mad?

  6. Ivy, thanks for commenting! You're right, I was just mad and venting (hey, that's what blogs are for, sometimes) and after a lot of consideration and talking to my extremely clever hubby, I decided not to walk away. I don't have to interact with those that I believe have behaved in a less than nice way; but I really don't want to miss out on the very wonderful pagans I have met. So I've actually waded in further, and will be doing a lot more with the pagan community in future.

    I've never worked within a closed group, I'd love to one day (Witchlets are so young at the moment that free time is at a premium) but I have attended and participated in open rituals, which have been very worthwhile.

    As for the rede being pretentious, no. It was the "blowing up lightbulbs" rage thing, got to my typing fingers!