• Don’t bother showing me your Pagan merit badges

    Caution: This is a rant about Pagans, Witches and Wiccans.  I’m about to drop some science on these fools…

    I was reading recently on a few Pagan websites that there has been a sudden shift in the Pagan (I use the term Pagan as an umbrella term) population where the Elders (more experienced Pagans) are stepping out of the Pagan community.  In my own community of practitioners, I noticed that a few people have left statuses on their Facebooks basically stating that they aren’t leaving the community for good but they are definitely reducing their leadership roles.  

    I couldn’t imagine why the Elders are literally heading for the hills.  Actually, yes I can understand why they are tempted to take a step back.

    One thing I always dislike about meeting Witches in general is that they all have their resumes at the ready.  Go to any Pagan Pride Day or other public gathering of occultists and they are ready to dazzle you with their perceived abilities and unending book collections.  They can rattle off a list of books from absolute crackpots who have no idea what they’re talking about at worst and at best they only have a subjectivist interpretation of truth. 

    I’m not trying to put Witches down, but sometimes someone needs to tell them that their collection of crystal balls are simply that — a collection of crystal balls that you spend too much money to obtain.  I literally had one shop owner (I love this woman dearly) who showed me a crystal ball, she called it a palintir, and claimed there were only three more in the world that were like hers.  Mind you she was a Dianic Wiccan (feminist Wicca) who trained me, had oodles of experience, and was still spouting off her resume and constantly showing me her collection of Wiccan merit badges.  She was an amazing woman, I think of her fondly, and often. But even she fell into this annoying trend that is quite off-putting.

    Why do people feel the need to tell their list of unimpressive “superpowers?”  Why do well intentioned Wiccans need to tell me about their Book of Shadows (sort of like a how-to-book for Wiccan rituals and spells)?  Why do Witches feel the need to gain street cred like they always do?

    Validation.

    If you were able to tell your entire life story to a Pagan author or some sort of coven leader, mostly you seek them out and ramble off all your spiritual adventures for the comfort of being validated.  Like you’re inside some meat packing factory and you want that huge stamp on your ass that says Grade A.  Everyone wants to feel special and unique in this world including yours truly.  I did it when I started on my journey in 1998, I was that same person who read books, lit candles, chanted, danced and farted my way to a better understanding of all things Maiden, Mother, and Crone along with the other plethora of phenomena that is involved in the Occult world.  I soon found out that my Witchcraft cannot be a baseball card collection — it actually has to mean something personally to you.

    My point is that your community and its leaders cannot validate your feelings and predilections.  Don’t get too hung up on who calls themselves a Priest or a High-Priestess. Anyone can call themselves that and wear an absolutely smashing ritual-garb or costume.  Your validation will not come from a book, a fortune cookie, or a smoke-signal from some pompous high counsel that are mostly status-seekers.  Your journey is only made unique and special by you and your experiences, and I make my promise as others in your community to support you in your endeavors. 

    Once you surround yourself with the right people, your street cred will be apparent and self-evident.  Your community will embrace you with open and, hopefully, nonjudgmental arms. 

    Leave the merit badges at home.


      • Georgia Scott

      • June 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm
      • Reply

      Bravo! Every inch of this article, sheer troof!


      • Hope

      • June 13, 2013 at 5:18 pm
      • Reply

      I agree. I left the community in the early 90’s because, all too often, the ceremonies and gatherings just ended up being, well, bad theatre. All show and posturing without a whole lot of legitimate spirituality going on. Seemed to be not a spiritual refuge, but a refuge for people who couldn’t cope with conventional society, “reality” if you will, so they went looking for an alternate reality. The people who weren’t nerdy enough to be Trekkies or Whovians.
      Fortunately, I believe a lot of those are now your Vampires and Steam punkers.
      Their paths seemed not to be so much roads to enlightenment as the path to self-delusion.



      • You bring up an excellent point Hope. It’s sort of like you aren’t cool enough to just be a Pagan or Witch…you also have to attend Ren Faires or at the very least memorize every plot twist of True Blood. I feel your pain, Hope.


      • Heather Alani

      • August 27, 2014 at 5:48 am
      • Reply

      What is faith? The absence of things seen. I love your opinion. I never saw this column before. 🙂 You’re right. All powerful is unity. Unity can change the world. <3



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