If The Gods Created Man, Then Why Are We So Hot To Not Support Each Other?

So, I’ve mentioned a lot that whenever Devo posts something, either personally to me or on her blog, my mind gets cracking. I start sorting through whatever the point of her post or her comment and then, I think about how it relates to me. And recently, in the pagan blogosphere, it seems like community is the big to-do, or a lack thereof. I’ve read the others’ blog posts about a community and their feelings on it. Hell, I’ve mentioned my own ideas about a fellowship for myself, but this is something different. People are taking what she’s saying and are crossing the wires, so to speak. I’m guilty of it. And it seems like the myriad of people commenting on her blog post are also taking what was said to a level that she wasn’t expecting or desiring or even thinking of at the time. So, I’m going to explain her blog post as best I can (and of course, she can tell me I’m full of shit because I love to hear if I’m right or wrong) and then talk about it in my own point-of-view.

The post in question was her outpouring of frustration at a lack of community between pagans. It wasn’t that she wanted all of us to sit down and have a tea time. It wasn’t that she wanted everyone who has ever once identified as a pagan to sit down and talk about their feelings. And it wasn’t that she was looking for a place to put all of us. What she was looking for was respect. What she was looking for was an openness about ideas. What she was looking for was a way to communicate with other people and let those ideas fester until something comes of it or it’s rejected. She also was looking to have the communication be more than a steam-roller flattening the point being made and more than just a little, “Oh, well that’s interesting.” She was looking for a kind of tea time, but with kindness, respect, and the ability to see past our own noses long enough for points to be made, ingested, and utilized. As she explained it to me, she was looking for the ability to communicate between countries that we have in the world today. Sure, the words between countries aren’t always friendly or nice, but there seems to be an openness there that was anathema even two hundred years ago. She’s looking for a kind of pagan version of the UN but without all of the political agenda, hem-hawing, and ineffectiveness.

She was looking for open minds.

I’ll be completely honest here. When my friend first told me about paganism, I was pretty excited by the comments he had made about how they seem more open-minded than Christians. (Not to shit on Christians or anything, but sometimes, talking about things with them in an open-minded way can be difficult.) Sure, I liked the idea of animism and gods and all of that jazz, but I was thrilled to find that there was an entire basis of people out there who were interested in hearing MY views and possibly coming up with something based off of those. I was also excited beyond belief to think that there were a whole slew of people out there who would be able to not only give me new ideas, but talk with me about those new ideas until they transformed into something. I was so fucking thrilled by the whole open-minded, not dick way that paganism was explained to me that I signed up, whole hog. I was thrilled and stupid and new and had to have the stars ripped from my eyes in some very not nice ways to realize that the friend who got me started on this path? Well. He was wrong.

I’ve come into contact with a ton of pagans and as Devo’s mentioned, there really doesn’t seem to be too many people willing to chat up with others without putting their “this is wrong” face on first. I’ve actually found more open-mindedness in some cases with my Christian friends than I have with my pagan friends. No, I’m not joking. A while back, someone commented (WHO WAS THAT AND WHERE WAS THAT?!??!?!) about how it seemed that Christians are more likely to sit you down and chat friendly about their religion with you than pagans nowadays. It’s appalling, really. I know some of it stems from the heavy secretive way that’s prevalent in paganism than anything else, but it still seems pretty fucking retarded. We’re the fastest growing religion (generally, speaking anyway) in this nation and we can’t even be willing to put out a cup of tea for guests so that we can all wax poetic about our faiths? Really? Come on. How retarded is that? And again, as I’ve said before, with that kind of mind frame in the pagan sphere, why the hell would newbies want to start out with all of this? If they’re going to be made to feel stupid for asking questions about the favorite colors of the gods or made to feel like an idiot because they haven’t found out what to do with offerings yet, then why the fuck are they going to want to start-up anyway?

That’s another post that I’ve already written and another post that’s geared up for the PBP. So, I’ll try to stop doing my tangent thing. Back to the point, though.

The point being is that we’re all created by our gods in their image and we’re not willing to support one another. I’m not just talking with issues like the offerings, the names, the calendar creations, the fellowship desire, or any of that. I’m not just talking about being able to sit down and openly communicate, feelings and ideas, with one another. I’m talking about the ability to let others’ viewpoints, whether they disagree with ours or not, hang out there. I’m talking about the ability to agree to disagree. I’m talking about the ability to let others’ viewpoints change your mind. I’m talking about doing all of that and then some. I’m talking about actually being in a community where you don’t get shit on every five seconds for not following the status quo. But, unfortunately, for some strange reason, paganism is all about doing that right now.

And if we keep this up, it’s not going to last.

Relevant Posts

  1. How Can You Support Community…? by Devo
  2. On Pagan Community and Why I Think I’m Done by Ljót.
  3. Community in the Kemetic World by Helmsman of Yinepu.
  4. Pagan Community: A Dying Concept? by Charlotte.
  5. Where Fellowship Has a Place in my Practice.
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23 thoughts on “If The Gods Created Man, Then Why Are We So Hot To Not Support Each Other?

  1. I have to say I’ve seen my fair share of gods not having pleasant tea time either ;p haha. I really resonated with your point about newcomers. I’ve seen so many people be so rude to newbies that I can totally understand, and even at times, SUPPORT the notion of not even getting involved. (and what a shame too, because the greatness of having such a varied “religion” is that a newcomer should be able to walk their path steadily until they find their place. instead they get battered around the PICK A SIDE, PICK SOME RULES.)

    I think most of it is just timing though. This is the first time in a long time, that pagans have had the ability to come out of the woodwork and discuss things as a community at large. The Christians, and the other big abrahamic religions have all had their hay day, gone through the times of splitting off into different sects, and etc. And they have been the dominating religions for some time now. So for them, they had the opportunity to mature as a religion in a way. Which might be why you find it easier to talk to them sometimes than pagans. Yes, “paganism” pre-dates the big 3, but we were silenced and snuffed out for a large majority of time. The different “sects” are also not all linked by a common mythos/divinity, either. So we’re trying to thread together a bunch of people that aren’t on the same page to begin with.

    Perhaps after 100 more years or so, we’ll finally start to simmer down. (never completely however. Humanity is far too stubborn for such a thing -_-;;; )

    Also anyone that gets mad at someone asking about a God’s favorite color, really needs to reevaluate their priorities. Seriously, there are better things to get mad about lol. (BESIDES, IF IRIS IS THE RAINBOW, WOULD SHE HAVE A FAVORITE COLOR??! SERIOUSLY I WANNA KNOW!!! XD hahah).

    -end novel of a comment. Sorry for the wordy response. It’s an issue that has been bothering me for a long time as well and sent me into solitary practices for 13 years.

    • I really can’t stand it when I see other people mistreating newbies, honestly. I won’t sit there and say, “HEY. MODULATE YOUR TONES,” though I would prefer to on occasion. However, I will step in and tell the newbie whatever it is they’re asking or give them advice to the best of my abilities. We have good Samaritan laws for a reason (at least in my state, anyway) and I fully believe we should use them, not just from a legal standpoint but from a communal standpoint.

      However, I can definitely understand the desire to just step out of the conversation in question and ignore it. Why get involved? And also, as my hubby said to me earlier, how are you supposed to build a community or get in with a well-established community if all you’re doing is rocking the boat by pointing out that X person is an asshole? Very. Very. Very. True. Point. There.

      I like your idea about it being all about timing. I also thought something similar myself. Is this just what growing pains, as a rounded religion, sound like? If so, I wonder if there’s any way to change it or make it easier.

      I like wordy responses! Hi-jack away!

      • Mistreating newbies is inexcusable. Building yourself up by stepping on them, because that’s the only way to elevate your own worthless self.
        There are plenty of good resources out there, and if someone wanders in and says they luv the kitteh goddess it doesn’t take very much to say “Oh, she’s that and a whole lot more! Look here! —>” and give them some decent stuff to look at.
        I’m sure there people on TC that thought both of us were total idiots. Though I had someone there to tell me “Don’t post anything on TC until you’ve read it for 6 months. If at all, ever.”

        • I completely agree. I’d much rather foster a place where people can ask me questions even if they’re “stupid.” I think one of my favorite things is that statement where there are no stupid questions. If someone thinks that it’s important, then by golly, I’ll try to answer.

          Oh, yes. I know there are quite a few people who think I’m an idiot over there. And you know? That’s fine. I still think it’s better to help than to, as you put it, step on.

    • You’re welcome.

      And I fully, one-hundred percent agree. Before the hullabaloo and after I wrote my post about newbies needing help, I seriously began to think about why I was still a part of that particularly community. I didn’t agree with how they treated others or how they were willing to listen to others’ opinions. This just kind of reinforced my ultimate goal of being as willing to listen to others’ opinions as I possibly can.

  2. Pingback: How Can You Support Community When You Suffer From Misanthropy? « The Twisted Rope

  3. I’ve always said that pagans (some of them) like to taut the umbrella as a bastion of tolerance and understanding, but it is anything but that and we have just as many problems as Christianity does. I’ve also heard the “pagans are more tolerant than Christians” thing, but sadly, it’s sort of not the reality. We need a lot less “this is wrong, there is only one right way”, even within our own umbrella.

    • The hubby and I were discussing this a day or two ago. It was in relation to, you know, the BS at the forum. So, anyway, I happened to say something about how people aren’t completely open-minded and how it pisses me off. And he said, “Well, it’s human nature.” And you know, he’s right. Maybe it wasn’t always that way, back before we became evolved enough to create stationary homes, but it does seem to be part and parcel to the human condition.

      • Tribalism is human instinct. Own kind with own kind, whether it’s religious, political or whatever. It’s true.

        • I guess I’m confused about the definition of tribalism. I was always thinking it was just different people from different places…? Or is that it?

          • A tribe is a clan. In ancient times, it would be people of the same heritage. Cherokee Indians are a tribe. Different clans of heathens are a tribe. It’s human instinct to want to gather with those of your own tribe. With religion, it’s a matter of comfort zone. I feel like a sitting duck in a room full of rabid Christians, for instance. It’s not my comfort zone, and therefore I have a strong need to get out while the gettin’ is good. Same thing in a room full of Wiccans, I have almost nothing in common with them, therefore I find it hard to sit among them for long. This is why true community in paganism is unlikely to ever occur.

  4. I thought Devo made her point clearly, but it seems to have been driven off the rails in a couple places.
    I’m guessing that normally the largest “unit” in paganism is the coven of 13 people. That’s the largest. 13, or solitary. No wonder! And, unfortunately all too often, people hide behind a “don’t judge me” screen to control others and rule their little pond.
    The Rev. Sonja has an actual church, with a building and all:
    http://southernfriedpagan.blogspot.com/
    but that is RARE!
    I am often struck by the fact that the largest Kemetic group I know of is still dwarfed by a medium-to-small Christian congregation. It may be that all the Kemetics in the world are smaller than a typical Methodist or Lutheran congregation, much less a megachurch.

    “I made every man like his fellow. I did not command that they do evil. It is their hearts that disobey what I have said. This is a deed thereof.”

    http://kemeticrecon.com/coffin-text-1130/

    • I know I was guilty of not understanding what she was saying, at first. I was thinking about “community” in a broad, generalized terminology instead of as people that you connect with, in some form or another.

      Free will. The ultimate downfall to humanity. Okay. No. that’s not right. I agree and am glad that I have the free will to follow which gods I choose and to practice my spirituality and religion however I choose to see fit. However, it seems to me that in turning that little switch on in humanity, the gods were just lighting the powder to the keg.

  5. This resonated with me so much as did the post Devo made. Years ago I was in a Groven (Grove/Coven) in Fayetteville, NC and we tried a set up similar to this. It was called Midnight Eclipse, bunch of active military pagans in that group. For the most part we all got along but every now and again someone wanted to be the “it” guy/girl, which is not what the group was about. We had some democratically elected elders (and these people were all over 30) and had been practicing for over a decade, such was the requirement for nomination. I recall one particular time a Druid who was most influential in the Groven made a comment about Druids existed all over the world. People didn’t understand that he didn’t mean literally of course, but in a spiritual sense. He meant that the Druids of old had many things in common with different paths in other parts of the world, namely shamanism, animism, shape-shifting, dream walking, things like that. He had a tendency to just say thing and figured people were adult enough and smart enough to figure out what he meant. It was not to be. People steamrolled all over him about the history of the Druids, that they were stuck in the UK geographically and never existed elsewhere. What the Druid meant was other cultures had people who practiced similar thing, but they simply didn’t call themselves Druids, they went by other names.
    I felt really bad for the guy and that was the first nail in the group that he had founded. He eventually moved out of the area and the group (some 350+ members) broke up into cliques each having a self-appointed leader which eventually ran each group into the ground for they had not the experience nor the maturity to handle the responsibility.
    This event was the reason I chose at that time to become solitary and never again seek out a group. Perhaps one day I might find at least two, 5 or 8 individuals who are willing to work together, but for now I’m okay with the way things are.

  6. From talking to several of y’all, it sounds like the basic question is “Why are so many of the people (at least the vocal ones) in Kemetic communities so VICIOUS??? We don’t have to all hold hands and skip together through the fields singing tra-la-la, but can we at least stop being so actively nasty to each other?”

  7. 1. Bravo for saying this. I still need to read Devo’s post. And maybe later I will be able to read the comments here.

    2. One thing driving me nuts with Heathenry is this feeling like a lot of people want to stick to their little groups/kindreds/friends/etc. and not have larger interactions. These are then the same people who will wax snark about others doing it wrong. (Though in some cases I agree with them, but that’s another matter entirely) We need more put up or shut up.

    3. The reason why I am reading your blog now (and a host of others) was some internal prompting this spring that I need to broaden my horizons, meet new people, connect, etc. And what you said here is why. We also don’t have to agree all the time, but there also seems to be little use for critical thinking and debate which doesn’t devolve into personal attacks.

    4. I wish there were more events like Pantheacon. LOVE the crossovers of interaction that happen there. Most of the people I spend my time with there now (aside from the House and my sosyete) are with friends who are in traditions which I don’t practice at all. And the interactions, along with findings of common ground, are AMAZING.

  8. Pingback: “Just When You Thought It was Safe to Go Back in the Water…” | Mystical Bewilderment

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