I’m pretty sure that with the title alone, I’ve grabbed a bunch of people’s attention. And while I do know that there are some Neo-Nazis out there that are pagans, as well, that’s not really what I want to discuss. I’m not thinking about the definition of Nazi is the social-political party of 1930s Germany, the people who started a race war, or the bands of men and women who uphold to the racial bigotry as perpetrated by the Germanic people just prior and during World War II. The definition, specifically, that I am contending with here is the third as found on Dictionary-dot-Com, which states: “a person who is fanatically dedicated to or seeks to control a specified activity, practice, etc.” We have people of this particular nature in paganism and it’s something that I want to discuss.
In my pagan experience, I can think of two people specifically who fit the definition as stated above. In my experience, these people were two entirely different nazis in two entirely different senses. In the first case, she was trying to control the practice of the Sister in a fanatical manner. She wasn’t very mean or cruel about it, but she was pretty forceful. In the second case, the person would grow incredibly rage-like and nasty if and when the information she put out there for others to absorb was utilized in a manner other than what she had decided it was to be used for or if someone tried to utilize the information freely given in a context that she didn’t like. Both of these people, in my experience, were pagan nazis. And both of these people were inherently wrong in what they were trying to do. Controlling someone’s thoughts, feelings, or beliefs is about as completely useless as stabbing yourself in the eye with a sharp stick. In both cases, the women trying to control the flow of information or the religious path in question only made the desire to break away and create something that much more palpable.
Now, I try to be a pretty tolerant person when it comes to other peoples’ faiths. If they decide that they want to pray to the Raptor Jesus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, then that’s there’s prerogative. If they decide that they’re going to work in the astral plane, so be it. If they decide that they’re going to turn away from one faith to join another, then that’s fine as well. I may not agree with the choices of the people in question, but it isn’t my place to judge. It isn’t my place to force. It is my place to be supportive and tolerant of what other people believe. And in the two cases I’ve mentioned, neither of these women were doing that. And that’s when my biscuits get a-burning.
At first, for both of these cases, I made excuses for the people in question.
The first instance with the woman who wanted to decide what the Sister’s path was going to be, she was at a loss for control in her life. The only form she felt that she could take was in throwing her influence around and trying to craft something that wasn’t hers to craft. Psychologically, I can understand the viewpoint here and that’s where the excusing of the behavior comes in. Since I could see what it was that caused her to be that way, I let the Sister and myself (to some extent) deal with it. But, I’ve recently started thinking about boundary making. And in this particular case, I was wrong to let this toxic person try to influence something that wasn’t hers to influence or create. I have learned this particular lesson, especially in regards to my active tolerance towards others and others’ belief systems. It is not my place to try and craft something that is not mine to create. It is my place to hold hands, to offer advice, and to be willing to listen should someone need an ear.
The second instance with the woman who grew angry and frustrated when her information was “misused,” I also made excuses for the person. I didn’t know her nearly as well as the first, but I tended to just assume it was her caustic nature. I let it happen. I watched as she bullied and nastied her way through the newbies and made excuses for her when I felt the excuses were necessary, in the hopes that the newbies wouldn’t walk away. I was wrong in this, too, because there is never a reason to bully new people who are asking questions. They may seem silly or stupid, but that’s not right. It isn’t right when the bullying is then turned to me, someone older and possibly wiser, because the information given created something that I firmly believe in. I’m willing and able to make changes to that particular aspect to my belief system, if the need and desire arises, but there is no need to bully someone because you gave the information, willingly, and then disliked how it was utilized. If someone doesn’t like how the information is used to create something new, then perhaps, they shouldn’t be willing to help out in the first place.
This particular nazi is still out and about (although the second has since lost touch with the pagan community). I’ve seen her bully others because she thinks that her way is the only way. But, I’m done thinking that this is just “her nature.” That may in fact be true, but again, I’ve discovered the whole boundaries thing. And toxic people have no bearing on who I am or what I practice and never should have. I appreciate what she’s given me because it helped me figure some major shit out, but there’s no need to bully others for it. If it comes down to it and she really wants her way to be the only way, then she should start her own temple.
The thing with religion nazis is that they are out and about in every major religion. You can see them at work in Islam, Christianity, and the various pagan sects that are out there. Invariably, you will probably meet one, either from your own religious background or from another religious background. In either case, you can do one of two things in this case. You can either make excuses for the person in question and just let them bulldoze you. Or, you can realize that these type of people are toxic and no good for you. And that it’s time to set up some firm, strong boundaries and move on with your life.
Because you’re better than the people who would force you into something you’re not comfortable with.