So, last night, I started writing a blog entry about being an oversharing pagan and why I think oversharing should happen more often than not in various venues. I’ve since re-read what I wrote and realized I was pointing my finger at the blog entries in question that got my going on this particular tangent. I stopped writing it and went to sleep. Prior to falling asleep, I tried to write and re-write what I had written. None of it sounded like what I was trying to convey, which was that I had a point-of-view that differed from other people but that I still respect those people who have a difference of opinion. I’m going to dog through this damn post, anyway, because I want to get it off my chest. I’m going to try very hard to remain like an adult. I’m going to link to some pertinent entries about being an oversharing pagan, and whether or not it’s a good thing, and I’m going to comment on those particular entries in various forms. But, all in all, let’s keep in mind that I don’t care if my viewpoint is different from yours. All I care about is that my view is as respected by others as I try to respect theirs. As I’ve said in the past, and will say again, I don’t give a two-ton shit what other people think, believe, or what have you because if it works for them, then obviously, I think they’re doing it right.
What got me started on this was when FTN wrote a post about how some things were okay to share with others and some things were not. I’ve linked to the post in question below, but the gist is that there are some things she has no problem telling those of us who wear curiosity on our sleeves but that there are some things she cannot or will not divulge. In essence, it comes down to the big huge thing of either being bound by oaths, bound by tradition, or bound by “it’s too personal.” And I’ve seen this in various arenas before. It’s never bothered me. If I ask someone a question about a ritual they perform or something and they say, “Well, I can’t tell you that because it’s to personal/I’m oath-bound not to/it’s part of a mystery tradition that I’m initiated into,” or whatever the reason may be, then I can respect that. I may be a little disappointed that I don’t get more than, “IT WAS A FUN TIME,” but you know, that’s my deal and not theirs.
I can respect the fact that these people work in an arena where silence is mandated in some form or another. I’ve always respected that. I understand that there are just some relationships with gods or familiars or adventures on the astral that are none of our business. They’re inherently personal to the practitioner in question or they’re not to be discussed because they’re bound by oaths, or maybe they’re just not comfortable saying something like, “Today, I walked into the astral and accidentally married a ten-foot long earthworm. SHIT.” (Yes, K, I was thinking about you when I wrote that.) For whatever reason, there are any number of witches, Kemetics, Heathens, Celts, and non-denoms* who can’t discuss specifics in certain arenas. And I’m absolutely fine with that because as I am constantly saying, and so therefore can’t possibly say it enough, that’s their path, it’s their shtick, and if it works for them, then bully for them.
So far, this sounds just kind of like an interesting story of my life, right? Well, the thing is that I started to get upset and hurt when I clicked on one of the blogs that FTN had linked to in her post. The link is to WoFG and a blog post she wrote some time last year about “oversharing witches.” Now, to be fair, she did not specific call out people like me who are not witches in any way, but she does kind of lump those of us who are willing to talk about our paths and practices in one lumped group. And that kind of upset me. While I obviously do qualify, by WoFG’s definition, as an “oversharing” kind of person, I would have hoped that she could see that some of us do it because we want attention and some of us do it because we want to be honest and some of us do it because we want to help and some of us do it because they can’t keep their big, fat mouths shut (which is not the same as wanting attention, to me, by the way). However, this distinction was never commented on in the entry itself. Now, in reality, WoFG is commenting on specific instances and specific people, but the opening statement of her blog entry is very generalized and that’s where I got stuck on it for a few hours (until this morning when I read through it as well as some of the comments).
I was kind of really upset that I could be lumped into this broadly, generalized category. Yes, I probably do overshare, but I don’t do it for the instance(s) she talks about. And that’s where I’m really getting hung up on: each person does it for a different reason. I’ll be honest here because where else am I going to be this honest, right? What got to me was the second sentence of the first paragraph: “We were all flabbergasted by oversharing witches who feel the need to tell everyone who their gods are, what their totems are, and what tradition they are.” This really kind of got to me because, while I may not shout it from the rooftops, I have no problem telling you what path I think I’m on, who my gods are, who my lwa are, what I’m doing, what I’ve fucked up doing, why I think it got fucked up or why I think it worked, or any of that shit. Sure, I keep it fairly low-key in the fact that I’m not downtown with a megaphone and just posting it here, on this blog, but obviously, I pretty much classify as “oversharing.” And that bothers me. Not because someone thinks of me that way – not that I think Sarah has the time to think about me in any way, shape, or form – but because each person decides to be as honest and as open as they are for their own personal reasons.
Sometimes, you have to take the fucking leap to say shit in a public venue. And the reason being because out there, somewhere, is a newb who thinks they’re bat-shit because their books are bleeding or because they see real-not-real bugs crawling on their floor/wall. Somewhere, out there, someone is having a panic attack because the six spells they’ve cast to find a job hasn’t worked. Somewhere out there, someone is having a seriously fucked up time because a demon or void person has attached themselves to that person and they don’t know how to stop it. Someone is crying because the God-phone isn’t working like the mystics who received visions or who hear god(s) in their brain pan. Someone is unsure of what to offer, how to offer, and why they need to revert the offering. Someone is looking for the answers to their questions and we, as seasoned practitioners, should be able to respond without angst or fear or jerkiness or the belief that we’re “oversharing.” We should be the adults we claim to be and discern what to say, how to say it, and move on.
However, this doesn’t happen.
You know, when I first started blogging about all of this shit, I decided I was going to be open about everything I wrote. And that’s because I didn’t know if I was going insane or if what I was experiencing was real.
When I first met up with the pagans and practitioners who kept things to themselves, like the names of their gods or their familiars or their rituals, I was intrigued by it. For about a week, I tried to keep the names of my gods and my lwa out of this blog and I failed miserably. I felt like I was a failure as a pagan, actually, because I did share these kinds of things in a public venue and I had been told, unequivocally, that I shouldn’t be doing that. People could use the information against me in some form or another. And while I do believe that someone could or would do that, it just never sat well with me. It wasn’t that I don’t think that someone could take advantage of me from the information that they gather from this blog, but because I know there are so many pagans out there who are scared shitless of what is going on and no one is willing to tell them a damn thing – maybe because they’re bound by oaths or they think they’re too young for the info they’re seeking or because they just weren’t taught to share those kinds of things. Whatever the reason is, they’re not getting the information and they could turn from paganism, they could continue to let the horrible situation fester and possibly do something to themselves because of the depression that these situations can produce, or they could make matters worse by doing something that wasn’t actually intended to help the horrible situation in the first place.
While I may not have all of the information, I’ve networked enough where I can get the information. I’ve networked enough to know that there are some pagans out there who agree with me on being open about things. And you know, I’m not trying to shit on the people who remain quiet for the reasons I’ve noted. I’m really not. I’m just trying to say that sometimes, “oversharing” is something we should do. Being bound by oaths, being bound by personal decisions, being bound by how you’re raised, being bound by the gods themselves is all fine and perfectly acceptable (to me and others who feel likewise). But there are just some of us who are going to continue to “overshare” because that’s what we think is right, just like those who are sworn to secrecy believe that they are right.
To each their own, really.
* I have no idea what else to call the miscellanea of pagan practitioners who are a little bit of this or that. I think non-denoms works out pretty well, actually.)
- Not Everything Is Meant for Sharing by For the Netjer.
- Oversharing Witches by the Witch of Forest Grove.
- “Dangerous Knowledge” by Scylla.