Disclaimer: This is one of those posts that will piss someone off, somewhere.
My son has this really ridiculous habit of requesting people refraining from doing something because he doesn’t like it. My son is five, so I get these ridiculous requests quite often. In every instance, I’m sure to say a variant of the following, “Is it hurting you? Is it hurting other people?” The answer, in each case, is that whatever he wants someone to stop doing is definitely not hurting him or anyone else he knows. It is at that point that I point out to him that not only is whatever it is not hurting him, but that it doesn’t impact him in any way. He gets the point but the ultimate lesson of “mind yo’ beeswax” is kind of lost on him because he’s five.
The reason I mention this is because this is all I can see with the sudden influx of pop culture paganism (henceforth, PCP) debates goin’ round the blogosphere. In those instances, I am instantly thrown back to a moment where I am continuously attempting to teach my son to mind his own business. Whenever someone starts waving around, pointing fingers, and generally being an asshole about PCPs and their practice, this is all I can see and think. However, instead of an adorable five-year-old’s face with two missing front teeth, I see the pagan sphere as a kind of overblown version of that iconic movies scene of torches and pitchforks, each citizen intent on catching Frankenstein’s monster. Only in this instance, the form of this legendary beast has suddenly taken the form of the not-so-mythic pop culture pagans (henceforth, PCPs) and the egregore that they have relationships with.
So, someone please explain to me how in the world whatever they are practicing is bringing harm to the very people so outspoken against it? Someone please explain to me how in the world whatever they are practicing is bringing harm to the pagan hemisphere in any context? If I were in an auditorium, I would literally poll every single person sitting in front of me. Unless PCPs’ practices are going to cause imminent danger to you or to someone you know, then frankly, shut the fuck up about it. I hate to break it to everyone whining against the practices therein but since they are not going to bring harm to you or to others, then they are not doing a damn thing that impacts you in any way, shape, or form. And as I tell my kid on a nearly daily basis, “Mind yo’ beeswax.”
We are fighting so hard against each other that we are forgetting that there are more important things at stake than who can or should practice what. We are so focused on the in-fighting between ourselves that we forget that we should be uniting and presenting that united face against the world at large. We are already considered crazy by many and child-molesting, animal-sacrificing dunderheads at worst. And yet, we can’t even unite long enough to win any form of legitimate acceptance in the world, at large. There are still people who are having their homes attacked as well as people who have been killed for being a practicing pagan. And yet, those of us who are privileged enough to live in an area of the world where a general acceptance of our practices are so fucking focused on PCPs and what they do that they need to write endlessly long, rambling, wordy posts about it?
Get the fuck over yourselves.
Get the fuck over the fact that people are different.
Get the fuck over the fact that each person can practice in their own way.
By excluding an entire section of paganism, you are doing the community you are praising so highly a severe disservice. Not only are you, possibly, pushing away future converts to paganism who are interested in PCP, but you are also removing the very real possibility of another part of the community that you may actually need some day. One day, we may all get together and start demanding that we be taken seriously, with placards waving and legal protests organized against the Christianization of a nation that was not founded on any one religion. And the pagan with the placard beside you may just end up being one of those PCPs you’ve been ranting and raving about on the Internet. No imagine that fake protest without them there, another sect pulls up stakes and disavows its pagan roots because too many assholes made them feel unwanted in a fractured, immature community that is nowhere near where it should be.
Those PCPs that you are busy offending could be the very reason we get accepted as a legitimate religion, one day.
Not only are you behaving childishly, clique-like, and foolishly when you are so busy ranting about what they do, which is not hurting you, but you are bringing to mind a very “interesting” subsection of American culture. They are also very exclusionary… They wear ugly white robes and have a thing for placing burning crosses on people’s lawns. I’ll let you think about my vague metaphor a moment and then mention yet another exclusionary branch of humanity. They also wore pointy hats, but their uniforms tended toward green and they had a thing about racial purity. Only instead of placing burning crosses on people’s lawns, they killed millions of whomever they deemed as undesirable.
While I would like to assume that my fellow pagan “community” wouldn’t go so far as all of that, one never knows. The propaganda against PCPs and their practices has already been written. The nasty PR is already gumming up the works and painting what was once a clear issue – don’t be a dick – with Vaseline and smearing it all up to hell. And all because a bunch of people don’t particularly care for how someone else practices their religion. (As someone from Massachusetts, I have to admit that this story sounds oh, so familiar. I wonder why.)
And as I made it quite clear in my head covering post about the drama from last year,
I came into paganism because I was sick and tired of the Abrahamic faiths making decisions about me and my body and my soul without my consent. Yep. That’s why I started out down this road. I loved the freedom that I’ve learned and discovered in paganism. And now as time goes by, I find myself more and more not wanting to do anything in this “community” because it’s turning into the exact same shit as I found when I was a fucking Christian. Before I know it, I’m going to have BNPs (big name pagans) telling me if I can get an abortion, use birth control, vote for the next presidential candidate, etc. And that really just doesn’t fly with me. The whole point, to me, in this practice is to be able to do what I decide is proper in my spiritual practice. And if that means that I feel the need to wear a white bandana on my head when I’m communing with the lwa, then so be it. If that means that I have to go running around naked under the full moon, then so be it. If that means that I have to tap dance to the National Fucking Anthem while touching my nose and patting my stomach, then so be it. This is my religious path and what I do is my fucking business. That’s what makes it MINE.
And that goes for anybody else who is a practicing pagan.
Their path, their rules.
So, metaphoric pagan police, just stop worrying about how this portrays the “community at large.” There isn’t a fucking community, at large. If we’re all so worried about what the hell other people are doing in their practice, long enough to write those blog entries about it, then we’re forgetting that we should be out doing instead of thinking. If we’re all so worried about what’s going on in the obviously fulfilling practice of those PCPs, then we’re forgetting about what the hell we need to do for our own practices. By writing all of those damn words lambasting a sub sect of paganism, then there are some things that your practice are not fulfilling since you can spend that much time being worried about public sentiment and others’ belief systems.
Get over yourselves.
Stop thinking about what other people are doing.
Stop worrying about how that may, one day, impact you.
If you’re so interested in community, foster one instead of being a dick wheel to someone who you don’t like or whose practice differs so largely for your own.
Get off your high horse and go do something productive for once.
And above all, don’t forget that their religious practice in their own and impacts you in no way.
Their path, their rules.
I wonder if one day we’ll get to stop ranting about this. Or if one day I’ll get to stop saying to ppl “Every path is valid” Sadly, I doubt it.
I don’t think so, either. I think it’s in human nature, unfortunately, to judge everyone and everything.
I cannot like this post enough. I went through a phase where I tried to convince people to lighten up about other people’s practices, and then I just gave up, because people love drama, and people love high horses. I just don’t care about people whose practices differ from my own. I don’t blog about it, and if I don’t find the practice instructive or useful, I move on.
I really don’t understand why it others’ practices matter so much to other people. It’s like their lives are so empty that they have to sit around and find something wrong with someone else/someone else’s religion.
My pal Aika wrote a response to this and mentioned Santoshi Mata, who is a pop culture deity Herself, created in the 1960s. I suspect that the rise of PCP isn’t proof that we’re doing something wrong, it’s that we’re starting to become well and truly polytheistic in modern Paganism.
http://insearchofeccentricity.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/your-argument-is-invalid-2/ (if you want to read more about Santoshi Mata)
Yes, yes, yes! Thank you!
Thank you for reading!
100% with you. Thanks for the opinion, you put it much better than I could have. Not a PCP myself, but: as long as it’s good for a person, and as long as no one gets hurt, what the fuck is the problem. It’s not like the “real Gods—take your pick as to the definition” are missing out on devotion from PCPs; to the contrary, there are a number of former PCPs that found access to aformentioned Gods through PCP. So what, in the name of all the Holy Powers, EVER, is the big deal….
I agree with everything you wrote. I love “There isn’t a community at large.” Yeah, and I wonder why? The mindset of the current population isn’t of community – it is selfish, attention seeking and self serving, hence arguments over which tradition of paganism is the right one. This is why I would rather stir a pot in a cottage in the woods. Thanks for writing this.
As someone who has been watching the “community” for so long, I have to agree. There are so many people who want a community and attempt to foster the background for that community, however there are a lot more people who like to ride around on their high horse. It’s unfortunate and I absolutely hate it.
Thanks for reading.
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