Merry Meet and Merry Part, and Merry Meet again

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Got a Ticket from the Pagan Police

Okay, I am being melodramatic here. I did not get pulled over on the Internet Highway. But I have to say sometimes I feel that way. There are many, many wonderful blogs and websites written by pagans. It is an informative and educational experience to visit; to learn about other pagan paths and to meet people that, as a solitary practitioner, one would not otherwise come in contact with. Usually, this is a positive encounter.

Unfortunately, I have also run into some very judgmental people. As a pagan this is disappointing, and at times, hurtful. Pagans in general are accepting of all paths. Pagans also understand that people in "mainstream" religions can be critical of and prejudiced against pagans, mostly due to misconceptions and lack of information. To run into this kind of prejudice from other pagans is, to say the least, disheartening.

Here are a few examples, paraphrased, of statements I have read. I will not name blogs or websites; it is not my intention to be confrontational.

Wiccans are not witches. They do not practice magic or witchcraft. Wiccans are "wishy-washy" about any kind of magic other than white magic. Wiccans are the most uptight group of people ever. Wiccans have too many rituals.

You get the idea. The right to have your own opinion is obvious. You can write whatever you want on your website. Just be sure to state that you are voicing an opinion, not necessarily a documented fact.

Wiccans are many and varied, as are most pagans. There are uptight people in all walks of life. Does that mean that if you meet, say, a teacher who was uptight, that all teachers are uptight? One bad apple in every bunch?

I am Wiccan. I also call myself a witch. I do know that there are Wiccans who do not call themselves witches, but that is their choice. Practicing magick and/or witchcraft is a personal choice. Some include it in their path, some don't. As a Wiccan, I choose not to practice black or gray magic, I prefer to practice magick that heals, helps and supports the Earth and all upon it. That is not to say that I am unfamiliar with defensive magick. I am capable and ready to protect myself and my family if the need arises.

Without belaboring these issues and opinions, I would like to state that my Wiccan ways may not be particularly appealing to pagans of different paths and beliefs. Just as those same pagans may not appeal to my path. The point is, we are all pagans doing our best to live our lives the best we can, with the skills and knowledge, beliefs and ideals that set us apart from mainstream practices. It is at times a difficult path we take. The last thing we need is criticism and judgment from our fellow pagans. Tolerance, at the least, would be appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Tolerance is the answer to world peace. What I don't understand is why people fight it so much. It's TOLERANCE not love. You don't have to agree with or embrace someone's life and/or lifestyle, just tolerate it.


mxtodis123 said...

This lack of tolerance is seen all over. I don't understand it. I've even been dealing with it here at the program between clients. Just wish all could be more understanding of each other's beliefs.

Linda in New Mexico said...

I agree with Dark Mother.....tolerance.

Harm ye none.......if only. While I have the best pagan friends online, I too have run into less than welcoming, accepting, warm pagans....but to each their own. As I tell my grandkids....Nice matters and when you point your finger at someone, their are 3 pointing back at you so be careful what you do. But "being nice" doesn't mean that you have to take someone's negativity to heart. The act of harming none and being nice is a choice each of us must make for ourselves. I believe that anyone can believe and practice whatever they want and I would appreciate the same consideration but if not.......well their loss. I walk away and can still call myself witch and know I am okay. Throw the bad stuff out and be all you are. Blessings, The Olde Bagg,Linda

Anonymous said...

As You say, there are uptight people everywhere! Especially we Christians seems to take uptightness as something to be proud about :-) :-) :-)

Well those people are best to ignore what ever faith one might have :-)

Have a great day!

Aine said...

Sad, but true, Robin. It is common to find this wherever religion is discussed. I suppose it is a very passionate subject for some, and when discussing beliefs, some feel the need to claim that theirs is the only correct one. The "true" one.

I personally see no need for this, since I believe that anyone who believes in a higher source is basically believing in the same energy with a different name(s) - that makes sense to me, but again maybe not to everyone. still, to believe in a benevolent entity most often means that you strive to be more like him/her and in that case, wouldn't it be more god/goddess like to accept others rather than argue about something that is so very personal to each person?

I once questioned my recently "born again" christian MIL about her belief in the one true religion. (This was after she told me that if someone did not believe in Jesus they were doomed to hell.) I asked "So you're saying that a good percentage of the world's population who believe in something other than Jesus are wrong?" And she said "Yes, they are wrong - sincerely wrong, perhaps, but wrong."

That, needless to say, was an eye opener. I had never before encountered this kind of Christian and had to wonder - is this the kind of thing Jesus would say?

So maybe we all, pagans and non-pagans, have to start using our Gods/Goddesses as examples of how to live our lives. The "inner Goddess" concept is one of the parts of Wicca that I hold onto tightly to, no matter how my practices changes and grows. It not only empowers me, but keeps me honest.

Pagan Heart said...

Hi Robin,

Some friends and I recently had a conversation about something similar. We have been getting more and more disappointed lately with the amount of people that supposedly believe what we believe and yet seem to be practicing being hypocrites rather than being truly harmonious beings that believe in balance. Magic isn’t either black or white.. it’s neither because there is good and bad in each of us. It’s how we use what we have or do that gets labeled by people that feel the need to slap a label on just about everything. And do it in a rude and offensive way. It’s people like that, no matter what religion they say they practice, that increase the negative energy and outlook that spreads like a disease. Isn’t that what we’ve been fighting since the beginning of time?

I'm glad you're standing up against such behavior. More of us should. :)

-Blessings, Honey

Crystal LunaRouge said...

In my 25+ years of being within the craft I have never heard that Wiccans are not witches. That statement just made me laugh out loud. Now granted not all Witches are Wiccan, I have never personally met a Wiccan that was not also a Witch. I wonder what Gerald Gardner's response would be to that statement considering he is one of the most prominient figures for Wiccans and Witches.

One Witches Blog said...

You go on with your awesome self, chicky! The beauty of the pagan path is that it is tailored to what is best for the practitioner, not for the masses. Be a Wiccan Witch, and do your stuff! =)

Aisha said...

what can i say Hurt people hurt people/ if you left your religion and came tot the craft to get away from hypocrisy BTU haven't done the work to grow as a person and MOVE on , then you should have just stated where you were before. It seems to be the thing to instantly dislike or dare I say hate Christians simply for being Christian. It's one of the reasons Im solitary I just can't put up with the bullshyt or pretending to agree when i don't.
Everyone has their own personal stance on faith and religion, and just like what happens in my bedroom, religion is a PERSONAL and PRIVATE decision that I made.
good topic thanks for sharing

~*Gypsy*~ said...

I agree with DM too. *HUGS* I remember that sting of disappointment the first time I came across such harsh judgements from fellow pagans.

Jeanne said...

I can't add anything that hasn't already been said.
There is no one "right way" to practice a religion. Every religion has variations on a similar theme (Baptist, Southern Baptist, Freewill Baptist, etc.) Religion or Spirituality is something that is best tailored to the needs of the individual - a highly personal thing.

Kallan said...

Hey there, Robin.. just getting caught up on blogs this week.. yeah this whole not all Wiccans are Witches thing popped up within the last 5 years.. It amazes me how many people can tell someone else what to do, believe and practice.. whatI love about being a Pagan is that I do this my way.. no one else has to follow me and they sure don't need to lead me.. this is my personal walk.. no one else can walk it for me. You be whatever you want- just keep on being AMAZING :)

Anonymous said...

Indeed. As a Solitary Wiccan Priestess of 15 years now, I have also had my share of experiences with such behavior from other Pagans in the community and I must say, it is very distasteful to say the least. In fact, I had recently written a post on my blog, "The Wiccan Life," which deals with just this sort of thing.

Good for you for speaking up!

Brightest Blessings,

Lady Caer Morganna

Midwinterain said...

You go girl! Keep doing what you're doing, how you celebrate life is your business and no one has the right to judge how you walk your path.

ruthie said...

It is so sad to know there is so much intolerance in the world, how wonderful a place it would be if we all lived side by side, accepting. x