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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author: Pagan Community    Posted: Sep. 7, 2002   This Page Viewed: 318,604  

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Question of the Week: 113 - 6/8/2003

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

Let’s be honest. There are some people who inhabit our Pagan/Heathen communities who are clearly ‘problem children’. They may lie about their experience, lineage, credentials or intentions. They have been banned, banished or fired and yet they resurface and unabashedly continue on their merry ways. Worse even, we may have sexual predators, charlatans, thieves or con artists working their scams amongst us.

It seems that we are reluctant to confront them (or even to prosecute those who exhibit actual criminal behaviors) lest ‘it make us all look bad’. Well, they DO make us all look bad and we won’t look any prettier if they are eventually exposed (or indicted) by those outside of our own communities. But what can WE really do?

What does a Traditional coven or group do about former members who resurface still claiming to be a ‘priest or priestess of such-and-such degree’ after they have been banished by that group? What if these folks never earned or were stripped of those same degrees that they claim to hold?

What should we do about those known to use the lure of ‘teaching witchcraft’ in order to take advantage of others or coerce them into sexual relationships? What about Pagan merchants who take our money and then never produce the product?

CAUTION! This is a hot topic and so this is where I start placing notes of caution and related disclaimers all over the darn place: Please do not name names or point fingers at any specific person, persons or group here. {If a person committed a crime (sexual assault, theft, fraud, etc.) against you, please report him/her to the proper legal authorities. And yes, we know that this is a very difficult thing to do.} This is not the official Pagan Hit List. We are not the Pagan Police.

What we are looking for here (Help us, O Wise Elders/Leaders/Guides from all Traditions, Paths and Religions!) are examples of successful techniques or procedures from those who have experienced the ‘Pagan Problem Children’ or ideas about how the Pagan/Heathen communities can better cope with -- and reduce the havoc resulting from -- the actions of the ‘problem children’ amongst us -- and do so without resorting to ‘witch-hunts’ ourselves.
POST YOUR Response to This Question

 Reponses:   There are 2,666 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

The Real Witch Hunt Begins. Jun 13th. at 2:59:20 am UTC

Perrin (Lower Hades) Age: 29 - Email

Merry Mournings to all,
You asked for the bad penny to turn up with this one, so I did. Poblem children amoungst the Wiccans, & yet some still dare to call us witches, & cry out for our necks in a noose, I used to think that was behind us, but after what happened in Paris I cann't think on how else to put it we are still at risk. Yes there are perverts & creeps out there & in here, how to deal with them should depend upon what they did, if it is a serious matter which involved some 1 forcing oneself upon another then that person should ba burried alive if it started as a lie & escalated that person should be burried in an active volcanoe as a sacrifice, & finally woe to the person who swindles the elderly he should be thrown out of a building thirty stories up, & if we followed these principles there would be fewer problems, & therefore fewer problem children, but no 1 is going to do that so we just burry our heads in the sand & hope it all goes away in the end, which it will but not the way we want it to.
Blessed be to all,

Updated Thoughts Mar 9th. at 7:16:39 pm UTC

Mysteries' Child (WV) Age: 28 - Email

I stand by what I said (however badly) under the screen name "Ani" all those months ago.

Some people do destructive things because they don't know any better... and those people can be reached and changed on a person-by-person basis.

Some people do destructive things in spite of the fact that they know better, because they have actively and willfully chosen destructiveness. Maybe they can be reached and changed too-- I've certainly contemplated reaching out to the bunch of cultist creeps that prompted that post, and so many others-- but I consider it highly doubtful and deeply dangerous.

If they're doing something illegal... well, consider the level of harm. A bunch of people who want to get together and smoke up in the name of the Goddess really aren't worth calling the cops on. A bunch of people who want to teach 8-year-olds to smoke up in the name of knowing the Goddess better, on the other hand...

A bunch of people who want to slice up kitty-cats in the name of personal empowerment, on the other hand...

A bunch of people who want to vandalize churches to "teach those stupid Christians something, " on the other hand...

A bunch of people who want to get together and practice collective ritual mutilation in the name of gaining personal power thru the favor of demons who feed on the pain (been there, managed to avoid actually doing that) , on the other hand...

On that last one, don't bother calling the cops unless both legal adults and legal children are involved. Consensual mutilation may be sick and sad, but it's not a crime. If you find yourself in a situation relatable to that one, GET OUT and GET PROFESSIONAL COUNSELING.

If you can't afford that, GET OUT and find a relatively healthy friend to talk to. And if you haven't got a relatively healthy friend, EMAIL ME!! I'll listen. Link to More info related to this post -- HERE

Homo Sapiens Feb 9th. at 10:37:39 pm UTC

Jake Arzt (United States) Age: 28 - Email - Web

My two cents, for what they are worth: Pagan criminals are no different from criminals of any other belief system. I believe that humans (and many other species) are obviously designed for hostility. Before the advent of civilization on Earth, violence and dishonesty were valuable tools for survival. If it were not for violence, in fact, we would all be descended from Homo Habilus instead of Homo Erectus! Violence shapes evolution. Nowadays, however, we have so many "modern conveniences" that at times it seems that peace and honesty worldwide might be viable options. I think this is illusory. Have you ever lied to protect your child? If you have then you know what I mean. One more important point- Have you ever considered the fact that we are STILL EVOLVING?

Not Much Oct 22nd. at 9:53:18 pm UTC

Aurora Nightfalcon (washington state) Age: 16 - Email

it's hard to pinpoint such problem people. if they simply want to make trouble, they're goign to go about it in a way as to not be caught. if it's a serious offense, and you witness it, by all means, report it. but for the most part, there isn't much we can do to control the actions of others. we can only control ourselves, and that's hard in and of itself, especially when confronted with such issues as these.
~ a pagan teen who cares

PS Sep 27th. at 11:21:52 pm UTC

Morgaine (NC) Age: 45 - Email

And yes--if the activity is criminal, contact the authorities!


One To Speak, Another To Listen... Sep 27th. at 11:14:29 pm UTC

Morgaine (North Carolina) Age: 45 - Email - Web

I have had many encounters with people who lie as well as those who make their lying profitable by listening -- because let's face it, you really can't have one without the other. In my own observations, people seem to lie most often for the following reasons:

1. To make ourselves seem more important by comparison.
2. Out of spite, jealousy, envy, etc., as a way of trying to diminish what threatens us.
3. For control and/or to demonstrate 'power'. Divide and conquer is still an effective strategy. [Most of us, women especially, are trained to be good and sympathetic listeners to our friends. No one teaches us that sometimes the best help we can give someone is to say, "If you have an issues with that person you need to take it to them and resolve it, or learn to let it go and move on."]
4. Not being willing to admit we're wrong, or the limits of our knowledge.
5. For revenge for perceived wrongs.

This behavior creates a number of extremely serious problems not only between pagans and other groups, but amongst ourselves. What do we do about it? I think we each have to find our own answers to that question, based on our own consciences. I can only say what I do:

1. Stay clear on our own motivations and intentions.
2. Don't listen to whispering about others who are not there to defend themselves.
3. Decide based on our own direct experience, not on 'what we hear from other people'. Even well-meaning people often pass along baseless, untrue, unfair information that they've 'picked up' from others and believed.
4. Don't drag other people into our issues with us, or let them drag us into their issues. That never helps solve anything. It only causes the situation to escalate.
5. If, in the heat of the moment, we were to say something we shouldn't, admit it and retract anything that is not true with an apology.

What would make these actions easier?

1. Regular inner work.
2. Being willing to say 'no'.
3. When we find ourselves 'whispering', realising we've got enough time on our hands to do something productive instead. Let's see... the world could certainly use some healing...
4. Trust and Truth. In ourselves and in those we consider our friends and allies that they have enough good sense to know us -- or be willing to see that they don't and that we deserve better.
5. Accept people's apologies graciously and then let it go... move on.

I always prefer to assess others' based on what I have actually seen, heard, felt, etc. -- and that's how I'd prefer others to assess me. Well, those are my thoughts.

Morgaine Link to More info related to this post -- HERE

Problem Children Sep 23rd. at 11:51:09 pm UTC

Dawn (Massachusetts) Age: 35 - Email

I personally feel children are influenced by there surroundings. there for a not so well situation or lifestyle, will strongly influence that child to be a problem.We are our own problems. i allowed my children when they felt old enough to choose there own path. I would help them in any way, and listen. That is all we can do.

Tough Question Sep 19th. at 11:06:17 pm UTC

Sidhelea (Dallas TX) Age: 38 - Email - Web

The only way to handle something like this is to take each person as they come to you..and use your instincts and common sense in the situation.

If the situation is dangerous or the person, please contact the authorities. I've had situations before in chat in which a person stated they were committing suicide and I did find out where that person was and I did call the police. And for preditors and con artists, get involved with getting them out of our community. Not that we have to 'witch hunt' but if your instincts are telling you something is wrong then you are probably right. Especially if an adult is paying way too much attention to the children of the group or in chat.

As far as for 'problem children' it depends on the person and the situation. We cannot conclude the every 'problem child' has the same problem. For some it is something that can be helped with patience and guidence, but for others it is about their feelings of inadequacy and insecurity that makes them lie about credentials.

To me, any witch out there who understands the Craft, understands how to use her instincts about people. She or he knows how to read another like a book, and knows when someone is masking or blocking, or when something isn't right.

I'm an eclectic solitarie so I don't really look at degrees or at another witch's resume. If someone has to flash that at me, then I usually have to question how much actual experience that person has to how much book time they have been putting in.

I say use your common sense and Goddess given instincts to figure out what is wrong or right about a situation or person...then figure out how you wish to handle that person or situation.

I've only banned people for casting negative energy to cause harm in my small group I have on line. Afterwards, I've dealt with them as the situation waranted, and none of the situations were handled in the same way because they were different people and different situations to begin with. Link to More info related to this post -- HERE

What Can I Do? Sep 19th. at 12:09:16 pm UTC

River side Rose (Thunder Bay Ontario Canada) Age: 37 - Email - Web

When confronted with any situation whether it is a Pagan issue or life issue it is important to reflect and find the true source of the situation. I have done this with this question:
“Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?”
I feel the source of all these comments is the issue of people lying. As such this is not just a pagan problem but also one that each of us face regardless of preferred religious choice. So here are a few suggestions on how to deal with liars. You have three options when you know a person has lied to you: let the liar off the hook, don’t acknowledge the lie, or confront the liar.

To let the liar off the hook, In order to deal with this person in the future, you may allow them a way out. It is important I feel to give the liar this opportunity; often what has been said cannot be retracted especially if the situation occurred within a group rather than in a one to one situation. So how can we present this opportunity to the liar? We can become aware of our thoughts and use such statements as these:

“I see there has been a misunderstanding and we have the opportunity to set things straight.”

“It looks as if things have gotten scrambled. Why don’t you take some time to reassess the situation and get back to me with your answer, tomorrow.”

“Let me give you the information I have. It may change your response.”

In responding in this manner which is non-defensive, we give ourselves and the liar time to reflect and gather thoughts of perception and whether the topic is worthy of further debate without resorting to name calling or emotional outbursts, and can go back to acting as you normally would have in the past.

Sad to say this is not what usually occurs and we respond emotionally, and defensively to liars. Think before you speak, great advice from many a sage. Here are a few suggestions if you wish to confront the liar:

Ask the person to repeat the statement. If the statement has changed, remind the person of what was said previously. Often times a liar cannot repeat the statement, as it was originally intended, this also give the liar an opportunity to make amends or change their statement. A way of stated this non defensively would be “ This is how I am interpreting your statement, was this your intention within that statement?” Sometimes statements and intentions are misunderstood and it was not the intention of the person involved to lie at all, it was more perhaps their lack of knowledge of the topic or lack of communication skills of how they presented the information. In which case the situation can be resolved without an emotional debate.

Most people can see through outrageous lies and debating about them, will only lead to harsh feelings between the both of you, recommendation laugh about it. Lighten the discussion with laughter.

If you know the statement to be a lie, verify the statement, provide the information about the topic as you have or have been taught. Back up your statements of why you feel that the statement made is false, and how you came about it. Sometimes there is more than one way and perhaps this person has just found a different approach to the same topic, even if you prefer your way better.

But what if you have tried all the above methods and found that they don’t work in your situation, and your tolerance has run out. Do yourself and everyone else involved a favour; Stop talking. Inform the person you are finished. Don’t let the person reengage you in conversation or debate. Leave the situation and avoid contact with this person in the future. If you must communicate again record the conversation or take a reliable witness with you.

It is important that we recognize that we each have our own ways, our own paths, and that respect for such must be tolerated, even if it is not your way. If you want others to respect you, you must give them respect as well to find their own truths. Have a little faith, whether that faith is in divinity or within yourself, know that life experiences will teach us all. We have no need to defend ourselves against those who shout the loudest or say they are who they are not. Time has a way of showing and most people ask if they don’t know, then they do research to verify information on what has been provided. Please remember that we were all “problem children” at one point in our life, and didn’t “grow up” or grow out of the phase until life experience taught us differently.

The other lesson we can take from our “problem children” during or after having dealt with them is to go within our selves and do some personal reflection. “Ask yourself what can you learn or take from this situation that life has placed us in?” In doing such, our “problem children” may have been one of our greatest teachers who taught us something we really needed to learn or focus on. Another suggestion, offer personal growth seminars, lectures, information and teachings within your circles or groups. Share the knowledge you have learned or have access to, this will aid in developing a healthier circle or group.

Please recognize the difference between what is considered to be a debate of information as it is presented and what is illegal. Those that may lie about their experience, lineage, credentials or intentions are not necessarily criminals they are liars, however those who are sexual predators, thieves or con artists are and should be addressed by the authorities. If you come across people like this, have nothing to do with them and report it to the authorities, even though we are pagans we are also citizens and have rights just like any other citizen, being pagan doesn’t mean that we have new laws just for us or that we don’t have to obey said laws without consequence. Do not tolerate it; if you don’t feel that the laws are enough to protect and serve then it is time to contact your government and have laws created to do so. Take time to protect and educate others about such criminals that may come into our midst, educate them on their rights as individuals and that any act of crime can be committed by people not only pagans, teach them to use common sense and listen to their early warning signs that the universe provides and perhaps then the criminals will not be able to take advantage of those who do not know, for then they will know. And if you should find that such acts are occurring do something about it. Don’t go looking for trouble or go on “witch hunts” so to speak to locate it, however when it does come to you, take responsibility of it. If it has been brought to your attention there was a reason it was brought there, so deal with it responsibly, isn’t that part of what being a pagan is? Being responsible and acting as such.

Just the ramblings of an eclectic solitary witch, take what you wish from my comments and do what you will.

Let Them Cancel Themselves Out Sep 3rd. at 9:38:54 am UTC

knowledge (earth) Age: 21 - Email

Who are we to judge. Judgement is only for GOD. you must understand that the show and prove policy is the most sure and effective way to prove who is real and fake. Something can never be given without being earned. Respect and trust especially. Each and every one of us on this site is fully aware of the nature of this world. A majority of our population is has a "all about me" philosophy. Nothing good comes easy including "good" people. They are to be found and searched for. It would be foolish for everyone on this site to assume they do no wrong. We all play a part. Some a bigger one than others. Gandi once said it is almost impossible to lie to a completely honest person. This person is so use to thinking and speaking the truth they sense a difference. Not that it is our faults for being tricked, mislead, or abused. We cannot stop a persons free will. We just must be aware of it. We cannot know what a person is doing. We can only know what a person is capable of.

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