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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: 318,605  

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

Greybeard Jun 13th. at 12:52:28 pm UTC

Lynxx (Killeen, Tx) Age: 25 - Email

Sexual predator? Usually that is a description of the man she couldn't' get to bed fast enough last week, or the man who's taking someone else to bed and not her. The term also implies a high level of misandry by the speaker. Isn't this like calling a woman a "slut" or "whore"? It sounds like the personal problem of the accuser to me.

A sexual predator is ANYONE that can't take no for an answer, including the female example you gave. I do not think that the term is either misogynist or misandrist but simply calling a cigar a cigar. Slut and whore can apply to both men and women and those words, although considered vulgar, they don't have to be. And who are we to decide if someone else is a slut or whore? It would be no business to anyone but the party involved. I have to wonder why you would take such offense to the term, unless you have been called so yourself. And if that accusation was false, no reason you should brand all women who are raped as someone who just couldn't get laid. Although, I am quite sure that those women who cry "rape" when no such thing happened are due for some return of consequences. It happens, unfortunately. I just wish it didn't happen in the Pagan community. Obviously, the Pagan community is not immune to any kind of sickness of the mind.

Being An Example Jun 13th. at 11:58:32 am UTC

Lynxx (Killeen, Tx) Age: 25 - Email

I grew up Christian and there are certain things that I learned from the teachings of that faith that I have brought with me into my very Pagan present. One of those things is to really live your religion so that Divine light shines through you, or in other words, being a good example. For many Pagans, we don't have many good examples to live up to. Perhaps in books, where we read about our Pagan past... those remarkable people that brought the belief in Mother Earth and the old Gods back to a spiritually starved bunch of free spirits.... but how many baby Pagans have a good living example to learn from? Teaching is touchy... the student has to be ready... But there are aspects about the religion that are definitely NOT secrets and oathbound. And as much as we try to play the game of "more persecuted than thou", we are NOT all that persecuted. So, we need to pick our lazy, agoraphobic butts off the broom closet floor, and really start showing the world what a good Pagan is all about. When I say good, I do not mean in a sense of good vs. evil, but instead I speak of the quality of the Pagan. Good Pagans do not bring up Pagan topics out of the blue to impress the impressable, but do not hide their opinions and are not afraid to take a stand. Good Pagans do not actively seek out students, but will not neglect someone in very much need of guidance. Good Pagans live with respect to the earth and are not caught up in the chase of the dollar, but instead use money and power with responsibility. Good Pagans help their fellow human beings but do not baby someone who is bound to their path and has a lesson to learn. Good Pagans are Pagan 24/7/365 and not just (hmmm... 8+13=21) 21 days out of the year. But how many beginners get to see this? How many beginners get tunnel vision to where all they see is magick? How many beginners think that the magick lies in tools and props and trinkets? I think there should be more Good Pagan people to reach out to those who follow an unsteady path and if not teach them, at least be an example and a friend to them. The greatest teacher is personal experience... I have always said this... and personal experience should be shared.

However, the next person who claims to be a High Priestess and a Charmed One with her own Whitelighter is going to get slapped.

An Actual Criminal Law Breaking Witch. Jun 13th. at 12:24:19 am UTC

Greybeard (Albuquerque, NM) Age: 57 - Email

RavensMask (Hampton, Virginia) wront:
"However, I did notice some disturbing things in Greybeard's post that I'd like to address.

"You sound like quite the Anarchist who is using his dislike of Christianity to support his view. I make no judgment on whether you are an Anarchist or not, just pointing out that you sound as such."

Well, RavensMask, I broke the law today, I did an actual crime. I was up in the National Forest at a hot spring that I've been going to for more than a decade. There is now a large iron sign posted next to it saying that nudity is "indecent exposure" and illegal. It listed all the criminal codes that I broke by taking off my clothes and going into the springs as I have done for years. My body is not "indecent, " in any pagan moral code that I've ever heard of. Putting clothes on the natives is just one of the many moral laws that are codified christian ethics but not pagan ethics.

So go ahead and report me for breaking the law. I'm an actual Witch and I broke an actual christian moral inspired criminal law. And I'm not ashamed.


Libel, Slander And Defamation Of Character Jun 13th. at 12:00:54 am UTC

Greybeard (Albuquerque, NM) Age: 57 - Email - Web

This is a very sensitive topic because there are skeletons in the closets of many of our best known leaders.

Odin d'Avalon (Anacortes, WA) wrote:
"3) Is confronting another person for the wrong they are, or have, performed against your person or property, i.e. slander, libel, defamation of character, theft, sexual abuse, etc. a valid reason to label such an action as a Witch Hunt?"

I have been around pagan organizations for several years, served as officers, and on arbitration councils. Over that time I have seen and investigated several accusations of theft, sexual abuse, and worse. In by far the majority of the cases the person making the accusation was doing harm, slander, libel, and defamation of character. Frequently it was pagan leaders with their own jealousy or power play who were responsible for the slander, libel, and/or defamation of character. And that's worse than a "witch hunt."

There are quite a few who have written that any pagan lawbreaker ought to be reported to law enforcement. Well, maybe they should, but maybe the person making the accusation is the one who ought to be shunned by the community. An elder's rap sheet on "bad" people that someone suggested seems to me to be open to all the evils of slander and false accusations. I've seen way too much of that. Show me the blood or broken bones. Otherwise the first thing I'll do is to assume libel or slander until the accusations are proven. Sure, some real harm is done, and remedies need to be used, but no where near as often as harm is alleged.

Under the (pagan) law of Hamarabi anyone making a false accusation (an accusation that wasn't or couldn't be proved) got dumped into the river instead, and the accused got all his property. It's a very old pagan law that we could use more of. Link to More info related to this post -- HERE

Victims Of The Paranoid Jun 12th. at 11:46:41 pm UTC

Olorin (Edmond, OK) Age: 28 - Email - Web

I agree wholeheartedly about turning in the criminals and putting the frauds in their place, but what about the "victims of the paranoid" The ones who, altough qerky, and some what just plain weird, and aren't quite the type of people who everyone really wants around, if for no other reason than they are a little lonely and need to talk for a few hours. I have seen and at some piont have been guilty of putting labels on others, who where not guilty of anything. I know we live in a time of sickness among humanity, but never let your self be guilty "witch hunting" people you don't like or *gasp* misunderstand! I remember a man saying "if you would keep busy working on you and yours, you wouldn't have time to see what the joneses are doing". The true "problem children" of the Wiccan/Pagan communities will make themselves known, without too much finger pionting, just don't piont fingers in the wrong direction!

Everyone Has Summed It All Up... Jun 12th. at 10:36:43 pm UTC

RavensMask (Hampton, Virginia) Age: 22 - Email

Unfortunately there isn't much that I can add that hasn't already been well said, and I feel no need to repeat things. I'm new to the path of magic and have not encountered such individuals, though it does reaffirm my wish to remain a loner in my practices.

However, I did notice some disturbing things in Greybeard’s post that I'd like to address.

You sound like quite the Anarchist who is using his dislike of Christianity to support his view. I make no judgment on whether you are an Anarchist or not, just pointing out that you sound as such.

Seems you don't much like Christians though. While this is understandable due to Christian actions of the past and present it is not excusable. I find it amusing that any member of a group that was hunted by another group would take up the very practices of hate that was used against them. Just like Israel using the mass punishment in the middle-east today that Hitler used against the Jews years ago, it doesn't help anything.

As a very open-minded Christian (I'd have to be open-minded to go the necromancy path) I find the "Christians bad!" mentality presented by some members of the Pagan community ridiculous. Hate just begets more hate. And I'm proof that not every Christian thinks the same as the vocal members of their religion. Do the acts of Islamic terrorists mean that all Muslims are evil? No it does not and it should never seem that way to anyone.

So our laws are all Christian commandments that serve no purpose? Okay so then you'd rather people go around murdering innocent people (example serial murderers) and get away with it eh? Sorry that doesn't cut it in any civilized society, be it Christian or Pagan. Most laws are an attempt to stop and punish behavior that is universally considered unacceptable - theft, murder, rape, assault, etc. I couldn't care less if a Christian came up with our laws against murder - someone does not have a right to sneak into my home to murder my family and if they think they do and try it, they better out-run a .308 round.

True some laws (and believe me as a pro-gun individual, I know this) aren’t right or fair. However, the broken laws we are discussing here are laws that should not be broken by any individual – such as the theft, murder, rape ones I mentioned, but also child abuse ones as well. There are people out there performing such things, and they should not be allowed to continue no matter what form they take.

To hide behind shadows just because of a dislike of Christianity just doesn't help. And hiding things just to save the group face never works. You have your example with the Catholic Church, would you wish to make the same mistake as a dreaded Christian?

Fact is if an individual breaks laws such as theft, assault or murder - you better report that individual. Because if you try playing musical chairs with the law because of your dislike of Christians, you are going to be out of luck when the music stops.

Political Correctness Jun 12th. at 9:27:16 pm UTC

Felicia (Missouri) Age: 36 - Email

I think that one of the reasons why people in the community have problems confronting "problem children" is because of political correctness. I have personally had to experience this problem. I am active in a group, and we have had problems with a couple of members. When we tried to deal with an issue, other members verbally attacked us, stating that we had no right to "speak ill" of the person--despite the fact that everyone agreed that there was a problem. Evidently, wanting to confront the person, and deal with the issue (so as to avoid more problems in the future) is no longer considered appropriate because it offends the person who caused the problem.

Oh, we were also informed that confrontation would be focusing on negativity. The appropriate action would be to just let things slide and focus on the good.

It seems that these do gooders do not realize that they are making the problem worse. "Problem children" often repeat their actions because it is a tactic that works. As a community, if we use peer pressure to keep people from offending those who have done wrong, and so on, we only make it easier for "problem children" to take advantage of people.

Let The Healing Begin Jun 12th. at 8:17:46 pm UTC

Joy (OK) Age: 30 - Email - Web

I am so glad to see so many people discussing this issue with such passion. This is the best way to handle this kind of thing: bring it out into the open and remove the negative feelings about discussing it and then, don't be afraid to act, whether that action is on your own behalf or someone else's. We are living free by living openly. I truly believe that reading this message board is proving to be a great learning experience for so many people and that those who never really have given any thought to these kinds of issues are learning something new. That is a blessing from the Lady herself. Everyone Be Blessed!

Rerporting Rape Jun 12th. at 5:31:14 pm UTC

Lupa (Pgh) Age: 24 - Email - Web

"Sexual predator? Usually that is a description of the man she couldn't' get to bed fast enough last week, or the man who's taking someone else to bed and not her."

I missed this quote the first time around, but caught it when I went back to re-read some of the posts.

It is this EXACT same attitude that is the reason that most survivors of sexual assault, minors and adults, refuse to report the crime--the assumption that we're just trying to get back at whoever the guy was for some sexual affront. I was assaulted when I was 17--when I went to the police, I felt like *I* was the one who'd done something wrong--they hooked me up to a polygraph machine and asked me about my entire sexual history, then assumed that because the criminal was someone I'd dated over the previous summer that there was no way it could have NOT been consensual. It turned out later, through the grapevine, that I wasn't the only ex of his he'd done this to--but since no one pressed charges he got away with it.

Even as vehement a feminist as I am (and, BTW, feminist does NOT necessarily denote man-hater) if I were to be attacked again, I would be VERY hard-pressed to report it to the authorities--I'd do it in the end, but it would probably be even more difficult than going through the assault itself. I've compromised for this by enrolling in a rather vicious self-defense course, but many women feel the same way--it's not worth being held on trial yourself when you're the one the crime was perpetrated against.

Yes, there ARE cases where a woman cries rape and it's not. However, we have to remember that rape isn't just a guy beating the bejeezus out of a woman and then forcing penetration. A woman can be raped without being hit, or shoved, or held down--emotional and mental abuse are deadly weapons in and of themselves. A woman can be raped by her boyfriend, her husband, her friend. A woman who works as a prostitute or an exotic dancer or even just prefers dressing in little clothing can be raped. Talking to your average police officer, though, reveals that the general law enforcement attitude says otherwise--basically, if she can still walk and the perp was someone she even remotely knew, it was HER fault.

"Problem Children" Need Justice Jun 12th. at 3:19:55 pm UTC

Head Hunter (San Diego, ca.) Age: 20 - Email - Web

I am a trained hunter. I took up training at the age of 6 and continued until age 14. The training includes various training in various weapons, combat styles, battlecasting (not just anyone can cast a spell while under attack by the manifestation of an evil spirit) , and healing. I was part of a coven ( quit when I realized they were just doing it for fun) as an herbologist/healer during part of my training. now, with 10 years active hunting, 6 years with the title Rogue (an honor to the true hunter. this means you are trusted enough to not have the rules that hunters have, you can directly communicate with the hunters council Father chapter, but are not expected to do what they say. It also allows me to tell practitioners of the arts about us.)
Our job is to hunt threats to practitioners around the clock. whether this means physically, or mentally. I traveled to where I was needed before, but now am stuck in charge of a region now because all the elders ditched, and I am the senior hunter in the area now...been the Head hunter for a good 2 days now...
Anyways, we also hunt down people who bring disgrace to the name of the arts, and bring them to the justice of local government (if the broke the law) , or we warn them, they get two warnings, after that, we make sure they do not bring our good name down. to contact me with any leads in the San Diego area, e-mail me at
please include name, and place to contact you. I specialize in the bringing down of dark practitioners, and fakes.

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