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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: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 103,651  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 2,666

Lurk/Post Ratio: 12 to 1

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 


Problem Children Are Just Children Jan 29th. at 7:53:10 pm EST

Tina Keaney (Brockton) Age: 30 - Email


It's hard in these days. People judge us .Much less having a problem children. What we don't see is everyone has one or other problem. So you need to help them out with the problem the best you can.You see children are just young people who are just learning. Problem children are asking for answers and asking for proper dicipline . They need to know the consequences for there actions. For every action there is a equal and opposite reaction.What will happen with there actions.We are adults and have wisdom of being a child. Just stop and look backon how you thought when you where a kid , but also remember your a defferent person.Try to perceive things the way they perceive things.Remember you are still learning also.One song for parents that is good is teach your children will, and teach your parents will. If you have heard this song you will understand what I'm talking about. To me problem children come in any religion. It 's just how you handle the problem

HPS
Danu


"Problem Child" Mar 31st. at 1:41:30 pm EST

Ani (WV) Age: 26 - Email


This is a somewhat emotional topic for me. When what has been tidily termed my 'awakening' began (without my consent) a few years ago, I was immediately labeled a 'problem child' because I have a point of view that makes many people uncomfortable: namely, that Evil both exists and has power to influence our lives. My experience taught me this-- in neon letters three feet tall-- and I still believe it is true.

Of course, people like me aren't the problem children we are talking about. But I would like to make a point about the great deal of distress caused by dismissing people simply because they have a point of view we do not want to hear.

I very nearly forsook my Path altogether because I could not deal with the pain of being told that I was delusional or playing games on top of the fear and pain inflicted by what was happening to me on a spiritual level. Fortunately I found a precious few people who believed me and helped me work with and fight what was going on, and now I am finding my way.

The problem children we are talking about are of several varieties. Some of them are immature people looking for power and attention. I have met a few like this, and I do not know what to do with them except to keep reaching out to them, keep talking to them... because many of them are victims of dysfunctional ideologies and can be helped. They are people who learned about Paganism from the ABC Afterschool Special and see it as an outlet for their internal problems... Our own version of the Screaming Christian Fundamentalist. They are the same people who like to broadcast how 'dark and tormented' they are and see depression as a fashion statement. They need our help and healing; and though they do need to be emphatically and repeatedly told that what they are doing is wrong, they do not need our condemnation.

Some of them are powertrippers, bona-fide cult leaders, people who only want absolute authority, easy money, sex, et cetera. I do not know what to do about these people, as I don't think they can be counseled out of it and the law doesn't allow us to stuff them in a basement somewhere (not that that's terribly ethical anyway, haha) . You certainly cannot appeal to God/dess or ethics, because they actually recognize nothing higher than themselves. The only thing I can think of is that we must not deny that they exist in an effort to 'keep from looking bad.' They are out there, and even if we do not choose to see them the media and the general public certainly will. The only treatment I know is to educate everyone you can about the presence of these people and how to identify them and GET AWAY. I highly recommend the Bonewits Cult Frame, which for those of you who don't already know about it is available at www.neopagan.net . Its an excellent tool for identifying dangerous situations under all labels, Pagan and otherwise.

And some of them are like the people that, sadly, I found first. They may initially fall into the above categories or not, but what they truly are are the servants of Evil in this world. Most of them KNOW it and WANT to do what they are doing. I know a lot of you will not want to believe this, and before you dismiss me as a paranoid ex-Christian still needing my Satan fix, let me tell you that I believe these people are thankfully quite rare.

What to do about them? Well, like the abusive powertrippers, the first step is to acknowledge that they exist so that you do not become or create easy prey for them. Fight them? That gets into 'gray magick' and is very dangerous... I cannot in good faith recommend that course to anyone because is is dangerous for everyone involved. It is easy to term someone evil simply because their point of view disagrees with yours, and then we have things called 'Inquistions, ' 'Crusades, ' and 'Witch Wars.' I wouldn't want to be the voice that started one of any of those things. It is also very possible to overstep your boundaries and thereby become that which you are trying to fight.

My advice on that one is simply this: If you ever have the misfortune to meet one of these people, GET AWAY. Get your physical body away from them and keep it away from them. Tell someone you trust what is going on, and make use of their support. Should any of you ever need it, I am fully willing to be someone you can trust. I can be reached at littleani7@hotmail.com. GET AWAY from them psychically as well... do not allow them to permeate your thoughts, because they will. Use that support person for this... talking it out keeps you from obsessing about it and giving them power over you. Shield like crazy and put the problem to rest in your own mind as quickly as possible. And leave doing something about their existence to Power. Sad as it is, they have their place in the Balance as much as we do.

Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Be careful, be smart, and be blessed.

-- Ani


Problem People Amongst Us Aug 23rd. at 1:50:19 am EDT

Nokomis (alabama) Age: 23 - Email


I can't say what to do about them because I've not had the needed experience. But I can say that we as individuals can show good representations of our faith to the public so that when the time comes that there's a bad story in the news about Pagans there will be some people that will know it to be not indicative of all Pagans. If all would keep that in mind, there'd be no such problems. Maybe I live in a dream world.


Problem Children.. Aug 26th. at 11:55:40 am EDT

Ravenwillow (Lynnwood, WA) Age: 27 - Email


When I first read the title to this, I thought it was quite directly referring to 'problem pagan children' as opposed to the euphamistic 'problem children.'. Perhaps the first should be addressed as well, but this is certainly a good question.
So I will address the question as issued.. Pagan Problem Children. If they are doing something illegal, 'CALL THE POLICE, Press Charges', and if its a sexual predator, anonymously alert the parents, or the individual if you are not comfortable approaching them with your suspicions.
Cult leaders? Stay away from them, advise others to stay away from them as well, and back up your advice with reasons that are based in available evidence.
Those who claim false degrees, have been banished or banned from a particular group, and other such? Really there is nothing we *CAN* do for these people. In the case of lineage, its usually difficult to debunk, in the case of false degrees, we don't register, so its rather difficult to prove or disprove. If its someone local and you actually know the story, first, speak with them to get their side of the story, and then be tell people. Otherwise, they'll reap what they sow, and since we've no legal recourse, that must be what we let happen.
In a community like ours, we really need to openly communicate about predators and nutjobs, and be self policing. I'm a member of the SCA, and while they're a much more closeknit organization then we are, the art of self-policing works amazingly well for them, even when its based on reputation. Perhaps we should follow their lead?
And since I didn't address this above, I'll address it now. Yes.. Using magick to defend yourself, to stop another from hurting others, or, in rare rare instances, purely offensive magick is completely acceptable in my book. (Just remember you're going to reap what you dish out, I prefer the more karmically-friendly version of binding) . I know this will greatly offend some people, and I would be quick to point out I've never come into a situation where that last measure has *EVER* been used by me or anyone I know. I simply don't refute it as a viable option if no other angle seems appropriate.

A comment on 'Evil'.

Yes.. I firmly believe there is evil in the world, in all of them in fact. I am not a 'fluffy' pagan, I believe that just as there are helpful and benign critters between the worlds, so are there not-so-helpful and baneful creatures between the worlds. This is part of the reason we cast a circle that everyone seems to play down, to protect ourselves from whats between. But thats another soapbox, and I'll stay off of that one today.


Who Are You Anyway? Oct 8th. at 7:26:05 pm EDT

Rev. Toby Nixon (Arcata California) Age: 25 - Email - Web


It seems to me that if monoculture is your goal...
Go for it.
Do not say anything to me if you don't agree with me.
For in the end it is not you who gets to judge me.
I mean, I don't like Celtic practices, I don't like Druidic practices, and I sure as hell do not like the Wiccan Practice of authoritarianism.

What is your problem anyway, you can deal with Christians all day, yet when it comes to people who are Pagan and have different views than you, you ask should we press charges, should we kill them, what should we do?

I can tell you what you can do with it.
You can just shove it, and you know exactly where.
Up your ***ing ass, and if you don't like it, well I've already told you where to stick it don't make me tell you again!

I hear it alot, but, you won't get me, I, and my brothers and sisters will ride with the Valkyries to Val Halla!

This is why I founded the Church of Pagan Power.
Cannabis Pagans, Pagan Power Social, Pagans for Gay Marriage, and Toby Nixon Enterprises.

So Shut up and leave me alone, go spy on, authoritize and prostyltize someone else. Link to More info related to this post -- HERE


As It Has Always Been: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Oct 29th. at 12:14:05 pm EDT

Marie-Louise Frier (UK) Age: 21 - Email


This is why I am so firmly in support of keeping Wicca for those who follow Wicca because it leaves the gate wide open for the ignorant to make claims about something which they know little about.
As someone whom worked on a Wicca website and currently owning a Wicca community I know these trouble children well, most are generally considered harmless, however being within Paganism as long as I have I can safely say that these troubled children may seem harmless enough but in the long term it just adds to a much larger problem. To be honest I don’t think there is much that can be done except keep up a strong front against them, never dropping your principles in keeping them right and keeping them out, but even then it’s a hard path to take, often I find myself under a great deal of stress and criticism, often wanting to give up – when they outnumber you it’s hard to keep your principles without turning into some sort of monster.
I’ve seen the evil side too, my own tutor when I was considering going into Wicca, before turning to Neo-Wicca was a sexual predator. I was not harmed however many friends found them to be the victim of his verbal abuse and I saw the evidence from online perversions involving young boys, along with perversion of others faith, he gave us a bad name. This gentleman was a PF member, in fact the local co-ordinator, when reported to the PF someone decided it was not our fight, informed him of the situation and he promptly quit the next day without any action taken against him. Even now when warning others in the area that this man is still very much active in our community I get people arguing otherwise, online users who somehow seem to know me and do their best to discredit my claims.
There is little we can do to deal with our troubled children, keep fighting the good fight, but in the end like the wider society as a whole we are greatly outnumbered, we just have to protect ourselves and others the best we can by networking, moderating of our communities and being sure to know who it is we join.


I Don't Have Time To Read All The Posts... Nov 10th. at 4:27:11 am EST

Nokomis (Alabama) Age: 23 - Email


so I may repeat something already stated. I think the best way of portraying ourselves to the public to disspell the effect of "problem children" on public view is to be model people ourselves. Show them that not all of us are drug-crazed, perverse, child-sacrificing nutz. Prove to them that most of us are law abiding if not convicts on the rehab (like some of us) . Live up to what it is that we want to teach the public.
Yeah, we're gonna have some nutz that'll get all the publicity and put us back a few steps. But, being a rather scattered and diverse group we can hardly band together under a single banner and publish pamphlets to hand out Friday nights on the corner in front of the movie theater as people walk out (*goes back to childhood encounters with Jehovah's Witnesses after seeing horror movies at the local theater*) . Yeah, let us each be a living example of what we want to tell the public.


AIIIEEEEYAHK!!!! Nov 10th. at 4:30:55 am EST

Nokomis (alabama) Age: 23 - Email


I repeated MYSELF!!! geez, I guess I shoulda taken the time to read some of the posts.


Problem Children? Dec 6th. at 3:28:10 am EST

LadyMoonDragon (USA) Age: 24 - Email


I think that we have *problem* adults in our community if anything! Lying about one's supposed lineage to the craft is just stupid because only a small minority of us actually have true lineage to the craft. The rest of you just pretend you have lineage when you don't. As far as trying to have someone teach you, it usually is not a good idea. You have to question their basic knowledge as well as your personal safety with them. You are better off studying by yourself. Personally I don't pay much attention to titles or who has what degree of learning. That is stupid because for one thing whether a person is just a beginner, intermediate, or advanced everybody continues to learn throughout life. In the pagan paths we are already a Priest or Priestess as seen by the God and Goddess.


There Are Bad Apples In Every Community Jan 21st. at 3:59:30 pm EST

Stella Draconis (California) Age: 21 - Email


There are bad apples in every community that makes everyone gnash their teeth, true we aren't all a bunch of drug addicted, perverse loonies, but there are plenty of people in every communtiy that are. I think all we have to do is try to be more aware of them.


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