Articles/Essays From Pagans
May 19th. 2013 ...
The Role of Identity in Magic
Talking Trash? It's a Dirty Subject but Waste Happens.
My Wiccan Journey
13 Keys: The Victory of Netzach
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
The Third Path
Nothing Special... Part Two
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
A Witch in the Closet
How Many People Can You Fit Under An Umbrella?
Gut Hunches, Mouse Dreams, and Pinkie Sense
December 30th. 2012 ...
Ritual "Cheat Sheet" Bracelet
Magick is All Around Us
Confessions of a Living Satyr
A Tiny Bit of Belly Dance History
December 23rd. 2012 ...
The Warrior Goddess and You.
World Change: A Message from Greece
What's the Meaning of Life, Anyway?
My Brother's Keeper
December 16th. 2012 ...
Keeping Christ in Xmas
Love is the Law
Listen to Your Heart's Wisdom
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Realizing the Pagan Evolution
Article ID: 8747
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,148
Times Read: 6,456
Author: Little Crow
Posted: October 10th. 2004
Times Viewed: 6,456
."..[M]any of us "oldies" becom[e] quite dismissive of the younger, which is a shame as this new generation has much to contribute and should not be dismissed as "fluffy bunnies" - a term we detest by the way! This generation is one of the first which is truly Pagan; many have been brought up within Pagan families or in multi-denominational communities and do not carry the same monotheistic baggage that many of us have had to learn to cast off. We think this will result in one of the biggest challenges for neo- Paganism and particularly Wicca, as the older generation strive to maintain the integrity of the philosophy and beliefs that have developed over the years, while the new generation attempt to incorporate new ideas which may be at odds with the old established doctrines."
-- From The Witches' Voice interview with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone by Caroline Kenner
When I read this paragraph from the TWV interview with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone, I was truly heartened. As a 28-year-old Pagan, I still come across, from Elders, the attitude of: "Well, you weren't there when being a Witch was so secretive and there were no books out! You have it so much easier than we did, so you don't know what it means to really be a Witch!" Or, "You aren't a real Witch because you haven't been initiated in X Tradition (or Path, or Family, etc.)!" It disturbs me to still find this attitude in paths that profess to be progressive and moving with the Earth. It is a dark topic that not a lot of older Pagans seem willing to talk about, especially those in a specific tradition. What we need to look at now is why there is a turn towards a more black and white view of Paganism among some Elders and why there is an aversion towards allowing the Older Paths to evolve and accept fresh ideas from the next generation.
In some ways, I suppose this is a sign that Paganism has truly become more mainstream. All major religions have those who know that their way is the correct way. The attitude of "We are right and you are wrong" has created so much havoc in the world, that as much as it can be a barometer of becoming more mainstream, it seems counter to the ideals that the average Pagan holds dear.
This can also cause many problems for the new Pagan who is truly searching for teachers. One is that the young Pagan can find an Elder who has this attitude and be so turned off, that she is disheartened and stops her Spiritual quest. And second, in the most extreme (and a trap that I unfortunately fell into), a new Pagan can be taken in by an Elder who is only interested in his or her own prestige and end up feeling used and scarred from the experience. In some cases, it may even be abusive. This can result in a new Pagan turning away from Paganism altogether or being wary even of true Elders who genuinely want to give of their knowledge.
I know that a majority of Elders in this community are there to genuinely help new Pagans find their way, but as we move forward in strength and power as a community, this is a topic that must be talked about and discussed. In some ways, the more we try to convince the general public that Pagan groups are not cults and not abusive, the more we avoid the subject all together. As I've said to people in several different communities: How can we be taken seriously as a community if we are turning against our own? How can telling a new Pagan that his or her spiritual experience is not as legitimate as the Elder's experience be a good thing?
From my experience, it has always been expected that we respect our Elders in the Craft. And I fully agree with this. But I also ask Elders to respect those who are new to (or young members of) the Pagan Community. We may not have been through the time where Paganism had to be kept secretive, but we have had our own experiences with discrimination, bigotry, and hostility. We are the future of Paganism, and are trying to move it forward. We also have new ideas. Maybe it's a new way to meditate, or a different take on a part of the ritual. Maybe it's a view of the Goddess that could be considered entirely unorthodox, or maybe it's just interpreting someone's writings differently. Maybe it's the integration of a totally different pantheon with the one that's already being used. The thinking is truly evolutionary and global since we have access to so many new ideas and beliefs.
Without influx of new ideas and experiences, the Pagan movement would grow stagnant and die. As Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone said, Elders need not dismiss the ideas of the next generation. We have so many examples of how religions can stagnate and turn away practitioners that we should be learning from them and making sure we don't fall prey to their mistakes.
I have had the unfortunate experience of falling prey (for a long time) to an "Elder" who has done what I have just described: belittling my own personal spiritual experiences, not listening to new ideas, and telling me that the tradition I was learning was the only real way to be a Witch. Granted, what happened to me was an extreme, but I have heard and read about other Elders who think the same way. For a time, after I left, I was disillusioned about the Goddess and in doubt of my own spirituality. I have been lucky and blessed that I've had a lot of good Elders cross my path since then, but I wonder what would have happened if I wasn't so lucky. I might have turned away from Goddess all together, and I think that realization is a sad one.
Pagans are people who celebrate the Earth and Her changes. She is changing all the time, and as a community, we have to shift and grow with that change. It is the only constant we are given.
Location: Cupertino, California
Author's Profile: To learn more about Little Crow - Click HERE
Bio: Athena is a Witch currently living on the East Coast, but will soon be moving to the West Coast. She is now a solitary, and looking into a more shamanistic approach to her magick. She is also an AIDS activist, political activist, writer, and the mother of two cats. And when she's not doing that, she works as a scientist.
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