Articles/Essays From Pagans
February 1st. 2019 ...
Paganism and Witchcraft in the Media
September 25th. 2018 ...
Understanding the Unseen
August 25th. 2018 ...
A Little Magickal History
Men and the Goddess
Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces
Kitchen Magic and Memories
Why the Faeries?
Magic in Daily Life
An Open Fire: Healing from Within
Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light
On Preconceived Pagan/Wiccan Political Affiliations
Gudrun of the Victory Gods
Ares and Athena
La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength
The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives
The Lady on the Stairs
July 26th. 2018 ...
The Importance of Unification: Bringing Together Community Members to Invoke Cohesivity
May 29th. 2018 ...
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
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Nazis Made Us Change Our Name
January 25th. 2018 ...
Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion
November 15th. 2017 ...
September 30th. 2017 ...
July 31st. 2017 ...
Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers
July 2nd. 2017 ...
On Cursing: Politics and Ethos
June 1st. 2017 ...
The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions
April 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles
March 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
September 11th. 2016 ...
The Shadow of Disgust
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
The Fear of Witchcraft
Magic in Sentences
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
December 20th. 2015 ...
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
May 6th. 2015 ...
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
January 1st. 2015 ...
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
August 24th. 2014 ...
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Protecting Our Own
Article ID: 13112
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,643
Times Read: 2,833
RSS Views: 16,039
Author: Christina K.
Posted: July 5th. 2009
Times Viewed: 2,833
Although I feel it an important aspect of my Faith that there isn’t a “Head Honcho” or “Council” or something or someone else to dictate how we practice and what we believe, or to “speak” for us or try to represent us in a way we would not want, it certainly has its setbacks. The scariest setback to me is that there are few affective ways to protect ourselves, the Pagan community at large, the general population, and especially new practitioners and seekers from harmful individuals.
I think that we do our best. We try to educate people on the “warning signs” of a potentially harmful individual, educate people what our faith is all about so they will know when something may be wrong within a group or Coven, and so on and so forth. However, these people who would harm others still exist, and despite our best efforts, there are individuals who will be victimized by them.
These harmful individuals also affect us indirectly as a community at large… happy, healthy, and normal, law abiding Pagans… the vast majority of us… seldom make the news. And in a religion such as ours, that is often misunderstood and not always tolerated, the exploits of these individuals can put another smear on our name and scar our reputation forever.
These people often cite “Religious Persecution” when they are found out, which can have severe consequences as far as not being taken seriously when true discrimination happens, and give the false impression to the general public that this harmful behavior is acceptable in our faith. Should we remain silent when these things arise, others can perceive it as passive acceptance.
It is easy to sit back and say “such is life”, “It happens”, “there is nothing we can do about it”, “it’s none of our business”, “I don’t want to get in the middle of it”, etc. But that is a dangerous attitude to have.
When someone would use our Faith to hurt, manipulate, harass, and control others, and to use the name of our Religion to be hurtful and harmful… it is our business. We all may have our many diverse beliefs and ways of doing things, but most of us do hold to one common belief… to harm none. These people are doing grave harm to others and to our religion. And then there is the harm that we create, as sometimes, doing nothing is the thing that causes the most harm.
My passion on this topic has grown over the past year or so, and has recently been sparked again to an even higher level. And although previously the fear for my personal safety has kept me from speaking to such a wide audience such as this, I feel now that there is no other way to get my point across and maybe stop the madness.
When I first met this group of people, I did not know of their history or background, but I saw more than one warning sign. The type you see on any Pagan website that gives advice on teachers to avoid, who to be aware of, and signs of a Cult Leader:
They didn’t seem to get along with anyone within the community.
The group seemed like it was trying to discredit everyone, including quite notable Elders of The Craft.
It seemed the members the group picked for their Coven all ‘have issues’ and that they used these 'issues' to manipulate and inflame members in order to gain their loyalty.
The leaders seemed to constantly need to “remind” people of their credentials. They constantly had to precede everything with “I am a Third Degree”, “I am a High Priest/ess.
Then, there was the name-dropping. They seemed to have over 10 or 15 “friends” of notability. They went on with detailed stories about their relationship. They had pictures of them on their refrigerator. Upon research, most of these ‘relationships’ were found to be questionable.
It seemed as if they were always trying to have “standing”. It seemed as if they did whatever they could to put themselves “out there” so to speak. They surrounded themselves with people who seemed to not know any better in order to be put on a pedestal.
They had a great disdain for other religions. I know that a lot of people have problems with some other faiths -- especially if they were once hurt by them -- but it seemed their rants were constant. It was beyond the normal snide remarks. It was as if they were trying to get people to believe that these other faiths were actively against us. And it got worse.
Much, much worse.
So much so that I e-mailed people with strong ties to the Pagan community and who are active Priestesses, and got no response. I contacted both the FBI and Homeland security, with no response. I tried to start communication with their group members I had met so I could discuss my concerns… no response. I tried to do the right thing, but made no progress whatsoever.
But regardless of what I try to do, I am only one person, and this problem is only my personal example of a destructive pattern that affects all of us. What both angers me and scares me the most is that even as these things are brought to light, this group still teaches classes, gives talks to the public and is planning groups and events. All in the name of our faith.
How can this happen, I ask myself? How can this group -- with so many allegations against them from so many people, from all different backgrounds and contexts, and who didn’t at times even know each other -- still use the name of our Religion this way?
I am reminded of conversations I have had with my fellow Pagans about the scandal in the Catholic Church. Some priests were able to molest children with ‘official’ knowledge but without any consequence. There is much anger in these conversations. We are disgusted by what happened to these innocents, and the failure of the Church in doing nothing about it, and hushing it up.
But I have to ask… if we allow this equally abusive type of behavior in our own community… are we any better? Are we not hypocrites? How can we live with ourselves?
When do we stop acting like this isn’t our business, not our responsibility? When do we decide when enough is enough? When do stop looking the other way? When do we stop getting angry, only to do nothing about it?
And when do we decide that the pattern of behavior and allegations are enough to pass by the “he said/she said/they said” and such excuses that keep us from doing anything about it? When do we decide enough is enough with a person… when someone is killed? Murdered? Disfigured?
In my opinion, as a community, if we want to enjoy the freedom of practicing our Religion, we most also accept and uphold the responsibilities that go with it. I believe that we most protect ourselves, and the public at large, from these harmful individuals. I think we must stop looking the other way and assert ourselves. And most importantly, I think we need to do it together.
We need to put personal and faith based differences aside, and take a stand. We need to work together, as a community. When two or more are gathered… there will be politics, the saying goes. But these are much more important issues to spend our time discussing than the usual petty arguments and differences of opinions.
There is strength in numbers… and it is only by the mass numbers of the majority of us who are good and kind and ethical, that we can stop this.
We need to stick together in order to keep our Religion, our Faith, our Places of Worship and our new students and seekers, safe from harm. We need to take a public stand and show the world that this behavior is in no way acceptable… not in our Religion, not by our Gods. We need to fight the good fight.
We need to protect our own from those who would try to hurt us from within.
Location: Milford, Connecticut
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