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As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?
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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
You Do Not Represent Me
Article ID: 14804
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,590
Times Read: 3,315
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Author: Crick [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: February 19th. 2012
Times Viewed: 3,315
You know folks, I am getting pretty fed up with individuals and groups claiming to represent all of paganism. To begin with what is it that such entities are supposed to represent? The current reality of the pagan community is a massive chat group spread across the Internet. An electronic format where anyone can jump on and make whatever claims they desire in regards to their alleged pagan heritage. It is a format where folks can claim to be this or that, you know, the High Lord of the coven of Bologna. The only requirement is that they read two Cunningham books. It is a format where folks will sprout words like “Love and Light”, words that resonate the slogans of the old hippie days from the 60’s.
But as soon as someone disagrees with one of these folks, oh my, one has never encountered such diatribes as that which comes out of the mouths of these folks.
Is this the pagan community that such folks proclaim to represent?
The majority of individuals and/or groups that claim to represent the pagan community come from a Wiccan background. That is understandable. There were some well-documented “Witch Wars” that exploded between Gardner and European witches such as John Cochrane. The issue that set these battles off were that Gardner wanted publicity and the majority of the pagan community at that time, did not desire such publicity. This penchant of desiring publicity has become a tenet of Wicca and is practiced to this very day. It is what it is.
But getting back on topic, such folks do not represent the pagan community. That is an ego biscuit that is holding back any true and valid development of a genuine pagan community. For example, I have been involved in my understanding of witchcraft since 1960. Over the years we have expanded into a clan that consists of covens in several states. And yet if one asks one of these self-proclaimed representatives of paganism, what is it that we believe in and how do we practice... they could not provide an answer. How do you proclaim to represent that which you have no clue of?
The point is that such claims of representation are nothing more than an extension of the mythos that was created with the advent of the Internet. In other words, a misrepresentation of the realities of what the current pagan community is.
At one point in history-- and for a very extended period of time -- paganism consisted of folks who actually sought enlightenment, though this was done within the mists. Folks would gather in small covens, or in some instances, depending on the path chosen, they gathered in elite groups of folks of like mind, who represented no one but themselves. The Golden Dawn is a good example of such a group. They did not claim to be witches but rather Ceremonial magicians. In short, folks did not pretend to be something simply because it sounded cool. But then they did not have to contend with the electronic media that modern pagans seem to savor so much.
Instead, the folks that belonged to these covens and/or such groups as the Golden Dawn concentrated on developing their latent abilities and honing their thirst for the answers to the mysteries of life and in extension the mystical arts… unlike today, where those of European descent and primarily former Christians, sit on the Internet and expend more energy coming up with cool sounding names and enumerating their alleged ranks and abilities, then they do in actual seeking. Why pretend to represent an entire spectrum of paganism when one has but a superficial understanding of one’s own path? And why extend the Christian concept of being the “only true religion” by assuming that all pagans follow a religion? Which is another misnomer of those who claim to represent all pagans. How can those who follow a religion such as Wicca, even remotely represent those who have shed the yoke of dogma and who instead follow a spiritual path. And one is not the same as the other.
In such pagan religions such as Wicca, one has a set of tenets (dogma) that defines the belief system. And it is all good. But those of us who follow Traditional witchcraft have no such set of tenets. We seek out that which works for the individual and thus dogma, which is intended for the masses, would have little chance of working in such a mindset. And again, it is all good. No one path is better than the next. It is what works for the individual that determines the best path for that person.
And so what do we do to move beyond the roadblock that the Internet has created for the desire to develop a valid pagan community?
Well, one suggestion would be for such misleading claims of representation to cease and desist. In all reality, you represent no one but yourself and your particular groups. You don’t represent the Voudon or the Santeria, or Traditional witches or Druids or what have you. And if you are truly interested in contributing to developing a valid pagan community, gain control of your massive egos and concentrate on genuine communication between the various groups that actually represent paganism.
For those of you who are Internet pagans, I would suggest that you stop trying to impress faceless folks on the Internet with your self proclaimed prowess in the mystical arts and actually turn your attention to honing such latent abilities.
Prior to Neo Paganism, the mystical arts consisted of an enlightened community of divergent groups and individuals. Can you say that we are still that enlightened community today?
Before you answer, look at the Internet and take note of all of the daily squabbles that take place over non-issues. Look at all of the pathetic grudges that have originated on the Internet due to something as minor as someone disagreeing with someone. Really? Really?
And look at how some of these petty grudges have been held for long periods of time by some folks. Talk about ego biscuits generated via the Internet. And so here is a challenge for everyone reading this: Get out and meet other folks who follow a pagan path in person at least once a month. And don’t just meet the same folks each month, but mix it up. Reach out to Wiccans, Voudon, Native Americans, Druids, Traditional Witches, Heathens and so forth. And keep in mind that you represent no one but yourself and your particular group. Keep an open mind and seek out genuine understanding of what other folks believe in.
Let’s move beyond the Internet mythos that so misconstrues the reality. Are you up to the challenge or is it easier for you to continue to engage in Internet fantasy?
Location: Manheim, Pennsylvania
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