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They Don't Make Pagan Leaders Like They Used To

Author: Heather Belt
Posted: September 14th. 2008
Times Viewed: 6,941

You know what really scares me? Not the right-winged uber conservative Christians followers. Not the late night television evangelist, crunching biblical numbers, and bellowing all fire and brimstone that “You are all going to HELL!” Not the intolerant attitudes I face everyday when I arrive at work and the proverbial “Jesus loves you” nonsense stated in every matter of dire need…No friends, none of this scares me as much as the matter I’m about to place before you.

What scares me the most? My fellow pagans scare me.

The death and aging of every elder pagan who paved the way for us to be at the point we are now scare me. Is religious freedom perfect? Hell no. Are we perfect? Certainly not. What bothers me is there are no more Scott Cunninghams or there will be no more Raymond Bucklands. There are no more Aleister Crowleys or Doreen Valientes.

We are too damn busy fighting each other on myspace and blogging over which person stole our “Esbat graphic” to even notice that what we should be doing is taking care of each other, not fighting over such petty differences.

A news story surfaced about some scientists in Switzerland splicing atoms underground at the speed of light. By the time you read this we will probably all still be here, but what scared me about it most was the fact that the human animal in an attempt to tame nature, is now taking it to a dangerous level. Man has always attempted to know the unknown in order to control a tiny portion of a life that at times can feel as if it doesn’t belong to us.

We are not Gods and Goddess. If ignorance is bliss friends, then I want to be the most idiotic person on the planet when it comes to knowing that if one fraction of a decimal was off, we’d all be sucked into an abyss of black matter…but I digress… I posted said story on my myspace blog…partly because I’m a nerd, but also to see how others viewed the news.

My blog was in no way persuasive by nature and was meant for informational purposes only. There was another myspace community member who disagreed with my blogs contents and was intent on telling everyone how stupid we all were. This person was within every right to express an opposite opinion. What this person had NO right to do was respond the way they did. This person called everyone who disagreed with them idiots. This person alluded that everyone should know how physics worked and anyone who didn’t needed to go back to school because we were all “wasting our minds”.

I politely responded how that was unfair. I went on to state that just because people aren’t educated in a certain area of life does by no means makes them idiots. If I asked this person about what Section 67 of South Carolina Workers’ Compensation law had to say and she couldn’t answer, does that make this person an idiot? Of coarse not! To which I was answered by this person that everyone who was idiots could get the f- off of their page.

My only response: Gladly. I later found out that this person is a HP and an author of a few pagan books. This person boosts himself or herself to be a reiki master, expert tarot reader and self-proclaimed spiritual leader. What is wrong with this picture?

Maybe it's just me, but they don't make pagan leaders like they used to. Have we all become so absorbed with ourselves, our religious paths and the affection of others that we’ve forgotten the core basics that make us all human? I remember opening my first metaphysical book and the rush I felt of knowledge and excitement about the journey I was about to partake. I remember the lessons I learned about tolerance, respect and serenity.

Then I thought…ok, maybe it's just myspace. Would Scott Cunningham have turned out to be a complete phony and arrogant a** is given a technological voice?

It's so disheartening to think that the new leaders in our tiny community don't appreciate us and aren't capable of diplomatically stating their opinions when faced with adversity. I’m just a huge advocate for religious freedom but when approached in the street I don’t flash a huge pentacle and cram it down someone throat as I once read on a new age authors blog the other day.

I’m sorry, but when you place yourself on a public medium, such as myspace, you unleash a floodgate that is just as potent as a spell…and maybe the craft has no place online. It has become no more than a popularity contest, and frankly I'm going a-wall from the team. There is no more passion, eagerness to teach, togetherness and unity in the community's more like "I'm a witch, not a Wiccan" and if you want my help please send $19.95 for the first ten minutes....blah, blah, blah.

Now I am very aware, we all have to work hard for the money, but think about this. You go to a spiritual leader asking for guidance. No matter the religion. Imagine being one of many churchgoers leaving Sunday Mass and you ask Father O’ Malley for advice on a problem you’ve been having? He listens intently, answers and then pulls out a credit card machine and asks you “debit or credit?” How unimportant and obsolete would that make one feel?

Maybe that’s religious doctrine Pagans should take away from Christians…willing spiritual guidance from those who claim and make themselves leaders. Remember the stories about Marie Laveau and how she would make frequent visits to the prisoners in jail taking solace and a warm meal.

And it's not only happening on a literally or internet level, it's happening more and more in our local new age stores, and "study groups". I was invited by a local new age storeowner to attend a circle meeting she holds at her home the last Sunday of every month. No it is not a coven, but an opportunity for like minds to come together and discuss the craft. The storeowner decided that we were going to cast circle that night to see how we all would mesh.

Everything went pretty much routine until we were attempting to raise energy and libation to the Goddess Kali. I stood there in the circle, serious, with my eyes closed attempting to focus and I started hearing giggling. With a look of broken concentration and complete shock I opened my eyes, look over and there were girls talking, chatting, and some were even making fun of the other women in the circle. I swear to you, it was enough to throw someone right off of their religion. Is there nothing sacred anymore?

Maybe it’s supercritical but I have to ask “Why are you here if this isn’t an important matter to you?”

Now I’m not saying all my pagan experiences with others have been bad and there are a few good leaders and authors left. Most of them are totally anti-social and it begs the question, why? Take pagan author D.J. Conway for example. She has no affiliation a coven (as her website says) and for the most part prefers to be a solitary practitioner who “leads a rather quite life”. What about Ms. Elizabeth Pepper? Same story with her as you can read in The Witches Almanac. They may be or have been anti-social but I bet you their books and words will stand the test of time. Their stories will not fade and future pagans will one day look to them, just as we looked to Scott Cunningham for guidance through our journeys.

Very un-like the pagan fluff that is turned out today and massed produced for the in-experienced “Wiccan” neophyte to exploit. Give a man a little knowledge, right? I mean, maybe our pagan forefathers and mothers had it right...Maybe hiding out in a remote island and building a grass-roots religion like Mr. Gardner did is what we should be doing? Maybe magic is better kept in the shadows and not on the cyber pages of myspace.

It would seem that our so-called pagan leaders today are more concerned about blogging about their next big event, copyrighting witchy graphics and racking up friends than finding enlightenment and being there for their followers. Has paganism evolved or am I just a left behind “old school pagan” shaking my judgmental stick screaming, “Damn you pagan whippersnappers”! I’m sure some may think so after this article, but this is one pagan who has had enough.

Disagreeing with what I am saying here is ok. I don’t think my opinion to be the correct one, but take a moment, go to your local new age store or new age section of your local bookstore…Open two or three of the best pagan sellers, scan them over and think about it.

Think about how it’s all becoming the same, how we are all stuck in the proverbial mud of the same ole and please friends, compare it to what Mr. Crowley or Alex Sanders were doing in their hay days. Our forefathers and mothers may have been controversial and we may not agree with everything they had to say, but darn it they explored and endured. And if it weren’t for them we wouldn’t be even half way out of our “broom closets” as we are today.

Then… think about the ways we choose to re-pay the debts we owe them. Then decide how you feel about this article.

Copyright: This article is the sole property and work of Heather S. Douglas


Heather Belt

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Author's Profile: To learn more about Heather Belt - Click HERE

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