The Spiritual Mother

Celebrating Motherhood as a Spiritual Guide and Path.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

On Pagans and Criticism: An Editorial.

For the past week I have been following several pagan boards, blogs and discussion groups.  Each of these groups has had their own drama to contend with.  The pagan mommy blogs have all been watching the unfolding of an issue with a ratings contest at Circle of Moms.  The boards have all been lit up with posts regarding others being mean to them, stating how they do not like criticism.  And finally, the discussion groups have all been in an uproar about more experienced and practiced pagans fighting with seekers and newbies.

First, before I go any further, I must explain that I try to avoid disagreements if at all possible.  This said, I also believe in speaking my mind, especially when someone questions the integrity of my path or those of my loved ones, or says something that is a flat out lie.  I do not believe in trying to change a persons path at all, but I do believe in helping people with offering what I can in the way of information and guidance.  I only offer it if it is asked of me or actively sought.  If I offer this help I expect to be respected for my knowledge, experience and opinion.  I also expect people not to assume that I will follow their personal dogma or adapt it to my practice in any form.  But ultimately I believe that the pagan community has many lessons to learn from each other as a community, and should value the lessons that everyone has to offer.

But not everyone is open to this.  An example, from one of the boards I travel this week, one woman posted a reply to a topic where she stated she didn't want to have anything to do with pagans who didn't follow the Rede.  I severely hope that I took this the wrong way, I'm really trying to give the benefit of the doubt.  However, how in the heck do you expect to come into a community looking to outreach to pagans if you can't even have an open enough mind to communicate with over half of them?  You can't be all "love and light" by avoiding so much, it defeats the purpose.  And I would love to help her and show her something new.  I would say to her that "not everyone believes in the Rede, including some Wiccans and this (insert long list) is why".  I would not expect her to understand them all but I would expect her to listen nicely and consider what i am saying.

Now on the discussion groups on Facebook, I am seeing pagans attempting to help people and state their firm yet researched opinions, and newbies flying at the elders and more learned pagans.  They call them names, attack them personally, attack their ideas and then cry out that they are being attacked when the person, trying to help them, defends themselves.  And this doesn't even matter that people are able to state multiple sources, the less experienced people still cry out "persecution".  In one instance, a pagan asked for someone to state their sources or tradition they practiced to further their own knowledge.  The other pagan flew at them, ignoring the request for a source, called them names, sent her husband to the discussion to call the person who questioned an idiot.  Seriously???!!!

I just don't get why pagans act like this.  When I was a newbie, this path was always referred to as "the path of the wise", and somewhere that has gone to the birds.  What ever happened to valuing elders and knowledge?  The part that bugs me about all of this is that you go on these same communities and find people begging for spells and saying they want to find a mentor.  It is disheartening, as a pagan who has studied for 15+ years, and as a person who is always seeking to further her path.

I did however get to see pagans coming together this week, a little glimmer of hope.  On the blogosphere, a contest is underway on Circle of Moms, that is seeking to find the top 25 faith based mommy bloggers.  A Christian mother attacked the pagan mothers and said that their faiths were not valid and should not be considered for the contest.  This lead to many pagan mommy bloggers teaming together to promote their blogs as a group to show that we are a strong community.  I am so proud to be a part of this movement, and hope to see many more actions like this.  The best part of this event was that it didn't matter if we agreed with each other or not, we were all attacked and stood together and I hope that one day we see more of this in the community.  And I know that this is asking allot because we are such a diverse group of people with so many different beliefs and histories, but I know that as a whole, pagans can get along.  Here's to wisdom!

15 comments:

Blackbird said...

I just voted for all the pagan mom blogs. Where is the discussion area where the Christian mom said they shouldn't be included?

Jasmine said...

BB- the original post was in blog form and the Christian mom deleted it after the uproar. You can however find a post about it here: http://thepaganmomblog.com/2011/05/27/lessons-to-be-learned/

Blackbird said...

I was still able to get there through the link on the blog you posted. :)

Jasmine said...

They must have put it back up then because it was taken down earlier this week.

Riceball Mommy said...

I found your blog via the Circle of Moms contest. I really love this post. I once was told I'm not a real Pagan because I celebrate secular holidays. Of course I only mentioned what I celebrate as a way to answer a direct question about the celebration of holidays. The simple question, turned into several entries where this person then went on to say that pretty much if you disagreed with them than it was a fact that you are not a real pagan. It was annoying and I still don't read their blog now, because it still does bother me a bit.
Anyway sorry for the super long comment. I just wanted to say I get where you are coming from, and great post :)

Jasmine said...

Riceball- First off, Welcome! and I can't believe they would say that to you. Our family celebrates secular holidays as well..during the holidays we actually celebrate Yule, Christmas and Hanukkah. But that will never make me Christian or Jewish. The fact is most pagans grew up with secular holidays as a tradition and to me family traditions are just as important as religious practice is. This is especially true of what we offer our children. I feel my son deserves to experience the same things I did.

InfertilePagan said...

As a new Pagan, the fact that not everyone believes and practices the same thing is what drew me in. I enjoy learning and hearing what everyone else believes. Then, I either look into it as something I might like to add to my own life, or accept that that particular thing isn't for me, but understand that the other person has thought long and hard and done a lot of work to get where they are. And they have the right to honor their deities as I have the right to.

Terri said...

BB Jasmine :)
I came to be a Pagan much like you and was raised Roman Catholic in am Irish/Italian family...Dbl whammy...lol I just wanted to let you know I enjoyed your posts.

MM~MP Terri

Susan said...

I've spent many years in the local pagan community and boy have I seen my fair share of drama, I've unfortunately gotten dragged kicking and screaming into it a few times. I've just started getting into the internet pagan community and though I haven't seen this yet myself I'll say I'm not in the least bit surprised.
I don't even think this is necessarily a pagan thing about how those people are talking about because I've seen it in other groups. I think it's an internet thing where the mask of anonymity allows people to act like jerks.

Jasmine said...

I have been in the net pagan community since 1997 and I can say that it definitely waxes and wanes. I agree it happens in different communities and is not just a pagan concept. However, I do feel that as being individuals trying to all seek our only personal enlightenments, we should be above it.

Michele said...

Love your blog, found it today when I finally was able to go to Circle of Moms and vote again. I look forward to keeping up with your blog!

One really great thing about that Circle of Moms drama, I discovered me some fabulous blogs I didn't know existed!

Jasmine said...

Thank you Michele.. and yes I agree I have found some really great ones too! And bonus, I have gotten to meet a few new ladies here that I am sure will enjoy some of my future blogs.

Donna B. said...

I just want to say that I found your blog through the circle of moms contest (and the related drama), and I hope you make it into the top 25. Newbie flares are not unique to the pagan online community, I've seen it happen in other online communities too. That special combination of people who know just enough about something to fool themselves into believing they know everything about it, and a forum that allows for communication at a distance so people feel comfortable saying things they would never say face to face (especially when they're new to a group). Thankfully most people either move on or mature...eventually.

Avrilana said...

Love the blog, and I found you through the Top 25 contest as well. :) Respect and admiration, April.

Angelina said...

there's my favorite mama! I missed you and I will be catching up on the motherygoodness