Wednesday, June 1, 2011
On Pagans and Criticism: An Editorial.
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!