Seriously, Pagan Community…WTF!?

wtf by jason borreroI am seeing some very disturbing trends in pagan writings, communities and the like that seems to be spreading like an epidemic.  Some of it isn’t new. However, there are some really disturbing trends I want to address.

Lately, there has been loads of butthurt, overly sensitive, politically correct, anti-Christian, anti-intellectual hubbaloo of the most absurd pagan ghetto thinking and laziness that I have ever seen.  Whenever a debate on any subject happens, inevitably, someone decides that disagreeing with their viewpoint, even if there is nothing even remotely resembling an ad hominem attack, it somehow equals “bullying” or “hate speech”.

I have been reassured by others that it isn’t just within pagan communities, but throughout the world in general.

1) Expecting that all knowledge, books, artistic expression since it is on the Internet should be FREE. for the taking.  Whenever an author releases a new book or musical album, there are those that will want to get it for nothing. Getting this knowledge, according to these folks, is a right. Initiations, Degrees, and the milestones that indicate to the Community as a whole that you have achieved a certain level of knowledge and mastery is all just superfluous nonsense.  I blame Raymond Bucklnand’s Complete Book of Witchcraft that was put out over 30 years ago that is lovingly or not so lovingly referred to as Uncle Bucky’s Big Blue Book O’ Wicca. This book claims that after reading it, you will know just as much as  any Third Degree Initiate into Wicca.


Gaining knowledge is not just perusing it in a book or online or in a Facebook group or on Usenet or something you can get like an online gamer racks up points.  Most of this kind of ‘knowledge’ is only gotten through hands on, heart in, mind on and DIRECT experience.  There are no shortcuts. No herbs to smoke, drink or ingest in order to get you there quicker.   It doesn’t come easier if you are living in a legal cannabis state or drop peyote with your friends on a weekend and yowl unintelligibly at the full moon out in the desert on a “vision quest”.  The skies will not open up with extraterrestrials, nor will the Star in the East rise, complete with wise men, foretelling the rest of us of your imminent arrival.  You get to lump your own luggage and do the actual work.  I am truly sorry if that bursts a few bubbles out there.

2) Professing to love Mother Earth so very much and then engaging in very bad, consumerist behaviors.   Seriously.  I am sick to death of hearing and reading everyone recommend “saging” or “smudging” away negative energies.  I used to work for one of the world’s largest natural foods co-operatives that supplies bulk herbs to just about every health food store and natural food store in the US and Canada.  There were years when because of drought and/or wildfires there was just no white sage to be had.   For a period of time, sales of this herb were suspended in the interests of being good stewards and ensuring the survival of the plants in the wild and as cultivars. It got so bad that some Indigenous Nations were begging us to sell to them so that they could do ceremonies with what they needed.  We had a bit on hand that had been set aside, and we were able to help them.  The situation involving sage has corrected itself over time, but the opposite reaction is also going through the Pagan community and we have people claiming the plant is currently endangered. Trust me. It isn’t.

Similar circumstances arose with Frankincense (Bosewelia carteri) because of overharvestation and crops of these precious trees have been damaged in regional conflicts.  The same was true of yellow sandalwood when the government of India, which technically owns all of the sandalwood forests in the country, suspended the sale of everything except sandalwood essential oil. Poaching during that time was rife.  We found similar sandalwood in Australia that helped in other formulas calling for the yellow species and it worked out well.  The ban has since been at least partially lifted, but we still have to be mindful of the resource.  Right now, however, the price of yellow sandalwood, regardless of form, has skyrocketed.

The point of this is that Pagans / Wiccans et al need to stop thinking so much about their own selfish, self-involved bullshit and think about the Earth that they claim to care about. There seems to be a real dichotomy with regard to what is good for the planet with increasing environmental challenges and the people who act out selfishly.   There are substitutions for any herb you care to name.  It’s time to pay attention and walk the talk or get out.

3.  Racism –  I have become aware of more racism within both the Pagan and Kemetic communities. For whatever reason, there are those that insist that it is ok to discriminate against someone on the basis of skin color, race, ethnicity, sex, sexual preference etc.  One Big Name Pagan or BNP who shall remain nameless because they have a large, if not sychophantic following, recently posted some of the  most racist vitriol I have ever seen within Paganism.  It was nauseating enough that I suspect that they lost at least a fair number of followers  because of it.  At least they lost a good number of people who  actually take them seriously.  I can only say that I was never impressed with this particular individual’s  arrogance in the past.  Their latest and decidedly bigoted posting just underscored that what my gut had been telling me all along.

I don’t give a damn who you are, or what your tradition is.  Engaging in bigotry is flat out bullshit.  Racism, sexism, elitism, or any other ism you care to name is not how it’s done.  Rule number one where I come from is. “Don’t be a dick.” If you’re a racist or a bigot….well, draw your own conclusions on that.  I won’t tolerate it in my groups and I sure as hell won’t sit quietly by when it’s said or posted in my presence. We have one planet, one chance, one shot to get it right.  It’s time to celebrate the beauty of our diversity and appreciate and respect it without devolving into something that none of us wants.










Filed under herbs, indigenous, mystic woo-woo, pagan, politics, rants

13 responses to “Seriously, Pagan Community…WTF!?

  1. Michael Sheppard

    Bravo! I am painfully aware of how *not* free knowledge is, at the moment, at least in book form! But the practical experience can be got honestly and without spending money, particularly with the Quareia course online nowadays. It’s just a matter of heavy lifting. There’s no need to pirate any books to learn the skill-set.

    I know very little about the pagan community, but your post reminded me of something that bugged the hell out of my father about his Church of England parishes, which was the huge extent to which social game-playing scuppered people’s ability to engage truly with the Christian mysteries. From your description, it certainly seems like some of the faux environmental concern and desire to keep out the “wrong sort” of people might be coming from a similar place.

  2. There is no easy way to being a witch or whatever path we follow. It takes years and years of practice and research to gain even basic knowledge. I have been on my path for about ten years now, and STILL consider myself a beginner. I agree with you, Fanny, on all points. Blood, sweat, tears and a wealth of knowledge and wisdom, as well as a ton of hard work and time has gone into these books. They are most definitely not free, and should not be expected to be.

  3. Drop the mic, Fanny. Very well said. I’ve been surprised by the racism recently as well. I’m super curious whose post I’ve missed though. Hmmm….

  4. Sadly, it an issue with society. No group, belief or mindset is left untouched. And personal accountability, which is practically unheard of now a days. Knowledge needs to be earned to be appreciated. But we are living in a world of hand outs and ‘gimme’ mentalities.
    As for the racism, we are all meaty and pink on the inside. Some of us have more lovely pigmentation that others. But we are all one race. It’s as bad as the chauvinistic mentality that women still seem to have to fight in some areas.
    And it is up to us to make this world a better place. Thank you for this post! I always appreciate enlightened thoughts, in all their forms! ❤

    Blessed Be!

    PS. And for any one angry about this post, welcome to reality. (And if you call people "fluffy bunnies" for feeling an open mind is a receptive mind, then you are just showing your age. That's so very 1992 of you. But thanks for saving us the time of cutting you in half to count the many, many, many rings).

  5. An excellent post, my dear Sister-friend. All of your points interlock so beautifully. 1. Do the work. If you do the work, you will know how to 2. make substitutions when ingredients are a) scarce or b) non-native to your area, and realise 3. the wonderful diversity of the planet we live on — plant and animal.

    I shake my head many a time when people on-line start saying to smudge when the littlest adversity crosses their path. They get cross when I suggest cleaning up their spaces, physically and mentally, first. Heaven forbid you suggest that they make offerings to the local nature spirits and apologise for the impact their lifestyle has on the environment.

    Ah well. In the meantime, I shall take my example from you and keep on doing the work whilst celebrating the marvel that is our world.

  6. OH MY GODS! I wish I could like this a million times. Thank you..Thank You…THANK YOU!

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