Friday, June 11, 2010

The more things change...the more they stay the same

I'm more and more convinced my path needs to be a solitary one.  I don't get the need to make it more complicated than it ought to be.  I've run into a few people online who have a need to dictate who can or can't be a Wiccan/Druid/Pagan/etc.  They hate eclecticism, think anyone who hasn't studied as much as they have are fluffy bunnies and think it ridiculous that people want to observe a modern version of an ancient religion.  Personally one of the things I disliked about Christianity was its insistence on not changing to meet the needs of modern people.

And they take it all too seriously.  If someone calls a non-Pagan a muggle it's not because they think Harry Potter is real for pete's sake.  It's just a cool figure of speech.

Things like this and people like this drive me back into my hidey-hole where I don't have to see, hear or read it.  I spent 50+ years not being a good enough Christian no matter how hard I tried; I'm not going to spend the rest of my life not being a good enough Pagan.  So...they can get over it.  I'm not playing their game of superiority.

I think any spirituality has to grow and evolve to be relevant.  We aren't the same people who lived in huts and were separated by great distances from other villages.  We have global communication now.  We have medicines and science and even telescopes that can see light years away.

So I will walk the path I think is right for me and I will ignore anyone's attempts to denigrate my choices.

It's just a bit disheartening to find fundies in my new Pagan world but not terribly surprising.  Zach and I have talked a few times about what the world would be like today had Christianity never existed.  I would like to think of all the advances we would be seeing in regards to modern medicine and science but I suspect the fundies that existed in Christianity, who refused to let the world progress would have found their niche in whatever Pagan religion they chose.

Still, it's nice to fantasize about a world where Pagan groves and temples existed instead of massive cathedrals and where kids weren't shunned for not being a part of the "correct" religion.  But the truth is, wars would have been fought over religion and politics and land acquisition even if Christianity never existed.

Sad, but true.  The people who made Christianity what it was would have been making another religion what it would have been.

I'm winding down on my stress for the journey.  I have pretty much all the errands run and need to start packing and organizing and creating a portable altar to take with me.  I probably won't go to church Sunday because Tom will be working on the car and I'll need to get all the sleep I can before I leave.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to stop a time or two for a nap since I can't make it though the day without one.

I hope the weather holds.  I checked on buses just in case and it would take me 21 hours to get to a city an hour away from my parents.  With three transfers.  I'm so glad my sisters thought that was an acceptable arrangement for me.  I doubt either of them have ever taken a bus other than a tour bus in their lives.  It's always wonderful when other people decide what's best for you, isn't it?


  1. I think the "Pagan Fundies" are the ones you need to step back and rethink wtf they're doing. Most are insecure former Christians who having basically changed their Christian system to another (Wicca) and have completely missed the point of Paganism entirely. I think the Path of the Goddess is a solitary one. Sure, we all meet other people who are on their own path, walking beside us, be don't we all walk alone? I have no problem with that and have learned so much from the freedom of that mindset.

  2. One of my biggest challenges is to make sure I don't turn the Christian God into a Goddess. I need to stop thinking in terms of asking permission or fawning ridiculously in order to get a seat at the big table. It's not an easy transition for me, especially with the fundamentalist hangover I've still got. I am realizing how full the solitary path is and how much better it is to commune with the Goddess and the other Gods who like my company without rules and restrictions.

    And I've loved it that I've made so many online friends this week. It's so nice to walk parallel paths together.

  3. Kathy, is this from the Rav thread? If so, it's odd because I read that thread differently than you and kind of related it to the newbie Christians who take all the boundaries and rules and make it TRUTH. Just the need for absolutism that is prevalent in *all* religions. And from the perspective of a long-time religious observer, I can understand how irritating it is for a newbie to come along and think they have it all down in a matter of moments and that they can then go around telling others what's what. But I agree that the name calling is irritating and the touchiness about the word Muggle is a bit much for me.

    Ah well. It's probable that I misunderstood the thread. And it's also probable that you're not referring to it at all! LOL

    Hope you're doing well.

    (inannasstar - I agree that ultimately we're all walking solitary paths, I just related that to my counselor yesterday.)

  4. I think fundie Christians and harshly judgmental pagans operate from the same flawed need for power -- they consciously or unconsciously believe that the power to exclude and judge others is proof that they are superior and "chosen." You are quite right to walk your own path and not fall for that B.S.

  5. Tana, that thread was part of it but not the whole of it. My problem with one person on there was her huffing about "lineage" and her questioning of another poster about her lineage. I get that there are people out there who view Paganism, and particularly Wicca, as a fad but I've seen the term "fluffy bunny" applied to people who don't "do it" the way some people think Wicca/Paganism ought to be practiced.

    There is a condescension toward anyone who hasn't had the "training" they believe themselves to have. Scott Cunningham's books address that when he speaks to the solitary practitioner.

    There is a discussion on one of the Pagan boards on Ravelry on the difference between Wicca being a religion and Witchcraft being a practice. A poster got into the whole discussion of Gardnerian lineage and how you weren't truly Wiccan unless you had that lineage, that you couldn't initiate yourself, etc.

    The whole thing just smacks of the elitism that exists amongst the fundies in Christianity, that you're not truly "saved" unless you not only believe, repent and are baptized, but you have to believe the correct doctrine, belong to the correct church and have the proper lifestyle.

    So some of the things that were said on that thread annoyed me to a great deal. As if anyone has the authority to say who is or isn't Wicca/Pagan. But sure, some of what the poster who answered your question said was right, it's just that it's demeaning to dismiss people as fluffy bunnies just because you don't like the way they do things.

  6. Debra, that is it exactly. The whole power-trip exists everywhere, not just religion, but in religion it's particularly destructive because people seeking spirituality can be so vulnerable to manipulation.

    But oh, I fell for the B.S. at first and it really messed with my brain. And my heart. And yet, I don't know that I would have found my path if I hadn't stumbled so much starting out.

  7. Ahhhhhh, I see. There's a lot of new vocabulary for me so I'm approaching this from a really uneducated perspective. Kind of learning as I go and having to ask a lot of questions. I equated it to the newbie xians who get too hung up on teh rulz and thought, "Well, that is certainly annoying." But that's not really it. I DO, totally get the feeling of condescension that you're talking about from one person in that thread. (It's why I had to amend my question with "Serious Question.") And the follow-up requesting creds was kind of irritating.

    Bascially it all boils down to pride. Whether a person is a new X (insert religious affiliation of choice here) or a longstanding member of X community, we should be respectful of one another and always, always open to learning from one another. And yes, of course the newer ones should be willing to be corrected when they make a mistake, but (and this is a big but) in the world of esoteric thought and metaphysical experience, there's not much room for a person to be "wrong." I mean, is the thing being done or the the thing being said being done or said in the spirit of the Spirit/Gd/Goddess or not? Isn't that what really matters? That and that we take care of one another?

  8. Actually, it's more like the newbie Christians who don't focus on the rules, but who like to wear crosses and talk about the love of God and stuff. Are they "real" Christians or are they only taking on Christianity as a fad?

    You're right that it boils down to pride versus tolerance/mentoring/acceptance. And we newbies should be willing to be taught. I try very hard to be open but when you get so many mixed messages it's also important to learn to sift out the things that don't work for you.

    Where would I be without all you wise women though?

  9. okay, I'm a little slow but I get it now. It's less that the newbies are actually being arrogant ass hats (and I NEVER thought anyone would have been talking about YOU Kathy!), it's that the newbies are relishing their new discoveries and the olders are being grumpy jackasses about it, "ur doin it rong."

    To those people I say, bite me. Bite me hard, right on my lily white ass. And then, STFU.

    But that's just me. ;)

  10. Bingo! Although I will admit some newbies tend to gloss over the real history of Paganism and I can see how that might cause a few eyerolls, but dismissing them for it is a bit of a stretch. And not all seasoned Pagans are a bit like that. Most tend to be very forgiving and helpful. Or else I would have never grown as much as I have as a newbie Pagan.