I’ve gotten a lot of response to a previous post I wrote about anti-Wicca sentiments in the Pagan community, most of it positive. Thank you for that, and for engaging in dialogue with me about what “Pagan community” means to you. However, some have taken my words to mean a certain thing, or are misunderstanding, and I would like to clarify a few points.
I did not mean to convey that I think the community should be just happy and loving towards each other. I do think we need to stop beating up on other people and tearing each other down when we should at the very least offer to lift each other up. It is the other person’s choice whether to take the hand you offer, but if the hand is never offered, then you have no right to complain or whine or tear them down.
Skewing matters toward one end of a spectrum is entirely unhelpful and unrealistic. We can’t be all light and love and happiness all the time. Life does not work like that, and neither does a community. If the message you received from my previous post was that we should all be happy and loving and wonderful 24/7, then I apologize–that was not the message I meant to convey. I was writing my thoughts on an issue, my personal opinion, and was simply writing to express my opinion–not to form an academic argument or anything similar. I was expressing what I believe to be true.
I absolutely agree that the Pagan community (whatever that means to you) is not all love and light. It can’t be when we have so many diverse people coming from different religious, social, economic, and other backgrounds. It can’t be when we are all facing so many different problems that need to be discussed and resolved. Ignoring the problems does not make them go away. It makes them worse in the way that a wound left untended will fester.
Do I think we need to stop being so negative? Yes. But with that statement, I do not mean we should ignore the problem. I mean we should work to support the people who need supporting. We should work to solve the problems that face us, both as individuals and as groups. We should engage in dialogue, we should be talking about the issues we face and then put whatever plan we come up with into action so that the issues are resolved.
In addition, I mentioned very briefly the attitude and atmosphere of those Pagans on the Internet. It seems to be prevalent among online Pagans to post or comment anonymously–this is understandable, as not all of us are willing or able to be out of the broomcloset about our spirituality. However, we all need to remember that anonymity does not absolve you of responsibility. What we say and do online has real-world consequences. This very topic is being studied in medical and psychological practices across the world. Putting your words and thoughts into a space under the cover of anonymity does not mean you are no longer responsible for the things you say or write or do. You are as responsible for online behavior as you are for real-world behavior. I believe too many people believe this to be false, and that in and of itself is sad, horrifying, and shameful.
I believe our communities pride themselves on being fairly open-minded, supportive, and caring. But all I see lately is the negativity, the sniping, the deliberate badmouthing and teenage-type gossip. All I see lately are people acting in a shameful manner, from national “leaders” and all the way down, from people online to people in real life. I’m not sure if that’s a problem with my view point, or a problem in the community itself–but to me, it is a problem.