Almost 2 decades ago, when I ventured slowly into the world of western pagans, Witches, wiccans and wizards.. little did I know that they are as human and fallible ..as I am.
Having come from a Hindu religious background, and then lost my faith a little (after the sudden and accidental death of my father), I was drifting in life.. failing university exams, becoming a recluse with very few real friends..
I had always been interested in mind powers and psychic matters (dabbling with self-hypnosis, biorhythm, reading about telepathy, and telekinesis). So much so, that in A/Level, when I did so well in my Physics, I got a book voucher and the book I bought (handed to me officially in School assembly) was on Mind powers. I remember the Head Teacher startled and doing a double-take on the book before shaking my hand and handing it to me.
So after my father’s death, through some coincidences with friends and pen pals (in America.. they were the early pre-www world if telnetting and writing real letters!), I came across Runes, book in the garage in Egyptian mummifications..and into the `Body, Mind, Spirit’ world in London.
Those early conventions gave me a different impression. That everyone in it was so full of love, and unconditional friendship, trust etc. Then over time, I came into the Pagan world… And there too, I held the same beliefs.. because everyone in it talked about `coming home’ and how we are all the same, and magical..
In those early days, my High Priestess Laura and I had many a discussions.. on what it is to have perfect love, perfect trust …in Wiccan circles. And it is there that she broke my innocent bubble one day and told me that Pagans are people too.. and have their own flaws and prejudices.
I think ..though I heard her, and knew it intellectually, I did not understand it emotionally..
But over the years, I have learnt otherwise.
This world of Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, Shamans, Wizards, Dragon-Riders, Fairy-Dusters… and Broom-Flyers.. are just ordinary people.. and sadly, despite the highest ideals of perfect love and perfect trust, and a love for the Earth and Gods and Goddesses,.. there is also much darkness..
Darkness in itself is not a crime.. I am referring to deeper human emotions.. anger, frustrations, jealously, envy, power seeking, colluding, controlling, betraying, scapegoating, ego-driven, holier-than-thou..and all the other `warts’..
No it is not a crime.. but what is…is that so many wounded pagans, wiccans and Wizards ..are unaware of their own flaws and humanity.. and that they are actually acting on those impulses.. Instead some pagans seem to project their own darker sides and qualities (shadow functions) on to others.
I have even witnessed the pack mentality within some wiccan groups, pagan communities & Organisations, and ritual groups, not to mention bullying behaviour.. where small things are taken out of context, and acted upon and reactions snow-balled.. mole hills turning to mountains..and before you know it, hearts are broken, reputations are destroyed, and worse, people who `came home’ are left feeling `homeless..’ and ostracized from the very community they belonged to. These `rejected’ people can feel abandoned, bereft, extremely depressed, suicidal, and their lives can unravel disastrously. (That happens to anyone in an inclusive `love and light’ society where suddenly that person is excluded! )
As people work magically with powerful forces – elements, gods, goddesses, nature spirits, archangels..and so on.. and work to build communities, organisations, groups.. and memberships.. (such vastly magnificent goals and ideals).. what they tend to forget ..is that at the heart of it all.. is the human element.. ! It’s akin to driving at 80 mph in the fast motorways (Highways) for hours ..and then struggling to adjust to the 20 mph speed limit in urban streets. If no care is taken, and same speed is observed, an innocent in the street could get hurt. And once the harm is done, it can not be undone. Neither human nor the divine ever forgets! Bad karma piles up..
My advise to anyone new venturing into Pagan, Esoteric or magical communities (and I am part of this community..) is to be sensible, careful, and …while keeping to high magical or divine ideals, also keep an open mind..and your feet firmly on the ground.
The Pagan Community is just like any other community.. Completely and utterly…human.! Remember that, and all will go well..
Debate this: ps.This may seem like a very negative post – but just as my High Priestess offered me that advise all those years ago, I now offer it to others – having arrived at same wisdom through my own life’s ways. While many pagans may shy away from such topics, for fear of it showing (our) pagan community in bad light, I am happy to debate these matters further f0r the sake of learning, sharing and growth (but please no abusive or bullying comments!)
Pagan Federation blog (8 oct2012): Online conduct of members