Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Notes from an old pagan
It saddens me that there are things going on in the pagan community that more divisive than binding: agism, my tradisms ( my trad is better than yours), gender discrimination of all ilks, OMGS you can't do that because it's harm clan, and the list is longer than I can really wish to see. . . these things seem to be part of the human condition. Regardless of who we are as individuals and groupings there is always something to bitch about and there is always a finger pointing somewhere other than where it belongs: you.
Yes, you. We are all individually responsible for our research, our emotional reactions and deeds. . . or the lack there of. I work really hard to make sure that I keep myself balanced and checked and even with this work, it sometimes escapes me. Does that make me a bad person or even a bad pagan? No, it doesn't. What it does make me is human.
Growing up in a military family, I learned discipline and respect. I was taught that respecting your elders was important, even if they didn't deserve it in your perception because they were ( insert failing here.) The point that was raised was simply this: they deserved your respect because they have more experience living than you, even if you thought they were ( insert failing here.) So, I went through my childhood calling my elders Mrs., Mr., Ms. Miss ( insert surname) and saying yes and no Ma'am/ Sir. I still do that. It drives my Oath Mother crazy I think.
OK maybe in the realm of things being almost forty does not quite make me an old pagan. I know some pagans whom I consider to be my elders. Yes, I call them my elders. They would probably back hand me for doing so to their face, but they are indeed my elders in both living and crafting their practices. I have an immense amount of respect for most of my elders simply because their knowledge and technique makes me look like a doofus at times. They have been generous to me with both secret and time. There is not a thing I can possibly do to repay them except do for the younger generation as my elders have done for me. I can't possibly do this if my youngers are spitting at each other and their elders about yancy nancy bullshit: such as ego, dress code and other bleating nonsense.
When I take on students, other than my own children, it will be because not only has this individual expressed true desire and willingness to do the work, it's because they are respectful and understand that they do not know everything. Hex, I don't know everything! I do however have the resources to find the answers to my questions from either research or my elders.
Quite frankly, youngers, a little bit of research into who your elders ( like it or not you have them) are may be very revealing about what the craft really is about. I'm talking about reading up on the people and not the subjects they wrote about ( although reading between the lines on that is helpful as well) Quoting an elder's work without understanding the individual behind it is simply insane. In fact, if you read up on your elders and their personal philosophies may make some of the newer generation gnash their teeth and rip out their hair until they come to the realization that they are only human. Depressing huh? The elders are really only human????? Yes they are, the thing that makes them seem more than human ( in some cases ) is simply that they have more years of experience under their belt and have seen this round of ruckus before. Possible several rounds of it and they remain unruffled by it ( a quality I am working on. I still get mad about certain things and feel I have to put in my .02. *face palm*)
As far as the OMG!!!!! The burning times!!!! Yes the burning times happened. Yes, most of the victims of the burning times were never actually witches, but we still need to be aware of that type of power grabbing. That's all the burning times was: inciting fear to grab power. That has to be stomped out at first bloom, regardless of where the finger pointing leads. So far I have seen the pagan community stand up and fight back when their rights as individuals are stomped upon. I am actually very proud of how I have seen some pagans handle this with grace and panache: elders and youngers.
Our community is filled with brilliance through both academia and gnosis. It is sort of hard to see that through all the spit sometimes. It sounds like we (as a community) are needing to individually do some internal work focusing on self respect and communal respect. I'll think on that for a bit and get back to you.
If you ever refer to me as an Elder or call me Lady to my face. . . I may become very upset and growly. Mrs. Oddly will do. x_O