Being a bitch Crone, I have a lot of beefs with what I see going on in modern paganism. I have faithfully attended Paganicon, the big midwest pagan conference every March for about 3 years now. Each year I become more disenchanted with my fellow pagans who are festival attendees.
There are the cults, following the flavor of the month pagan "leaders". More often than not, to me these seem like pagan celebrities. Charismatic folk who dress the part (usually Renaissance Faire garb), who've published a couple mainstream books and who often have giant size egos to accompany their entourages.
I always wonder about the Renaissance garb...instead of a serious conference, this is more a light hearted, polyamorous romp thru the weekend with plenty of mead and Cheetos. And when Saturday night rolls around, we have the costume ball, complete with proudly obese Venus of Williandorf belly dancers, wizards holding their staffs, one guy always in the goofy antlers and, sigh, always the Celtic sounding music. Paganism, with all its factions, is not just Celtic. I cannot stand the generic Celtic music and bands that play these venues. From a Crone, it all sounds the same...pan pipes, didgeridoos, drums and some woman crooning and wailing songs with ridiculous lyrics "Kiss the night, oh, kiss the night". You see the sad transexuals, with their clownish makeup and bows, in the corners sucking down double Scotches. The women in attendance are strikingly, overwhelmingly obese with long hair to their waists. Its all gotten so formula.
Covens and circles. I have done a lot of research into modern covens (now we call them circles) and also have lead 2 of my own. They run the gamut from those big groups who meet for show, hand out scripts to their members to read during staged performances within the group, to a husband and wife hoping for an attractive third, female, to join their circle for "magickal practice". I despise "open rituals" and steadfastly refuse invitations to attend. My witchcraft is not to be shared with curious bystanders. Everything I know and have learned personally does not allow for this kind of random energy to enter the working arena. My witchcraft is not inclusive. Its exclusive, meant only for selected members of a trusted group. Is my brand of witchcraft, which has evolved from Wicca, into a blend of eclectic practices, chosen for their ability to "deliver the goods", somehow preferable to "Witchcraft for Dummies"? For me it is, because its a profoundly personally spiritual issue to me, to others, probably not. Probably gets me another hater star. Some of the circles do a damn good job of forcing the members to do their homework, read prominent books on witchcraft, make group presentations, etc. But 90 per cent of them do not do any ritual work, do not practice magick. How can this be, witches who do not practice magick? Oh sure, they have the sabbath celebrations, someone wears the May queen crown at Beltane, but grind up herbs, get out the stones and do real magick? huh?
In my 40 plus years of active study, I have learned about the vibrations held in each herb and stone. I know what days are better for which magick. I know intent is all the magick one really needs, but adding the vibrations of other entities of this planet helps synergistically. I know there ARE other entities, I know the god/desses are real forces. I have little use for those who say "you didn't draw a circle in the air containing a tetrahedron within a blue square drawn on the floor". People well versed in obscure workings that need a physicist and mathematician to explain are boring. They are missing the point. I don't care about pagan history. Its interesting but of little practical use. I judge witches by the magick they produce. They don't have to drive BMWs, thats also missing the point, although undeniably a nice perk, but they do have to have meaningful and relatively happy, spiritual lives. I wouldn't follow a high priestess/priest who lives in a leaky trailer and is constantly working three jobs. Their magick is weak.
There are things that bother me immensely within the pagan community that are too hot to even mention in a personal blog. I cannot even articulate these issues without wrongly being labelled a hater so I will let you just guess on those.
I don't go for the "I'm a Christian witch" folks. No, you're not. Period.
I know at least one person who proudly has declared themselves a witch for years, yet never does any magick. What exactly does being a witch mean to them? Attending a festival/conference once a year?
There's a book that came out recently "Witches in America", its been soundly cursed by the pagan community, no pun intended. I thought it was a great book. It was written by an outsider journalist,her viewpoints on attending circles, meeting with some of these pagan luminaries and being initiated into some of their groups. I found it outstanding journalism. It threatened and embarrassed the hell outta a number of prominent pagans, so much so that one pagan magazine had a review saying do not at any cost, read this book! Perversely, that made me buy it the same day. I loved hearing the thoughts of someone not brainwashed by the screaming pagan celebrities of the day. Wicca is a new religion and modern paganism is still, well, pretty modern..When one thinks of the big pagan voices of today, maybe 20 people at most come to mind immediately. And these big voices got big because they are big fish in a still relatively tiny pond. There are NO experts yet, but reading their views and hearing them lecture would lead one to believe otherwise. Being humble is not a popular virtue in the world of modern paganism.
Witch wars, wherein we have warring factions within our midst, are here. War away, my colleagues. Prove your magick. I'm only interested in what works. If wearing a poofy sleeved blouse and lace up slippers while dancing arm in arm with your bisexual on the weekend girlfriend, while working magick by writing little wishes on paper and burning them is your thing, then go for it. If it works of you, thats great! But me? I'm getting sick of reading and hearing the "experts" take on everything. Philosophy can be tedious. Present your information in a humble but confident manner. Show me by your life that your magick works. That will get my attention. And take off the damn medieval tiaras and scabbards!