There is a new (or maybe not so new, just hidden until recently) trend in some of the things I’ve been seeing online among many of the folks who call themselves Pagan. It goes something like this: You find someone who says all the right things (or at least the things you want to hear) most of the time, they have a decent sized friends list on Facebook or following with a blog they may write and you attach yourself to their apron strings in the hope that you will learn from what they have to say. Maybe someone should have told you to beware of what you ask for.
Even though there are MANY well respected big Name Pagans (BNP) who have been teaching for many years and truly live their craft each and every day, there is a more dangerous breed cropping up at every turn. These are the ones who for one reason or another feel they have enough knowledge and experience to give advice, interpret dreams, mentor those in need or just simply be the *go to* guy in any situation which may involved being Pagan or Wiccan or Witch.
Many times these folks who try to give direction haven’t actually experienced the situation they are giving counsel on. They come across someone who needs advice and instantly turn to the inter webs machine and fire up the Google looking for the answer to the question … oh wait “What exactly was the question again?” After checking out a couple blogs or maybe the about.com sites or how about someone’s book they take as gospel (sound familiar here?? Much like those pesky Christians and their almighty Bible as the book of facts), they decide they have enough information to make a valid sounding piece of advice and off they go to tell you how you need to do this or that or even live your life.
Unfortunately, there are those who for one reason or another, have come into contact with what I can only describe as a charlatan, “someone who falsely pretends to know or be something in order to deceive people, or one making usually showy pretenses to knowledge or ability”(Merriam-Webster, 2014). By the time they recognize for themselves that this person speaks with a forked tongue, the damage has been done and they are more confused by everything than when they first began seeking. How does the cycle end? It’s tough. YOU must find your inner strength and walk away form the person leading the pack. You need to figure out for yourself how to live your life and not follow along blindly the voice of those who for one reason or another have appointed them-self to be the authority. Because as sad as it is true, many times these people have NO idea of what they speak, nor do they care. They are in it for the self gratification and all they are worried about is how good YOU make them look.
When you are looking for advice, check references. As crazy as that sounds, you wouldn’t go to a Dr for medical treatment without first knowing something about him or her, would you? It’s much the same when looking for a spiritual mentor or person to give advice. And please don’t fall for the smoke screen of how popular they are because even Jim Jones was popular, look what happened to all those people who followed him to Jonestown, Guyana. Talk to people, MANY people, ask how this person knows their craft, ask what their affiliations are. Are they in a Coven? If not, were they ever part of any type of group and why did they leave it? Don’t just take their word for it. Many times they have left or been asked to leave a group because they were found to be living a lie. Are they practicing Solitary? Where do they get their information? If everything they know comes from reading a book, blog or searching online, they have no real time life experience and you need to RUN!! Run as fast as you can and don’t look back.
Are there false prophets in Paganism? You bet there is. Finding those who are honest and have the knowledge and ability to teach takes time and a LOT of searching. It took a while with many mistakes along the way, and thankfully I’ve found the ones I respect. The ones who are honorable and live the things they teach. I’ve been fortunate enough to have these amazing women in my circle of friends and long for the day when I can actually meet the ones I don’t already know in real life in person. These ladies walk their talk. They are the real deal and there is no doubt when they give advice it’s from the heart and their vast vault of knowledge. They aren’t in it for the glory or the notches on the bedpost.