This past week or so, there was a BUNCH of nastiness floating around my blog feed and all across Facebook! It even spread to Reddit and Tumbler. Goddess only knows where else it morphed into. I cannot understand how anyone can continue to throw stones and persist in the crucifixion of someone for something they have done especially after the person in the wrong has admitted the wrongdoing and issued a very public and heartfelt apology. I was especially saddened to see the continued actions of one of the most influential people of our day as she rained down fire and damnation like she was watering her rose bushes.
Mistakes are made all the time, no one is without guilt on any given day. Even those who have been elevated to the status of elder or leader of our community are guilty of many misdeeds in their daily life. And if any one of you thinks this isn’t so then I betcha you all are living in that imaginary world where everyone eats skittles and poops rainbows.
One day last week I was talking to my friend Amanda and she said to me “Holy Shit Vickie, the community is a mess right now”. I absolutely agree with this sentiment. Whether we are talking about the community as a whole or the online version, things are out of control. Yes, there have been some genuine nasty things happening in our community. Everything from an admission of possessing child pornography to outing someone using an alias online, and everything in between.
I watched a nasty name calling session play out over what some perceived as an affront to the trans community, while others proudly supported the not so hidden agenda of fundraising. I’ve read where someone picked up a random book written as a memoir of a life that was overflowing of love and condemn the authors for being predators. I’ve seen those we call elders lash out at others for having a differing opinion. This to me is all very degrading and unnecessary especially as evolved as we claim to be.
This type of behavior reeks of that which we have run from. The constant condemnation and judgement of organized religion has made it’s way into the Pagan community. Oh yes, I’m not so naive as to believe this is just now a recent occurrence. No I’ve known for quite some time just how extremely judgmental those who preach about free will really are. No wonder the community is a mess…
Recently I found the Maetreum of Cybele. I had no idea what their agenda is, just that they needed to raise some funds to cover legal fees after their victory over property tax exemption. I read a blog written by one of their staff members and shared it on my FB page. I was promptly informed they are transphobic. I did not read the underlying hidden message within the words, all I saw was the entire pagan community being called out for their acts of cowardice and backstabbing. This is nothing new, it seems every day there is a new blog post or FB status calling someone out for something and yet, nothing changes. Wouldn’t it be nice if for even a little while we could all FOLLOW the direction of our Deity instead of trying to force a personal view on someone else?
There has also been some talk regarding the *Elders* in our community. Are they self appointed? Have they *earned* the title? And who makes the decision to call someone elder? When I came into this journey, I looked up to many people who had been living this life much longer than I had imagined. To me, their experience and life history made them an elder. Were they self appointed? Maybe, but I somehow do not believe that is so. I believe these Elders have earned the title, from their work within our community, the books they may have written, the lessons they have not only taught but also learned along the way. And just like everyone else, these Elders are human and make mistakes. Some bigger and far more dangerous than others, but mistakes all the same.
A mistake is something that isn’t planned or thought out, but something that can be done, felt, and spoken in the heat of the moment. Most people who make actual mistakes learn from them and don’t make the same choice again. However, there are others who feel they have a get out of trouble free card and continue to be repeat offenders. Even though they may be considered an Elder who has in the past done many great things for the community, they now continually follow the same path day in and day out with no thought to the impact their words or deeds will have on those who look to them for guidance. A couple years ago there was an issue with one of these types of Elders and many people lost respect and stopped listening. Yes, I also lost respect for this Elder.
I’ve also seen some strange albeit human behavior from others who have been set to a higher standard. If there had been an isolated incident I probably wouldn’t have remembered anything about it, but to consistently badmouth another person, sexual orientation or race just draws a line in the sand I cannot cross. Especially from someone who built their platform on equality for EVERYONE.
Do I have a solution? I wish I did. All I know is that if we continue on the road we’ve been traveling on for some time now, not only is our community going to be a mess, we aren’t going to have a community. Instead of lashing out at someone you think isn’t worthy to be called Elder, how about you go work in a homeless shelter for a week? Or perhaps instead of condemning someone for what they did in the 70’s while they were young enough to make the mistakes they learned from as they got older, you do some deep soul searching and actually listen to your Deity as She tells you how she wants you to live instead of using Her name to justify your actions? And the next time you allow your jealousy of a person who has the balls to call someone out on their shit and then apologize in a public arena for the uncalled for words spoken in anger (yeah we have all been there and if you say you haven’t, you are a liar), you might want to look at yourself in the mirror and make sure you aren’t living in that glass house.