web analytics
Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

Flake off

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C65989237/E20061121160017

The Return of the Playgans

I ran into a couple of things over the last few days and it makes me wonder.

On the one hand, I am not overly fond of self-appointed groups like the "Grey Council" who want to create standards and generally organize paganism along some sort of master plan.

On the other hand, it irritates me when someone asks my advice and then takes the advice of someone who is playacting at being a Pagan.

An online acquaintance used to call them Playgans.

I don't update this blog as often as I should. A big part of it is that I don't like the idea of putting my beliefs and practices up where any idiot who can use a search engine can find it. The bit about the V ritual got me some very strange email, and the bit I did months ago about human rights versus pagan rights got me one or two hate mails.

See, the internet is an equalizer of sorts. If I am in a "community," my statements have the same weight as the flakiest member who joined just last week. The chances of anyone sticking around and making that community actually worth something is inversely proportional to how easy it is to join.

I could go on and on about one of my favorite rituals, the vigil before the fireplace. Even though it hurts my knees these days, I still do it whenever I can. But the chances of anyone getting something out of it without actually doing it, well, that is unlikely.

Online, there isn't a lot of difference between me saying that I have studied x number of years and some guy saying that he is a seventh generation witch descended from Atlantis.

Don't laugh, I ran into that one last month.

I've done what could be called the Great Rite a couple of times. It was pretty impressive, but neither of us was prepared for it. We did know what we were doing, somewhat. But she was in it for the intensity. I think I was in it so I could feel something, anything. None of that exactly makes me qualified to lecture on it. The lady I was with was also into ritual scarification big time. They do work, but they are painful. Even more so to have removed.

Those are not exactly the experiences you are going to read about on the average Pagan website.

At the same time, there are Pagan authors these days who are routinely cited as Authority. And may the gods defend you if you dare suggest that they are not the Ultimate Source of Divine Knowledge.

The last thing I want is for anyone to "organize" Neopaganism, but sometimes I wonder about the flakes we attract. They confuse our freedom of dogma with freedom from responsibility and consequences. And they believe that they are allowed to impose their own dogma on everyone else.

Is it worth it to take a stand? Sometimes. Most of the Playgans don't have the attention span long enough to stick around more than a few months, and they don't have the discipline to do much more than meddle.

Offline I have a bit of a reputation for giving it to people straight. Even among Christians. Which is why I sometimes get the calls I do. In the first case last month it was a phone call from a friend of a friend who was "concerned" about some older teens getting into the wrong stuff. In the second case it was some cleanup from my web scanning last week. And then there was my email.

I don't have any easy answers, but I think part of it is because people don't understand. It's like the film The DaVinci Code. It wasn't popular because people knew what it was talking about. The film was exciting because most people didn't know about the ideas and groups that it (badly) mixed together.

We're the Mystery Gateway, the Forbidden, the Ones Who Don't Play By The Rules. To an outsider meeting us for the first time, there is nothing that lets the outsider judge who and what we are. They see the Prize but they don't see the Price.

There are Pagans, even Big Name Pagans, that I don't want to be associated with. If people come and say the right things, I'm obligated to help no matter what I feel about them personally. They don't know that though, which is one way I decide how to spend my attention. Most of the time my help isn't all that obvious, or even all that magickal.

But how does someone judge the good from the bad? How do you judge a good Christian from a bad one? How do you judge a good Democrat from a bad one?

It's not the label that has to be judged, it's the person.

Posted: Tue - November 21, 2006 at 04:00 PM

blog comments powered by Disqus

Sunfell Tech Mage Rede Nine Words Serve The Tech Mage Best Keep What Works Fix What’s Broke Ditch The Rest

A narrow slice of life, but now and again pondering American neopaganism, modern adult pagans & the World.

2019       2018       2017       2016       2015       2014       2011       2010       2009       2008       2007       2006       2005