"Should I stay or should I go?" (Updated)

The old song seems to sum up what some pagans are feeling

Juliaki snuck in a weekend entry on her blog and I didn't notice. I encourage you to go and read the entry for yourself.

"And from the people I've talked to (close to a half-dozen folks, I'd wager), they largely fall in two groups....those who agree wholeheartedly and those who do not fully understand why it is necessary to pull back into the mists. What is interesting is that those who understand are the ones who have had interaction both online and in the "real world" with large numbers of new seekers and have been in education/training roles for them. Those who do not understand are the ones who solely chat in a social aspect with folks online and are not provide education and training."

Okay, guilty as charged. My gifts don't exactly lend themselves to teaching, and it is only been within the last couple of years that I could even realistically consider coven membership again. I'm wise enough to know that it is not in the cards right now though. While I do think that my own path is distinct, at this point in my life I wouldn't have the faintest idea how to set up a training program or even how to deal with a new seeker.

"I'll agree that politics are part of being an elder. Anyone who has ever looked at a group setting knows they are there. Even though I'm not a coven initiate, I'm not blind...I see the politics that happen in and about the coven where I've dedicated. It's healthy.

"What it does not mean is that I care about the politics going on in the XYZ coven of Podunk, Iowa (unless they're related in some way, and even then unless there's a dang good reason why their stuff needs to be addressed on a larger scale, I wouldn't be a part of it)."

This may be a bit of miscommunication. I am a big believer that "all politics are local" and I would oppose any outside group coming in and establishing themselves as "the authority." I don't think there is a "Pagan community" any more than there is a "Christian community," just try to get the basic sects to agree on some very simple things.

A few days ago I caught a special on TCM about Bruce Lee and it prompted me to go dig up a couple of his books that I had (ah the things I do to pass time while doing laundry). Lee's Jeet Kune Do theory was "Using No Way As Way; Having No Limitation As Limitation," this was every bit as deliberately misunderstood as the Wiccan Rede is today.

And no, I am not saying that the Wiccan Rede is holy and binds all pagans forever and ever amen. I am just pointing out that what was a good idea at the time has been twisted into something totally other.

Just as some interpreted Lee's teachings to mean that you could do whatever you wanted, likewise today paganism is seen as something that no one can tell you what is and is not. There are no morals, there are no limits, there are no boundaries. What's missing from this viewpoint are the very things that Lee thought were obvious, the discipline, mastery, and responsibility that his art required.

These are the very things that are missing from the fluffy pagans today. And they are the same things that the fundy pagans try to pervert.

Where are the good examples? Even if they are only hinted at in tales passed around the bonfire. You don't have to be directly involved with the politics of every area, you just have to be true to your calling. No, that doesn't mean that you should be at the beck and call of every poor deluded soul who wants to summon a demon or shoot fireworks from their fingers. But you shouldn't hide deep in the forest hoping that no one sees you either.

I'm talking about the kind of thing where someone says "That guy over there really is a good man. And by the way, he's a Pagan."

"The wisdom of an elder is knowing how to deal with politics in the places and causes that you care about and knowing when to avoid a wild snipe fight (to deliciously mix metaphors). Why should an elder be expected to clean up the problems of others who don't want to take any stock in themselves or their own situations? And so, following the leadership of the greatest elders ever (that is, divine nudging... let's face it, you don't get better elders to listen to than the gods), I'm pulling back."

Wise words even if Juliaki doesn't claim the title of elder yet. I don't think it is the choice for me, but then that is sort of the point, isn't it? I've done more than my share of cleaning up and it felt satisfying, at least for the first dozen or so times. After that, about the only good thing to say is that it wasn't usually the same people involved.

I don't think my gods want me to pull back. In a year, maybe it will be different.

"In regards to the bit about "we also owe it to ourselves and our traditions to maintain a few gates for the new seekers who really are called", I find it a bit odd any time a person who does not have a tradition (whether self-created and passed along or joined/adopted into) to suggest what a tradition should or should not do. If it was truly that important, there would be more people of quality learning (again, whether self-taught or taught from some other teacher/line) out there actively working with new seekers. Apparently working with new seekers isn't all that important to a large majority of the Pagan scene, because very few people actively train or mentor new seekers."

The fact is, no religious tradition has "enough" teachers. That was certainly true when I was trying to be a Christian, and it wasn't all that long ago that a friend wrote me how her synagogue was looking for another rabbi. Near where I live, the traditional old ways are dying out among the Diné (Navajo). One of my dear friends, a hand trembler, never did find someone to pass on his knowledge before his death.

I do know that teaching matters of faith is one of the hardest tests anyone can face.

"Gates" was probably the wrong word, "windows" would be more accurate. Just something to provide a glimpse, a promise if you will, of something beyond the narrow reality that people are conditioned into accepting.

Maybe just the hint of Mystery.

Posted: Sun - August 7, 2005 at 05:04 AM
 ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊ 

Random selections from NeoWayland's library

Technopagan Yearnings
© 2005 - 2010   All Rights Reserved