Dusken talks about (Pagan) Community
Yo pagan community, let me explain you a thing that has been on my mind for a while, that I neglected to say, ironically, because I can forsee getting oh-so-much backlash. Obviously this list of ironically-named “guidelines” comes from personal opinion and observation; which you are of course allowed to expand on or disagree with.
Like I said, I’ve thought it for a long time but I just didn’t want to “stir the pot” as it were.
Then I remembered oh wait, the fact I am earnestly waiting (fingers steepled in glee) for the hate-mail is backing up my very point about Pagan community. So here we go.
- Debating or discussing your religion with somebody who disagrees (the facts, the figures, even the UPG) is not automatically a personal attack on everything you hold dear. Nor is it an invitation to shit on what somebody holds dear, because surprise, when you do that, you have ceased to debate and instead are a huge asshole.
- If you have not been explicitly invited to debate someone’s personal religion with them, and then you try, and they say no, and you persist, you’re also a huge asshole.
- NOT AGREEING WITH A PERSONAL PRACTICE THAT YOU DON’T SUBSCRIBE TO DOESN’T MAKE IT “BAD, WRONG, OR EVIL”. IT MAKES IT “SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU.” PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF FUCK LEARN THE DIFFERENCE. [Exceptions: practices that contribute to oppression, racism, sexism, and all of those ~isms that are not doing humanity any favors.]
- Having community pull, or clout, because people follow you is not an assurance of someone who has their facts right, or straight. Don’t assume those two things always follow.
- By the same token, people who have clout or community pull are human, and therefore can be wrong, and it’s not necessarily worse to be wrong with a lot of followers than it is to be wrong with only a few. Being popular doesn’t mean you stop growing on your own journey; nor should it mean you refuse to BE wrong. Popularity is not a wrongness-shield.
- Ninety-Five percent of the time ignorance is not the fault of the individual. With so much fucking bullshit information out there, it’s a lot more rare to be immediately educated than coming in ignorant. Do not assume ignorance happens in a vacuum and is a disease instead of a symptom; nor should you assume squashing an ignorant person like a bug is going to solve said disease. I understand anger and feels and these things all tied into ignorant opinions, but as a community, it really doesn’t appear to be doing us many favors by ‘army of oneing’ each other on the individual, inter-personal micro-level. Ignorant opinions can become educated, but shitting on people is not a great way to pave that road. The person behind the arguably asinine opinion on the internet is human, as are you, and topics so personal to our experiences can breed hatred and biting sarcasm easily. But I would argue that’s still not DIRECTLY the fault of that one ignorant person, who is the product of this society and environment that supports ignorance and misinformation, and not necessarily a constant cause.
- When you make people AFRAID TO SPEAK in your own community, you are doing something very fucking wrong and you need to examine all of those things. At least if someone speaks from ignorance, that speaking spurs learning and discussion and knowledge and the person is more likely to come away a better individual. Making a person afraid to speak for FEAR of being ignorant (because being ignorant = being publicly personality assassinated in their mind, because it happens in this community) is only perpetuating said symptom of a disease. A community functions only so long as respect as human beings is a given on both sides; otherwise nothing can come of it.
- By the same token it’s very good when people from lots of different backgrounds are encouraged to speak out against attitudes of ignorance in the pagan community, because when we silence those people too, we get fucking nowhere. Encourage people to speak their truths, especially if they’re not in the “mainstream”, without fear of being ridiculed.
- If someone is honestly and willfully ignorant and a fucking asshole, then we can maybe break out the curse jar. (Example: People who purposefully take advantage of and manipulate others via occult means like I mentioned in my last post.)
- Not every practitioner in the community is a teacher, or wants to be. Not everyone is up for debate, or wants to be. Demanding or expecting everyone to be either all the time isn’t fair, either. Respect boundaries and don’t be a dick.
- Please go outside sometimes. Please. Don’t forget your practice is just as much about doing as it is about debating and talking about doing. (You can do both! And I’m a shining example of failing at that balance in the past.)
- At the end of the day, if we can’t stop killing each other over opinions and ignorance and shit we don’t agree with, we’re never going to grab our collective balls long enough to get anything done as a group. And that’s fine, if you don’t want that. But I would like to see it, someday, and I think we could make that happen.
Other posts dealing with Community (posted around today) that have resonated with me:
Kemeticism is like a fandom
The Logistics of Running a Kemetic Anything
Bringing the Doing
(I follow a lot of Kemetics okay what do you want from me)
A great tumblr for new pagans to ask questions, so you know it exists: