Monday, August 8, 2011

Pagan Politics

Nota Bene: All names have been omitted to protect the identities of the guilty!

Recently, I was browsing some very astute videos by fellow Pagans and Witches when I happened upon one remarkable video that I happened to agree with -- a lot.  This individual is a public Witch from the east coast who was Initiated to the level of the High Priesthood by a very famous Witch of note; and, in their rant there was much that I, personally, agreed with as the Founder of my own Tradition (the Covenant of Morrighan) such as an issue that they encountered where one of their Initiates took Coven-teachings and began charging an obscene amount of money for that knowledge.  This wayward Witch was summarily dismissed.  I completely agree with the actions that were taken and cannot say that I would have done anything differently.  But, the individual in front of the camera said something, and even seemed to imply something else, that I cannot, in good consciousness, agree with: One must be Initiated into a valid Tradition in order to call oneself a Teacher of the Craft, even to the point of inferring that anything less than an established lineage-Tradition is seemingly invalid and that anyone teaching without having been Initiated to a respectable level of Degree is someone possessed by an "unethical" character, as though they are fraudulent!  I take great fault with these implications, but not on a personal level -- as a Witch-Priest and the Founder of the Covenant of Morrighan.

Another example may serve to illustrate what I have observed in recent years: there is a rather well-known non-denominational Pagan Circle in a near-by major city that is chiefly open to Gay and Bisexual men, and there is another far more established Wiccan Tradition that was established on the east coast; in both of these Traditions, one eclectic and the other far more strict, I have noticed that very few of the Gay male members of those Traditions (not all, mind you) seem to have little to no interest in forging bonds with Pagans outside of their personal Tradition or Circle.  And, if one attempts to, they are often ignored or (more rarely) rudely rebuffed, according to what I have witnessed first-hand, or been told second-hand by my fellow Gay Pagan Brothers.  Gay Pagans, above all, should have each others back and should have an innate desire to forge a bond with others regardless of their Initiatory standing considering the pain and oppression that we have endured as an ostracized community.

I have long-since wondered from whence this behavior has surfaced, because it is typically not found in Iowa save for a few isolated and extremely fundamentalist (ie. Dianic) instances.  Indeed, it has convinced me that it generally has to do with the size of the community that one belongs which may chiefly share in the blame.  Please do not take this Blog, written from the heart, as an attack against Traditions or the Training of an Initiate -- indeed, I have long been an outspoken supporter for far more strident Initiation Standards (the late Ellen Cannon Reed, author of The Heart of Wicca, wrote a fabulous article on the subject before her death).  Rather, what I would like to see is far more comradery from Initiated Witches outside their personal Circle or Tradition.  Because, it is disheartening -- and, I have seen the effects of this clique behavior with my own eyes: a Witch will befriend another Witch under no pretenses, until it is realized that the first Witch is not Initiated in any established Tradition only to have their friend utterly ignore them, loose all respect for them, and even behave as if their non-lineaged friend is spiritually and academically inferior to them when, in actuality, they may not be!  But, it was the implication that only a lineage Tradition is a valid tradition that I found most troublesome.  Though, perhaps this particular Witch is just a bit naive, or maybe they didn't mean to imply this after all.  The irony -- and I'll leave it at this -- is that this particular Witch's own Initiator Founded their own Tradition (which is just as valid as any other) and even Doreen Valiente (the Mother of modern Witchcraft) justly criticized such prejudicial thinking, thusly: "Who initiated the first Witch?"  Indeed, we should all meditate upon that, Initiated Witch and non-Initiate; it may prove very humbling.

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