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PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

Subcategories from this category: Culture Blogs, Paths Blogs, Studies Blogs, SageWoman Blogs

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Over the past few months I have been a silent observer of troubling waters within the Pagan community. I was saddened to read many eulogies of Pagan leaders and authors. I watched firestorms of disagreement rage through the community, kindling arguments, sometimes productive, sometimes ugly. I listened as leaders discussed toxic influences of racism, cases of cultural appropriation, and issues of privilege. I met burnt out leaders and frustrated elders and saw dysfunctional group dynamics. And now I am following the blogosphere's reactions to the latest news of Pagan author Kenny Klein

This is a hard time for the Pagan community and I am deeply saddened by all of the losses, conflicts, and problems. But rather than wanting to distance myself from the community I feel more at home in the Pagan community than ever, and here's why. 
For over a decade I traveled the US and Europe,  visiting communities as far right as Christian reconstructionism, as far left as radical anarchism, and plenty in between. Conflict, discrimination, in-fighting, leader-bashing, and scandals were found in all of them, no exceptions. Since coming out as a Pagan, several Christians confided in me regarding their "secret lives" and I learned just how deeply communities are plagued by secrets and hypocrisy. 
When I was a Christian I responded first with denial, then disgust, despair, and finally bitterness. I struggled through jadedness and finally found renewed hope in humanity. I have seen too much in too many communities to feel shocked by the recent allegations, but my heart aches for all of those whose trust was betrayed, whose voices were not heard, and those now left to sort out conflicting emotions. 
While much of this feels familiar, the reaction of the wider community is taking me by surprise. There is the typical denial, flight from the community, the "I-told-you-so" attitude, the "no true Scotsman" argument, etc. But there is also an outpouring of thoughtful responses by Pagan leaders and writers from all over the country. 
The openness and courage with which Pagans are facing this news is different from anything I have ever experienced. Likewise, despite heated and sometimes ugly arguments, the overall tone of controversies in the Pagan community is significantly more friendly than what I am used to. I have tried to explain this to some leaders in the Pagan community. I understand their frustration and astonishment at my claim that it could be much worse, so much worse. Despite all of the difficulties, there is so much depth and beauty in how this community deals with it. 
I don't know why the Pagan community is so different. My best guess is the different basis for ethics between Paganism and Christianity. In our Christian communities, we expected to be transformed by our faith and through the influence of the Holy Spirit. We expected to be spiritually healthier than the rest of the world. We expected our communities to be more ethical, more "Christ-like". Non-Christians were supposed to be able to tell we were Christians by the sincerity of our love for one another. 
In Paganism we don't have this expectation. Several writers have pointed out that as our community grows, we will have the same problems as society. Jason Pitzl-Waters, among others, anticipated we would be faced with a story like the arrest of Kenny Klein sooner or later. This willingness to face reality is incredibly refreshing and valuable to me. Expectations of moral superiority or even perfection leave communities blind to dysfunction and ill equipped for dealing with scandals. Abuse gets covered up, predators are moved around within the community while victims are blamed and cast out.  
As Pagans we have no rules handed down to us from a holy book, catechism, or priest. Each Pagan has to wrestle with their own ethical framework. Maybe it is this struggle that causes Pagans to respond with such a level of honesty, integrity and humility.  Our Pagan community is far from perfect and the problems we are facing are real and serious. But after all I have seen in other communities, I can't help but also feel grateful for what we have. We have people speaking out with courage. We have leaders sacrificing much for a community that often shows little gratitude. And we have the freedom to acknowledge the complexity of our problems with honesty, depth, and integrity. 
When I first became a Pagan, I was terrified of spiritual communities and took refuge in the option of becoming a solitary practitioner. Shortly afterwards I received a calling to serve the Pagan community. I often felt inadequate and frightened but made the choice to commit. I am glad I did. For someone coming from a culture of victim blaming, cover up, and shame, the responses of the Pagan community have been deeply moving. I thank everyone who found the courage to tell their story and all of the leaders who have offered thoughtful responses on how to make our community safe. 
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Predators, Sacred Space and a Call to Maturity

How do we want to present ourselves to the world? How does the world at large view the Pagan community, and are we happy with the way people see us?

These questions have circulating for years, and often the answer is something like, “Why should we care what they think? All they’re going to do is judge us anyway - and they’ve already made up their minds.”

But not every mind is made up. In fact, there’s more openness toward Paganism and other paths outside the Judeo-Christian framework than ever before. This is why it’s crucial that we step up to the plate and shape the discussion to the extent we can. If we refuse to do so, we can rest assured that those who already have made up their minds will shape it for us … and we won’t like the distorted picture they’re sure to paint.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Bahama Mama

Maybe it’s the crazy winter, or maybe I’m just a beach baby, but right now, I’m yearning for some cobalt blue water. There’s nothing quite like a trip to the ocean, but as I learned on a vacation with my mom, not all ocean waters carry the same energy.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Fairies Don't Like Iron?

I had heard that fairies don’t like iron.  This really nonplussed me since their landing pad in Ireland was Iron Mountain.  It didn’t get that name for nothing. It really is iron rich.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Bee Smith
    Bee Smith says #
    Glad that you found this helpful. Instinct is magical. But it is also a gift to have one's instincts affirmed.
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Yes, this is the sort of thing I was referring to when I emailed you last year, about my experientially learning about faerie folk

I'll take my magic without the K, please.

Ah yes, magic-with-a-K: that pretentious archaism that supposedly differentiates the genuine article from illusionism. The new magical realism at its most twee.

Why, Posch, why?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Maybe 10 years back a coven-sib and I spoke to the local Unitarian Pagan chapter about our group. Afterwards, someone came up and
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    I'm glad to know that the post was not meant to be scornful. But when you say that magick is a "pretentious archaism" you imply th
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Far from it. Gods help me, Diotima, I care very deeply about our people--so old and so young, so wise and so foolish, so courageou

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