When I first got involved in Goddess worship, it was the early eighties and almost everyone there was a feminist with political leanings. Now there are a lot of different types of people involved. The hairsplitting and arguing over terminology can get out of control. Some seem to see their spirituality as an extension of a game of Dungeons and Dragons. Reproduced below is an email conversation about this I had with a fellow Wiccan. We both had some trouble on the same pagan web community.
. . . When I first arrived on the site chat room I was almost immediately flamed by 2 hyper-aggressive males who screamed I could not call myself Wiccan without being Gardnerian . . . “Well Poo.” I said. “This is an open community?” I really was offended and ashamed . . . What I really like about my life choice as a Wiccan is its openness and tolerance of different ideas and approaches . . . I was really hurt and offended. . . I like the site and continue to visit it occasionally, but it does make me sad to see “our people” acting like any other screaming sectarian Christian group. Maybe people are people, i.e. assholes, but I hope we can be better than that. Apparently not.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of silly hairsplitting and nit-picking in the neo pagan community in general. That’s not what it is supposed to be about. It’s a shame that it went to that level of animosity. I can only figure young males hyped up on Pepsi and violent computer games, thinking they were having an argument on who was the best captain of the Enterprise or some other matter of life and death. [For the record, female Wiccans are just as guilty of hairsplitting.] I’m from the feminist school who had political reasons for getting into this. I can’t help but think that a religion without a guiding spirit degenerates into an elaborate game. There’s a lot of silliness about the term Wicca in particular. It doesn’t appear to be about anything important. I mean if evil people were doing quite bad things in its name, that would be important, but that’s not what is bothering them. Wicca is becoming a term for modern paganism in the European tradition, i.e. modern day witchcraft. There’s really nothing wrong with that. We need a broadly understood term without some of the negative associations of the older terms.
Modern-day paganism is about love, honoring the female, the Goddess, the earth, our bodies and the possibilities of life on earth. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you don’t harm people, animals or the earth, you have reverence, and your heart is in the right place. It doesn’t matter what you call it, how many candles you light, or which Gods you call on. It’s a calling to worship, not a computer game.
My correspondant’s email is reproduced with her permission.
If you are not pagan, please refrain from making hateful comments. Thanks.