Clue by Four, Please?

Tonight, I went to a meeting of the paranormal group I'm a part of. We had a wonderful and very knowledgeable guest speaker. I took pages of notes and learned a lot. I had a nice time... was more comfortable, socially this time. I do struggle with awful social anxiety and this was the first time I came away from a meeting not weighing the idea of quitting due to my social anxiety. However, there were more cracks about witches/Pagans from an uneducated standpoint, and I'm thinking again that this might not be the group for me. Misconceptions that everyone share in (that I don't have a chance to change) make me completely uncomfortable. An offhand joke here or there during a lecture from a guest speaker- or even from other members during past meetings is making me increasingly uncomfortable.

Todays fare included talking about Santarians practicing at a local cemetary, and murmurs about that being scary shit- evidently they leave the carcasses of goats and shit there? Well, I've known of people who have practiced Santaria and animal sacrifice. According to my research, usually, the animal is honored and treated with dignity and respect, and given all kinds of happy things like tasty food, etc. Then it's humanely killed (way more humane than the chickens we eat) and part of the animal is consumed as a ritual, and then the rest of the animal is used as a sacrifice. They would never leave dead carcasses around- how disresepectful! Don't get me wrong, that path is definitely not for me- but there is a big difference between those who those who are Santarians, and those who practice a darker (or wannabe) flavor of something and call it Santaria. Same thing with Satanaism. There are plenty of people who practice LeVeyan Satanism- and it has nothing to do with the fallen angel Lucifer, or demons, that I've found in my research. No calling up of the dead. Neither is my flavor of spirituality- not even close, but I feel sad for the stereotypes and ignorance floating about out there.

Another comment was made about the show Paranormal State. One comment was in reference to Eilfie, the Pagan in the group. It was mentioned that she obviously didn't know what she was doing. "I mean, she's supposed to be a 'witch' or whatever, and her ritual ended with Amen? I mean, come ON!" I'm not saying she did the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram correctly. Not at all. But much of that ritual is based on ancient jewish/hebrew prayer. So, the word Amen is not out of context at all. There are varied flavors of Paganism- some are Wicca or witchcraft based, some are Norse/Celtic/Roman Pagan based, some are based of the mysticism of ancient cultures themselves like Kabbalah, or even some of the recon traditions. Some are ceremonial magic based. Some eclectic Pagans learn about these different paths and blend them together to create a practice that reflects their personal belief system. Its not all about Wicca or aversion to terminology.

I'm just over it. I can't interrupt a lecture to correct without sounding like an overreacting douche. I can't say that I'm offended without seeming like a oversensitive whiner. The strange thing is that I AM offended. Do you know how difficult it is to offend me? Seriously. I've been told I'm going to hell, I've been told that I should become Christian, that people will pray for my hellbound soul, people mistake my pent for a star of david, I've had the cops called on my covens circles, and I was never really offended. I guess I was okay with all of that (and more) because I know that these people have the best intentions. I guess the difference here is that it's just funny to people. Something for people to be afraid of, or laugh about, instead of wanting to learn the truth about it. Or caring about it.

I guess I'm just spoiled because I surround myself with positive and tolerant people. Those who are ignorant, I have a chance to educate. Even the hardcore Christian friends of mine know that I'm nice, have a good heart, and believe that positive paths are the way to a good life and afterlife. I answer any questions they have, and explain my path. I am blessed to be surrounded by such people. My family, friends, co-workers, coven sisters (CTM), social witchy sisters (SCSW), and my other witchy friends who invite me to their open circles. This includes their significant others, and their friends and Pagan family. I see myself as a good person, with a kind heart and good intentions. Usually. ;) I'm blessed to have friends and family that see past the pentacle and seemingly "weird" religion to see that I'm just like everyone else.

I'm just not used to being around such oblivious ignorance. I don't blame them, either. It's not like I dislike anyone, or anything- ignorance isn't an awful thing by itself- its not their fault... I'm just kinda shocked that it's getting to me. I really like everyone- its a great group, and that's why I'm still sticking around. I want to continue in this paranormal group really badly. The founder is doing an AMAZING job. Seriously. I'm in awe of her organization skills (and those who know me know that I know organizing- LOL), and it makes me want to participate so bad. But when I come away every time feeling upset, it makes me think that maybe this group isn't for me. But who am I to tell people to change? I wouldn't want people walking on eggshells around me, or worrying if I might be offended. Gah-that makes me anxious thinking about it. Right now, it seems lose-lose to me.

I need to realize that not everyone will be comfortable with the idea of Paganism/Wicca/witchcraft- I'm not used to that. I don't know- I really feel drawn to this group. Maybe I have some life lesson to learn within this situation- just waiting for Brighid's clue by four. I'm sure it's on its way.


Ivy said...

Wow, evidently I was pissed. I don't remember being that mad, but I guess I needed to get that out.

Tyrvald said...

If only I were there to back you up! I haven't joined any such group because they usually take photographs of blurry dust and say "Oooh, look! Orbs!" I've believed in ghosts/spirits/apparitions twice as long as I've been a witch and I've been a witch for 11 years, but finding a serious group is difficult.

People who are otherwise intelligent and educated seem all too often to misunderstand Pagan concepts, terminology and practice. I'm not surprised you had this sort of problem with serious paranormal investigators, because the Spiritualist Movement was mostly upper-class Christians with your occasional witch acting as a consultant.

Post a Comment

If for some reason, this won't let you comment, try commenting as Anonymous? Blogger isn't working out for me.