My Paganism will not be Respectable

I mentioned I haven’t been writing serious posts on here because there’s only so much I can say on so many topics before I start getting repetitive, so, to break up my slew of endless reviews, I present this post on respectability.

It seems like PaganSquare (witchesandpagans.com) has become the place where a bunch of Big Name Pagans gather to write things that piss the rest of us off–not always, of course, and there are plenty of writers on there that I like, but for every post I like there are five that irritate me in some way.

The inspiration for this post comes from one by Kenny Klein about the intersection between fantasy and Paganism and folks that he feels take it….a little too far, and, you know, I think he raises some good points even if they are expressed in a condescending manner (and the sexist art on the page certainly doesn’t help).

What I definitely don’t appreciate is the way he manages to raise these points while simultaneously dumping on atheist Pagans, pop culture Pagans and otherkin, and I definitely think there are better ways that he could have presented his points without dumping on large (and growing) segments of the population. But you know, that’s not even my main sticking point with the article.

My main sticking point is the issue of respectability, as expressed in this quote:

However, if a person purports to be a Pagan teacher or leader, if they keep a blog on Paganism, if they offer insights into their practices on social media sites, if they lead workshops at an event, then that person represents Paganism and its practice. This is where reality needs to be considered.This is when a person needs to present the commonly held beliefs of Paganism, at least, perhaps doing so before diverging into their less accepted beliefs (and watch out, that coven who arrests vampires is watching you!).”

Note that, according to Klein, anyone who blogs about Paganism (ie. who isn’t just a leader or teacher who blogs) is expected to be respectable in this way. In fact, he says as much in the quote preceding this one:

What does this mean to us as Pagans? Well for one thing, if a person is a solitary practitioner, is not involved in a group where she/he represents Pagan practice to the group, is not in the public eye as a Pagan, does not blog, or comment on social media sites about their own practice of Paganism, then this is all irrelevant. Believe whatever you like. Believe that Wicca comes from the planet Wicky, or that you become a werewolf in ritual, speak like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, whatever. It’s all cool.”

Basically, in order to be exempt from not being respectable, a person should not talk about their personal practice, at all, but the minute they step into the public eye, suddenly WE NEED TO ALL LOOK PRESENTABLE BECAUSE THE PUBLIC!

I’m sorry no I’m not but fuck that!

I refuse to be respectable.

I refuse to sit down and cross my legs at the knees because you don’t like the way I’m sitting. This is my blog, this is my space, and I will be as weird as I like. I will blog about pop culture and fandom and writing and Paganism on my blog, all at once, and I don’t need the approval of the public, or some Big Name Pagan on their high horse, or anyone else, because this is MY blog, where I do what I like, and what I like to do is write about books and video games and Vanatru.

Do I find it ironic that someone who makes a snide remark about “Pagan police” then proceeds to police other Pagans? Yes, yes I do.

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7 thoughts on “My Paganism will not be Respectable

  1. The ‘there are no pagan police’ snark followed by an entire post policing the community and especially lay-people (who might blog about *GASP* their religion AND other things in their life) was almost painful.

  2. Huzzah, I join forces with you in not being respectable! I find it the height of irony that someone who would squawk like an outraged hen if someone tried to impose rules or regulations on their beliefs, would be strutting about telling everyone to fall in line and obey their preferences.

    If we want to blog about where ever our Paths take us, even in the public eye *gasp*, then no one gets to tell us we can’t!

    If we tried to impose different kinds of restrictions onto their beliefs, they would cry “oppression! halp!”… I don’t get how they don’t see that they are doing the very thing that they condemn in other religions…

    1. Well I mean, I get what he’s saying about not taking it seriously, but the thing is, people who don’t take it seriously usually just get tired and give up or else they post about it and the community is all like “wut” and tries to help.
      The thing is though, you’re always going to have the really odd folks, and I think some have forgotten that no, really, we don’t have a central governing body to enforce universal standards, and we don’t NEED that sort of headache because it’s practically impossible because we’re just waaaay too diverse for that, and really, I’m not one to tow party lines when it comes to religion.

  3. Yeah, it’s kind of ironic for anyone to try and force a certain version of Paganism, when we’ve had to fight against other traditional religions (such as Christianity) that tell us that we’re not respectable for worshipping more than one God, or a female Goddess, etc. I think if people want a structured form of Paganism with certain rules and what not they should form a church for their subset of beliefs, and expect certain behavior from followers.

    But they certainly shouldn’t except EVERY pagan to believe what they believe. Paganism in general is something that we’re still trying to figure out, a lot of the past has been obscured, and the rebirth of Pagan practice is very veeeeryyy new. It’s very difficult at this point for anyone to judge what is and what is not true.

    In terms of lashing out against Atheist Pagans, I’m sure there were Atheists in ancient times who still practiced the customs and traditions of their people. There are also many people today who consider themselves atheist Hindus (and Hinduism itself is one of the few unbroken Pagan traditions that exist in the world). In terms of lashing out against people who work with fairies and elves…didn’t people respect these things in the ancient times? In terms of otherkins, I admittedly find them strange – but with so many Pagans believing in reincarnation, I don’t see why otherkins should be picked on.

  4. Amen to that! Haven’t read the post but I don’t think I’ll bother. What I wonder is, who does he think we should be impressing? Because Pagans are not “respectable” by definition in a Christian or secular-dominant society. Ironically gays & lesbians actually scared conservatives more once they became more respectable, by being included in institutions like the military, marriage and churches. Every social movement tries suppressing its dissidents, the very ones that often are the most vibrant, passionate and keep it from stagnating. The gay rights movement was started (in part) by Harry Hay a Communist. Wicca was started by an eccentric nudist.

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