There’s a reason I never became a Wiccan.
Here in my sun-soaked state somewhere in the southeast, there’s something rotten in the Wiccan community. Poverty, drug abuse, petty crime. Just general skeeviness. It’s inescapable and inseparable in my mind concerning the pagan community around here (heck, a lot of the people down here). Maybe it’s not that way in other places, but down here generally paganism does not attract people from good parts of society. And I don’t mean in the sense or race or socioeconomic class–I mean in terms of the way people lead their lives. I’ve seen a lot of people go to jail for things like drugs and statutory rape. I’ve seen people arrive who’d just come out of jail for things like drugs and petty theft (or both). People who engage in a hippie-ish permissive sort of live-and-let-live that is rotting the modern polytheistic movement at its foundations. “Sure, I have a record. Sure I like to smoke weed and collect disability and eat myself to death and would you like to join my polyamorous lifestyle?” kinda shit.
It’s creeping into reconstructionism more and more, too, and I don’t like it.
I’ve always been distant from the community, partially because of bad experiences, and partially because I just don’t fit. I will freely admit I’m not a good polytheist. I’m inconsistent. I worship two different pantheons in a scatter-brained way that’s not historiographically valid. I’m not a priest or priestess of anything.
But I am ceaselessly troubled and how the place of my faith is not a place I want to come home to.
Where is the ethical polytheism? Where is the faith that is about being married (gay or not) and raising children into our faith so our community grows and is stronger? Where is the polytheism that can actually give us a code by which to deal with life’s bullshit and reach towards a meaningful life?
Because the world isn’t the relative hippie bullshit that our anthropology majors would have us believe. There is right, and there is wrong. It’s a lot simpler and plainer than you would think. Rape is wrong. Molesting a child is wrong. Killing is generally wrong (unless someone’s trying to kill you back). Telling someone how to worship (or who they can/can’t worship, I’m looking at you, Folkish Asatruar) is wrong.
But you know what else is wrong? Squabbling over online bullshit. Making our community of faith so permissive that anything goes and so everything seems seedy by association. Priests and priestesses not doing the duty of their gods-blessed function in society and trying to build the community as a place that is an actual community, a place normal people who have 9-5 jobs and kids and 401k’s would feel fine bringing their kids. THAT kind of place. A faithful community you could hang your hat on.
Little too June Cleaver for you? Sorry. We’re out there. Bland, mild-mannered, boring polytheist who have salaried jobs and live in the ‘burbs and are trying to find their way in a community that, frankly, is really alienating most of the time. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top weird and mystical all the time. You’ve got nothing to prove, people. Love the gods. Honor them. Build a community we would want our children to grow up in.