Twice now my article on being gay and pagan has been used to directly site what's wrong with young, upstart pagans attempting to understand, learn, or otherwise create their own spiritual relationship with gender and deity.
The first time, a blogger by the name of Veles said I was using age-old gossip about Gerald Gardner to say that Wicca (and somehow, by extension, neopaganism in general) is homophobic. The interesting thing is that is seems this particular blogger read my original article all the way up until paragraph 3 and lost interest. I can understand. He had probably read several articles in the past discussing the homophobia of Gardner and became flabbergasted with what he felt was yet another in a litany of articles retreading the same subject matter.
Interestingly, Veles ended up making the exact same point I did in the article. One can make one's spiritual practice what one needs it to be, and Wicca is not the be all end all of modern pagan practice. So, go him. I should note that I attempted to send the writer of that article a message clarifying my article's position, and that it had very little to do with Gardner's supposed homophobia. He neither posted the comment, nor replied to me. I am left assuming that dissenting opinion or academic debate on the matter is not something he would indulge. Oh well. I tried.
Secondly, I see this article, written by an apparent compatriot and enormous fan of Veles. The article's writer goes by the handle Lover of Strife, a name I can get behind, what with my love of Riots and all. My article on being gay and pagan was used in addition to this similar article published the same week on WitchVox to make his point that young, upstart pagans are attempting to rework the concepts of the divine to fit our needs instead of reworking our ideologies to fit a gender-fixed duality.
Again, the writer missed the part where I'm not Wiccan, and do not fit the divine into convenient boxes of penises and vaginas. He - I'm assuming Strife is a he - then goes on to say that I am attempting to change an entire tradition to fit me, instead of the other way around. Again, though, I'm not Wiccan. I don't mind if Wiccans believe in fixed male God and fixed female Goddess, but my study and introspective analysis of the divine has not led me to that conclusion.
The common theme in these articles is that young, inexperienced 'kids' have absolutely no right to ask questions, challenge current thinking, and have any expectations whatsoever about pagan beliefs. They should fall in line and do as they're told. Oh, and everybody is Wiccan. No offense to Wiccans, and I love me some Wiccans, but I tried it; it's beautiful; I like it, but it's NOT for me.
And I think we all know my thoughts about automatically disqualifying someone's opinion due to their age.
Just this week I had a conversation with another podkin who said her first experience with me was reading the article I'd written on WitchVox about tools and not really needing them. (No, it's not who you're assuming it is.) She said she was initially pretty ticked at me, because the picture I had up on WV at the time was from when I was 22. (I just turned 24 last month.) Apparently, I looked too young to know anything. She then went on to read my other articles and got over her age bias rather quickly, and now we're friends that can laugh about it.
But, and I won't harp on an issue I've already discussed at length, this is a highly dangerous thing to do. If we want our beliefs, traditions, and practices to continue into the next generation and generations beyond, we cannot turn away the new adherents due to their zest and inexperience. Don't like what they're saying? Provide a helpful tutorial. Point them in a better direction, but don't write them off. That's how the young and new get discouraged and leave, which is tragic, because this path is a beautiful one.
And, please, would those of you that want to criticize my articles actually read them all the way through before griping? That'd be great.
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Love and Lyte,