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What is your New Age tolerance?


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#161 Phaedra

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 03:44 PM

New Age is such a complicated bag of cats to rip open, but I think the relationship between the new age and trad witch 'communities' is a great topic for discussion. For me, my development as a folksy practical witch and also a student of Buddhism went on simultaneously, and I've come to understand that traditional witchcraft practicioners tend towards drawing lines in the sand between their world and the world of Eastern thought. Chakras, Tibetan prayer flags, intoning mantras and mindfulness meditation are typically designated as 'other', too geographically distant and too influenced in the West by the peace-seeking hippie days to be considered a serious component of the witchy life. Meanwhile, the Tree of Life, a plethora of dangling amulets, intoning words of power and entering trance states are common tools and practices of witches on this side of the globe, with the key difference being the originating cultural context when you get down to the bones of it. They aren't terribly different in theory, it's just that the primary motivations betwen the two camps are arising from disparate loci within the human psyche.
 
Traditional witchcraft is influenced largely by rural life and surviving (even flourishing) in it; secondarily comes the spiritual-shamanistic aspects which are bent on attaining wisdom and sometimes power. New Age is largely influenced by Buddhist thought...more specifically, Mahayana Buddhist thought, which has a heavy focus on metta: benevolence, loving-kindness, consideration, and an active interest in the well-being of other sentient beings, a category which many also extend to animals, plants, and other forms. The thing is, most new agers around our neck of the woods don't read much on the roots of their new agey thought process, so they blindly ascribe Buddhist notions of metta to the neutral art of magic. I totally get how this can be frustrating to serious practitioners of more traditional ways, who are being told that they're being a bad person or even smearing the good name of the Craft because they hexed the balls right off of their cheating boyfriend. 
 
Where I find some disconnect, though, is with the manner in which many trad witches and ceremonial magicians look down on these people who are pursuing 'love and light, happiness for all, and peace on Earth'. Sure, it's a bit unrealistic, and of course, life is hard and bad things happen no matter how rose-tinted your lenses are. But even though they're coming from a position of ignorance which can disrupt conversation, they are generally at least coming from a place of well-meaning. Where I'm at, basic acts of kindness extended towards one's neighbor are extraordinary, and being shown honest consideration from someone simply by virtue of being a fellow human being in spite of otherwise gaping differences is nearly unheard of. I feel like the communities, independent and fiery as they are, need to find more reasons to eat at the same table and less reasons to close themselves up. 
 
I'd love to know more new agers in my local area. At least I could count on them to maybe try and keep a positive outlook on life during hard times and possibly invite me to a patchouli-scented conference hall. They'd keep me company while I learn all about how Mercury in retrograde killed my car's transmission.

Edited by Phaedra, 15 May 2018 - 04:29 PM.

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#162 Oroboros

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 05:36 PM

Hi Phaedra, first I want to say, overall I'm enjoying your well- written contributions to the forum!

 

However, I think it's more this: The thing is, most new agers around our neck of the woods don't read much on the roots of their new agey thought process,

 

And less this: I've come to understand that traditional witchcraft practicioners tend towards drawing lines in the sand between their world and the world of Eastern thought.

 

Many Trad here, myself included, have a deep interest in and respect for eastern practices.  

 

I don't want to go on sounding like I'm speaking for Trads in general, so- for me the issue with New Age is that they have cherry picked snippets of various philosophies that fit their paradigm and are essentially disrespecting and bastardizing those practices by not bothering to get an understanding of the big picture and roots from which they sprang.  Remember the popularity of the "Yin-Yang" symbol? How many New agers in the 80s ran around with that proudly displayed, while preaching all is love and light- when the very epitome of that concept is dualism. The fact that there is no light without darkness, the fact that there is a dark aspect to everything - left ignored.  That may not be the best example- but it sprang to mind.  

 

So, you've got this group of folks committing cultural appropriation like it's a sport, meanwhile judging folks who want to go deeper, for embracing the darker aspect of things.  It's also frustrating that people who have recognized themselves as witches, and have hunger to learn, have to navigate a minefield of misinformation, because this movement has had such wide popularity and seeped into so many publications.  

 

All that said.  I try to not throw the baby out with the bath water.  There are folks who identify as Wiccan who have wisdom and power.  There are folks who's only practice is decidedly New Age, who have something to offer.  Good deeds, and love and light are something the world needs more of.  I suppose I just wonder how true the light someone is offering can be, if they have no real understanding of darkness.  Some of the folks here most deeply entwined in that which is considered dark- are the first to readily and regularly commit sincere acts of kindness and giving.  It is the lack of balance and depth that I see as the issue.


Edited by Oroboros, 15 May 2018 - 05:44 PM.

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#163 Phaedra

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 06:27 PM

Thanks Oroboros, and well put! In my stream of consciousness writing, I should have caught myself unintentionally generalizing the standpoint of the trad practitioners! It's true, Eastern practices do find a home in the modern traditions of many witching folk....meditation as we know it originates from there, at the very least. I think I've just heard so much chat which applauds banework as if its a positive contribution to society and encourages the notion that the only 'real, legitimate and hardcore witch' is the one who absolutely hexes whenever provoked and forgives only after putting that b***c in his/her proper place. It's probably the prattling of the loud minority, but it sends the unstated message that there exists some imaginary duality comprised of the fluffy new agers who are all blessings and peace, and then the dark and spooky trads who think only about their own gain. Its a gross sentiment, and one that I can recall working through much earlier into my path. Shadow work can lead to some of the most powerful self-healing work, and knowing how to throw down a strong hex comes in handy when you find the need to break one.
 
The cultural appropriation aspect of it is also a good point. There's three head shops just in my area that cater to new agers right alongside the folks that come there for a new bong or dime bag, and I've gotten used to seeing little Buddha statues and chakra meditation tools being sold right alongside marijuana-print wall hangings. They'll print a pretty mandala or lotus on anything remotely related to yoga, and the majority haven't a clue of the rich significance of these things to the cultures they're derived from. Off topic, but just a couple weeks ago at the nearest shop, they've introduced books into the mix just underneath the crystal display; Wiccan-focused titles so generic and shallow Llewellyn wouldn't get within ten yards of the things. I was almost too embarrassed to crack open one of them in public...
 
I suppose if you do understand the cultural context and pay it due respect, it stops being negative cultural appropriation to include these foreign elements? I assume it depends on the culture in question, and how they view the use of their customs and imagery; Buddhism is generally more inclusive than, say, Native American or First Nations spirituality may be. Sticky territory.
 
 
 
   Confession: I had a yin-yang sticker on a notebook in middle school, and I thought it had something to do with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the time.

Edited by Phaedra, 15 May 2018 - 06:31 PM.

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#164 Solanaceae

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 08:07 PM

What Oroboros said.
I would only add that much of that 'love and light' many so 'generously' bestow and otherwise fling around is anything but benevolent. It is manipulative and misleading at best, parasitic and in fact harmful at worst.
Many lies live in the light. Shrouded in shining finery they blind thier unsuspecting victims from the truth.

Edited by Solanaceae, 15 May 2018 - 08:10 PM.

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Some are born to sweet delight,

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#165 Tricycle

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 02:14 AM

I find there are witches from both trad and wicca who are critical of other witches. It annoys me both ways.

 

Since this has been bumped, I will say there is a third new ager in my area since I wrote what I wrote about over positive people who lecture you, then ended up with rage  issues. Someone new is living next door for a year, with the current neighbours.

 

The ego on this woman is off the charts. Everything on social media is a selfie with a smarmy lecture about believing in yourself, not surrounding yourself with 'negative people', reaching for your goals, being successful, being in a positive relationship, etc, and all of these themes are based around the idea that all you need is to be positive at all costs, and shun all and any forms of negativity.

 

The thing is, she's single. Lecturing everyone else who is, in fact, in a relationship. She cannot do a workout without one of these selfies, telling us all that we can do it too. Not realising that many of us, in fact, do exercise, but we don't post selfies about it, so she assumes she is the only one who exercises!

 

She's come to live with her parents for a year to get her life on track, which is great, but if she's the font of all wisdom, shouldn't she have her life together more than the rest of us, rather than less? She constantly plays loud music with aggressive lyrics (one could call the music, 'negative' :kat: :stinky: ), which is bugging the hell out of us. She's royally screwed up my meditation and magical practises on more than one occasion due to her noise. There is a huge lack of self awareness with this one, not realising that it's not positive to just do whatever the hell you want and piss off those who live nearby.

 

The most interesting thing though, is the frequent, loud, screaming arguments she has, that we are subjected to, because they are as loud as her music. This is where I get the shits with those who lecture us about ONLY being positive. I agree with previous posters; ignore the darkness to your own detriment. It IS there, and it will come out, whether you want to address it or not. I personally wish she would address it before exploding in rage, so I could have peace and quiet in my own home :fucku:  her negativity is festering, I believe she's living her entire life in denial, and it's feeding her massive ego and selfish behaviour.

 

Sorry. She's doing my head in. I really like her parents next door, so I don't want to complain to them. Besides, I'm sure she'd turn it around that I'm just being negative. Perhaps it's spell time, just to get her to be quiet, or something. :P


Edited by Tricycle, 16 May 2018 - 02:16 AM.

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#166 Phaedra

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 11:37 AM

Yikes Tricycle, sounds like an occasion for a friendly hotfoot to me; maybe it'l have the wacky effect of getting her life on track in well under a year so she can shove back on out of there. She's not keeping you from a good night's sleep with all that racket at least, I'd hope?


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#167 Oroboros

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 11:33 AM

I find there are witches from both trad and wicca who are critical of other witches. It annoys me both ways.

 

Since this has been bumped, I will say there is a third new ager in my area since I wrote what I wrote about over positive people who lecture you, then ended up with rage  issues. Someone new is living next door for a year, with the current neighbours.

 

The ego on this woman is off the charts. Everything on social media is a selfie with a smarmy lecture about believing in yourself, not surrounding yourself with 'negative people', reaching for your goals, being successful, being in a positive relationship, etc, and all of these themes are based around the idea that all you need is to be positive at all costs, and shun all and any forms of negativity.

 

The thing is, she's single. Lecturing everyone else who is, in fact, in a relationship. She cannot do a workout without one of these selfies, telling us all that we can do it too. Not realising that many of us, in fact, do exercise, but we don't post selfies about it, so she assumes she is the only one who exercises!

 

She's come to live with her parents for a year to get her life on track, which is great, but if she's the font of all wisdom, shouldn't she have her life together more than the rest of us, rather than less? She constantly plays loud music with aggressive lyrics (one could call the music, 'negative' :kat: :stinky: ), which is bugging the hell out of us. She's royally screwed up my meditation and magical practises on more than one occasion due to her noise. There is a huge lack of self awareness with this one, not realising that it's not positive to just do whatever the hell you want and piss off those who live nearby.

 

The most interesting thing though, is the frequent, loud, screaming arguments she has, that we are subjected to, because they are as loud as her music. This is where I get the shits with those who lecture us about ONLY being positive. I agree with previous posters; ignore the darkness to your own detriment. It IS there, and it will come out, whether you want to address it or not. I personally wish she would address it before exploding in rage, so I could have peace and quiet in my own home :fucku:  her negativity is festering, I believe she's living her entire life in denial, and it's feeding her massive ego and selfish behaviour.

 

Sorry. She's doing my head in. I really like her parents next door, so I don't want to complain to them. Besides, I'm sure she'd turn it around that I'm just being negative. Perhaps it's spell time, just to get her to be quiet, or something. :P

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You know, for the folks who post workout pics and pics of their healthy plate of food and other similar points of non-interest daily. I have often thought it might be fun to start replying with pics of one's daily poop. Accompanied by dead serious discussion about fiber, what different colors and textures can mean etc. :D  Jk.

 

As for the rest, it sounds like to me a conversation is in order.  

You can point out that, despite your lack of FB posts on the topic, that maintaining a positive, peaceful environment is equally important to you as it is to her, followed by pointing out that that becomes difficult to maintain when it is disrupted by loud music.  You could even say, "I'm surprised that you don't find that aggressive music doesn't interfere with your peaceful energy."   

Also, people like that are clearly VERY concerned about what others think of them.  Simply letting her know, maybe like your doing her a favor: "You know how people can be, I wouldn't want the neighbors talking, so I thought you might want to know- we can hear your arguments, so other people probably can too", is probably all it would take for THAT to tone down at least.


Edited by Oroboros, 17 May 2018 - 11:33 AM.

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#168 Phaedra

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 04:23 PM

It's this kind of sentiment that leads me to believe eastern thought is widely avoided in trad craft. This was found at a local shop that I absolutely love to visit, and do so regularly. The folks there are wonderful, but apparently some select methods of working/communing with Weird just isn't 'witch' in their book.

IMG_20180516_122038740_zpsewuu5ys3.jpg?w

Edited by Phaedra, 22 May 2018 - 12:44 AM.

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#169 Solanaceae

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 08:01 PM

Ffs. I use sage and sweet grass and I know many other undeniable witches that do as well. Smoke clearing or smudging used in many traditions and practices.
N/A tradition's of course, but also hoodoo. Eastern traditions and even Catholics use smoke from burning herbs and resins to clear spaces. There are witches from all those background's, no less witches for using something that is tried and true and works!

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Some are born to sweet delight,

Some are born to endless night.

 

(Fragments from "Auguries of Innocence") William Blake


#170 BeanSiFiain

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 03:09 PM

Hi Phaedra, first I want to say, overall I'm enjoying your well- written contributions to the forum!

 

However, I think it's more this: The thing is, most new agers around our neck of the woods don't read much on the roots of their new agey thought process,

 

And less this: I've come to understand that traditional witchcraft practicioners tend towards drawing lines in the sand between their world and the world of Eastern thought.

 

Many Trad here, myself included, have a deep interest in and respect for eastern practices.  

 

I don't want to go on sounding like I'm speaking for Trads in general, so- for me the issue with New Age is that they have cherry picked snippets of various philosophies that fit their paradigm and are essentially disrespecting and bastardizing those practices by not bothering to get an understanding of the big picture and roots from which they sprang.  Remember the popularity of the "Yin-Yang" symbol? How many New agers in the 80s ran around with that proudly displayed, while preaching all is love and light- when the very epitome of that concept is dualism. The fact that there is no light without darkness, the fact that there is a dark aspect to everything - left ignored.  That may not be the best example- but it sprang to mind.  

 

So, you've got this group of folks committing cultural appropriation like it's a sport, meanwhile judging folks who want to go deeper, for embracing the darker aspect of things.  It's also frustrating that people who have recognized themselves as witches, and have hunger to learn, have to navigate a minefield of misinformation, because this movement has had such wide popularity and seeped into so many publications.  

 

All that said.  I try to not throw the baby out with the bath water.  There are folks who identify as Wiccan who have wisdom and power.  There are folks who's only practice is decidedly New Age, who have something to offer.  Good deeds, and love and light are something the world needs more of.  I suppose I just wonder how true the light someone is offering can be, if they have no real understanding of darkness.  Some of the folks here most deeply entwined in that which is considered dark- are the first to readily and regularly commit sincere acts of kindness and giving.  It is the lack of balance and depth that I see as the issue.

 

I want to start by saying that my understanding of traditional witchcraft since I have joined this forum has not particularly evolved, but grown. I had not originally considered traditional witchcraft to be a practice of specifically eastern or specifically western or specifically anywhere-ian. My concept of traditional witchcraft was simply that it was the practice of magics under use since ancient times. Now after time here and time studying a particular paganism, I understand it a bit more deeply where time and region is considered. I understand now that our practices are influenced not only by the earth and the practitioners, but also by communities' politics, religion, access, time since immigration to current land..... go on and on and on, much like the public 'culture' anthropologists study. 

 

And, wow. So after reading the first three pages of this thread and then being so "!!!!!" that I skipped ahead to this page to respond, Oroboros, you kind of took the words out of my mouth before I got to! Even down to Phaedra being well written. But now that you've said it, I also feel compelled to respond here.

 

Ok, so the only person I know in my life today that practices any craft is my brother in laws current wife. And I would call her a New Ager. Even before I realized that she's a witch (yea, I'll credit her with the title) I didn't like her. As a person. I got those "bad people" vibes from her. Not "witch" vibes ever, no, but that ew feeling in your belly when you encounter an 'empty' person, you know? So anyhow, I learn that she practices reiki, I learn that she smudged the apartment my husband and hers shared years ago before any of us were married, I notice things in her facebook posts... I don't believe she is a Wiccan. I mean to say I don't believe that she refers to herself as a Wiccan. I have never heard of anyone calling her a witch (until I said so in jest one day, when it was suggested I request her services; bare in mind I am very much IN my broom closet though everyone is familiar with my study of Celtic pagan magics). But nevertheless she is a witch I would not dare to speak to about witchcraft. I am not a very practiced witch, and it is not with her that I'd like to war with magic if it came to it. She, however, is one of these people who preach the "love and light" and "white" magic and "white lights" and all this. It is a lie in her life, but this is not where I take issue with this concept. I take issue with the 'birth' of Wicca, I indeed take issue with the cherry picking, and indeed even the amalgamation.  Wow, I probably sound 'ignorant' to say so, but really I blame Wicca for the confusion of neopaganism. God/Gods/gods/angels/demons/whatever, bless their silly souls, but the Neo movements have made genuine study of pagan magics of many peoples more difficult to study at the cost of their simple (mis)understanding of their assumed 'religions'. I blame neopagans for my sister in law, and so I ultimately blame Wicca for her. 

 

But I would even be a hypocrite to cry appropriation. For instance, my 'going back to my roots' so to speak would be 'appropriation' to natives. As if two and three generations is enough to be stripped of your heritage... And less innocently, my inclusion of some piece of my neighbors practice (in theory) in my own is most certainly appropriation. Unless, perhaps, it is a local practice, maybe, but there are layers to the shit, you feel me? My craft is personalized to me, and I dont fucking share!-- jk jk I mean I dont shove anything down anyones throats (unless its a legit a fact, like if you're telling people that the water in flint Michigan is fine to drink, imma shove that {the fucking water} down your throat, but you're beliefs are yours.... and that means for you, too! {hypothetical "you"s}) 

 

There's a fine line, and I think its written somewhere near wisdom. Im not even quite there yet. Something I learned a few years back from an extremely unlikely source, "no contempt before investigation." So I endeavor to investigate the shit out of whatever I'm turned off by. And in today's conclusion, I blame Wicca. I let them have it, its theirs, they own it, they can be Wiccans. I don't care. It doesn't bother me. It's just another religion to me. But I blame them for all the confusion, all the uptight upright ness, and the shadows they indeed keep hidden in the light. 

 

I think the balance and depth is there, everywhere, but so thinly spread, rare and precious. It's over there near that fine line I was talking about.


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#171 Phaedra

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 04:01 PM

There's a lot to chew on here in your reply, BeanSiFiain! One matter you brought beneath the light stands out to me as something for clarification, though. About your sister in law; there are a lot of 'love and light' philosophies out there that don't come close to the hedges of Wicca (which, at its roots, isn't exactly 'love and light', either). With this woman being all up on the white light and good feels kick, not giving off 'witch' vibes, and also carrying the feel of an 'empty' person (I know what you mean by this; living with one now), what is it about her that lends you to give her the title? I apologize if I'm not very clear at the moment, I'm feeling a bit of haze in the head...maybe it's this figure we're discussing who seems to me very strange and paradoxical. The undercurrent of a witch is one of depth, mystery, and power, or at least it's been so in my experience with others of the Craft. An empty witch to me is a complete oxymoron. 
 
 And, ouch, there's a lot more to neopaganism than fluff and misguided or confused religion! Maybe the young and/or inexperienced crowd under the neopagan umbrella are the loudest majority, but technically speaking, just about any contemporary individual who gets spiritual fulfillment from either pre- or extra-Abrahamic traditions could be categorized as a neo or modern pagan, irregardless of their personal labels or lack thereof. (...As a disclaimer, though, I'm most specifically lumping folks of the western and north country-influenced persuasions in this, and not our friends of Indian, Asian, or African spiritual traditions, and other indigenous groups not immediately coming to mind.)

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#172 BeanSiFiain

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 06:43 PM

 

There's a lot to chew on here in your reply, BeanSiFiain! One matter you brought beneath the light stands out to me as something for clarification, though. About your sister in law; there are a lot of 'love and light' philosophies out there that don't come close to the hedges of Wicca (which, at its roots, isn't exactly 'love and light', either). With this woman being all up on the white light and good feels kick, not giving off 'witch' vibes, and also carrying the feel of an 'empty' person (I know what you mean by this; living with one now), what is it about her that lends you to give her the title? I apologize if I'm not very clear at the moment, I'm feeling a bit of haze in the head...maybe it's this figure we're discussing who seems to me very strange and paradoxical. The undercurrent of a witch is one of depth, mystery, and power, or at least it's been so in my experience with others of the Craft. An empty witch to me is a complete oxymoron. 
 
 And, ouch, there's a lot more to neopaganism than fluff and misguided or confused religion! Maybe the young and/or inexperienced crowd under the neopagan umbrella are the loudest majority, but technically speaking, just about any contemporary individual who gets spiritual fulfillment from either pre- or extra-Abrahamic traditions could be categorized as a neo or modern pagan, irregardless of their personal labels or lack thereof. (...As a disclaimer, though, I'm most specifically lumping folks of the western and north country-influenced persuasions in this, and not our friends of Indian, Asian, or African spiritual traditions, and other indigenous groups not immediately coming to mind.)

 

 

phew, you're right, I just reread it. I get carried away sometimes, lose my train of thought and miss a beat..

 

so about Empty Witch, shall we call her; she very definitely practices magical arts, whatever they may be, wherever she learned them, publicly, and I can only assume privately as well. The energy healing or reiki... I used to know a 'reiki master' and I could feel a healing energy within him, whether it was reiki I dont know, but he had it. She preforms in the same motions as he did and I feel nothing, sometimes I feel malice, but im unsure if its my, well call it fear, of her or if its coming from her. I won't allow her to engage with me or mine in this manner. reiki is the only firsthand experience I have of her practice. she 'noticed' something in my dog (and this is now a huge bone of contention within our family) and since she touched her, our dog has grown masses in each of her teets. it happened very quickly. she bent down, the dog yiped, and she said, "I think she's in pain." a few days later I noticed lumps amassing. now every breast is affected. she shows no pain, they seem to be benign, but some of us truly believe she did something to our dog. she posts on facebook about magic and energy and alludes to the manipulation thereof. her home screams witch, you know? talismans, herbs, vessels.... the tingle of magic in the air, but its always dark, closed off from fresh air, and the current inside is dynamic as all get out. 

but to speak to her, to spend time in her company, she has no quarrel with showing you her disinterest, she will smile, she will compliment the smell of your meal in the oven, she will compare whatever you say to some wonder in her life, but the moment attention moves she will pull her husband aside or announce some heretofore unmentioned appointment she's about to miss. you know that sparkle most folk get when their happy or otherwise joyous? she doesn't have it. for such light blue eyes, they are so dark, so dim and devoid.

 

so, again, I see it reiterated a thousand times in this thread, to each his own. im not hating on Wiccans, im not hating on any neopagans (and you are right, thats a huge umbrella, and I meant it to be super broad). I know im comming off like I am. I know its sounding like im saying, "fuck them all for ruining shit!" but im saying not that Wiccans are pooshit, but that the interpretations offered within Wicca of the deities and the practices they 'borrow' from have, together with christian idealism, served to influence the neopagan communities and alter the prime representations and purposes and meanings and reasons etc of the pagan systems of antiquity that they represent. indeed the world needs more love and light. but love and light should not supersede and replace the necessity for war and battle, guile and manipulation, hard work and manual labor, deeper study and thought, etc... it is the reinterpretation of these concepts, be them ideas, beings, practices, whatever, to reflect a more peaceful modern sensibility, that adulterates and whitewashes the identifying characteristics of the cultures the concepts were born to serve. even in this way, Wicca has its place; it exists to serve this modern culture of self. and it has made it difficult, in my experience, to study the authentic practices that came before the seventies. Wicca is the shroud of witchcraft, and the veil it sheds over the witchy domain is both protective and obscuring. 


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