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My take on folks who follow various paths

It occurs to me that based on some of the comments in a previous post I ought to clarify something just real quick. I have been Wiccan in the past, practiced actively for 10+ years but then stopped because I felt sort of foolish. This does not mean that I think everyone who practices Wicca is foolish. Nor do I think that most pagans are "fluffy bunny" pagans. I am fine with any and all of the following and then some:

Heathen/Asatru, Feri, Wicca, Dianic, Ecclectic, Gnostic, Voudon, Candomble, Santeria, Christian, Cathar, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, etc etc etc etc.

I don't particularly care what an individual's path is. It does not bother me how you practice your thingy, either. You can worship the pantheon of one system, pick and choose among many, pray to your One True God. All good.

Where I start getting tetchy is when folks start pointing at others and saying "that ain't the way." If you want to choose whatever aspect of a diety you pray to and pluck what you want from four or five various religious systems, or if you learned your system of worship from a book published three years ago, or if you are truly a third-generation practitioner of Whateveritis, cool. But don't tell someone that they can't pray their way, that they can't access the divine in their own fashion -- or choose not to engage the divine consciously at all -- or they are wrong/stupid/evil/etc. Don't tell a white serviteur that they "can't" practice voudon if they haven't gone to Haiti and taken the assan. Don't tell someone that if they haven't studied for xx years they can't pray to so-and-so.

But, you say, they can't! It's irresponsible, they're in over their head, they're going to get smacked. They don't have the knowledge to pdq! It is not appropriate for them to abc! I'm concerned! No, actually, I'm offended!.

Well. Since clearly you have been designated God's bouncer, come on over. You're officially hired. You get to spend a good cut of time advising people, kindly and without judgement, such that they can better understand their own path and learn where to find the knowledge and skills to better follow it. You'll want to free up your calendar some.

This doesn't mean that I don't recognize that some practitioners don't have full grasp yet of what they are doing. My own pet peeve is folks who confuse hoodoo with voudon, or Hollywood-movie-style voodoo with voudon. But if you are going to criticize, you'd better teach. It's a bit like complaining about the presidential election -- if you didn't vote, you don't get to fuss. If you don't help to kindly dispell ignorance while making room for disagreement, best to keep your opinions off of others' practice.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
silverflight
Jan. 12th, 2008 02:35 am (UTC)
AMEN.
chelsearoad
Jan. 12th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
Amen. Or, if you prefer...so mote it be!
sevenjades
Jan. 12th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
Well. Since clearly you have been designated God's bouncer, come on over.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! Well said!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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annieolaughlin

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