I just have a few things to say to our ever-lovely growing pagan community. I would think that some of these things are common sense but apparently not everyone understands what it means to be an asshole.
Firstly, when you are in a tent camping area, it’s a dick move to sing at the top of your lungs the Spongebob Squarepants theme song. After midnight. Where children are sleeping. Sometimes places have areas marked for the loud partiers and an area for the quieter folks. But when an event isn’t marked that way, it’s generally acceptable to treat the area as if it’s full of sleeping people. Even if you see a group of people gathered under a gazebo tent drinking and laughing it up. Because people laughing it up is much easier to deal with then someone 10 feet from your tent screaming at the top of their lungs. Drumming late into the night away from tents is also acceptable. If you can’t figure out that singing that loudly is a dick move, stay home.
Secondly, cruising your car through a camping area and shining your headlights into tents after 1 am is ALSO a dick move. I shouldn’t even have to explain that one. So I am not going to. But if you read that and thought “why?” stay home.
Thirdly, could we stop making people into celeb-pagans? The same people who preach on about the evils of hierarchy sure do love reinforcing hierarchy by making others into celebs and some of these celeb-pagans sure do enjoy that sort of status. Do people deserve some thanks for sharing their experiences and knowledge through books or music? Sure. Do they need god-like status? Abso-fucking-lutely not. And now we have a two fold problem.
The first problem is that some of us will go to a presentation given by a “celeb-pagan” wondering if they will get any good stuff from it and we get to sit by the people who decide they must snap photos of the “celeb-pagan” while they stand before us in workshop. Do you have any fucking idea how distracting and downright annoying it is when your flash goes off during a heavy-duty discussion about trance postures or green witchcraft? Seriously! If you want a picture, try this novel idea. First you go up to the “celeb-pagan” BEFORE or AFTER the workshop and spend some time chit chatting with them. Then casually ask them if you could take a photo with them. Then you have a picture to show off to your friends and you are in it so that you can remember that moment. Honestly, if I was giving a presentation and had cameras going off in my face, I would confiscate your camera until the session is over. This is probably why I am not asked to do presentations. Plus no one really wants a picture with me (which is perfectly fine. And if you do want one, just freaking ask!). Seriously as I sat near people constantly taking pics mid-session, I couldn’t help but think that it was a similar to how people act at the zoo. Do we really need to treat authors and our knowledgeable community as if they are some sort of rare monkey?
Now for the second part of the problem. Some of these “celeb pagans” make themselves unavailable to the rest of us. Some of them will stay hidden in a VIP area until it’s time for their session. Or they only talk to you at their booth in which they are trying to sell their latest books (or several and whatever else they have to offer). If you state that you want to touch base with your fans, go sit with them at a meal, during a music set, or casually walk around and greet everyone you see. Let me tell you something about a man who goes by the name of Oberon Zell, he is old school and something we need more of. He will go to every session he can. He will come sit with the general community during some music. He will greet every person he sees with a smile and a hello at the very least. I can’t say the same thing about many of our other knowledgeable folks who have been heralded as “celeb-pagans”. Wendy Rule is also an approachable woman. I got the chance to chat with her while walking towards my tent one morning and she is just like me but gifted with an amazing voice and awesome song-writing skills.
This doesn’t mean that headlining speakers don’t deserve a VIP room or first place in line for a meal. What it means is to be a human being and act as an equal to others. Otherwise you lose credibility with many of us. And for the record, I feel this way about hollywood celebs. But given some recent experiences, I feel like the pagan community needs a knock upside the head.
And now for my final rant on asshole behavior. Turn off your fucking cellphones when you are in a workshop! It’s one thing if you are on-call because you have a sick family member that you might have to run off to get. It’s quite another if your phone is going off every five minutes because you are gossiping about something completely irrelevant to what’s taking place. Which also leads me to the next asshole move that I cannot stand. If you are in a space that has a workshop going on keep your fucking mouth shut! If you don’t care about the session but in the mood to talk….go outside or away a respectable amount of distance and then talk with whomever it is you are talking to. It’s highly disrespectful to the attendees and the speaker for you to run your mouth and actually have to be asked to shut up.
So there. That’s how I feel. Please don’t ever treat me as if I am a “celeb-pagan”. I am not smarter or more closely connected to any deity. I am simply me. I shit, piss, and fart just like everyone else. And I am pretty sure that your favorite author or musician does too.