I feel like I've written a lot on here about things revolving around church. It makes sense, since the new UU community is the latest brand new development in my religious and spiritual life. However, I wanted to post about something unrelated to church, even briefly.
PEOPLE STILL GENERALIZE...
The only thing I have to say right now is that today, on YouTube, someone left a comment asking if I was a redditor, or a person who uses reddit.com, which I am not. I'm not actually very familiar with it, though I've seen it, so I decided to check it out. I searched "pagan" to see what kinds of interesting things there might be that I'm missing out on. The first thing I saw was an atheist man who's married to a pagan woman, asking if such a pairing was bound to lead down a negative road. This caught my eye because I'm currently dating an atheist. The second thing to I saw on the page--and the last, for after this, I did not want to look further--was a post titled something like "Let's forget Christians, Jews, and Muslims for a second. Let's talk about how ANNOYING Wiccans and other 'neo-pagans' are!"
I shouldn't have clicked on it. You know I shouldn't have. I know I shouldn't have. But I did.
The post was from someone who previously identified as Wiccan, but now only had very negative things to say. But, as is so terribly common, they were actually only referring to people who use the title but have no practice or knowledge of what they speak of. They were not at all describing an actual practitioner. I honestly can't remember any exact words now, because I looked at it over an hour ago and I will not look again. As soon as I saw the usual misinformation and generalizations leveled at us, I stopped reading closely, so my memory has thankfully allowed the information to slip away. I just recall the usual stuff, like the author claiming that all Wiccans are the way they described (when they're clearly not), that none of them know anything, that they will take information and practices from any culture that people know little about and call it their own but don't know any history, etc. Now, I'm an eclectic Wiccan, yes. My practice includes elements from other religions. That does not mean I don't know where they came from, what they mean, or why I use them.
Anyway, the post ended with a statement of annoyance--If you thought Christians and Jews and Muslims were bad/hard to reason with, try talking to a Wiccan! Sheesh! (Again, that's not verbatim, but that's what it said.) I also remember one reply/comment on the post, which was from someone who said they used to be pagan and then realized they were "a fucking idiot" and stopped believing it.
It just frustrates me so much, still, that so many people will post outright hatred like that instead of admitting that not every Wiccan or neopagan out there is like that. Trust me, I know those people DO exist, and they will either learn or turn away from the path when they realize it's not for them. I'm not saying the unfortunate stereotype has no basis in reality. But such individuals are not experienced practitioners, or not serious about the path. They couldn't be, or they wouldn't be so uninformed. I have not yet met a truly dedicated practitioner who is anything like that horrible imagined view of us. Even beginners asking me if Wicca would be right for them are dedicated seekers, and they do not insist on calling themselves Wiccan if they don't think they are. I've only come across a few people who seem to insist on being called Wiccan even though from our conversations it's been clear to me that they are not, that their beliefs simply lean elsewhere.
I'm not a traditional Wiccan, but I'm not an idiot, randomly claiming the title with no reasoning behind it. I know many Wiccans like me, who may not be traditional, but have genuine work behind us and genuine dedication to our paths. So yes, it still bothers me that some people not only are bothered by those who do not yet know things, but also go on to claim that ANY WICCAN is this way! I can only teach by example, but people who are willing to spread such lies and generalized hate do not seek out sincere practitioners in order to change their minds. They don't want to be shown how wrong they are.
SHOULD HAVE BEEN A GAME-CHANGER
This reminds me of a comment I once got. The person commented that they could see, from my videos, that I am clearly a very intelligent girl who knows what she's talking about and has a true connection to her path. They said that they agree with my well thought out perspective on my path. So far, so good. They went on to say that because of this truth they could see in me, and because they themselves agree so much with my views, I must be a pagan, and "NOT a fluffy bunny Wiccan." Their words. Verbatim. You bet I remembered that one. Their argument was that since I am knowledgeable and they agree with me, I cannot possibly be Wiccan because Wiccans, as they believe, are ALL ignorant, uninformed children who don't have any idea what they're doing.
Instead of rerouting their stereotypes and saying Wow, here is a Wiccan who is clearly NOT what I thought Wiccans were... I must have been wrong, at least some Wiccans must be genuine! this person refused to admit that their ideas could have been incorrect, and INSTEAD said I must just be using the wrong name for myself. Clearly. That is the only possible explanation.
Anyway, this is nothing you wouldn't have heard from me before if you watch my channel, but it still gets my goat. I am perturbed. I have a hard time understanding how some people who accuse us of being so uninformed can remain so terribly uninformed, themselves.