For many of us who grew up in some form of organized religion and found our way to Paganism, being told we aren't walking our path correctly gives flashbacks to those old habits we broke away from. One of the better things I enjoy about being a Witch is I have no one except the Deities I follow that I must be held accountable to. Unfortunately, there is an ever-increasing number of people walking that Pagan path who have become much like those elders and preachers they have supposedly left in their past.
I am not talking about the well-respected elders in our Pagan community. If they have any thoughts on judging another person they don't blast it all over their Facebook timeline, twitter, or write about it on a blog. I believe IF they feel there is cause for concern that someone may not be walking *correctly* these elders would have the breeding to be discreet when addressing their concern. I could be wrong here, but I just can't even begin to imagine someone like Selena Fox publicly calling out someone for anything .. at all.
So why is it acceptable for any of the rest of us to behave in this manner? Those who make a public spectacle of their self-righteous outrage over a perceived wrong show just how little they themselves honor their own walk. And yes, I am guilty of this same type of behavior. At least I used to be. For some of those who will be reading this posting, I'm sure they are going to be saying something like *see, even Vickie is being judgmental*. I'm not, I'm trying to make a point without casting blame or judging any one single person or group of people. And my biggest question is Why? Why do so many in the Pagan community feel it is their duty to seek out and judge someone else if that person is not living up to their standards of belief?
Not everyone follows the same path, not everyone can be as diligent as another when it comes to how they walk their walk. That freedom is what Paganism is supposed to be about. I know it isn't my place to tell anyone which pantheon they have to follow, nor is it for me to dictate to anyone else which Sabbats they celebrate.
"If you are overly bothered by what is going on in someone else's home, life, or spirituality, then it makes others believe how miserable your life is and how unsatisfied you are with your own personal choices. This also shows just how little faith you have in your own personal spiritual path." ~Jim
In our daily walk, so many of us struggle with things that should be considered mundane and not catastrophic. Unfortunately, the harsh reality of life is that many only have their faith to hold onto for that tiny shred of sanity. Does it really matter if I don't celebrate each Sabbat in the manner someone else prescribes to? No. Does it matter if someone in my circle has dubious luck when it comes to growing things? No. Does it matter if someone else has a difficult time honoring the life of all living things in the manner of those who call themselves animists? No. Each of us has been given the gift of free will which allows us to follow whichever path, Deity, or life we have chosen without anyone else being our judge.
The good thing about this entire situation is that there are a few people who are speaking out about what is going on. If more of us stand up for what can only be considered bullying, this latest cycle of *I am better than you so I get to tell you how to live* will stop. Luckily, there are people speaking out against this behavior. Last Friday I read Mid-Stride Moxie where Lina talks about being a bad Pagan. I relate to many of the things she speaks about. I have sketchy luck with plants, I don't worship *all* nature (in fact I have a healthy strong dislike for spiders, snakes, and mosquitoes among others), and with a 3-year-old running the house, it's challenging to celebrate or honor each Sabbat on time in someone else's notion of how they must be celebrated. My altar is nonexistent at the moment, I have a difficult time embracing everyone who claims to be Pagan and the Harm None philosophy went out the window more than a few years ago.
Do these things make me a bad Witch? No. It makes me an individual with my own thoughts and ideas who answers to no one other than my Goddess and Gods as THEY direct me along my path. Yes, I stumble, yes I pick myself up and carry on. And like my friend Angela told me earlier in the week
"over the last few weeks people have been going off on status messages, blog posts and other assorted social media venues telling people how they "should" or "should not" be instead of just accepting people have different relationships with their deity. Its annoying and smacks of organized religion".
Yeah, each person has a DIFFERENT relationship with their Deity and no one else has the right to tell someone they are doing it wrong because they aren't. Period.