There is a type of virus that has been plaguing the pagan and occult community for decades, a virus for which the only cure is suicide or euthanasia. This virus is rampant; a disease so powerful, so malicious, that it strikes at the very soul of paganism: education, free thought and self-empowerment.
This virus is self-importance and narcissism.
Now, here’s the rub: the virus seems to affect primarily those who make money off their occult practices. Those who market themselves as immanent authorities in their fields; those whose blathering blogs, websites, Facebook pages, and forums literally ‘boil over’ with their own enthusiasm about themselves; how superb they are at what they do, how excellent their wares, how impeccable their performance and petitions to the Gods, and most importantly, how lucky we poor mortal souls are to have such enlightened and inspired folks among us. How lucky indeed.
I would like to say, that I also, have very strong opinions on matters of Divinity, herbal uses in magic and healing, Spirit divination, rituals and workings, summoning and communing with the Disincarnate, etc. However, what I hope never to do and what I loathe about some, is the claim to ‘know everything about everything’, and to spout off unsolicited advice and opinion where none was asked for or desired.
We are all ‘specialists’. Building an occult knowledge that is truly powerful, real and Divine, takes a lifetime and even then, we have just scratched the impermeable surface. People spend their WHOLE lives learning just the magic and mystery of the Tarot, or concentrating specifically on Stellar Spirits or Elementals. To purport to be expert in all things occult is not only insulting to those who spend lifetimes on one ‘specialty’, but to the Gods themselves, who have called us. Even the Gods are specialists; war, herbs, summoning the Dead, oracles, etc. Even They have their own areas of expertise and stick to it.
What irritates and harms the pagan community isn’t the fact that people may disagree or argue about some personal characteristics of the Gods or the superb magical benefits of Mandragora, but the fact that so many believe themselves and market themselves as Superior Prefects in Occult Knowledge and Performance. You may be good at what you do, but you cannot be good at everything. You may have a wonderful ‘general’ knowledge; you may know a great many specifics about your own system and that to which you were ‘initiated’ or trained, but please never fool yourself (or think you are fooling us), into thinking that you know ‘all about all’. You are vastly more dangerous and insidious in your self-importance and conceit than any novice or non-initiate who dabbles with the occult on the weekends, fancying themselves as Aleister Crowley, in hooded cloak and pentagram.
Yes, the occult can be dangerous. Yes, not all Gods are kind and not all Spirits are helpful. Not all people are ‘cut out’ either mentally or emotionally for an occult life style or mind set. People can and have, got themselves into serious trouble ‘rushing in where Angels fear to tread’ and even worse, summoning Demons or invoking Goddesses of lust and wrath, not knowing Who they summon and not knowing what to do with the Great Ones once They arrive. I understand those warnings and agree.
But what is not helpful, what is NOT of benefit to the pagan community at large or even struggling, unlearned pagans individually, is the seemingly never-ending platitudes and condescension that just pours off of some ‘pagans for profit’, those that hold themselves as authorities in their fields, and it would appear, authorities in ALL fields.
They drown us with endless, useless verbiage, full of self and offering very little useful or practical information, because really, they believe ‘we just won’t be able to handle it’. Like church priests, the protectors of hierarchies and monotheism, you, my pagan friend, need an ‘intermediary’. You must buy my ointment, you must buy my wand, you must let me make your mojo bags, you must buy my book to really learn the ‘secrets’ of the Craft. Bah…humbug.
I am all for free market, making money, rolling in the gold and earning a living doing what you enjoy and what you know. However, that does not mean that just because you can put a curse on my neighbour, that you also, somehow miraculously know all the intricacies and characteristics of the entirety of the Greek pantheon or that I care to hear your opinions on such. I don’t.
You may be able to make a mean potion to help me achieve trance or visit the astral. Well done. But please don’t purport yourself to be an expert on Luciferianism and their adherents, and spout off about who I should or shouldn’t listen to if I am interested in Luciferianism. You don’t practice it, and you can’t with accuracy know all the detailed information about a system you don’t follow.
For us as diehards, for us of the Old Ways and whose passion for it inflames our hearts and makes us insane, I offer this solution: Do what you do and keep your mouth shut on the rest.
If you are of the Voodoo persuasion, and this is your passion, and life’s blood, wonderful. Keep to it, please share what you know. Please make a great living at it if possible. But don’t clutter the pagan consciousness with your little snippets of genteel wisdom on the worrisome aspects of evoking Circe or Lilith. I am not interested. If I want your opinion, I’ll ask for it.
If your path is one of circles, athames, the Lord and Lady and candle magic, I am happy for you. I hope all your petitions are granted and that while ‘harming none’, you increase in prosperity, abundance and health. But I am not interested in your warnings of summoning Shades or working with the Dark. You don’t know about it, you don’t practice it, you don’t agree with it, so….kindly be quiet.
When you come right down to it, the Gods have blessed us all with specific knowledge to aid in our growth, and that of our brothers. The Great Spider Woman Herself has set each of us on Strand, not on the whole Web. We are to work what we know. We are to continue learning and hopefully share wisely what we have learned and what has been given to us.
Work your Strand. Do what you do with honour, diligence, authority and peace. But, where your knowledge is closed, your mouth should follow.