The Scariest Job On Earth

Ok, maybe not the scariest, but it’s on up there in the toll it takes on the well-being of the worker: Pagan blogger.

Oh, of all the nightmares and spectres we will tantalize ourselves with over the Halloween weekend, I’d like to float a few ghouls past you to send a chill down your spine. So grab some popcorn, dim the lights and snuggle up in your blankie as I reveal the scariest things about being a Pagan blogger.

Scary pumpkin by JimmyJOp Flickr CC

Why Being A Pagan Blogger Is Scary

  1. Obviously, as a Pagan blogger, you are a Christian in disguise. On a regular basis you will be accused of being Christian to various degrees: from simply not having gotten over your birth faith to “Uncle Tom-ing” for monotheism to actually being a hardcore fundie trying to sneakily undermine Paganism from within.
  2. Obviously, as a Pagan blogger, you have anger issues with Christianity. Also on a regular basis you will be accused of being unreasonably, hatefully and maliciously anti-Christian, because criticism or just plain reporting equals hate for some people.
  3. Obviously, as a Pagan blogger, you want to hear disgusting gossip. On a regular basis you will receive messages claiming someone in the Pagan community is a thief, a pervert, a pedophile, a drug addict, a rapist, a sexual harasser, and even a murderer. In hysterical language you be told of misdeeds so foul that you think you must have misread the e-mail. Surely this person is in prison? Surely this person has been reported to the police? Surely witnessing such heinous acts leads the witness to demand justice from law enforcement? Surely if this is true there’s a police record? Nope, and stop calling me Shirley.
  4. Obviously, as a Pagan blogger, you have vast amounts of time and money but you’re selfish. You can go to every festival, support every cause because otherwise you’re a fraud who making money off Paganism, or worse, being “paid to be Pagan.” Except when you’re not making any money, or the money works out to less than minimum wage and barely covers your hosting fees, or your job requires 75% non-Pagan work in order to make just enough to cover the bills. And of course, if you have time to blog you have time to engage every reader in-depth to exhaustively address their concerns or time to visit every Pagan festival, event and meeting within 200 miles.
  5. Obviously, as a Pagan blogger, you are a racist, communist, fascist, liberal, conservative, Nazi, homophobic, sexist, pedophile, fluffy bunny, bully, pushover creep. Because without a thousand disclaimers any statement you make can and will be interpreted as absurdly maliciously as possible, and people feel justified in making ad hominem attacks against you.
  6. Obviously, as a Pagan blogger, you are fair game for harassment. State criticism or disappointment in another Pagan or simply state an opinion they don’t like, however fairly and civilly, and you become fair game to be attacked for your age, sex, appearance, weight, ethnicity, religious background, geographic location, family, sexuality, accent, disability, motive, intention and nationality. The person who attacks you will often take the moral high ground, because obviously you forced them to attack you. And when a romantic overture is politely rebuffed, you become doubly suited for harassment regardless of whether you did the overturing or rebuffing.
  7. Obviously, as a Pagan blogger, you are an intolerant censor. You have an infinite capacity to receive and accept all forms of abuse, otherwise you are an evil person who only tolerates those who agree with you. If someone is uncivil to you, or treats you in a contemptuous and dismissive manner, you must accept it or be labeled an advocate of censorship for nefarious purposes.
  8. Obviously, as a Pagan blogger, you are an elitist. If you try to discuss meaningful concepts, take religion blogging seriously, nip nonsense in the bud or reserve your full-hearted approval for only those things that truly align with your values, then you’re a snobby elitist who’s likely an angry and unhappy person.
  9. Obviously, as a Pagan blogger, you are silly. Wasting your time on pop culture, humor, poetry, crafts, music and other frivolous things makes everyone very disappointed in you. You are blatantly shallow and stupid.
  10. Obviously, as a Pagan blogger, you speak for every Pagan everywhere. You carefully craft each post with myriad disclaimers and crouch everything into inoffensive language and represent every viewpoint.
  11. Obviously, as a Pagan blogger, you shouldn’t speak for anyone. When you take a particular stance on a position someone doesn’t care for, you need to be taken down a peg, and you should meekly accept the profanity-laced rant when you don’t write the way someone who has arbitrarily decided they are your “better” thinks you should write. And if you’ve built a loyal following by writing from one point of view you are obviously bigoted when you don’t write from a point of view different from yours and uninteresting to your readers.
  12. Obviously, as a Pagan blogger, you should keep silent. Because you’re full of crap, you’re silly, you’re angry, you’re an angry woman, an angry man, an angry homosexual, an angry ethnic, you’re arrogant to think anyone wants to read your blog, you’re too young to speak, too old to be relevant, too famous to understand ordinary Pagans, too much of a nobody for anyone to care, you don’t read the right books, you’re an insufferable nerd, you don’t have the right politics, you don’t eat the right foods, you don’t practice Paganism the “right” way and you just need to keep your big mouth shut.
  13. Obviously, as a Pagan blogger, you need to be harmed, or even killed. You should just accept you’ll get threatening messages, warning you to stay away from events, cursing your children, showing your home on a map, threatening your job, threatening your reputation and you have to put up with it because you wrote something they disagreed with and now they’re threatening your life. (Always report threats to the police. They will try to track down the perpetrator and pay them a visit, even if they are in another state.)

Not all of these things have happened to me, but most have. Some have happened to other bloggers I know. Much of this applies to Pagan authors, teachers and organizers.

So this post is dedicated to all those Pagans willing to endure “the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune” and still get up the next day and write that next blog post, teach that next class, pull together next year’s festival or record that next podcast, knowing that pretty much every day you will encounter one of the scary things above. This post is for those who’ve worked hard day-in and day-out and whose souls are weary. This post is for those who question whether or not it’s worth it to write that post, to teach that class, to put on that festival or to plan that podcast knowing all the hate headed their way. This post is for those who get discouraged when 100 people read their post, and the 99 who loved it remain silent, while the one hater puts an arrow through their heart with a hateful comment.

I wrote this because I don’t think most people have any clue how much bloggers have to put up with, even the bloggers they read regularly and think are awesome.

So Here’s What I Want You To Do

Find a blogger, podcaster, author, teacher or organizer whose work you truly appreciate. Someone who makes a difference in your life by their work. Don’t pick me. I’m good. I’m eating chocolate. Pick someone whose work you love but maybe you’ve never commented on before.

Then tell them how much you appreciate them. Tell them you appreciate all the negativity, hate and just plain meanness they put up with, because I guarantee you no matter who you pick, they have put up with more nastiness than you can imagine.  Let them know they are not alone and they have your support. I can promise you it will mean the world to them.

Soon we will remember the dead, but lets not forget to remember the living as well.

UPDATE: Strangely enough, I didn’t see this until after I wrote and posted this but it kind of proves my point. At least I think so, but my readers are smart enough to make up their own minds.

About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • Greenflame

    Second scariest job: being a Pagan blog reader and realizing the number of asshats we seem to have in our community :-(  Enjoy your well-earned chocolate. I’m off to email Peter Paddon and thank him for all he does.

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      Well done! He’s a busy man!

  • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

    Well done! He’s a busy man!

  • kenneth

    So I was thinking, briefly, of starting my own pagan blog. That’s just been bumped to below “pulmonary embolism” on my “must try out someday” list!

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      Ha! Actually, I think you’d likely be pretty good at it!

  • kenneth

    So I was thinking, briefly, of starting my own pagan blog. That’s just been bumped to below “pulmonary embolism” on my “must try out someday” list!

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      Ha! Actually, I think you’d likely be pretty good at it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/RevCrystal.Blanton Crystal Blanton

    Thanks for writing this.  It made me laugh, remember and feel a little sadness… or disappointment.  I started blogging after my first coven experience…. to share at first and then became a place to process what it meant for me to live as a Pagan and endure some of the experiences I was having.  That grew to other adventures and things.  Sometimes I am amused at what comes towards writers and am always saddened by the disrespect we extend to one another as a collective community.  

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      It’s a new adventure every day.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548883612 Flame Bridesdottir

       *am always saddened by the disrespect we extend to one another as a collective community.*This.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RevCrystal.Blanton Crystal Blanton

    Thanks for writing this.  It made me laugh, remember and feel a little sadness… or disappointment.  I started blogging after my first coven experience…. to share at first and then became a place to process what it meant for me to live as a Pagan and endure some of the experiences I was having.  That grew to other adventures and things.  Sometimes I am amused at what comes towards writers and am always saddened by the disrespect we extend to one another as a collective community.  

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      It’s a new adventure every day.

  • W. Keith Baldwin

    Thank you.

  • W. Keith Baldwin

    Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/badwitch1234 Bad Witch

    I’ve been writing a pagan blog – http://www.badwitch.co.uk – for about four years now. It is hard work, but I haven’t had much criticism. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. I’d really recommend blogging as a way of keeping a pagan diary and sharing it.

  • http://twitter.com/badwitch1234 Bad Witch

    I’ve been writing a pagan blog – http://www.badwitch.co.uk – for about four years now. It is hard work, but I haven’t had much criticism. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. I’d really recommend blogging as a way of keeping a pagan diary and sharing it.

  • Anonymous

    Geez o pete, luckily I haven’t experienced any of this stuff. Nothing but support and good vibes from my readers (all 14 of them LOL). 

    I think that’s because when you are a pagan writing from a specifically ethnic point of view — as I do — you are automatically out of the mainstream, and so you don’t garner much interest from the larger pagan community. It is truly a labor of love done for its own sake, with no monetary reward or recognition.

    The few readers you do have are part of that small demographic and are just happy you exist and are “representing them” so to speak, so you don’t get all the nasty comments. 

    Anyhow, keep up the good work. I imagine one must either have a thick skin or develop one quick. :-)

    • http://twitter.com/ouranophobe Áine

      I read your blog, despite not necessarily being your target audience.  I’ve found it tremendously educational and thought-provoking.  Thank you for writing it!

  • blackpagan

    Geez o pete, luckily I haven’t experienced any of this stuff. Nothing but support and good vibes from my readers (all 14 of them LOL). 

    I think that’s because when you are a pagan writing from a specifically ethnic point of view — as I do — you are automatically out of the mainstream, and so you don’t garner much interest from the larger pagan community. It is truly a labor of love done for its own sake, with no monetary reward or recognition.

    The few readers you do have are part of that small demographic and are just happy you exist and are “representing them” so to speak, so you don’t get all the nasty comments. 

    Anyhow, keep up the good work. I imagine one must either have a thick skin or develop one quick. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/whitestagforest Aine Llewellyn

    I run a (small) forum/discussion site about Paganism. Thankfully, most everyone is very kind, compassionate, enjoys debate but also humor.  If ever people are getting too frustrated on our site someone will put up an adorable picture of kittens, or just write something funny to diffuse the tension.

    Still, I’ve been involved in the online Pagan community long enough to know that the complaining and meanness is, sadly, common.

  • http://blog.chasclifton.com Chas Clifton

    “On a regular basis you will receive messages claiming someone in the
    Pagan community is a thief, a pervert, a pedophile, a drug addict, a
    rapist, a sexual harasser, and even a murderer. In hysterical language
    you be told of misdeeds so foul that you think you must have misread the
    e-mail.”

    This has not happened to me. What am I doing wrong?

  • DragonBreath

    Star have you seen the comments that atheists get from the love thy neighbor Christians? One of the young woman atheists was threatened with death as well as her five year old son. Disgusting. Keep up the good work.

  • http://thesatyrsthicket.blogspot.com Nicholas Farrell

    You know, I really appreciate the crew of the Pagan Centered Podcast. They truly make a difference to me. They don’t blog about pantheism being the death of the pagan community, fundamentalist christians taking over everyone’s lives, nor do they blog about how they hate said christians. They also don’t scream about how a 30-day exploration of Wicca is detrimental to the Craft. I’ll go thank them personally for actually doing something of benefit to the pagan community: a nut check. Thanks for the advice, Star.

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      Or you could leave snarky comments on my blog, because that is extremely constructive.

      • http://thesatyrsthicket.blogspot.com Nicholas Farrell

        Very! At least I’m not wrong in my assessment of both PCP and Patheos. Go ahead, Patheos, and drink the wine of the cup of drama. I’ll take my dose of reality, thanks. ;)

        • http://twitter.com/ouranophobe Áine

          Excellent job of proving the point, thank you for the demonstration!

          • Nico

            If the point was to grovel at Star’s feet, then I did a poor demonstration. However, if the point was to appreciate people who don’t cause drama or use fear-mongering and vitriol against other people, then you’re welcome for a perfect example. I appreciate shows like the PCP, The Secrets in Plain Sight, and other blogs and podcasts that actually do something productive. And before you cite it, the picture they had up was not made by any of them. ;)

  • http://thesatyrsthicket.blogspot.com Nicholas Farrell

    You know, I really appreciate the crew of the Pagan Centered Podcast. They truly make a difference to me. They don’t blog about pantheism being the death of the pagan community, fundamentalist christians taking over everyone’s lives, nor do they blog about how they hate said christians. They also don’t scream about how a 30-day exploration of Wicca is detrimental to the Craft. I’ll go thank them personally for actually doing something of benefit to the pagan community: a nut check. Thanks for the advice, Star.

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      Or you could leave snarky comments on my blog, because that is extremely constructive.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=773055724 Kimberly Ross

    Wow. Sounds just like being an atheist blogger, except they usually get more death threats. I appreciate both :)

    I salute all bloggers who have the courage to share their views or knowledge in a public forum without resorting to hate, rudeness, or prejudice. Thanks.

  • http://profiles.google.com/emkatcreations Kat Emralde

    I know I’m late but thank you for this!

  • http://www.danaseilhan.com Dana Seilhan

    And if you *don’t* behave with the utmost politeness because all the sniping at you has gotten through your thin skin even though, going back and reading the “offending” post three months later, *it really wasn’t bad or unreasonable at all*, the haters have even more ammo against you–they MUST be right, see, or you wouldn’t have gotten mad!

    …Yeah.  I saw this stuff on email lists too.  It was *worse* there in some ways–on your own blog, you can choose to ignore them or rip ‘em a new one, but on an email list, if the moderator’s friends with your tormentors?  You’re *gone*, baby.
    I let all that scare me away from the community in ’03 because I couldn’t stand running into all those same players over and over again.  To make matters worse, I was struggling to recover from the sudden end of my marriage and the loss of my son (he’s alive, but I no longer have rights to him) and also the loss of pretty much everything I owned, so that I was starting from square one in my mid to late twenties.  So it really was a wonder I was functioning at all.  And then on top of that I had to deal with that drama.  I caved.  Hard.  I miss some of them but I don’t dare go back.  What sanity I have now is hard-won and I’d kinda like to keep it.Thank you for this post.  Someone gets it.  That’s awesome to know.


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