Healing Power of Silence
So its a new year and a fresh start. January was a blur, been a while since I posted here. Took a long hiatus for the past 6 months, mainly due to life adventures and negative feedback over my past few contributions to Patheos discourse. Blogging can be a challenging game, as people get triggered in odd ways when confronted with opinions they disagree with. I spoke about my trip to the UK, and got criticized for encouraging folks to create community. Wrote another post, a response to a characterization of the Western Esoteric Tradition which I reject, and got labeled as a “Dangerous Thinker” with a 10 page diatribe misquoting my post to explain why I am just the worst! That one stung. Dangerous?
I work at a bank, and am a member of the PTA. I have built houses for Habitat for Humanity. In the past year, other Pagan Elders (of several traditions) have turned to me for a kind ear on a variety of topics. I have dispensed advice on estate complications and divorce adventures. I have sheltered a child who trusted me enough to confide her circumstances of neglect. But none of that matters on the Interwebs, because what you write online is the sum of your character. If you have a divergent opinion, or cause people to question themselves, you are a villain. After about the fifth time of being called ignorant, uneducated, and anti-feminist, I checked out of the scene to indulge in the magic of Abstention. I disengaged, and instead refreshed myself in the world beyond the Web.
One learns a lot from silence, and it’s an interesting position to watch folks go at each other online in the Pagan blogosphere. I see a lot of chatter wondering why this always happens, but history shows us that this is simply the nature of Esoteric Discourse. Anyone can look back to the late 1800’s to see our Occult forbears going at each other on the regular through printed medium. Take a look at the news and reviews, from the Theosophic Society to the present day. The shade is fierce. In fact, one of the main reasons that Dion Fortune split from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was because Moina Mathers accused her of publishing secrets in the Occult Review. I’m not even going to go on about Crowley’s extensive critics, but instead encourage interested parties to do some independent research. Witch Wars. Satanic Panic of the 80’s. It goes on and on. It seems inescapable.
Adventures in Wrestling and Blogging
The interesting result of this pattern is that new alliances and communities are formed through schism and scandal. Strange bedfellows emerge. Here at “Messages from Pluto,” topics such as war and betrayal, sex, secrets, and weird power struggles are all in the wheelhouse. Personally, I think this pattern is necessary for Esoteric Discourse to promote new growth. It makes us question our positions, and keeps us on our toes. It is alchemical, nuclear in fact, fission giving rise to fusion. Despite our preference to speak and live “outside the binary,” Pagans (along with most humans) tend to compartmentalize, and assign people and ideas very structured roles. Our discourse, especially blogging, reflects this.I am reminded of one of my favorite shows from childhood, GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. My cousin and I used to wake up and sneak out to watch it at 2am. There were the “Good Girls” and the “Bad Girls.” Ultimately they were all on the same show, but this dichotomy created the drama which fuels the ratings. When observed through the lens of entertainment, I can see some connections between wrestling and discourse via blogging. There is always a Heel, and a Face. The Heel makes the Face look good, and gets the brunt of the crowd’s anger and disapproval. The Face gets to play the hero, or the victim, whatever pulls in more viewers. The Heel gets all the best lines, and gets to shock the crowd out of apathy to keep the story interesting. It is a simple setup, but effective. Boo, hiss.
Now that I perceive this pattern, I embrace it. Heels for the win! Perhaps I set myself up for it, writing from a Plutonian slant sort of obligates me to be Devil’s Advocate. Plus, for whatever the reason, folks enjoy my perspective. So I have connected with other “Dangerous Thinkers.” We have decided to create a community that feeds us. Not just to speak about it, but to be about it. We got tired of watching everyone get torn to shreds over attending, or not attending Pagan festivals. It seems to be the logical next step as folks keep contacting me back channel to hide from the “safe space” that is killing all discourse.
We need a place where folks can gather to just be who they are. Speak freely. To worship the Gods, connect with Ancestors, or deepen their Magick as they are moved. Freedom of religion, and freedom from it. To create a place where our most vulnerable members of the community (children and Elders) are *authentically* safe. We can hash out differences of opinion in a coherent manner. If we cannot resolve our concerns by agreement, at least we can touch gloves to debate about these matters under the banner of peace. People are sick of the “Big Tent” that seeks to homogenize us in thought and deed. We are not all the same, and in diversity is our strength. So we are launching a festival, and signing a contract for a venue this month. I know it’s madness, but sometimes you just got to keep going. It is time to put up or shut up. Who’s in? I will post more details as it unfolds, but for now, I leave you with this charming meme that pretty much sums up the spirit of the adventure: