Friday, March 4

Why.....

Every once in a while I read something online and I ask myself "why?"   Sometimes I asking myself "why" over something that is clearly, obviously, importantly serious, and other times I ask myself "why" over something that on the surface seems trivial, but the then you scratch at the surface a little and it becomes just a little more important... and sometimes I ask myself "should I even comment on this?"   Am I going to sound like a crumdgeon?  Am I going to sound like a snob?  Am I making a tempest in a teacup?  

Well, the answer to those last few questions is "I don't know", but as I've said before, this is my blog, my little corner of the Internet.  I have the right to express my opinion here.  If people don't like it, they can go and get their own little corner... or even share mine; I welcome feedback.   You guys know that. 

So, ok, I don't want to blatently plagerize or anything, so please go have a gander at this and then come back.  It's short and you can probably skim read it and get the gist of it just fine.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1361852/Grey-School-Wizardry-Real-life-Dumbledore-opens-worlds-wizard-school.html

(How awesome, one of my favorite songs just came on the radio!) 

All right, in case you didn't go read the article, the quick and dirty of it is that Oberon Zell has opened his very own Wizard School -- ala Harry Potter (there's even a picture of Oberon dressed up in a superb Halloween wizard robe in the grocery store, for crying out loud.  He's got his staff in one hand and a bag of potatoes in the other.)   Now, for those who don't know, Oberon and his wife Morning Glory have been important people in the Neo Pagan community for thirty odd years now.  These are not children playing dress up.  (And I'm not saying I look like Martha Stewart when *I* go to the grocery store.  Over half my wardrobe is made up of great buys I got at second hand stores, or filched out of other people's hippie closets.  My two favorite skirts started out their lives as saris.  So, yeah, I paint quite the picture shopping in my suburban neighborhood...but I leave my witch hat at home!)  I have been interviewed a couple of times by local papers and even had my picture taken in full ritual regalia... in front of my alter, not in front of the produce section.

So, why is this important to me?  Neo Paganism is a religion (or, perhaps more accurately, it is an umbrella term for a number of earth-based religions.)  When the the news media starts talking "Dark Arts" and schools for Wizardry, frankly, it makes the rest of us look bad.  Not just bad, but laughable.  This is one case where bad press is just that: Bad Press.  This is the kind of media attention we don't need; we have struggled for the last sixty years to get non Pagans to take Pagans and Paganism seriously, to stop equating us with "Black Magic" or other nonsense.  (Not saying it doesn't exist, just saying that your average Neo Pagan doesn't typically go there.)  So it gets my dander up when a long-time member of my community goes out and makes the rest of us look like idiots.  There.  I said it.  He's made the rest of us look like idiots.  Because while some people will take this article with a grain of salt, many others will not.  Others will look at witches and Pagans and assume that we are all wand toting students of the Dark Arts.  And I will get just that many more people asking (no lie, this happened) as serious as you please: "You sacrifice goats and chickens in your backyard, right?"  Urgh.  No.  I live in suburbia.  But this is what some people honestly think (and that particular asker was making her inquiry without malice, she just wondered.... imagine how many more people are not so gracious.)

Worse yet, there will be that many more people looking at their Pagan ex-spouses with suspicion.  There will be that many more judges and employers and neighbors and policemen and women who feel just a little bit more justified in making judgements about the rest of us, just because one guy decided to put on a long purple robe and grab his fifteen minutes of fame (and profit, because apparently enrollment is up at the Grey School of Wizardry.)   There will be that much more of a struggle tomorrow and the next day...


You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
Abraham Lincoln

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