The writer, the witch, the poet

Community Struggle and The Road to Somewhere

Community Struggle and The Road to Somewhere

Mar 30, 2014

After last week’s revelation within the Pagan community, I came home on Thursday with a heavy heart, a headache and a feeling of overwhelm at what I was seeing happen to the community that I love so much. You see, I don’t think it is about the latest issue, it is about us as a community learning to deal with triggering events without tearing everything around us apart.

I have been seeing a community that is grieving the death of two Pagan elders within the last two weeks, and then thrown into full blown shock after a Pagan elder was arrested for possession of child pornography. Understandably…. we are all so damn triggered that we cannot see one another as a sense of safety right now. Nothing feels safe when grief and abuse are triggered.

I have seen people acting out their pain, and their past, all over the internet after this news came out. We see this all the time in other ways, I was just really hoping not to see it in the Pagan community. I know that we are a microcosm of the macro society that we live in, but I was hoping we would be able to bypass some of the pain that we project outward when we are holding so much pain inside.

I find that when incidents like this happen in society it can be a catalyst to tear one another apart, or a bridge that we use in order to learn. The reality is that we need to to work through the pain and challenges so that we can build a future that works for us all. The Pagan community is no different than the struggles within the macro of society, and the work required takes just as much time and effort to effect change.

After coming home the other day, I wrote a facebook status about things I feel are important for us to remember while we are going through this road from shock to healing, and then to action. I will re-post what I wrote, in hopes that it is something that will help us all in these moments.

“So…. while we are all dealing with this whole crazy stuff that we were alerted to today, I want to ask for a couple things from all my Pagan folk. At least to consider.

* Let us be gentle with each other. We are not the enemy here….

* When people are in a state of shock, we don’t always process things clearly in the moment.

* When people feel betrayed, the response is often anger or sadness coupled with anger.

* Those closest to said person (KK) are going through their own process to reconcile who they thought they knew and what they are being told. This is a hard process, and sometimes can sound like being an apologist…. but isn’t exactly.

* Let’s be careful not to assume anyone is an apologist…. this shit is confusing.

* Many, many, many people are triggered by this. When we are triggered, we often react instead of respond.

* So many people are hurt when things like this happen. Varying degrees of hurt…. and all hurt is important.

* Mudslinging covers up what is underneath. This isn’t the time to mud-sling… this is a time to be gentle with one another.

* We all miscommunicate, speak before thinking, react before filtering sometimes. It is a chance to be understanding and to be understood.

* Community counts when the shit hits the fan, not just when it is all roses.

* We don’t all have to think the same…. it is not a reason to bring in the machete.

* Did I mention to be gentle with each other?

Holding space for all the grieving, triggering, confusion, and chaos might make it workable for us to recover. We just have to learn to be present in the hardest of times, when we are all trying to make sense of things that do not make sense. We all deserve the chance to do that.
Thank you. And I love my Pagan people…. a lot.”

3 comments

  1. Our reaction may be more important than what happened to catch our attention. How we choose to react can make things better or make them worse. The crime is more important than the perp who committed it, the victims of the crime are more important than the perp, and the question of “What can I as an individual can do?” is the most important fact of all.

    First and foremost those victims need to be granted the right to make all the decisions on how much they talk about what happen and how much they choose to stay quiet. With a predator their rights have been horribly violated. So we have to allow them to be silent when need be and to listen when they decide they must talk. But it must be on their terms.

    The blame game solves nothing and we will face this type of situation again. So the question is what can we do to stop it sooner, and to get the perps banned from our groups and festivities to protect other naive people?

    Second what can we teach or new people to help protect them? I would start with telling them to be just as careful of any stranger in the Pagan community as in any other community. Meet in a very public place, have your own transportation, and if anything feels wrong leave. Preventing the trouble from happening will always cost less than healing recovering after it happens. Never do something that makes you uncomfortable in the name of learning your religion or traditions. If the first meeting goes well but a later meeting makes you feel uncomfortable, then leave, don’t second guess yourself.

    We need to give support to all that are hurt. This includes actual victims but it also includes what the military call collateral damage, innocent bystanders. That will be family, members of the groups the perp was in, even those in the religions and tradition they were in. It is time to circle the wagons with our support of everyone in the community that was hurt. We have to pull together and protect the innocent.

    Now we can start paying more attention to what is going on around us. If something seems wrong, ask around and see if anyone else feels something is wrong and decide what to do about it. What bothers me most, about the cases coming to light, is how long people kept quiet, or sweep the problem under the rug in the name of protecting the community. That protected the perp created more victims and did the most damage to our community possible.

    You will note that I will not use a perp’s name. Why? Because from what I have seen most criminals love to read about themselves, enoy the fame regardless of the crime. So I believe we should ignore the perp beyond mentioning the arrest, then the sentence given out by the jury, the never mention the perp again.

    I don’t want or need to know the perp’s life history, I don’t care about how the perp might have had a rough life, or may have been mistreated when the perp was younger. None of that justifies the crime. We all have bad stuff that has happened to us, but that does not excuse doing bad stuff to others, we are not required to spread the bad around and by not doing so, we make the world a bit better place.

    Again the only important question is “What can each of us do to either prevent such things, or end them sooner, and provide support where needed? That is our job as members of a community? Without that personal responsibility, the word community is a joke.

    If anyone finds any idea that is useful or even the entire quote, feel free to pass it on.

  2. Please do a spell check on my comment I did not notice several mispellings until I posted it. [auuggghhh!]

  3. Ken Ra /

    The Perp is responsible for their actions Absolutely. In the case of KK he is guilty of tacitly supporting the child abuse after the fact. Not of committing the abuse itself. It is reasonable that our leaders look out for our welfare. But our welfare is still our own responsibility. We can not blindly trust that everything is wonderful. There has been abuses of one type or another in every religion. We are not exempt. It is in how we deal with the problems that shows our integrity. We are the Children of the Lord and lady, so how would you deal with problems if this was your brother or sister? We are not separate. Rage, anger and betrayal are all there but for the sake of the family we must restrain ourselves. I do not want to lynch this guy but I want several years away from him before I see him again and I will never trust him around children again.

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