(originally from my blog-The Weaving Serpent)
I am a member of several communities: the belly dance community, the reptile community, the pagan community. The list goes on and on. I am an eclectic spirit. I love so much and do so much.
One thing, however, that I have noticed, is the lack of community within humanity as a whole. People are always angry. Bitter, upset, blaming others, taking things personally. It seems to me, that people live solely for themselves. There is no outside. “Its all about me, all the time,” even when its not.
Aside from my “other lifestyle”-I work in healthcare. I love it. Its trying at times, but I love meeting new people and taking care of others. One thing I have seen however, is this complete lack of general empathy among people. Patients will argue over small insignificant meaningless things. They will have a cold and expect to be seen that minute, even though what they have isn’t an emergency. If there is an emergency situation they expect to be served before the person who is having the emergency. Other patients will be upset if their doctor is on vacation because they refuse to see the covering physician. There is this complete and constant need to argue. Yelling and screaming at people who are trying to help you is not going to make the process move any faster. There are some points in my day where I literally spend 10-15 minutes arguing with someone over something that is so small it seems like a waste of energy. And it is. By the end of the day, I am mentally and emotionally exhausted.
The other portion is people taking things so personally. Its overwhelming at moments. People who are just having a bad day, say the wrong thing and it gets misconstrued. People who are normally talkative and now are quiet have people thinking that the person is upset with them–rather than just having an “off” day. A doctor just spent 20 minutes with a patient and says something to someone else who takes the words and spins it around to make it about them. Its like we live in a society where we are constantly walking on eggshells. Anything can be taken the wrong way. Anyone can make someone an enemy in the amount of time it takes to blink.
Is is really all worth it?
I have an anxiety disorder. Its not as bad as other people I know, but its significant in how it shapes my life. On top of having anxiety I am also a deeply emotional, spiritual and empathetic person. Its hard for people to understand why sometimes, though I am mostly a social person, I have moments where I am withdrawn. And rather than accepting that I am having an “off day”~they take it personal. Surely I must be upset with them otherwise I would be chatty.
Have we come to a society where everything is suddenly a one person “all about me” issue? Are we so out of touch with one another–with the simple fact of the human condition–that we have to constantly take everything so personal? Or make mountains our of mole hills because its the only way we can relate to one another?
Times are hard now. People are stressed out over finances, work-just plain living. The world seems like an angrier place than it used to.
I do think there is a lack of spirituality in the world-and by that I don’t mean religion. I mean the willingness to look inside oneself and say, “you know what, its really not that big a deal-it really isn’t about me”. About accepting the Universal Law of what you ask for you receive.
If we constantly live inside our own minds, then the ability to understand others is null and void.
There has to be a point where we can step back from a situation and say, “I cant control that,” or “that person is just having an off day, its not about me.” Otherwise, we get into a loop of negativity–negative thoughts begat negative thoughts begat negative actions–and as whole–the collective energy of humans living this negative ideology spreads, and creates a cycle that is damaging to ones psyche–and the spiritual energy of the world in general.
Humans are not perfect. No one is perfect. But berating, arguing, fighting and finding a way to make things personal is not helping the community of humanity.
As an empathetic person, and as a person living with anxiety, I sometimes find the world a difficult place, though I do find time to find the beauty and peacefulness in the moments I am blessed with. However, I find myself becoming more and more withdrawn from people and finding myself more drawn inward than outward. I enjoy the moments of silence. After a day of work, where its hectic and non stop-I prefer isolation and solitude. Meditation, writing, painting help to ease my thoughts for the day. Its often hard for people to understand that sometimes, I cant deal with people around me. I need moments of solitude. Its often at these points that people take things personally. And I need to step back and realize, that that is their issue and not mine. Even though at times, I want nothing more than to make them understand.
Perhaps in the future, we will have a community of humanity. Where we cast aside issues, don’t take things personally and appreciate everyone for who they are not try to change them because they feel their personality is about them and not the other person.
I have been noticing a plague within the pagan/occult community. I know it’s nothing new, but with Facebook, Twitter and the other hundreds of social media outlets- the plague seems more predominant in our daily bombardment of social media.
What is the plague? Malice.
Pagans malice? Those studying religions that have been persecuted, defamed and stereotypes are malice?
Yes. Sad but true.
It seems every day I am hearing or reading stories about how one pagan group hates another. How one occult practitioner feels they have more knowledge than every other practitioner. There are those who act like they are hiding some deep mystical mystery that they themselves only know and to share it with those they do not deem “worthy” would be devastating to the world. I have heard countless remarks by covens and groups how they were not allowed to attend an event because the organizers either didn’t like them or believed that what they were practicing was not the “real thing.” I have heard of those being excluded from teaching, events, etc. because they can’t believe in one thing and not another.
Then there are the pissing matches. The personal attacks on those in the pagan “community” (more on that word later). Nasty public feuds in which there are personal (very personal) attacks in which name calling, public slander and other nasty things are flung around the internet.
I have one question…what is the deal? Seriously? I always find it ironic when people toss the word “community” around and then go ahead to isolate certain groups or people because of XY and Z reasons. Community is defined as “a feeling of fellowship with others, because of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals” That “feeling of fellowship” should mean that when pagans from all paths come together, they should feel welcomed not ostracized. Additionally, the younger generations should absolutely respect their “elders.” I would not be who and where I am without the guidance and education of my teachers. The “I know it all” attitude within the younger generations is only adding fuel to the fire. And because occultism and paganism are so vast, with no lineages – AND because most of those who practice are practicing a reconstructionist form of whatever our ancestors liked doing – there are no real leaders to rope things in. It’s not like there is a Vatican for Wiccans.
This was one of the many reasons I left the “Craft.” When the group I was with for 8 years split, I tried finding another group in which I felt that familial spiritual connection that I had with my previous group. Unfortunately, I repeatedly came across groups that were secular and only let those that they felt practiced “the right way” in. I met with a woman who ran an Alexandrian group—and she absolutely would not allow me in – even to see if it was a fit because I was eclectic and primarily a practitioner of Ceremonial Magick. And then the groups that were based in Ceremonial Magick wouldn’t allow me in because I had practiced Wicca and therefore wouldn’t fit in because they could out Thelemic me.
I tried starting my own groups, but they would always feel flat- and I wanted to be learning as well as teaching. It was hard to plan rituals, write them, make sure all items were there (kudo’s to all my teachers who did this-especially Balaam- it’s a lot of work and not often appreciated by those in a group!).
I found that being solo was great. I avoided all the negativity and the high school behavior of what is now what I feel like they decline of ethics in paganism and the occult. My path has also changed. Wicca and paganism ultimately brought me to Voodoo (in which a fresh start for finding my place and my home has begun).
My point here, ultimately, is that for a religion that has been stereotyped, mocked, slandered and the worse—we should not be throwing stones in glass houses. Why exclude? Why start trouble with other practitioners? Why get so personal and spiteful? We are all in this shit show together. Regardless of what path one follows or which Deities one believes in—it all gets dumped into the same category in society. And with the internet and social media—let’s just have society see the best rather than the worse. I certainly am tired of all the programs that assume all those who practice the occult are secretly killers in waiting.