As a solitary, I have been following the disagreements on the public pagan forums the past week with great interest. Things got heated, insults and accusations flew, apologies were made to and on behalf of, sides were chosen, egos were boosted, egos were bruised and some retreated quietly back into their solitary space, shaking their heads and muttering.
Being a solitary, I don’t get involved in public issues and I am not an activist. No particular reason, just because that is the way I am.
But, even as a solitary, I have opinions. I like to be informed, like to keep my finger on the pulse of South African pagan issues and find blow-ups like this most beneficial. As I don’t argue these issues publicly, it challenges my own perceptions of situations within by reading the different opinions offered by those who choose to stand up and do it publicly.
Without blow-ups like this, Pagan issues will stagnate or just disappear into the background. At the end of this storm-in-a-teacup, we were all at least in the position to have been able to decide for ourselves whether or not we support the efforts to debunk Satanic Panic myths in a bid to squash altogether the misconception that Pagans are Satanists. Due to the issue raised being publicly, we were forced to clarify this issue in our own minds and know exactly where we stand on this. Not a bad thing, is it?
Arguments present new information that challenges our ready held perceptions of issues to change our perceptions according to the new information presented, or to reject the new information and stick to our own opinions. This is critical reasoning, advancement and progress. We all benefit from arguing issues.
Identifying yourself as Pagan does not automatically mean everybody else who identifies themselves as Pagan share 100% of your personal, political, moral and ethical views. We are still all different human beings, from different backgrounds, interests, levels of education, socio-economic sectors, and with different ambitions, goals and ways of attaining them.
So now in the aftermath of this storm we have those who feel victorious, those who feel dejected, some who feel disillusioned, some with a holier-than-thou attitude, siding with the perceived winners and losers, anger, finger-pointing, gossiping and all the other very human traits found after a big blow-up within a family.
This too shall pass, but don’t let it pass you by that progress has been made.
Amanda is a South African Pagan and a registered counselor who offers trauma counseling, life coaching, and short term counseling.