As disgusting as the thought may be for many of us, it is sadly true that, just like in the monotheistic religions, so also within Paganism – there are false prophets among us. I do not state this lightly. I have been observing this trend almost ever since I came out of solitary worship and got on Facebook. It has become all too obvious that the Pagan community is a fertile field for chicanery of all sorts, perpetrated by those who have no real background in Paganism, or no real education to back up their “theological” positions, or who simply have a personal agenda that they wish to promote at all costs among us. And, in their zeal for promoting themselves and their agenda, they wantonly tear down anyone who disagrees with them in the slightest.
Such are not the actions of a person with a true “calling”, if you will, toward bettering our community. These are not the actions of someone with something solid and useful to contribute to the whole.
In that light, I hope that all who read this will forgive me for being just a bit like Moses here, but it has become clear to me that a framework should be in place so that all can distinguish between the true and the false “prophet”. By using the term, “prophet”, I am not here implying anything specific, such as foretelling the future or anything like that. I use this term in order to demonstrate the connection between the people who are within our community who are false, and those charlatans one can see regularly on any given religious TV station. They are literally all of the same mold.
The very first thing that anyone should look for when attempting to discern between the true and the false is (1) proper academic credentials, or lack thereof. I have stressed this ever since coming out of solitary worship, but few seem to actually get it. But the Pagan community is in serious need of a means by which proper academic credentials directly with reference to Pagan studies can be had. Any religious “leader” really needs to have at least something to back up their claims that they are worthy of whatever position they claim for themselves.
Some within our community, including myself, do have at least something to back up their “theology”. They actually trained, at some level, among others who are at least somewhat reputable. I actually have multiple degrees in theology (but I do not share specifics about my education and experience, because to do so would be ill-advised for me). But others, like the TV charlatans they either directly, or indirectly, emulate, present themselves as having some kind of educational credentials, when they really don’t.
For example, one particular individual among us represents herself as a “priestess of Apollo”, listing her academic credentials as having been acquired from (a) Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, and (b) Gallifrey Academy TimeLords College & University. Now, being unfamiliar with these two, supposed, institutions of higher education, I chose to check them both out. The first touts itself on Facebook in this manner: “Located in upstate New York, Brakebills is North America’s premier, if only (sic.), institution of magical matriculation. . . . This page is purely for fun and fans of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians books.”
Well, that was kind of confusing. After all, I was looking for a real college or university, even if it was only to be found on-line. So, I checked their actual page. Here I found statements such as the following:
“I would like to take a moment to remind everyone that this page cannot provide a physical address or phone number, even though some of you have been enterprising enough to request that information. We exist on no maps and have one very primitive telephone which is magically monitored. We aim to remain undetectable to the regular non-magical world, and even prefer to stay off the radar of other realities. – Fogg”
“With the end of the semester approaching, it is imperative that you remember to keep your mouths shut about where you’ve been. Don’t talk to the hedgewitches, and keep it broad with your family. We must keep a lid on it, for our security and theirs. Also, don’t mention the incident to anyone. -Fogg”
“As our Spring semester comes to a close and you all begin to return home, I want to remind you that discussing or revealing anything about Brakebills to your non-magical friends and family is strictly forbidden. We have ways of finding out, and ways of dealing with those who jeopardize our security. – Fogg”
“Breaking character here for a moment to encourage all of you who are here because of The Magicians on SyFy to watch the show legally. Not just as a matter of ethics, but to keep the show alive. Regardless of how you feel about the show, it is a great vehicle to get people reading the books and we should want to encourage that. Buy your season passes from iTunes, Amazon, etc. or watch online through proper channels. It’s good for the whole community and affects the budget and longevity of the show.”
Well, s**t, I was sufficiently impressed, and scared of their awesome power after reading these posts – not! Sadly, my search for the source of this person’s credentials failed here, because, I think, no one would consider such a “school” to be, um, legitimate. Most televangelists do better than this, after all.
The second, and only other, school of supposed higher-learning that this person presented as a place from which she obtained her credentials was Gallifrey Academy TimeLords College & University. Even without checking this one my reaction was “What?” – or better, “WTF?” Nothing whatsoever is shown on this FB page, period. However, Wikipedia defines it in this way: “Gallifrey (/ˈɡælɪfreɪ/) is a fictional planet in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It is the original home world of the Time Lords, the civilisation to which the main character, the Doctor, belongs. It is located in a binary star system 250 million light years from Earth.”
OoohhhKaaaaayyyyyy. So, it’s about Dr. Who. When people graduate from this school, do they don the long scarf or what? And, how about the expense of traveling to and from this binary star system too for academic studies. Wow! Another link on the internet describing whatever this really is (or isn’t) can be found here. https://tardis.fandom.com/wiki/Time_Lord_Academy And, a Facebook link is found here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/School/The-Gallifreyan-Academy-for-Timelords-204692942908509/
I have to say that I can’t really wrap my mind around all of this. Ancient Aliens is certainly no competition here. Boy, if someone really did attend and graduate from these two schools, they must really be something! Or, maybe not…..
The second thing that anyone should look for when attempting to discern between the true and the false is (2) the person claims to be a Pagan (of some sort), yet seems to focus on, at most, only one or two specific deities (probably all their minds can handle). This is simply not the way of the ancients, period. While many did tend to gravitate toward specific deities whom they believed personally favored them, the ancients never neglected the rest because they knew better than to do so. Sadly, as I have observed, many of these seem to gravitate to Apollon as their chosen favorite deity. I can’t account for exactly why that seems to be the case, and I am by no means implying that all who favor, or feel favored by, Apollon fall into this category. But, I believe I can safely state that Apollon probably does not really favor those who use his name to spread dissention and propaganda among us. Frankly, this is a sign of still being entrapped by monotheistic influences, and everyone should be wary of anyone who is thus. Nuf said here.
The third thing that anyone should look for when attempting to discern between the true and the false is (3) that they regularly demonstrate ignorance (willful ignorance in some cases) of ancient understanding. This is probably really my favorite of all. I get SOOOO tired of the arguments some make, when just a casual check of ancient understanding would show their arguments to be wrong. Case in point, the new “Xenia Declaration”, as it is called. I am not by any means here to claim that there is not some need for some sort of statement which all can reasonably accept as, shall we say, “inclusive”. But, for the most part, my feeling has always been that emphasizing that discrimination of any type is not acceptable was enough. It really covers everything when such a statement is made.
The fact of the matter was that I myself was considering signing off on it, just like many others had already done. It would have been no big thing, really, for me to do that. But, having read it, I had just a couple of reservations. So, knowing who wrote it, and being “friends” with that person on Facebook, I decided to reach out directly to her via private messenger. Please note that I did not do this publicly, so as not to embarrass the author in any way. Nor did I launch into any sort of diatribe as to why this or that was wrong with it, etc. That much can be seen just from what SHE posted about it herself (it should be noted here that I have pics of what she posted, as well as the entire conversation, which she chose not to post in its entirety).
But, sadly, it seems that no one ever taught her that “reason” is a cornerstone of ancient understanding. She immediately resorted to name-calling, referring to me as a “bigot” just because I pointed out that the statement was really not quite inclusive since it one-sidedly left out those with more “traditionalist” viewpoints. I asked if the intention was to exclude those who somehow think differently, and pointed out that the more they feel shunned, the less likely they will accept the viewpoints espoused in said statement.
Her reaction to me privately was unprecedented. She seemed like an entirely different person than the one I had interacted with on many previous occasions, including via private messenger. But, her recent determination to “out” someone else publicly should have told me something. She didn’t like the fact that I had “friended” him, and found nothing particularly objectionable in his writings.
And, if “traditionalist” viewpoints have somehow become poison to us, like a dirty word or something, then it is no wonder to me that (as far as I have been able to ascertain) none of these people appear to gravitate to deities such as Isis or Hera or even Zeus. Just taking the first into account, one has to see (unless one it totally blind) that the emphasis in her cult was on the sanctity of the marriage union and the family unit. Anyone who would even debate that point has either not studied her cult, or refuses to accept what he/she has studied, period.
So, what is so wrong with some facets of modern Paganism emphasizing these values, while others emphasize other values? Are we really going to be so PC that we think we should police what those in other groups feel is important to emphasize? Well, let’s have an inquisition, then. Burn the traditionalists!!! We simply can’t have that sort of thought in our modern world today, now can we? Seriously!
The fourth thing that anyone should look for when attempting to discern between the true and the false is (4) the person in question constantly promotes PC positions, to the exclusion of other points of view, thereby rejecting others who think differently. Since this has already been basically covered in the above, it seems to me that little need be added here. Everyone knows what a PC position is, and also when it is being shoved down your throat. And any person within our movement claiming to have the authority to even do that should be questioned, at least, and probably shunned altogether.
The fifth thing that anyone should look for when attempting to discern between the true and the false is (5) that the person in question claims to respect inclusiveness, while being openly intolerant of any other point of view. That is not the same as pointing out a fault, and presenting documentation to back up what one is saying. It is being a hypocrite.
The sixth thing that anyone should look for when attempting to discern between the true and the false is (6) that the person in question resorts to name-calling, offensive language directed toward others, as well as libelous and slanderous statements about others. This in and of itself should be enough for the community to shun such a person completely, especially if said person engages in such acts often or constantly. This is not only unethical, it is illegal, and should not be tolerated. We should have true community standards, so that persons who engage in such behavior are simply not tolerated.
This is especially important since Facebook standards are so lax. I can remember a time when Facebook actually had standards, and applied them. There was a time when someone posted something about spiders, and I commented, “Kill them. Kill them all”. My post was yanked from the timeline as not appropriate. Really, this happened, all because the word “kill” was in my post. Now, it’s a fraking free-or-all, with anyone able to say anything they want to about anyone, and no one will do a damn thing about it. Don’t believe me? Try reporting anything to Facebook. If it doesn’t fall into their narrow set of community standards, then there is literally nothing that can be done about it. Believe me, I tried this with the post in question (mentioned above). The response was that it does not violate Facebook’s community standards. So, obviously, libel and slander are both perfectly OK with Facebook! The following are some of the Facebook statements related to this:
“Facebook is not in a position to adjudicate the truth or falsity of statements made by third parties, and consistent with Section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act, is not responsible for those statements. As a result, we are not liable to act on the content you want to report. If you believe content on Facebook violates our Community Standards (e.g., bullying, harassment, hate speech), please visit the Help Center to learn more about how to report it to us.”
“For a comprehensive guide on how to report messages, posts, and other site content features, check out Facebook’s step-by-step instructions here. Should you exhaust all options for reporting users and content online, Facebook encourages users to contact local law enforcement if they have been directly threatened and feel their life is in immediate danger.”
“Also, keep in mind that minimizing your digital footprint is an effective way to reduce personal attacks and malicious posts by others. Deleting Facebook is your best option for protecting your privacy and keeping your name out of the online world. If you are considering deleting your Facebook, you can find out the appropriate steps to take here. Take note that deleting it is permanent, while deactivating your Facebook merely hides your information.”
Pathetic! – especially the last one which instructs users to reduce their digital footprint so people won’t bully them! Wow! If this wasn’t so absurd, it might even be funny. But, people should keep in mind that legal remedies are available, and calling someone, say, a “bigot”, with no foundation for doing so, can get one in a lot of trouble. And all the hocus-pocus pseudo-magic learned from some pseudo-on-line school won’t help you.
The seventh thing that anyone should look for when attempting to discern between the true and the false is (7) that the person in question openly encourages and promotes disunity among us. I don’t really need to elaborate here.
The eighth thing that anyone should look for when attempting to discern between the true and the false is (8) that the person in question has no apparent ethical standard of conduct. Nuf said here too.
The ninth thing that anyone should look for when attempting to discern between the true and the false is (9) that, for this person, everything they post seems to be about their favorite PC subject, whether it be race or sexual orientation, or whatever. Certainly, it is true that we all have our own pet peeves, if you will. But, when one can see an obvious agenda that really has nothing to do with the ancient deities, that should be considered a “clue”. Their entire focus is on themselves or their agenda, not on the deities.
The tenth thing that anyone should look for when attempting to discern between the true and the false is (10) that the person in question is simply a poor example of someone to be followed. Take a look at them. If even an Epicurean or a Cynic wouldn’t follow them, maybe you shouldn’t either. These people generally have nothing of real or lasting value to contribute, as demonstrated by their posts and their actions toward others. See nothing constructive in any of their posts or conversations? Maybe they should be shunned, because, maybe, they aren’t a real Pagan after all.
Hey! That somehow came out to be ten! Read into that whatever you like.
Having said all of this, I have to now state how truly sorry I am to have ever promoted this person as anybody to even be accepted within our community. I myself should have checked her out better. If I had, I would have found much that would have been, shall we say, questionable. That is a fault I will strive never to repeat again. I will learn from this, and you should too.
Finally, bear in mind that nothing posted here called out said person by name (although it would be easy to figure out who the person is for most of us). In addition, everything presented here is factual and accurate, so, legally, I have the high-ground.