Thoughts about Pagans

Particularly Wiccans... in the DC area.

This rant is directed at many of those who call themselves pagan - usually fledgling wiccans. It should not be taken to apply to everyone. I know one person who calls themself Pagan and doesn't quite fit in any of these categories. But it's close.
Take this with a pinch of salt. It was written as a rant for

There are five progressive layers of wiccan maturity:

1. The Sceptical Interest.
The sceptically interested person goes along to one of the ceremonies with a friend. It is somewhat uncomfortable with the whole proceeding, but quite enjoys the pleasant discourse and general relaxed atmosphere. Tends to "look funny" at the Mad Bastards when they tell their Mad Bastard stories.

2. The Politely Accepting.
This is the person the Sceptically Interested becomes after that first gathering. They grudgingly accept that there might be some sort of "energy" and that "magic" the way it's used could be possible.

3. The Sensitive.
The Politely Accepting, after attending several rituals, will suddenly begin to be able to "see energy". Not only that, they will always have been able to. They will also be able to manipulate it in interesting and decorative ways. Throwing energy and expecting people to react, and shouting "hey, look at this", indicating a nothing between their hands are the hallmarks of "The Sensitive".
A favourite example of "The Sensitive" who believes and yet understands nothing, is this conversation:
"I've been doing love spells every night for weeks now, and nothing has happened."
"What else have you been doing?"
"Nothing really.. Staying home and playing Playstation."
"Well what do you expect, the pizza delivery girl to fall in love with you?"
"No... I didn't order pizza."
[cue much slapping of forehead in despair]

4. The Mad Bastard
Several months on from becoming Sensitive, the poor wiccan will suddenly become the victim of psychic attacks and hexes from all sorts of sources. The initial sources will be people with whom they used to be friends, who they don't like any more. Later, random strangers who look at them funny in clubs will be trying to drain their energy. They will tell lengthy tales about this at rituals. Other Mad Bastards will respond with their own lengthy tales. Politely Acceptings and Sensitives will nod knowingly. Sceptical Interests will look at them funny. Grown-ups will smirk. Mad Bastards also save the world from evil at least once a week. Lucky for everyone else, who never even perceive that there is any such evil.
Another facet of the Mad Bastard, I'm told, is that they (along with some Sensitives) will maintain high levels of secrecy about some of the proceedings, because they are "enlightened". Other people mustn't know because they're too "mundane". Being mundane, you don't even perceive the psychic attack, and are thus given a degree of immunity. So it's obvious you're inferior for not knowing about it and thus not having to fight against it at all times.

5. The Grown-up
Most wiccans don't even become The Grown-up. They continue in their psychotic Mad Bastard phase until they are killed by psychic attacks. (That was satire. They don't become grown-ups because they prefer to live in a delusional world.)
The Grown-ups are those wiccans who realise just how stupid they were, being The Mad Bastard. Once they accept that they aren't psychically attacked all the time, they often question whether they could see energy at all, or if it was all imaginings. Most will continue with a slightly sceptical twist. ("I'm going to try to heal you now.. It might be using energy, it might be something else. Whatever. It seems to work.")
An actual quote from someone making the transition to Grown-up:
"Then I realised that the reason everyone was looking at us like we were insane is because... we were insane. No, we didn't save the world, and no, we didn't kill Set. Yes, the Egyptian god. I know, I know. However, what we did accomplish is that we were all put on academic probation because we didn't pay attention to our grades, nor attend our classes that semester."

It should be noted that people outside of America probably won't have encountered these people. The British pagan, for example, seems content to be passively hippyish and wear some silver stuff.

Now would be a good time to note that I'm not any sort of pagan myself, not even in that it officially denotes acceptance of any religion other than the three major ones (So sayeth some dictionary or other). Again, by dictionary definition of religion, I have none.

[ Think back... ]

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