Goodbye

AlohaToday I bid farewell to a pagan group for POC Wiccans.  The reasons why are things I both need to discuss with others yet  would rather eat worms than do so.  The primary reasons for me leaving are as follows:

1. Posts that quickly descended into little more than accusations of racism – complete with out of context quotes.  Nothing says “I am one with my personal Deity” like links to white supremacist sites, clearly biased opinion articles or the like where the reader is offended and thinks the authors are racist.  Add in comments “OMG! Lookit! They  is so wrong!  So much damn hate! Say is Sistahs and Brothas!”  and you have what’s been going on in this group for a while.  In the long run, I can ignore this kind of thing.  However, it gives the WORST impression to newcomers.  These kind of attention grabbing posts did little more than stir up the latent and ingrained feelings prejudice within the members.

Yes. I said it. PREJUDICE.  Slinging out the words “racist” and all its forms short circuited the brains of all who commented. Angry comments, hurt feelings and all out denunciation followed. Those commenters dug up the feelings and anger they were taught to have against anyone who looked to impugn their rights and splashed in in the comment boxes. Then they all patted themselves on the back for being Good Black People. Yes. They did indeed act in prejudiced ways, firstly by not bothering to read beyond the article or site in question.  Secondly, by pausing to determine if the particular forum was the correct place to vent their thoughts.  Thirdly, by reacting without thinking, falling back to what their former and current peers taught them – which anyone who was not of their skin color was in the wrong- easily.

People. This isn’t  Fox News. There is no call for anything like that in a spiritual group.   We all know that there will be hatred in the world we live in – no matter how much love we put out there.  Dredging up inappropriate content – my gods, racism of all freaking things – in a spiritual group is uncalled for in any situation. Strike one.

2. When the above happened  repeatedly, the admins did nothing.  That’s not true. They added fuel to the fire by becoming part of the angry mob of commenters.  They were right quick to shut down anyone who wanted to advertise their wares or services within the group.  But stamping out these clear attempts to stir up drama?  What message are they giving as spiritual leaders?  As administrators of this group, they are in fact spiritual leaders.  What message are they sending? My view? It’s perfectly fine to play the race card to stir up hate, just don’t  to sell us something. It’s perfectly fine to let posts go completely off topic and to join in with fueling the fire of latent race fueled hate.

As administrators of these types of groups and spiritual leaders we have the responsibility to foster a safe space for all. That means nipping things like this in the bud before they become huge out of hand posts that span  and spam the entire group feed.  Yes.  It’s spam – posts that have nothing to do with the topic of the group.  The insult to injury?  I messaged one of the admins as I left to tell them, in much nicer terms, as to why I was leaving.  No response. Strike two.

3. This is the one that I don’t understand:  This was a Wiccan group.  Few, if any were actually Wiccan. These men and women paid lip service to the eight Wiccan Holidays and did their own thing – cramming in other gods, spirits, and deities into Wiccan practices and patting themselves on the back.

We’ll have the misappropriation discussion later.

This is what I have a problem with: Why in all the good green gods does one hide behind the Wiccan label when one clearly isn’t?  Want to do rootwork? Then do it. Be a rootworker and conjure /hoodoo master.  The world needs more of them!  Want  to honor the Orishas? Then do it. Follow the path of Ifa, Santeria, Voodoo and the like.  Self-proclaimed witch? Then do it. Work your spells and magic by your own rules.

People of all ways of life and thought  have fought to stand out from the shadows ignorance and predetermined labels. Why would anyone want purposely put himself or herself in place where they know they don’t belong?    Strike three. I’m outta there.

 

When I started on this path, I did my research.  I looked into Wicca, Asatru, Gardnerian, Alexandria, Correllian, Buddhism, Dianic, Native American – many tribal beliefs, Neo-Druidism, Celtic Reconstruction, Santeria, Ifa, Voodoo, Yoruban beliefs, Hellenic Reconstruction, Haitian Vodou (yes there is a difference), Rosicrucianism, Lucumí, Umbanda,  and Candomblé.  Those are just the ones I can account for at this time.   I wore a hole in my library card. I asked questions and flat out pestered everyone I came in contact with who was of a different belief system. I spent far too much money on books than I am comfortable admitting.  Let’s not taIk about buying duplicates. (One to keep, one to lend.)   I wanted to know.   I still want to know.  Don’t look at my bookshelf.

In all of this, I was able to make an informed choice. I knew what I was doing.  I came out of the broom closet. I can’t say I wasn’t proud, but I was and still am confident in my abilities.

I am an African American Wiccan and a  Priestess.   My Patron Deities are Celtic. I read and create Tarot.  I read and create runes and oracles.  I am an novice astrologer who can read charts.

I don’t hide behind any other label. I don’t need to point out faults in the perceptions of others. That Cheerios commercial was super cute, though. And the controversy around it ridiculous.

What I am is enough.  I deserve to be part of something be it a group, circle, coven, church , kindred or tribe where I am not ashamed of what is discussed, where I am encouraged and uplifted; and where I can become much more than myself.

It is my hope that you find a place like that as well.

 

Don’t Call Me Reverend ~ Pray

No Reverends Allowed
Yes. I am officially clergy. Yes, I have earned the title. No, don’t call me that. Not yet.
The term “reverend” has been around since the 1400s. Under normal circumstances, it’s used as a title of respect for members of the clergy. See that word “respect”? I haven’t earned that just yet. I’m working on it.

To earn the respect of others is a big deal to me. Anyone can study spirituality. Some can pass the tests dictated by their belief systems. Few get to invoke their Higher Selves to tap into the powers of the Universe… That doesn’t mean squat when it comes to respect from their fellow humans and peers.

Earning the respect of others is my ego check incarnate. I may think I’m the best thing since communion wafers – but when things get hard I don’t want to break. I want to be the kind of Reverend that gets those Psychic 911 calls. I want to be the kind of Reverend that goes out drinking with you as the designated driver when you want to drown your sorrows in cheap scotch. I want to be the kind of Reverend that rarely answers Facebook pleas or Kijiji listings for house blessings, readings, mini magic or handfastings. To show respect, to earn that title of “Reverend” means that the people and community I serve know me. They know who I am, what I am and what I can do. My community will recommend me for anything that is needed.

To be clear, this is not to be confused with fame. I know a few famous people and Reverends. I wouldn’t recommend them for giving you the time of day. Sure they are usually favorably know and placed high among their peers…. But that doesn’t mean a thing to me. They didn’t earn my respect either through their actions or attitude. Bad behavior and news travels fast everyone. And in a community as small as mine? Everyone will eventually know a version of the dirty details.

So I know there will be the talk behind my back. I know that there will be rumors. I endeavor to at least get people to spell my name right when it happens. I also encourage those who have a bad story about me to tell me about it! I want to know what the scuttlebutt is! If the dirt is true, I’ll confess. I have no more illusions of my own infallibility. If the gossip isn’t true? I at least know where I stand and where the misinformation is coming from. Who knows? I might have a bit more gossip to spread just to see where and how the information flows. Yes, that is rather low. I’m ok with that.

So for now. Just call me Terrie. I’m fine with “Priestess.” But, don’t call me Reverend…. Not yet.

The First Full Moon ~ Pray

Seven days ago, something wonderful happened. After five long years of study and several months of angst ridden testing, I became a Corellian Priestess, First Degree.

Terrie ~ Corellian Tradition - Mother Temple - Dancers of Shakti Temple - First Degree

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excitement and relief rolled through me. I got to announce to my fellow pagan peers that I finally reached one of many goals. I quipped “Now the real work starts.” And has it ever.

Two days ago, I did a single card Tarot reading for myself. Let it be known that I don’t have the best of experiences do this. However, that day was interesting. The card I drew? The Star.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first thought was: “Seriously?”  My reasoning was simple. See that Star?  I have that tattooed on my right shoulder to represent my highest goals and dreams. I got that tattoo in 2000 as I graduated from college and had no idea what a pagan was.  Now, a lifetime later, there she was, the Star card shining back at me as a promise of a better future where the Universes is on *my* side for a change.

Oh it gets better.

Now we here. My first full moon as a bona fide priestess. I’m racked with migraines. I can’t keep my food down. I’ve lost one of my favourite bracelets and not even the Fey have decided to retrieve it for me.  Just when I thought that maybe – just maybe – I’m not cut out for this work, a few more signs came my way. Make that three signs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s right. I saw with these four eyes, every one of my animal totems – in the same day. Hawk flew along side me as I drove to work. Raven and all his buddies played outside my window at work. Coyote gave a whisper of a reminder that he was still around as he crossed the road in front of my car on the drive home – to disappear in the brush and snow in seconds.

Yeah, I think I’m gonna be ok.  So begins a new journey with a new look and focus.
☮ T