The pagan community is huge, with lots of different perspectives and personalities. You could say we’re a melting pot of cultures, philosophies and traditions. None of us are cut from the same cloth, but a lot of us unfortunately share some of the same poor habits. The following list outlines five things that pagans need to stop doing.
Saying the ‘G’ Word
I’m talking about the word gypsy. It’s a racial slur. Its not a witchy way of saying you’re a hippie. It’s not another word for bohemian (which also isn’t a great word to use). It is not a mystical calling sign that makes you seem more in touch with nature. And it’s certainly not a neat way to advertise and promote your business. This is not a matter of opinion. Racism isn’t debatable. If an entire culture of people (Romani people) tell you that ‘gypsy’ is a slur, then that’s what it is to them. Continuing to say the word because you want it to mean something else doesn’t change that, and it makes you look no different from people who use the N word or other racist slurs. For more information on why ‘gypsy’ is a racist slur, click here.
Giving unsolicited advice and warnings
If nobody asked you, then don’t bother. You may not realize this, but pretty much most people do not appreciate advice that they didn’t ask for. That’s especially when the unsolicited advice is coming from a religious place. You may believe in karma or the so called threefold law, but there are plenty of witches who do not, so going out of your way to give spiritual advice that nobody asked for comes across as the pagan equivalent of bible thumping. It makes you look like you’re trying to force your religious beliefs down someone else’s throat. It’s not a becoming look for pagans, who should really know better.
The fact is simple: not every pagan is Wiccan. Unfortunately, the biggest offenders of this particular act are Wiccan (as well as neo-pagans who adopt Wiccan philosophies).
When you treat someone like this, you’re telling them that you do not respect or acknowledge their beliefs. You’re telling them that you view yourself as someone with the authority to control their spiritual path. You wouldn’t want a Christian telling you that you’re going to hell anytime you bring up being pagan, right? Why turn around and treat other pagans the same way, then?
And before you go making excuses about trying to be helpful, don’t. Unless you know for an absolute fact that you’re talking to an inexperienced Wiccan in need of your guidance, the most respectful thing you can do is keep your mouth shut.
Being bitter toward ‘trendy’ witches
You wanna know what’s more annoying than a so called “trendy” witch? A pagan who spends all their time complaining about them. If we’re supposed to believe that trendy, aesthetic witches are poseurs and fakes, then what are we to think about people who spend an unnecessary amount of time obsessing about them? Whether you like it or not, some people appreciate trendy fashion and popular culture. This really has no effect on their ability to cast spells, and it’s pretty stupid to believe that it would.
Witchcraft has been trendy since the moment Gerald Gardner founded Wicca and brought witchcraft to the mainstream; Since the moment Stevie Nicks danced in her first circle; Since the moment Silver Ravenwolf wrote her first book for teens, and since the moment Melissa Joan Hart first visited Cloud 10. If you’re under the age of 150 and practice witchcraft, then guess what: you’re part of a trend. Embrace it, or look for something more obscure if you really want to feel like you’re special or unique — or better than others.
Furthermore, ‘trendy’ shouldn’t be confused with ‘modern.’ We are experiencing a modern upsurge in the feminist movement — and witchcraft absolutely goes hand-in-hand with feminism. From the time innocent women were burned under suspicion of practicing it — simply for living outside the norms of social mores — to the radical 1960s W.I.T.C.H. movement, thousands of women have flocked to paganism and witchcraft for centuries. Whether you like it or not, some of these modern feminista witches love to rock some of the best blood-red lipstick money can buy — and many buy it at Sephora (fake gasps). Whether you like it or not, there are witches out there who absolutely loved American Horror Story: Coven. Whether you like it or not, people simply like what they like — trendy or otherwise. So why bother being bitter about it?
Adopting silly and overly-basic nicknames
You know exactly what I’m talking about. If you were to go to any large pagan event and throw a water balloon, you’d almost definitely splash at least a dozen women with the words “raven” “shadow” “wolf” or “fae” in their nicknames. You’d also definitely hit a handful of Dianas, Freyjas, Liliths and Heras (and pretty much any “pretty” goddess names). You’d almost certainly not splash anyone named Baba Yaga, for some reason. Imagine that.
While nicknames are fun to play around with, nobody really believes your name is Lestat, or Willow Fairy Glowchild, and nicknaming yourself has always been considered kind of a dorky move.
Being accepting of actively racist, sexist or homophobic pagans
Bigotry is a huge problem in the pagan community. Without calling out any particular religion or path, white supremacy is becoming a big enough problem that some traditional pagan symbols are now synonymous with the alt-right and white nationalist movement. This is not okay, but what’s even worse is the acceptance of bigoted pagans in the community under the guise of “coexisting.” What makes sense about “coexisting” when you’re doing so in cahoots with people who’d just as soon see millions of people decimated from existence?
There are also pagan groups who spread active bigotry against the transgender community and transgender pagans. This is despicable behavior, and the acceptance of these groups is despicable as well.
Pagans, in general, shouldn’t stand for traditional symbols being plastered alongside the confederate and Nazi flags. Racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia are some of the worst stains on human existence, and the quiet acceptance of bigots in the pagan community needs to stop before the rest of us get lumped in to that category of people.