Alternate Title: Why Pagans Suck.
Recently, someone likened the Kemetic community to islands. That many of us Kemetics are on their own little islands, doing their own things (for better or worse). If I were to use this analogy, I would be on a boat (probably with this guy right here) running around from island to island trying to establish trade routes and networks between the islands.
However, it seems that every time I approach an island, I get spears chucked at me. Or the natives run and hide while I dock- and by the time I get to their settlement, it appears everyone has left. Sometimes they don’t even hide- they just pretend I’m not there and ignore me. Even when I venture out to islands that aren’t Kemetic in nature (but still are within the Pagan network of islands) and try to talk with the ambassadors there, I get the cold shoulder, or spears, or whatever.
Even on my own island, there is an element of cold shoulder. Take this blog for example. I work pretty hard to create content that has some use for other people. I create guides, lists and other stuff for others to read and learn from. I scour books for facts, quotes and ideas to share with others. And despite having (apparently) 50 subscribers, I’m lucky if I ever get feed back or comments. My own island is silent, and for all intents and purposes- ignoring me. And I am not the only Kemetic with this problem. I have a list of Kemetic blogs I read, and most of them get absolutely no comments at all. And they are all creating great content. Blogs are the lifeblood of this path. There are so many great ideas and thoughts that only exist within the confines of someone’s blog. How many times have we gotten awesome ideas from a blog? How many times have you seen great ideas from a blog, and never let the writer know about it? If a writer thinks they are only writing to themself, how long before they stop writing all together?
The entire world of Paganism is fractured. It’s broken. You try to start conversations, discuss ideas, or question the status quo, and suddenly you are evil. And in the Kemetic area, I would say the problem is even worse. There are so many ways to approach Egyptian deities, to create a practice around the Egyptian pantheon- Tameran, Kemetic Orthodoxy, Recon, Reformed, Revivalist, Greco-Egyptian, Wicca-ish, and anything in between. Yet any attempts to bridge the gaps or understand each other better is met with hostility, name calling and mudslinging.
What bothers me most about this is that many (if not all) of the civilizations we model our religious and spiritual paths after had a huge focus on community. The ancients knew how important it was to value your neighbors, your family, your community. And while it’s entirely true that not everyone got along- there were wars, murders, fights, etc. – they still tried their damnedest to get along. And in many situations, community was the fabric of the society, and was an undertone of the religion itself (even if the religion wasn’t separate or defined within the culture).
So if that is the case- why is it so damned hard to build a community now? Why is everyone at each other’s throats? You even remotely suggest another way to look at something- and you instantly get shot down. People are so closed off to new ideas or differing thoughts that it creates a virtual landmine field to walk through. You can’t share anything, you can’t discuss alternate views. It creates gridlock in a place that needs more communication. We don’t all need to agree or see eye to eye- but being able to hold a conversation without it degrading into “You’re a poopy head!” would be nice.
Heka creates everything that we see and do. The words we speak create our reality and our community (both Pagan and Kemetic) desperately needs us to talk more- to express more. If all we ever do is set up camp on our own little islands and never venture out (or talk with anyone that might show up on our shores) how on earth are we going to create anything that is viable and lasting?
And while I see many Kemetics say “Oh yeah, community is important”, I see very few who actually jump in their boats, and talk to others on other islands. No one from forum X visits forum Y. The Kemetics in Group D hate the Kemetics in Group M. Someone creates a mixing pot forum for Kemetics, and people from forums L, T, and V refuse to join. No one wants to play nice with anyone else. No one wants to put themselves out there in a way that could create connections or ‘trade routes’ as it were between the various islands.
And let me tell you- for those of us who are trying to create those routes, those connections- the work is very hard. And very thankless. And it’s times like this where I question why I even bother. And wonder if all that I am trying is for naught. The Pagan community at large fills me with disappointment. Son, I am disappoint. It’s sad when a misanthropist like me can even see that community is lacking here. That despite said misanthropy, I keep trying to establish those networks. I keep paddling my boat, trying to make a difference.
There are ways that we could all create links and networks between us. Exchanging ideas through comments and threads is one. Actually responding to comments left on your blog is another. Linking to other blogs and good blog posts is another way. Who knows where ideas can take us. Bezen‘s idea of using fake food in the shrine completely jump started my method of offerings to the gods.
Ideas create things. Ideas bring us together and create a community. And the only way ideas can be heard is through communication. The only way we’ll ever be able to communicate is if we get off our islands every now and then- and go visit someone else’s. And if you’re shy or busy, at least be cordial if someone shows up on your island and says “hi”.
Do you ever comment on blogs? Start discussions? Branch out to other ‘islands’? Are you ready to venture off of your island? Why or why not?
Posts that are similar in nature, and worth reading:
- On pagan community and why I think I’m done
- Two Winding Rivers
- The Kemetic Disapora as Told by Finches
- Community in the Kemetic World
- Pagan Community – A Dying Concept?
- If The Gods Created Man, Then Why Are We So Hot To Not Support Each Other?
- PBP: K is also for Kin