Alternate Title: Boiling Frogs
We Pagans (or Polytheists or whatever name we wish to call ourselves) fancy ourselves a group of fairly open-minded individuals. I mean, why wouldn’t we be open minded? We worship gods that have animal heads and walk around sporting boners for the lols. We talk about spirits and otherkin and magic and gods know what else- things that would get us some strange looks if we were to talk with non-Pagan type folks (like our coworkers).
However, for all of our supposed open mindedness, our “community” is filled with a lot of close minded people.
This is especially true in the Kemetic community.
And truth be told, I don’t think many of us realize how close minded we can be, but for someone who is attempting to break new ground, it is so apparent that it’s amazing that it could be missed at all.
Allow me to speak from my own experience.
When I first got into the Kemetic/Pagan scene, I quickly established myself as a fairly recon-slanted person. I love research. I love history. I love a foot thick academic book with the driest language you can muster (I jest. I think). And because this was my approach, I fit into the community at large (well, sorta. Okay, not really, but still). But then….
Then the crack set in.
I’ve mentioned in multiple posts now that crack has been a part of my life for years now. But it eventually hit such astronomical levels that I could no longer ignore it anymore. I could no longer, in good conscience, talk about my religious practice and not bring it up. Its too much a part of my life, my gods, my practice to leave it out. But despite the fact that Kemetics worship gods with animal heads, and talk about books that involve spells for not eating your own feces, lakes of fire, and demons with heads on backwards- it seems that crack and woo-woo are distinctly not a part of the religious landscape.
Well that’s a conundrum, now isn’t it.
I fretted and worried what to do. Osiris came to me and mandated that I finish my Cycle posts before the Mysteries ended. He would not take no for an answer. I hummed and hawed over those posts for 6 months, people. Six. Months. Think on that for a moment. And why did I fret and worry?
Because Kemetics are narrow minded. Simple as that.
I am not the first Kemetic to note on the inability to discuss woo-woo related items in this community. Its been brought up multiple times over on eCauldron that it’s almost a death sentence to admit that you might actually have a type of practice that is less than recon (or “normal” aka no crack, no woo-woo). And once you’ve come out of the closet about your crack addiction, well all of your statements are no longer valid, because you’re one of those kinds of Kemetics.
So how does one reconcile a deity who tells you “Do this or I make you miserable” and Kemetics who think you’re completely nuts for even suggesting they take your crack seriously?
Well, the simple solution would be for all of us to open our minds up and try to humor new ideas and possibilities, instead of nay-saying anything that doesn’t fit into our little happy box of “what is real and what isn’t”.
But let’s face it- that ain’t happening anytime soon. We can’t even agree on some of the basics, let alone woo-woo stuff. So what do you do?
You break ground, or as a friend of mine calls it- you boil frogs. You slowly bring people into your crack addiction, showing little by little just how deep the rabbit hole might be going- and gauge whether your audience can take it. I did it by slowly introducing magix guides, and then the river and Cycle posts, and now I’m continuing to bring out little bits and pieces of my hidden crack addiction in an effort to show other Kemetics that hey, this stuff does exist. And it could happen to you, and that’s okay- you’re not alone in it.
I think that these types of things- these ground breaking issues need to be discussed. They need to be brought up, and we need to keep an open mind to them. Even though many of us aren’t recon-slanted in our practices, we seem to believe that Cheetos to a god is an okay move away from history, but the idea that a deity might shove you into a oil filled pit and tell you to climb is too far away from antiquity. And that, my friends, is utter bollocks. How can we draw such arbitrary lines? I mean, these are gods we are talking about. And the Unseen could be as big as the universe itself, and we’d never even know it. Who are we to dictate what is real and what isn’t- especially when you consider the very nature of our religion.
So how can we fix the issue of breaking ground? I think that two things need to happen.
First, if you are the person breaking the ground, you will be best served by knowing your shit. According to the people I talk to, what makes my crack somewhat believable is that I know what is crack, and I know what isn’t. I know more than my UPG. I know what was typical historically. I know how the ancients did it. I’ve read up on my religion, its history. I can draw the line for you where old meets new, where orthodox meets cray cray. Knowing where this line lies is very beneficial. Beyond that, making sure that the crack you lay out for others to see is well written and thought out will also help others to be open to your ideas. And in my case, I started slow in my revealing of said crack. As the name of this post shows- I boiled everyone I interacted with slowly. And in time, people have gotten used to my weirdness, and it’s become a bit of an accepted part of talking with me. In addition to this, I recommend determining early on what your goal is in discussing your less than orthodox experiences. Knowing why you do something often helps in working through doubters and the often nerve wracking experience that is breaking new ground.
As for the second part- that lays in those reading the material. We all need to ensure that we are reading with an open mind. Discernment is important- to be sure – because there are some situations where it could very well be mental illness, attention mongering, or fake entities at play (among other things). However, discernment isn’t the same as being narrow minded and shooting down someone before they’ve even had a chance to get out of the gate. We as a community need to make sure that we are doing our best to keep an open mind, and also politely calling out those who might be doing a less than stellar job at keeping their minds open.
I guess you could say that it boils down to that respect thing, again. Respect the fact that someone might very well have been thrown down a crack-laden rabbit hole by the gods, and that it can technically happen to you. And at the end of the day, we all need to work on figuring out how to help each other break new ground and new territory, because we need these things in order to continue to grow as a community and a religion. Without new ideas and thoughts (crazy as they may seem at first), we are sure to stagnate and die.