On the whole, the Pagan community is faced with bullshit every day from (sometimes) well-meaning but poorly informed people who have either read or been told things about who we are and what we believe that are untrue. Some of them take what their pastors feed them at face value, others have been taught in childhood that to explore other religions is bad because everything that isn’t Abrahamic is ‘of the devil’. Generally, I let it slide. I have grown past the need to try and educate everyone who comes up to me to comment on my jewelry or visits my Facebook or blog. It’s far too often a waste of time and energy because they already have their beliefs about us set in their minds. Since they have zero chance of changing my beliefs and I see no chance of them changing their minds about anything related to Pagan religions we are at an impasse before the discussion even begins. What’s the point? However, I have the occasional displeasure of happening upon someone so loaded to the brim with misinformation I feel the need to speak up, especially when the person attempts to present him/herself as an authority. Far too often, the content of their writing or spoken conversation shows they know absolutely nothing about us. That doesn’t stop them from spreading lies.
Dreams Of Dunamis is such a site (and that post is only one example). This person is fixated on demons and Witches. Those of us who have been practicing Witchcraft for a long time (and even novices become aware of this early on) know that demons and Witches have nothing to do with one another. Granted, the Pagan community is a diverse bunch. Traditional Witches, Wiccans, Druids, God centered, Goddess centered, Asatru, Eclectics – our beliefs and Traditions are many. However, in my almost twenty years on the Pagan path, I have yet to meet anyone who claims the title of Witch, Druid or Pagan that consorts with demons or the christian Satan. Satan is part of the christian pantheon. Most of us have come from christianity. We don’t want to align ourselves with the christian god, why would we have any interest in his counterpart? It makes zero sense and doesn’t reflect who we are or what any of us believe, except for perhaps the Christo-Pagans, but even they have no interest in Satan or demons.
One of the problems is the christian belief that anything outside of their religion is by default ‘of the devil’. Interesting belief, but that argument is easily defeated, even by novices. Pagan religions and the vast number of Deities honored by the various Traditions predate christianity. Some (Celtic and other European Traditions, for example), were around for thousands of years before christianity spread across Europe. Even in the bible other Gods are mentioned. If Satan wanted to lead the Witches, he came woefully late for the task. Christianity has only been around for about 2000 years, give or take. It certainly doesn’t predate Celtic Traditions or Druidry. We don’t have faith Satan even exists, much less a desire to honor him. This is true of NeoPagan beliefs as well, who have simply taken the ancient beliefs of our European ancestors and reworked them to fit our world as it is now.
The primary problem I have with Dreams of Dunamis and others who believe this ridiculous tripe about us is that they present it as fact, as if they are somehow blessed with knowledge that practicing Pagans don’t have. How they manage to gain this without doing any actual research is anyone’s guess.
The author of Dunamis claims that we all not only consort with/worship their devil, but that we practice human and animal sacrifice and kidnap christian children to use in ritual and for those sacrifices. That is nothing but lies. Actually that claim goes beyond misunderstanding, lying or being misinformed. It is old-fashioned blood libel. It is ridiculous in the extreme, even more so than Rebecca Brown’s claims that Witches have a big meeting every few years and we take werewolves along for protection. If that were the case, I am extremely disappointed, as I have been years without an invite and have not been issued my werewolf companion. Maybe UPS forgot to poke holes in the box and s/he suffocated en route?
The one thing both of those false claims have in common (besides having no basis in fact): other christians believe them. Others accept them as fact (ironically while also not doing any research) and the misinformation and fear continue. Isn’t lying supposed to be considered sinful?
Without reading anything by Pagan authors, getting to know any of us personally, or even contacting a Priest/ess and asking questions, people like this have decided that every awful thing that is said or posted about us must be true. Worse still is that they don’t even want to learn the truth. It will be more difficult to demonize us and they need a bogeyman. If I were to say things of that nature about christianity, I would be just as wrong. While admittedly I have no love for the religion due to the grief both it and christians themselves brought into my life, I have no desire to slander it that way. I was christian for twenty-seven years. I know what it’s about. Dunamis and people who think like him/her have no experience with Paganism, Witchcraft or any of our Traditions.
I left two comments for Dunamis, politely worded, attempting to explain that what s/he had written about us was wrong and with some research or by getting to know us s/he would understand better who we are and what we believe. Both comments went unanswered and were deleted a day or two later.
No desire to learn. Sad, really. To be so afraid of not having something to be afraid of, and willing to perpetuate ridiculous lies and slander in order to hold that position.Edit: Thank you to G. B. Marian for his comments regarding Satan’s role in some types of Witchcraft. While some Pagans have embraced the christian Satan for his chaotic nature and as an expression of personal freedom, the majority of us leave him to the christians. Satan as part of Witchcraft came along after christianity (Pagan religions were around long before christianity, so Satan was never part of Witchcraft in the beginning) was established and some people are just fine with him as he represents the complete opposite of christian beliefs, rules and thought. I should have added more historical context to my post, because Marian is absolutely correct. Witches who embrace Satan as part of their theology (or even as a figure or representation of an ideal as opposed to a Deity) are part of the Pagan community and it was wrong of me to exclude them entirely.