"Hi, I'm Morning Raven Fluff and I've decided to be one of your priestesses, here is a list of the things you have to change for me."
I hope this sounds as ludicrous to your ears as it does to mine but it reflects the attitude more and more younger Pagans seem to approach established groups with. What the hell is going on here?
What's going on is a generation of over protected, everyone gets a trophy just for showing up, "you're special" even if you never actually did anythings have entered Paganism and Feminism and the world in general. The dominant attitude is "my totally uneducated opinion is equal to your educated and experienced knowledge base". This is accompanied with "more victim than thou" and what I started calling years ago, the Oppression Olympics.
You really don't have to look very far in Pagan discussion groups to run across multiple "so and so isn't an elder in MY tradition so I won't listen to anything they have to say" Their tradition often is a tradition of one. In a time where the internet makes connections easy that used to be almost impossible, when Pagan groups should be flourishing with ever expanding numbers, they are dying on the vine and unsupported by groups set up to actually support them but apparently actually set up to support someone's ego and pocketbook.
If this continues you can kiss Paganism goodbye along with the environment, women's rights hard fought for and won by those awful second wave feminists and we have already lost most of our civil rights in Amerika where standing up for them is now considered terrorism.
And it is ageism.
Most Pagan traditions trace some of their sources to societies where the elders were respected and cherished but today elders are dottering old fools with dinosaur ideas and I've personally been told, "I cannot wait until you die and take your ideas with you." Because a couple of elder men have been exposed as sex perverts recently within Paganism, all elders and in particular elder women are under some form of attack in some twisted return to the Crone as the evil Halloween witch.. in Paganism! Wannabe Big Nose Pagans are writing blogs with titles implying all elders are essentially bullies and abusive. Saying no to these idiots is considered abusive as is refusing to accommodate their every whim.
"You must change your tradition to fit my desires" Or what?, you won't join? "Your opinions are oppressing me" So wipe the dust from your feet and move on darling. "Your tone is angry" Really? I was trying to have a discussion with you thinking you were an adult capable of a spirited debate. "You are difficult to work with" Because I didn't give you a trophy for showing up or tell you your opinions were brilliant when they weren't?
I ain't your grandmother without opinions who just sticks around to hand you a cookie. I am a woman who fought more damn battles in a long lifetime than you can imagine and stood up for mine and your rights. I've been kicked and beaten and even raped more times than you can imagine. This is why I don't run around taking your money to teach you in some Pagan festival workshop or online scam school. You want to learn from me, you come to me and I share freely. That's what I do.
If it hadn't been for our legal battle for equal rights under the law and our need to raise each year twice than our operating costs for legal fees, you probably would not have heard of us at the Maetreum because we know what we offer is not for the masses who want quick answers without work. We don't give answers, we just help you find them but if you are not willing to do the work, we have nothing to offer you. We don't need you, you need us. We do the work of taking in women in need and helping them get back on their feet without preaching or requiring they join us and have been doing so for over a decade. We never asked the greater Pagan community for money to do this. We do it because it is the right thing to do.
If this youth culture crap continues in Paganism of all places, you will all wind up sitting under a tree alone gazing into your smart phone instead of your navel. It makes me want to cry.....and feel I wasted a lifetime fighting for rights and equality and respect for women when it wasn't valued enough to just keep the victories won in the past.
But for now, I'm still here and I still share freely with those who actually want to learn something and expand their horizons and get in touch with the Divine within themselves but I am getting old and won't be here forever....... You cannot make someone respect you but you sure as hell can demand they not disrespect you.
You are throwing away the greatest treasure of all with your ageism, the access to the wisdom that sometimes (not always) comes with age and experience.