Keep Yourself Nice: a few words about Pagan “celebrities”

By Galloway

I feel I should start here with a word or two on Pagan “celebrities”.

For the purposes of this article, I define these people as pagans who not only make money from the pagan scene, but who also are considered by the general populace (and for the most part, themselves) as something of a “big wheel” in paganism today.

These people seem to fall into two categories: those who work for the betterment of the pagan community, and earn money from this work; and those who shamelessly promote their “persona”, collecting titles and initiations and selling paganism to anyone who can afford their seeming endless costly workshops, seminars and products (I found a fantastic, cautionary article about this particular issue over here).

This is a problem in itself, but it gets even worse when these people start speaking on behalf of pagans and witches everywhere. Even though many non-pagans (I just can’t bring myself to call them Muggles!) may not understand it, “paganism” is in many cases is an all-inclusive term for many varied and vivid paths. No one person can speak on behalf all pagans, because no one person is involved in every in and out of every single tradition. Gosh, a Wiccan would even have trouble speaking for all Wiccans, or an Asatruar for all Heathens! To claim otherwise is ignorance.

Not only that, but some pagan sell-ebrities (see what I did there?) like to attract all types of attention, good and bad, from any media they can. Now, I’m not suggesting we all go scuttling back to the broom closet, however tempting it may be. Like everyone else, these people are free to do as they wish. Not everybody has to be solitary. Not everybody has to be private. Set yourself up as Hereditary Druid and Pet Psychic to the Stars. Fine. Whatever floats your boat. Many other pagans may see you as something of a joke, but this is still not so much of a problem.

But please, please stop and think about your actions as a public figure and what their repercussions will be for the reputation of paganism, past, present and future. What do you think vague, overpriced workshops, navel-gazing “reality” shows and even claiming Earth’s laws don’t apply to you is doing to paganism’s already fragile reputation within the wider community?

“The first class is only $179.99!”

Do we not cop enough already from mainstream media? We really don’t need any help setting witchcraft up as a fluffy hobby for teens, or portraying pagans in general as panne-velvet wearing new age nutters. If people must set themselves up as an authority on all things pagan they should be helping, rather than hindering, the growth of paganism and nature religions. We are well into the twenty-first century. Aren’t you sick of the black cat and broomstick jokes? I know I am.

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13 Comments

Filed under Pagan Community, Paganism - General

13 responses to “Keep Yourself Nice: a few words about Pagan “celebrities”

  1. Cool post. Thanks. I look forward to more.

    I had, however, via a policy of limited and insular media exposure somehow never before heard of Lizzy Rose (i discover now 30 of my Facebook friends are friends with her!). I wish it had stayed that way 😦

    I could hate you for bringing her to my attention. Luckily I had not had breakfast before going to that YouTube vid. Seriously, I wanted to grab her by the hair and shout into her face, “what the fuck are you doing?!”.

    Anyway, great points in this post. I think a broader concern is that once magic or the Craft is made into a commodity via workshops that require big buck ‘investments’ to attend, then students change into consumers. They then expect to ‘get’ something for their money, when the reality of the traditional approach is that we should be transformed to realise what we can GIVE to the world, the Gods and each other. It is totally in contradiction to the purpose and function of depth spirituality and magic.

    These things make me alternate between being a sad panda and a raving loony wanting to stick those faux broomsticks somewhere where the sun and moon don’t shine. Thanks 🙂

    • Thanks, Peregrin. Sorry to be the one to bring dodginess into your world. 😉

      I agree with your thoughts on students versus consumers. Selling knowledge is missing the point in a big way.

  2. As a “lunatic with a soapbox” (I blog and write a monthly column for a local Wiccan church’s newsletter), I sometimes wonder if I am doing more harm than good. Then I look around and realize that at least, I am doing non-profit work.

  3. darachamelangell

    Not to mention the trouble that Lizzie has started. I’ve heard a detailed tale where because of her regal presence at a pagan gathering, an ex-partner of hers began to attempt to usurp the event because he thought she was running the event when she wasn’t. Then he began to cause trouble with the organisers of the event, and Lizzie never returned to the pagan gathering, having ‘unwittingly’ caused an uproar. Her mere presence in Victoria causes trouble – she is also very guilty of borrowing money and not paying it back. A lot of people are angry at her, and no wonder!

  4. Vahlandhria

    Welcome to the lizzy-con roadshow. Leave your wallet at the front door, walk right through the back door, and be told to be grateful when you get a boot up your backside on the way out- all done with a cheesy smile of course. And no…. You don’t get your wallet back.

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  6. Being new to Australia, I’d never heard of Lizzy Rose. This week, she exploded all over my digital universe. I found her listing at Witchvox, but decided that her flavor of Paganism isn’t really my cup of tea so I decided not to contact her or follow up on her group or her workshops. Then I realized that the drama I’d been ignoring on one Facebook group for Melbourne Witches was all centered around her. There are various allegations of breaking confidentiality, mishandling of money, debts, slander, and general misconduct. And now I read this (yeah, I just discovered and read your whole blog). I’ve never met her so I want to reserve judgement, but it’s not looking good. I guess every Pagan community has someone like her.

    • darachamelangell

      They certainly do. I have met Lizzy, but as I knew her story, I kept myself at an arms distance from getting to ‘involved’. A lot of people do once they learn – but some people get told what she’s like and STILL meet her and think her all innocence – they’re the ones that have been defending her, and think she is sweet innocent pie. They may be careful not to loan her money, but they look complete and utter fools for standing up with her. Best to stand back, watch, and raise an eyebrow at the drama that unfolds.

  7. I just found a Facebook group that deals with the whole “craft for sale” issue…
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/93018062472/

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