Dealing with Undesirables at a Pagan Event

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It’s all pretty straight forward, dealing with idiots – we all know what to do with them. Most of the time, it isn’t hard to obey rules and have manners, yet some people at pagan gatherings are notoriously perfect at acting like spoilt idiots.

This is, of course, is not that common. Most attendees of pagan gatherings are civil, good people, and are rarely disruptive, and do enjoy themselves. Some others (a rare amount) live for trouble and destruction, and most of the time that single person, or small group of people, can cause a lot of trouble. He or she could be one or two of one hundred at an event, yet still be spoken about years later.

There are many types of ego in the world. Some ego can strong and positive, but ego where the individual has delusions of grandeur has no place in any voluntary group or event. In reality, it does not matter what community – Pagan events, LARPing, churches, or clubs, etc, etc, etc.

All pagan events have rules and regulations. Whoever is running them has set them aside for a reason, and if you are to attend; private or public venue, you should obey the rules.

There is a story of a particular character here in Victoria whom I have heard about. This man has attended an annual pagan gathering for several years, and managed to disrupt the event for so many years, people stopped going. This person, on me hearing of his behaviour, attitudes, gripes and rumour-mongering, is understood to have a mental illness, yet does not attempt to remedy it with medication. It is common knowledge that people with mental illnesses and past issues not dealt with should stay AWAY from the Craft, but unfortunately they are coming in in DRONES. This man has also never apparently approached and had a civilised conversation with the organisers of the event, yet manages to spread lies, racial comments, and threats, it appears he simply decided what he decided about them and refuses to sort out any personal issues he has with the people. This same man also heckled and yelled insults from afar DURING a ritual! He was not removed, but ignored and eventually he quietened down. He thinks unnecessarily highly of himself. This is not an isolated incident.

  • Heckling at events and during ceremonies and rituals does happen, as strange as it may seem. I have heard from someone who took a large role in a ritual get heckled during said ritual – I am not sure why the people were not removed, but the individual did not take a role in ritual again for a long time afterwards. If it ever happens in an event you attend, you have every right to remove disruptive people, call the local police – stipulate this in your rules and code of conduct when organising the event – it’s up to them to read the documents and if they did not, it’s their bad luck. I have myself witnessed too many times a person ruining an event for everyone else and they DID NOT get removed, just ignored.
  • Drunks and drug-induced people should not be welcome in ritual. Even some events refrain from encouraging intoxication and drug-taking, so make sure that is listed in the rules. I have encountered drunk people at an event that made absolute fools of themselves and insulted people unwittingly. You must make sure all people are aware of this beforehand. I also have a personal opinion of raves and doof events where drug taking is prevalent. I’ve also seen ravers attempt to take over quiet festivals and events with non-stop bad ‘music’ and drug selling. As a pagan, and a non-drug taker, I have no need for these events in my life, so would rather not see them at events I attend. There is a time and place for such occupations.
  • Snobs and upstarts can often be an issue, but not as much as aggressive people. Often these upstarts have a few comments to make about certain bits and pieces at the events they attend, (probably thinking they can do better!) Some to the point where they may be removed, but usually they are just annoying know-it-all’s who may actually have no experience in running events. Well-read people in the craft don’t always mean you can run events. Take note of what they say, however rudely they may have said it, and file away the information to discuss later when de-briefing the event.
  • Event disrupters – people have been seen to disrupt an event by trying to do unwanted things at the gathering – someone set off an illegal firecracker at an event, then complained when they were told off! Others complain when they change the look of a venue or ritual space without permission and then whinge about it later when their gift was not acknowledged or required. At all costs, attempt to approach the person to discuss the problems they caused, especially your reason why you had to reject it.
  • Seers and moneymakers – some people will use your event for making money off people – if businesses are allowed at your event, fair enough, but if you would prefer not to have them, make sure they are aware of it. Make them advertise on their own time.

For those who run events , this is all pretty common knowledge – they have all kinds of characters attending. Good people who run good events usually run them for years unless something pretty bad occurs to stop that. You should never let a disrupter stop you from running an event – if there are issues with your event and the upstart, bully or whoever has the extreme pleasure in pointing out your faults, discuss what could be improved about the event with your group/committee. If it’s a pointless complaint, run the event anyway!

Make a no BS or politics policy for your event – ‘keep your issues at home’ – some events I have been to have been the opposite – people turned up purely to cause trouble, because they knew that was one place they would see their online ‘enemy’ that said something mean about them (which in all likelihood was true!)

I have seen events where people seemed to forget completely that it was a happy pagan/spiritual event with friends of the same ilk, yet they abuse, bully, demand respect they never earned, and make the whole thing about them – they must have thought they were royalty with the way they were insulted about how they are treated.

What would please me more, would be the disrupters themselves to read this post. Many of them would not know this is about them, their egos making them blind to what is obvious to all of us. If you attend a pagan gathering, you must obey the set rules, it is your responsibility to prove yourself. Approach the organisers – you might be pleasantly surprised and find they are pleasant! BE NICE at a pagan gathering – it’s a religious ceremony, you are there to worship the old Gods with like-minded folk – don’t go for a popularity contest, or bully other people. You are NOT ROYALTY, so don’t expect people to treat you nice when you are RUDE to them!! You never know when a mob may turn on you….

If you don’t like how things are done – Don’t bother going again. If you’ve caused trouble in the past, it’s likely the organiser won’t want you back anyway. Find solace in being King or Queen of your own organised events….

~ Daracha

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1 Comment

Filed under Pagan Community, Paganism - General

One response to “Dealing with Undesirables at a Pagan Event

  1. This has been doing the rounds of the Book of Face, and I thought it relates nicely to this article:

    http://nick-farrell.blogspot.it/2013/04/a-rough-guide-for-avoiding-bad-magical.html

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