Bad Behaviours of Online Pagans

I’ve already written here about the positives and negatives of the online world for pagans in general. If you read that article, you will see that I am actually all for pagans jumping online, if that’s what they want to do.

But I tend to grow less supportive when folk begin to act like dicks.

Below is a field guide to the most dickish of behaviours for observers, though I’m sure most of you will be familiar with a few of these. These behaviours are those that seem to be cropping up more and more in online groups, forums and on social media in recent years. Please don’t do these things:

Showing off
This is probably the most common. No, we really don’t care that you are a ninth degree, seventeenth generation order of the unicorn druidic high priest/ess. Decent pagans will be more interested in what you do, rather than your “title” or how many Ronald Hutton books you own. Discussing initiation, priesthood, etc somewhere like Facebook is akin to flopping your genitals out in a busy restaurant: it’s unnecessary, very rude, and will embarrass yourself and everyone around you.

The same goes for folk who use their “title”, experience or (so help me) their age as an excuse to lord it over others. Unless you are someone’s parent, you have no legitimate reason to be calling them “child” or “my son” or any of that nonsense. It’s very insulting, and you just end up sounding like an idiot/Mufasa from The Lion King.

Demanding things
Less common, still annoying. Here’s the thing: if you want access to certain information, groups, people, etc, the absolute worst thing you can do is to behave like a spoilt child, especially if your request is denied. You wouldn’t (I hope) burst in to the house of someone you hardly know and say things like “You WILL let me read your Book of Shadows!” What makes you think that sort of thing is going to fly in the online world?

Be polite if you must ask for things, and be respectful if they are denied to you. The internet means just about anything can be shared, but that doesn’t mean it will be.

Pushing irrelevant agendas
Before you post anything that is spruiking an agenda of any sort, think. Make sure it is relevant to where you are posting it. People in witchcraft groups get very annoyed when they see a post prefaced by “I know this isn’t always related to witchcraft, but I thought I would share it here anyway…”.

Posting about something like crochet or polyamory or bananas in a group that caters only for enthusiasts of crochet, polyamory or bananas is perfectly fine. Posting about it in a witchcraft group is not. Stay on topic, or go elsewhere.

Taboo for the sake of taboo
It has been a recent favourite for some people to start “discussions” about paganism, magic and witchcraft in relation to justifying things like murder, incest, etc… All for the sake of making waves. Just… don’t.

Seeking/offering “traditional online” training
How many times have you seen a post along the lines of “BB, my name’s Lady RavenChild SnowLeopard, I’m just looking for someone who can give me training in traditional white wicca…”? I mean, usually the punctuation isn’t as good, but you get the idea.

The only thing worse than that is the people who respond with things like “BB RavenChild, I am a fifty-first degree eclectic witch and can offer you Gardnerian and Druidic training and initiation online, for around $58 a lesson…”

Ugh.

So.

First, if it’s “traditional” witchcraft you’re after, you aren’t going to find all your answers online. Second, no self-respecting witch offers training over Facebook! Third, beware of the old adage of “craft for sale” – if someone is looking to make pots and pots of money from your spiritual “journey”, you might want to look elsewhere.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Bad Behaviours of Online Pagans

  1. Craig Schumacher

    I have in fact advertised an information course in a local pagan facebook group, and so far that’s worked out well enough. Mind you, this was just a notice for people to contact me if they were interested, and then things proceeded in the traditional IRL manner. I wasn’t offering to put actual training material on facebook. The fb notice served the same purpose as newspaper ads in days of yore, and I would no more train people online over facebook than my predecessors would have published course notes in the newspaper they advertised in.

  2. Adelina Soto-Thomas

    Wonderful article. While I think FB has served as some free advertising to those who have only the sincerest of intentions, I have seen a rash of bad behavior lately that is disheartening. Several super duper upteemth level witches or warlocks (as they choose to be called) who shout hate, encourage their followers to hack pages, insult those who disagree, etc… They sound like cult leaders instead of legitimate Pagan teachers…pathetic. Thanks for your article and I will be sharing it!

  3. I can easily identify with your angst over pagan behaviour on the net. Great post I enjoyed your other recent posts also.

  4. Willow

    I enjoyed reading your article, which linked from a FB post. However, I disagree with that no one legit can or should offer online training for some things. I am part of a group that is offering some right now, it’s not on FB though. It’s a forum for women for a certain goddess. I know that in my experience, I would rather train online with reputable, polite and stable people then in person with questionable people, with hidden agendas. Of course this could also be online, but the location where I am living does not allow me to congregate with others of like mind. In the forum, the members are scattered all across the globe. It would not make sense to gather together if it’s inconvenient and/or possible budget-wise. There is also the Covenant of Hekate on FB, which is legitimate and very helpful, I think that forum is a prime and wonderful example of things that can go right online. 🙂

    • Willow

      *Of course there are questionable people with hidden agendas online too. Of course I’d rather meet in person but my schedule does not allow me too many social activities.
      *It would not make sense to gather together if it’s inconvenient and/or NOT possible budget-wise to go travelling.

      *Sorry for the mistakes, hope this new post cleared things up!

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