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.