Many of us who had the pleasure to be involved with this past Saturday’s DFW PPD are still basking in the glow of what a marvelous event it was for our community. Tommy Elf and I had been talking for some time about the need for folks to set aside what separates them and embrace what brings them together within the community. Sure, we come from a diverse and wide ranging collection of beliefs and traditions but there are some tangibles that do tie us to one another and when we recognize and respect one another’s differences but support each’s right to follow their own spirit we can do amazing things together. Saturday proved that. We had folks from Wiccan, Sumerian, Druid, Hellenismos (and I am not sure I am using the proper form of the word there, perhaps Conor can help me out?) and many other traditional backgrounds all putting on workshops, rituals, vending, performing and mingling together and enjoying one another’s company. We raised an estimated 17 pints of blood for Carter Blood Care and took in 110 pounds of donated food for a local charity. All in all it was a great day to be a Pagan or as I sometimes like to say Paganesque as there are some within the realm of Paganesque thought who prefer other descriptives such as Heathen, Polytheist, etc. Which is fine, I just usually use Pagan or Paganesque as an umbrella term in the interests of saving time and simplicity. When I say it I really mean, just about everyone who believes something other than the gigantic mainstream monotheistic viewpoint.
Anyway, while riding the high of the positive energy which our community raised this past Saturday I happened to get an email from someone starting a new Pagan Network. He has been in touch with Carla Smith who is Vice President of PPP international and through her is getting in touch with various Pagan Pride Local Coordinators to try the new network out. Essentially a social network for Pagans kind of like Facebook but not like those NING based sites you might have seen already. I thought, okay, cool let’s check this thing out. I have to say, the user interface is pretty clean and easy to navigate but could use a few more features which most people these days tend to take for granted on social networking sites. The name leans heavily toward Witches or Wiccan based Pagans but I saw a post by one of the network’s architects saying that they recognize this fact and are planning a name change to something a little more inclusive so I thought, cool, they are thinking ahead. I joined the Founders Club group within the network because I am as of this moment one of only 40 members in the network. I was reading through the posts there and commenting in agreement to some of the things said there then simply dropped the line of something like. I can see where the current name might seem rather slanted against Heathens or Druids though. (Now mind, this is after I have already seen a message posted elsewhere on the site that a name change is already in the works.) The very first response I get back, indeed the very first response I have had back from anyone at all on the network so far is “They will just have to pick up the pieces and move on.” WTF?!?! What’s that all about? What kind of an attitude is that anyway?
You know, I remember some of the conversations we had right here on this blog with Isadore about how many in the Heathen communities don’t care for taking park in community wide events because they are often shouted down and not given an opportunity to speak their piece but this is the first time in my recollection that I had actually ever been on the receiving end of such derision. Seriously! WTF?!?! Pick up the pieces and move on? I don’t know. I guess some folks in the community still have a way to go. Now this wasn’t someone here in the DFW area, don’t get me wrong. But I personally can’t get behind that kind of thinking. I believe everyone should be entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and whether you are Wiccan, Heathen, Druid, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Spaghetti Monsterologist or whatever you might happen to be, if you are respectful of others you are welcome here.
Bíodh sé amhlaidh,