Concerning an incident that has recently come to my attention, revealing some very deeper, more troubling issues that I feel should be addressed, not turning a blind eye to something that is clearly problematic.

As an outsider, over the past week and a half, I’ve been witness to a few events occurring within the heathen and pagan communities-and though they don’t quite pertain to me directly, they’re all the bustle and talk among my friends, and those on my blog roll. The first subject brought up, of course, is the racially motivated killings by Glen Cross, a professed anti-semite with alleged ties to Odinism. However there are some media outlets (The Times) who are still attempting to portray Cross as “a good christian”, and the outpouring by the Heathen community itself has been nothing short of impressive. In addition to working with the media to attempt to clarify and explain Heathenism’s stance on crimes of racial motivation, it has also managed to raise a good deal of money for the victims of the hate crimes. Of course I applaud the efforts of the individuals involved in this. . . mostly for taking actual action as opposed to just a wailing and gnashing of teeth on the subject. So often we see various groups complain x and y isn’t fair, and seldom are there any actual deeds done to try and right a clear wrong, even if it was only attributed (falsely, as CNN’s source would seen to indicate) to that community; and it’s been wonderful and impressive to see, and I encourage those Heathens who follow me to jump on the bandwagon and, if financially feasible, see about assisting with the funding for the victims and their families, or ask how you can get involved in making things right where damage has been done. Not because the community is responsible, but because as a community, it’s taking personal accountability and responsibility to make things better in the face of an image tarnished by one hateful individual. That’s a cause anyone can get behind, yes? I should think so.

Which brings me to the next big discussion that’s been going around, and this one, aimed more at Neo-Wiccan groups and the problems therein; the story has broke of a West Virginia Man accused of molesting children at  Wiccan/Pagan “rituals“, luring the children in with promises that the “magic” would make their mommy well, or bring back the deceased father of one of the other victims. Of course in accompanying press releases, the Neo-Wiccan and Pagan community at large has responded by stating that of course, this shouldn’t have happened or have been deemed acceptable because “our tenants say ‘harm none'”, and have cited The Wiccan Rede as precedence for the impropriety of the whole thing. Further more, it makes a dangerous venture into victim blaming territory, as ‘parents should always perform background checks on anyone who they allow their children to spend time with’.  In short, the whole of the pagan and Neo-Wiccan community has done a lot of head turning and hand waving and on some fronts, even attempted to justify the abusers acts. Needless to say, this is morally reprehensible. And I was not the only one who thought so. Sannion has already made a good point regarding the atmosphere in which this type of abuse is ripe to occur, and between him and Galina Krasskova and Kenaz Fillian, both of whom had their own conversation regarding the subject [that was fascinating to read and made several good points], seemed to be the only ones who were prepared to step up and cite the problems associated with the Neo-Wiccan idea of ‘body positivity’ and nudity vs. Sexual display in pagan community and ritual. Galina brought up a good point, in that it’s virtually impossible to have “family friendly” events coupled together with any form of nudity when it comes to pagan ritual, and the two shouldn’t be put together, in my opinion. This isn’t to say that there is anything wrong with being family friendly; or being nude or sexual. But where the latter comes into play . . . children should not be present. Ever. Period. These ideas? Do not mix. And it would only seem smart to be to be suspicious of anyone you would meet who would say different.

Let me explain. When I first began on my magical path, and I was dabbling in Wicca, I was lucky in the sense that I got to go away for several weekends here and there with my best friend in High-School, who had an aunt and two uncles, and they were a very magical family, and we all did lots of magical workings and rituals together, and it was wonderful. Nudity did come into play in this family, particularly, on ‘hot tub night’-and I was 16-17 at the time.

Rituals were planned for the earlier parts of the day, with lots of room and provisions made for the children to have their fun. After that, parents were asked to either put their children to bed or take them home, because after a certain time, it was time for the adult part of the day. Sometimes it was merely ritual with adult themes, other times it was more unwinding after a long day of gardening in the family’s hot tub. Most everyone, yes, was nude. However at 16, this didn’t bother me; no one was acting in an inappropriate manner, I never once felt threatened or pressured of violated, and everyone was very mature about the whole thing. And maybe the reason why this was ok to them (although hindsight 20/20, waiting until a person is over 16 for this in any setting just seems like a good idea, for legal reasons) was because they knew and understood that I was emotionally mature enough to understand the difference between nudity and sexuality.

The problem in the pagan/neo-wiccan community, however, is there are some “adults” who themselves are not aware of this boundary. And from the outside looking in, the ‘Rede’ is a very large problem. ‘An’ ye Harm None,’ is how it begins, and here’s where we are inviting a recipe for disaster; sure, the rede says! Do what you want, as long as you don’t mean to hurt anyone. Right? But what for one person might be nudity and a little flirting might be something completely different for someone new to the community who has no idea of what to expect-and now you’re telling them that as a tenant they can’t ‘harm’ anybody. . . should they tell someone they were uncomfortable? What if that ostracizes them from everyone else? Will they then face denial from the community? Given the recent actions of the community itself, I have to be inclined to think the answer to that is a resounding ‘yes’. So focused is the community of free loving and free spirit and not hurting anyone that it has perpetuated about itself this aura of passive acceptance for anything that does bother someone. And frightens those people who are uncomfortable with it away. . . who wants to be a tattletale, after all? But I can tell you in my years of doing my speeches at Pantheacon, there were more than a few times where I saw some big harry dude walking around with hardly anything covering his junk while parents ushered their children by and covered their eyes; it was even worse if the people staying at the hotel weren’t there for Pantheacon itself. There is absolutely no precedent for a grown man displaying his genitals in a place where there are young children playing and present; babies and toddlers especially; and it was nothing to do with what’s socially appropriate and everything to do with teaching our children to recognize the behaviors often exhibited by predators. Displaying genitalia at a child is a felony for a reason. If out of 20 times it’s only genuinely innocent 2 of them, that still leaves the other 18 where something else is going on there. We as a culture have come to understand that there is an age where children and young adults begin to understand things like sexual exploration and display, and when they don’t. And while yes, it is a parents responsibility to help a child understand their body and how to be comfortable in and around nudity, it’s also a parents responsibility to demonstrate to a child what is not acceptable. So with this whole situation, we have a failure of two things: the community to recognize patterns and signs of abusive behavior-and also victim blaming, which is even more reprehensible if you ask me, and the encouragement from that same community for parents to either not teach their children what is an acceptable form of nudity, and what is not-and to police one another to do the same. Good rule of thumb? If you’re dubious about whether it’s OK or not. . . it’s probably not.

As a Luciferian, part of our tenants are beyond ‘an ye harm none’. Ours is a path of personal accountability, and most of the Luciferians I know seem to take this very very seriously, particularly where children are concerned. I have never seen a group of people so ready to take the head (or both of them!) from an abuser as a Luciferian (or an ally of theirs) when they’ve had a wrong done to them. Passive complacence is-dare I say it-a sin to a rebel, and we don’t take a blow and then turn the other cheek. . . we come back swinging.

Part of it may have to do with the individual Luciferian desire to disavow any of the malicious lies set down by the Satanic Panic of the 1990s, and the ritual abuse alleged satanists were accused of. The other part of it might be the Angel Himself; who places a high value on the purity and innocent beauty of children not yet cheated out of their dreams and creativity and personal power by a harsh world and even worse, morally bankrupt people. As a parent I can say I can’t even imagine turning a blind eye to someone in my (theoretical) community accused of harming children. It wouldn’t just try and sweep it under the rug, either [ Likely, I’d be doing a little jail time of my own if someone hurt my child, if the system didn’t put them away for good]. And I wouldn’t stand to be around people who were enablers of it, either.

And without saying to much, this is a subject that hits very close to home for me, and has recently reared it’s ugly head in my own [very extended] family[no longer], suffice to say, there were no enablers, and the guilty party is facing 30 years of hard jail time.

The bottom line. This is a community that is, as of this writing, demonstrating that it’s own policies do not take a hard stance against what is appropriate conduct around children and what is not. Maybe they should read the law again. And while yes, in the end the responsibility to monitor the children *does* fall on the parent, once a community uncovers a predator in it’s midst, there needs to be a tribunal to sit down and take a good look at the environment which may have perpetuated the idea that kids visiting a grown man for ‘magic cures’ was totally OK, and no one thought to ask questions. Was it out of that “free spirit, do as you will” vibe the Neo-Wiccan community seems so proud of? Or something else? Clearly something there needs to change. As Galina said best, it’s a tent that is burning down around it’s people. The Neo-Wiccan community is so toxic in its perpetuation of abuse and manipulation that it’s time it took a step back and came up with some new tenants. It all might have sounded OK in the sixties but this is a new era, the free love is a dream, and a dangerous one at that.