But witchcraft could be used by anyone and paganism was about the people. Or so we said. We modern pagans took great pride in that. A couple of well placed spells would restore natural balance, and through Harmony with Nature™ we could build a better tomorrow. We knew that certain Christians would regularly say one thing and do another if they believed it served a higher purpose. We would grumble about their sanctimonious hypocrisy. There, we would tell each other in shadows at the borders, that is why monotheism is destined to fail spectacularly.
After I went through my own trials by fire and the incident I call NeoWayland and the Wiccan Crusaders, I started reaching out to others again. This time I did it mainly online. But "the political is personal" had taken hold. I was accepted for my paganism, but not so much for my very libertarian politics. So I learned to keep my mouth figuratively shut. I wanted to be accepted. I was. I did it by acknowledging the victimhood hierarchy. “Pagans of color” weren’t really a thing then, but women as victims were. I loved strong women, I still do. I was raised by one of the strongest you could ever know. I kept waiting for these victims to move beyond their victimhood to blossom into strength. And I kept getting disappointed. Why should these victims grow? Their victimhood and the guilty pity of others gave them all the validation they wanted even as “the Man” kept them down. They couldn’t let go of their victimhood long enough to see that they brought most of their problems onto themselves. Never was “like calls to like” better illustrated.
These females wanted to be victims. They needed to be victims. Their “power” was the borrowed strength of others. They didn’t need to understand the tensions and balances in the World. All they had to do was whine and Their Will Be Done. This was the intersection of witchcraft and third wave feminism. They could be “spooky” and “sexy” without understanding. They wore the titles like costumes. They were about attention, not the magick. The personal was the political and it was magick. But it was a dream. These females were polyester playgans. It was all show and no substance. They went through the motions. It was worse than the Christmas and Easter people that Christian don’t like talking about.
The politics and the paganism didn't mix. Most people who were passionate about witchcraft and paganism despised libertarian principles. And the passionate libertarians didn't like paganism. It didn’t help that the most vocal and public pagans were very progressive. It didn’t help that mostly it really wasn’t about magick or the gods anymore. It was about the politics.
And I accepted it because I wanted to be liked.
I continued separating the two when I started blogging. I could comment on politics as a pagan and a libertarian because both were basically outlier groups. But I couldn't organize a ritual to make things better.
I really do believe in free choice, using magick to change someone's mind isn't that far removed from holding a gun to their head and threatening them. And once I do that, I've got to keep using magick to keep them from changing it back. Then there are the consequences, you can't hold someone underwater without getting wet. You can't use magick to change things without changing yourself. If I use magick to control someone, I am diminishing them. I am making them less than human. I am destroying my own humanity to force my choices on them. I am disrupting harmony. I am destroying their tomorrows. I am paying the price with my spirit.
Meanwhile, the pagans who I really trusted saw the way of things. We joked about it, we called it withdrawing into the mists. Some kept practicing only not as openly. Some moved onto other things. Most withdrew from the connections and politics that were complicating things. Paganism had become screeching at the world for not being fair. The people who were good moved away from the spectacle. The magick was not the show. The gods weren’t the show. That was people.
That’s when I began to understand that politics corrupts. Period.
More and more my libertarianism and my magick were intertwining and interweaving. I couldn't say so and still be welcomed in pagan circles, but it was obvious. I remembered the things that my grandfather and mother had taught me. First understand the way things grew together. Then nudge towards a greater strength. Above all, be patient and trust in nature. The quick radical solutions damaged and disrupted.
If I planted a tomato, it would be days before I’d have a sprout. It would be months before that vine bore fruit. And in the spring I would have to plant again. Not all soil would support a vine. Sometimes things would have to be added. Sometimes companion plants were needed. I couldn’t just pluck a magick potion and cast it into the winds. Not if I wanted a real, lasting change.
Eventually the progressive politics got too much for even me. I started speaking for myself. I stopped paying attention to political correctness. I started seeking out conservatives that I could trust.
I knew I couldn’t trust the progressives. I had known it for years, I just talked about it more.
The fix was in for the Democrats, I’ve talked about that elsewhere. But something very strange had happened. For eight years, we had a President who lost more than a thousand legislative seats, Congressional seats, Senatorial seats, and governorships. No one dared criticize him because of the color of his skin. Even as his policies weakened the economy and America’s position internationally. President Obama’s power came at the cost of his own party. Although few would criticize him directly, resentment was building. Obama didn’t rely on the rule of law. He depended on regulation to remake the United States into his ideal.
I couldn’t say that Obamacare didn’t make economic sense. You couldn’t give reduced cost health care to everyone without raising taxes, raising costs, or limiting services. Probably all at once. For this I was called racist.
I couldn’t say that it was better for gay marriage to work it’s way through the states. Better yet, we needed to get government out of the marriage business entirely. For this, I was called homophobic.
I couldn’t say that the United States was not a rape culture. A real rape culture was where any unaccompanied woman was “inviting rape.” For this, I was called misogynist.
“Thou shalt not dissent.”
For eight years, all the various victim groups “won” not through law, but by having their agendas and opinions forced on everyone else. It wasn’t enough to acknowledge it, no, Americans had to celebrate differences on demand.
Progressives thought this was a good thing. Their goals were reached, letting them set new goals and whine again.
But what it really did was weaken progressives. They never had to compromise. They never had to debate their ideas. They never had to work for it. They never even had to acknowledge that any other side existed. President Obama would give them what they wanted as long as they voted the way he said.
They had core beliefs, assumptions really, that dismissed any but their particular version of Truth®. The first was the assumption that they were right and there was no other practical or reasonable way. The second was the assumption that government was always benevolent or at least neutral. Third was the assumption that the way to fix social problems was to use government (and MORE government) to force solutions.
For our own good, of course. And there would be no dissent. Progressives never considered what others thought. They had been too well trained. If progressives didn’t like what others thought and said, they would discredit them by association. Never by reasoning, no, never by logic. It was straight out of Rules for Radicals. Progressives had conditioned themselves to act on feelings rather than rationality.
And that brings us to 2016.
The Democrat Party was so weak because no one could be allowed to threaten Obama or Hillary Clinton. She was going to be the nominee, no matter what.
Sure, the Republicans could put up one of their big names, but that might threaten Clinton’s presidency. So instead they made sure that one of the silliest names got the most attention.
What no one counted on was that the silliest candidate started making sense to many many people. Those people saw Hillary Clinton and they saw the insider, the maybe crook who at the very least fixed the nomination and may have let an ambassador die. Those who didn’t know and bothered to dig were horrified by what they found.
The one thing the silly candidate promised was change. And he had no political ties. Which meant that he might actually pull it off. And he did.
Suddenly, all these “victims” who had had their demands fulfilled by decree found out that all their “power” depended on having a President who could decree.
So they went after Donald Trump. Never mind that most of what he did was the same thing that other Presidents had done. Never mind that another sizable chunk of what he was accused of was out and out lies.
There are legitimate concerns with Trump. I didn’t vote for him. I don’t trust him. I think he’s bad for freedom. But all that gets mixed in with the nonsense and promptly ignored. The more noise against Trump, the less attention any criticism gets.
No. Donald Trump could not be allowed to serve. He threatened too much of the establishment. Progressives would whine and throw tantrums until Trump quit. And they would keep throwing more and more tantrums.
It wasn’t enough.
So they needed something that would grab headlines. Not once but again and again. Something sexy. Something wicked. Something vaguely threatening. Something that would let selected victim groups get publicity.
Enter the witches.
Many neopagan rituals draw heavily from Freemasonry, the Order of the Golden Dawn, and the Ordo Templi Orientis among many others. There’s talk of the Four Powers of the Magus or the Magician’s Pyramid. The name for one side translates as “to keep silent.”
A big organized public ritual is not keeping silent.
But then it was never about magick. It was never about direct change. It was about exploiting victimhood.
It was, as Chas. S. Clifton pointed out, about virtue signaling.
Someone who doesn’t like President Trump and uses a very public online ritual to “bind” him doesn’t really understand witchcraft.
Lo and behold, we have One True Way and One True Faith with no dissent allowed.
We pagans have become the worst that we saw in the People of the Book.
Gods help us.