Thursday, April 3, 2014

Solidarity in Standing up to Bullies

Over the past weeks, "Left Hand Path" Pagans, Witches, and Magicians have been openly persecuted on the Internet by Golden Dawn religious extremists, who repeatedly lumped all LHP Pagans, Witches, and Magicians together in one sack, branding them all collectively as "Satanists." Concern about demonisation and religious persecution by Golden Dawn extremists has now spread beyond the Golden Dawn to the Pagan and Thelemic communities. As one mainstream RHP Pagan leader pointed out to me today:
"Branding ALL LHP Pagans and Witches as "Satanists" is the religious equivalent of calling African Americans the "n" word. But then again, religious extremists have been calling all Pagans 'Satanists' for Centuries."
While this may be a bit strong and doesn’t necessarily represent the position of the Alpha Omega, it does point to the perception these attacks have created in the Pagan community.

Sadly, news broke today that - due to on-line persecution by Golden Dawn religious extremists - a few "Left Hand Path" Pagans now fear for their safety to attend the MagickAll 2014 gathering ... 

... and have consequently decided not to come to MagickAll this year. This is a missed opportunity for both Right Hand Path and Left Hand Path Pagans - to meet one another, learn about one another's lore, ways of looking at Magick, to examine and test their assumptions about one another, etc.

This fear of Pagans for their safety is a direct consequence of weeks of religious hatred and intolerance spewed against Left Hand Path Witches on certain Golden Dawn Facebook groups and blogs.

For example, Left Hand Path Witch, Scarlett Marie, today wrote on Facebook:
"Yes, EA [Koetting] will still be [at the MagickAll gathering] from what I know but Nate and I will no longer be..."

Despite my best efforts to promote patience, understanding, and religious tolerance through MagickAll 2014, Golden Dawn extremists have twisted a gathering for tolerance into an on-line platform to spew hatred and terrorise minority Pagans.

Let me be clear about this. I do disagree with many of the philosophical positions and Magickal methods of many practitioners of Left Hand Path Pagans. As a Golden Dawn Magician and Right Hand Path Pagan, I personally see and do things quite differently than they do.

I do not, however, support an entire minority segment of the greater Pagan and Magickal communities fearing for their safety due to terrorism by a handful of Golden Dawn bigots.

One would think that even LHP Witches could come to an intertraditional Pagan and Magickal gathering without fear of persecution.

As a Right Hand Path Pagan, I have been freguently attacked by the same Golden Dawn extremists for 20+ years now, but as a GD leader and a public figure I have thick skin. This does not mean though I am not unconcerned about the way LHP Witches have been terrorized by these people recently. Other RHP Pagan leaders have also shared concern about this religious persecution as well.

LHP Pagans are not the only religious faith targeted by Golden Dawn bigots either. Thelemites have long been discriminated against by them as well. Thelemite Jimmie Steele today wrote:
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, ut 
I just want to send a big THANK YOU to AO and yourself on behalf of all Thelemites. I have read a lot of your past posts and I think it is wonderful how you have spoken in good tone of Thelema and don't discriminate against Thelemites, AA, or OTO members.  
You don't hold back initiation from them or make them choose one or the other. I know that first welcoming someone, then withholding advancement grades is a common thing in some of the GD orders/lodges. So thank you! ... 
I follow a primal witchcraft path as well, so I think it is great you are not excluding so called "left hand path" magicians or witches. I will admit I am not the biggest fan of Mr. Koetting (his approach, methods, theology, etc), but I do not disapprove of his being there or his ritual etc. We can learn from everybody including him. I know he is a very knowledgeable and experienced magician.  
I applaud you for allowing a left hand path person speak and participate.  
Darkness does NOT mean evil."
In the past two years the Alpha Omega's yearly Spring gathering has been for Golden Dawn Magicians ONLY. We invited people from all the different Golden Dawn orders and their leaders threatened them with expulsion to keep them away.

This year, we open our gathering to ALL Magickal practitioners - and these same Golden Dawn leaders this time say they can’t show up because there are non-GD people doing Magick! 

I say “Make up your mind!” 

Narrow minded bigots have been calling Pagans as Satanists for Centuries, so there is nothing really new about the persecution of Left Hand Path Witches on the Internet by Golden Dawn bullies. I am shocked to witness even certain Golden Dawn Pagans actually mocking the LHP Pagans who no longer feel safe to attend a pan-tradional gathering due to internet bullying. It's a terrible irony that there are people in the oft-persecuted esoteric community using the terminology and tactics of the very people who once tried to burn them at the stake.

What gives such people the right to laugh at someone else's emotional distress due to the heavy bigotry laid against them? Nothing does. These are people that had to undergo a lot of shaming already, and now members from our own community are discriminating against them and then laughing at them for not being so resilient to their attacks? Wow!

One thing is certain. Magickall 2014 opens tomorrow and remains open to Magicians and Pagans oa ALL traditions. Plenty of good people are coming - from all walks of life as well as from a vast array of various religious faiths and Magickal traditions. Stand together with us in facing down religious bigotry, intolerance, and internet bullying.

You can find more information on the MagickAll gathering here.

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