It’s around fifty years (give or take a few depending on which stories you believe) since neo-paganism was born from the mind of Uncle Gerry. In times past that would make us an infant religion, yet neo-paganism has been fortunate to have been born just in time to catch the waves of globalization and more importantly the World Wide Web, and social media. Where a spiritual movements would have had to rely on the spreading of ideas as people migrated (even on a “missionary” quest that takes a lot of time!), now someone can share a YouTube video, or create a mashup, and you might get the attention of a few dozen, to a few thousand people!
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So it’s not surprising that in this intensely fluid environment, that a lot of “antagonism” can be built between people who may never meet. One of the “best (read worst) places to see this is Usenet where flame wars and trolls abound. What has also come from these situations are internet personalities who seem to think that they are the worlds experts on any subject under creation. Paganism is not short of these people, and what you will find with these people is that they will associate themselves with more legitimate personalities especially when they pass on.
Recently I saw a rash of borderline real personalities, and many internet personalities attaching themselves to the passing of Isaac Bonewits. While this is not uncommon with anyone “famous” who passes (and probably has not been a new trick for millennia), it is still in bad taste, especially with comments of “he was my student” and “we were great friends”. This behavior is usually to make the “personality” in question seem more authentic or to have more authority over anyone who questions them. Again these are not new tricks. However unlike in many other situations neo-paganism has the option of those in the role of the Warrior stepping in. I was fortunate to have talked to Isaac over one such claimant before he died, and he had replied that he was never a student of the person claiming it, also he barely knew the man. I had his permission to post his reply anytime it came up from this person, and I’ve done just that. This of course has made me no friends with the claimant, but to be honest I’m not out to make friends when I stand up to these sort of people, I’m there to preserve truth and the name of the person being victimized.
|Isaac Bonewits reply|
This is part of the role of the warrior: To do the unpopular job that no one else is willing to do, but do it for the betterment of the members of the tribe.