All too often, it seems that Pagans are constantly belittling one another. For example, there was a video shared on the internet that documented a Pagan ceremony. The group that posted the video did not support Paganism, nor did they criticize it, but simply created it for educational purposes. One might expect a few fundamentalist Christians to comment such things as ‘Repent!’ or ‘These devil worshippers are going to hell’, yet most negative comments came from fellow Pagans.
The group in the video partaking in the ceremony was dressed in full ritual garb, with elaborate dress and jewelry. Several self-proclaimed Pagans commented that these people ‘look ridiculous’, ‘are the reason people think us Pagans are freaks’, and ‘no real Pagan actually dresses like that and dances around’.
Needless to say, I was shocked, disappointed, and rather upset by these comments. How could a fellow Pagan speak so ill of those who choose to wear proper ritual wear for their practice? If someone chooses to perform ritual or ceremony in casual street clothing, that is perfectly fine. It is their practice and their choice. However, they have no right to bash a fellow practitioner because they choose to wear robes, jewelry, or other formal ritual wear. Doing so does not make that person a ‘freak’, it simply means that they take their practice seriously and choose to express their practice in a certain way.
As Pagans, we come under attack enough from the outside. Fundamentalists continue to preach that Witchcraft is ‘evil’ or ‘devil worship’. Materialistic atheists and other secular individuals think that our beliefs and practices are nonsensical foolishness. There is still such a lack of understanding, and sometimes overt hatred, by those outside of the community, therefore it is not wise for Pagans to belittle each other over such trivial things as how we choose to express ourselves in our practice.
If a fellow Pagan chooses to wear a robe or dance around a fire, they are not ‘freaks’. If you choose not to do so, that is your right and you should not be condemned for it. However, you have no right to condemn those who do. We are misunderstood by so many, it is absurd that we would attack one another in such a way. Communities are made up of individuals who may do certain things differently, yet all have certain core things in common. Common attributes of our community include; a reverence for nature, reverence for the Goddess and God, a belief in magick, etc. For a community to survive, it must be strongly united. If the Pagan community is to grow in strength and unity, we have no time to waste on bashing our fellow members based on what they wear during ritual.