Luthaneal Adams, District Manager PF London, gives voice to views held by the whole of the Pagan Federation in this open letter addressing bigotry in the Pagan community. With grateful thanks to Luthaneal for his permission to share…
It’s more than fair to say that June 2016 has been a time of significant change and upheaval in this green and pleasant land. We can only speculate about how our descendants will look back upon this time and what they will think. Our world is changing, as all things inevitably do, though with such massive changes as we are seeing now, we are all scrabbling to deal with these turbulent currents.
However, it seems that some things never change and even in the face of a supposedly modern, forward-thinking world, old and ugly things may still rear their heads, seemingly reinvigorated to monstrous new life. The dark shadows of hate, intolerance and bigotry appear to rise and grow, never truly dead, but lurching on even in the places that we had thought it had been vanquished.
Over the past few months, I’ve come face to face with this bigotry, in a number of places. It was just recently that I found myself deflecting a group of Neo-Nazis who had descended upon our Facebook page – and this was well before the referendum. These distasteful individuals and those like them are part of a cancer that I am sad to say dwells within modern Paganism. A minority, for sure, but one that is present and frustratingly resilient.
Were this kind of thing restricted to the internet, we could perhaps better deal with it, knowing that these people are not physically confronting us and that their heinous presence can be removed with a simple click of the “block button”. But – and it saddens me greatly to say this – these incidences are not restricted to online trolling. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was thoroughly shocked and dismayed to find out that someone like this had attended one of our London open rituals. This person was thoroughly unpleasant to one member of our community, in particular, to the degree that they felt they were unable to attend open rituals any more. I’m sorry to say that I did not find out about this until long after the fact, but thankfully the perpetrator has not returned to any other open rituals – nor are they welcome to!
I am very proud that we in the London Pagan community are such a diverse group, from such a wide range of backgrounds. Our tolerance and acceptance are our foundations.
I want to say right here and right now that everyone is welcome in PF-London. It doesn’t matter where you are from, your gender identity, your sexual orientation, your age, if you are able bodied or disabled, the colour of your skin, your mental health, and of course what spiritual path you follow. As long as you show this same respect, you are welcome.
These are challenging times and I know full well that many people are feeling scared, shocked and intimidated by the horrible rise in racism and xenophobia that has become evident in this country.
But we will not allow that bigotry to infiltrate our Pagan Federation and PF-London will do all we can to make sure that our events, groups and activities are free from such intolerance and the people who perpetrate it.
Further to this, if you see, hear or experience anyone behaving in this way, at events, on our social media, etc. please let us know. We will not tolerate it and we will support you.
I invite my fellow Pagan Federation officers (and anyone else in our Pagan community) to join me in echoing this message.
Our community is everything and we must be there for each other.
We will not let hate and ignorance win.
District Manager – The Pagan Federation London