Being a solitaire practitioner for a long time, I was shielded from the “Best Witch” drama. Now, maybe because I pay more attention to it, maybe because I don’t hide my practice, but I am constantly reminded of the drama within groups of people. Why do we have to compete even in our spiritual practices? Seems like we are completely missing the point of spirituality when this happens. After all, there should really only be competition within oneself.
When I first opened shop, I was looking at a newer (but older than my own) metaphysical shop in my area for ideas and the possibility of maybe one day adding my products to her shop also. I had previously shopped in that store for supplies I needed and followed their website and Facebook pages. I loved that it gave me a sense of community within my community without having to be part of a group.
This is probably a good time to explain my issues with a group….. Long story short, after a non-religious childhood and seeking religion at a young age, I found myself in important roles within a Methodist Church. Children’s Ministry Director, Pastor Perish Relation Chairman, Outreach Manager, along with many other hats held, I saw behind the scenes of mainstream religion and it was revolting to me. I saw how, outwardly faced people smiled, while behind the scenes they back stabbed, ridiculed and mocked good people. I saw judgment spew from the mouths of those who kneeled beside me on Sunday morning convinced this simple act made them righteous. If this is what a religious group of people done to one another then I wanted nothing to do with putting my faith and religion in someone else’s hands. Fast-forward several years and I found myself a solitary follower judging no one and being judged by no one….and that’s how I liked it.
So back to this metaphysical shop…..they offered classes in house for new people and I thought about going. My history and social anxiety told me it wasn’t time. I wound up finding a group of people by accident really, that I really liked and clicked with. I still followed the shop, sometimes needing supplies I couldn’t get and sometimes just to see what new products were brought in by local artists. Plus, I liked supporting a like-minded individual and small business within my community. Until, one day the drama began……
An older and much larger metaphysical shop in the neighboring city was the most well-known and popular in our area. I had and still do shop there as well. Well, one day while scrolling through my internet I run into my local shop and this larger shop having an all-out Facebook war over non sense he said she said and then all their followers following suit and supporting or bashing the other. Although an interesting read at first, I was shocked, and a little appalled at how these people were acting. Business owners, leaders within our community AND representations of today’s pagan were making me happy I never attempted to associate within that circle.
The drama didn’t end there, far from it actually. It continued over several months. I was easily able to see details in my Facebook newsfeed and I got tired of the constant drama. I didn’t have loyalty to either side, didn’t want involved and honestly found fault with each on what they were doing. I was tempted to just “unfollow” them both. Until one day I saw a post from the smaller store announcing their closing. Now, closed down, they continue to post airing out all the secrets and wrong doing within the local pagan community. I feel for them and their situation but I do think there are always better ways to handle things. I am saddened that their shop closed and am confused at how the larger shop could feel empowered by ridding our community of an already scarce commodity as a local metaphysical shop is. How can either feel like they won? The local pagan community, as a whole, lost….
I have seen these sorts of things within the Facebook groups that I follow as well. Someone asks a question, or seeks advice and others just jump on them like vultures. I think social media has made it way too easy for people to spew hate and judgment without having to face their opponent in person and take account for their words. It gives a false sense of empowerment and bravery when you can hide behind a computer. I have seen first-hand what groups of people, gossip and judgment can do in person but technology has made it so much worse.
Is it the fault of the computer, then? No, it’s not. It’s our fault. When will we stop condemning and persecuting others and start projecting the love and light that we like to say we live? As pagans, we have enough enemies to worry about just based on our beliefs that we need to stick together as like-minded people and stop trying to be the best witch. In my experience, the no it all, the one that professes their greatness are anything but great. Modest, humble and private beings are those I look up to and seek as a guide. They have conquered the one true task, for they have conquered their own ego.