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Pagan Prompt: Brightest Star

Question from Pagan_Prompt on LJ.

Who do you believe is the most influential person alive today in the pagan and/or magical community and why?

My short answer: No one.

The Pagan and magical “community” is largely a mythical beast, in my opinion. Given that there are so many different paganisms, and so many different systems of magic, there are going to be different communities, cliques, groups, temples, houses, clubs, and what-have-you. This question can only be answered on the opinion of the one answering it.

Any idiot can publish a book. And any internet guru or “elder”, no matter how wrong they might be, is considered right if enough nodding heads and yes-men/women are following them around. I’ve seen this all too often with what I call “internet shamans” online. Such people are quite skilled in quietly silencing or getting rid of any dissenting voices, or appealing to mob mentality in general.

I’m not saying there aren’t people who are indeed bright lights, voices of sanity and wisdom when it is much needed in this scene. But “the most influential” will likely only be a mythical beast. At least in my book.

Be noted that I am writing this from the perspective of a relative hermit. I am not a part of a temple or group. I hold no loyalties to anyone else but my gods and myself. The rhetoric and dogma of others is all too often bothersome, and something that would just get in my way.

I think the question should be: Who is most influential to you on your path?

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  1. October 12, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    I think you’re appraisal of the contemporary Pagan community is spot-on. The internet has completely changed everything. It used to be that someone was considered an elder because they had written an authoritative book, spent years leading their community, or were in the forefront of efforts to gain greater visibility, acceptance and civil rights. These days there is a flood of books on the market and you can get famous just for having a widely-read blog or website. More, there’s no longer even the illusion of a single Pagan community – we’re a bunch of distinct religions, traditions, groups, movements, etc. and no one speaks for the whole of us. Hell, it’s hard enough finding someone that is widely accepted as authoritative within even those various factions.

    Amusingly, for me, personally, the most influential important “voices” for my path aren’t contemporary practioners. They are either people long-dead or artists whose work has had a deep impact on my own thinking and practice. There are a number of folks I respect and admire and consider as equals – but no one I’d grant a position of authority over me.

  2. October 12, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    My Mother (a Native American traditionalist) taught me young that “If you follow the herd you’re going to step in a lot of shit.” It was my family that lay the foundations of my becoming a hedgewitch. I grew up on a farm in the middle of the woods. I learned to track and fish and wildcraft herbs and garden and make my own household repairs when most kids were partying, trying drugs, and getting STDs.

    As far as authors go, Yasmine Galenorn was the first pagan writer who was non-Wiccan that I ever read. This just further encouraged me to blaze my own trail, live my own life, and practice my own way without allowing myself to be pushed into the dominant paradigm.

  3. October 13, 2010 at 12:34 am

    I had no idea there is a pagan prompt LJ community…

    But, in any case, I very much agree with you.

  4. October 13, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    I agree with your sentiments. Given the diversity between crowds of different Pagan sects, traditions, and other paths under the umbrella term Pagan, there will be influential Pagans within those traditions. They won’t translate between all parts of the umbrella.

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