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Author Topic: Issues with Credibility?  (Read 2314 times)

r2squared

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Issues with Credibility?
« on: June 19, 2012, 01:38:35 am »
In my town, being a Pagan isn't the issue. Being an actual Pagan, or simply calling oneself a Pagan seems to be the issue, and it's one I think most of us in here come across more often than we think.

For example: there happens to be a local gay bar in my town that has allowed a woman to read the client's Tarot for a price, which she gets to keep. I've questioned her credibility since she told my Scorpio friend that he's a fire sign (when I believe we all know they're a water sign, correct?) yet she seems to be a well respected figure to the misinformed, unknowing crowd.

More so than that, I've become shocked at some of the "pagans" I've met who don't even know the simplest of principles from casting a circle or even the importance of the Elements and the Watchtowers. Most of them have no historical background to their blind faith and simply follow it for the spell craft. I doubt any have taken any sort of year and a day for studying.

Now the same Tarot lady from the gay bar is intending on opening a mini occult store inside the bar. This...really disturbs me. I can just see my exploited religion being turned into a side fad for the community, and let's face it, how are a bunch of drunken gay boys going to take something like Paganism seriously, especially from one so misinformed? It actually makes me quite angry that people like me who do take the time to read and learn don't get a say in this...but I also feel as though this isn't my place to say anything.

I understand that Paganism is beautifully crafted to be subjective, and two Pagans are very rarely the same. I do believe, however, that it's a good idea to know the history and the facts of Paganism with the many spiritual beliefs that coincide with it. It gives a since of background to know why we believe what we believe and why it is we use what we use.

In situations like this, what have you done as a Pagan?
« Last Edit: June 19, 2012, 01:40:36 am by r2squared »

PlaceboArtist

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Re: Issues with Credibility?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2012, 01:55:32 am »
Quote from: r2squared;60755
In my town, being a Pagan isn't the issue. Being an actual Pagan, or simply calling oneself a Pagan seems to be the issue, and it's one I think most of us in here come across more often than we think.

For example: there happens to be a local gay bar in my town that has allowed a woman to read the client's Tarot for a price, which she gets to keep. I've questioned her credibility since she told my Scorpio friend that he's a fire sign (when I believe we all know they're a water sign, correct?) yet she seems to be a well respected figure to the misinformed, unknowing crowd.

More so than that, I've become shocked at some of the "pagans" I've met who don't even know the simplest of principles from casting a circle or even the importance of the Elements and the Watchtowers. Most of them have no historical background to their blind faith and simply follow it for the spell craft. I doubt any have taken any sort of year and a day for studying.

I'm a Pagan. I can go into more detail on my faith if you ask me to. The Wiccan Elements and Watchtowers have no bearing on my religion, and while the specific path I intend to follow will later involve training, it is certainly not an integral part of being Pagan. And I used to be one of those people who 'only follow it for the spell craft'. Is being an Atheist Witch that bad? Why do you get to  define what counts as Pagan, or what the 'simplest principles' are?

Quote
Now the same Tarot lady from the gay bar is intending on opening a mini occult store inside the bar. This...really disturbs me. I can just see my exploited religion being turned into a side fad for the community, and let's face it, how are a bunch of drunken gay boys going to take something like Paganism seriously, especially from one so misinformed? It actually makes me quite angry that people like me who do take the time to read and learn don't get a say in this...but I also feel as though this isn't my place to say anything.

I understand that Paganism is beautifully crafted to be subjective, and two Pagans are very rarely the same. I do believe, however, that it's a good idea to know the history and the facts of Paganism with the many spiritual beliefs that coincide with it. It gives a since of background to know why we believe what we believe and why it is we use what we use.

In situations like this, what have you done as a Pagan?

OK, first off, I don't know if you intended it that way, but 'how are a bunch of drunken gay boys going to take something like Paganism seriously?' comes off a bit like the gayness is a part of their not taking it seriously. I'm going to assume you didn't mean offence and not take any, but that whole sentence just reads oddly to me. After all, I understand that drunkenness is not a quality recommended in a religious student, and I would take issue with a religious store in any bar, not just a gay one.

However, is it an occult store, or a specifically religious Pagan one? At least in my area, they seem to be largely separate, and the latter rather rarer. Astrology, meditation, Ouija, crystals etc. can all be used without any religious context and are not exclusively Pagan. While I would still wonder what it was doing in a bar, I am less worried about that than if it was a shop with religious objects that someone wouldn't know what to do with if they didn't have a grasp on the religion.

Also, talk to the Tarot lady. Point out where she's making mistakes, even if you have to pay for a 'reading' then go in and bring up what she said to your friend and how it's wrong. It's better to correct people who are making mistakes than to come and complain about them.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2012, 01:55:58 am by PlaceboArtist »

Etheric1

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Re: Issues with Credibility?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2012, 02:45:14 am »
Quote from: r2squared;60755
In my town, being a Pagan isn't the issue. Being an actual Pagan, or simply calling oneself a Pagan seems to be the issue, and it's one I think most of us in here come across more often than we think.

For example: there happens to be a local gay bar in my town that has allowed a woman to read the client's Tarot for a price, which she gets to keep. I've questioned her credibility since she told my Scorpio friend that he's a fire sign (when I believe we all know they're a water sign, correct?) yet she seems to be a well respected figure to the misinformed, unknowing crowd.

More so than that, I've become shocked at some of the "pagans" I've met who don't even know the simplest of principles from casting a circle or even the importance of the Elements and the Watchtowers. Most of them have no historical background to their blind faith and simply follow it for the spell craft. I doubt any have taken any sort of year and a day for studying.

Now the same Tarot lady from the gay bar is intending on opening a mini occult store inside the bar. This...really disturbs me. I can just see my exploited religion being turned into a side fad for the community, and let's face it, how are a bunch of drunken gay boys going to take something like Paganism seriously, especially from one so misinformed? It actually makes me quite angry that people like me who do take the time to read and learn don't get a say in this...but I also feel as though this isn't my place to say anything.

I understand that Paganism is beautifully crafted to be subjective, and two Pagans are very rarely the same. I do believe, however, that it's a good idea to know the history and the facts of Paganism with the many spiritual beliefs that coincide with it. It gives a since of background to know why we believe what we believe and why it is we use what we use.

In situations like this, what have you done as a Pagan?

Yes, Scorpio is a water sign.  :)  I've found most people tend to screw up the fact that Aquarius is an air sign.  

I've noticed that skill levels and knowledge vary quite a bit.  People can and do claim all sorts of things.  I've had readings that are just way off and tarot that just rambles on about nothing.  Not everyone who says they have a gift, or know what they are doing, actually do.  I would suspect that the person's business venture will not last long or be very successful.  Even if it is temporarily good, if it's fundamentally flawed it will fall eventually.  Remember Miss Cleo? This person might very well do a reading for another person and get called on it.  If you do correct her, I'd try to do it somewhat with some gentleness unless she's seeming to say something that's strikes you as dangerous.  

As for her clients - some of them may just want fantasy and do not care much more than that.  She might got a rather rude wake up call too in a spiritual sense.

Since you asked what we would do, I think for me, if she said something I knew was wrong, like the sign for example I'd probably just flat out say, no Scorp is a water sign and just be firm with it.  When they get their world popped they tend to be off balance, but that's their problem.  

I will say when I am getting a reading by someone who I don't know, I'll purposefully give bad psychological indicators for people that are just doing cold reads and see if they bite.  If they do, I'll nod and keep listening and then leave and be done with them and not go back.  If they say something that really bugs me, just by nature my reaction will be written on my face.  If they want to continue to be delusional then that's up to them.  I've found that life itself tends to sort these things out.  If she gives someone bad advice due to ignorance, it will probably find a way back to her.

Edit: I've found most tarot readers that charge money aren't very good and don't seem to stick around.  The ones that actually are good do tend to last, and I've met some very talented ones.  But as with anything, it can take awhile to get good at something, this person might just be a noob that needs more experience.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2012, 02:49:29 am by Etheric1 »
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Aine Llewellyn

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Re: Issues with Credibility?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2012, 04:59:36 am »
Quote from: r2squared;60755
More so than that, I've become shocked at some of the "pagans" I've met who don't even know the simplest of principles from casting a circle or even the importance of the Elements and the Watchtowers. Most of them have no historical background to their blind faith and simply follow it for the spell craft. I doubt any have taken any sort of year and a day for studying.

I don't include any of those things in what I do but I am still very Pagan.  I think you're confusing neoWiccish with Paganism, and while neoWiccish practice falls under Paganism it's not the entirety of it.

My path is very religious and faith-based, and when I was younger than I am now I thought people who focused on just magic or spellcraft were not going deep enough.  Then I grew up and realized how insulting and patronizing that assumption was.  The problem, I find, is not that other people are focusing on the spells or magic over other branches of Paganism but rather people getting frustrated that someone is not walking the path like they are.  When I stopped assuming that just because someone ID'd as Pagan that we would have anything in common things got a lot easier.  Now, when I talk to people online and in person, I usually make it clear that my practice is very religious, mystic, faith-oriented and lacking a lot of occult and magical focus and knowledge.

That way people know what to expect when talking to me, and I try my best to figure out where other people are coming from if they don't communicate that in a way I can readily understand.

In situations where I find someone is not credible - I usually keep it to myself or quietly point out what I feel has been done wrong. I try to limit this to a) historical issues, b) misunderstandings of labels and terminology, and c) misrepresentation of another group of Pagans or another faith group.

Have you tried speaking with the Tarot reader at this bar?

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Re: Issues with Credibility?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2012, 05:16:10 am »
Quote from: r2squared;60755
I do believe, however, that it's a good idea to know the history and the facts of Paganism with the many spiritual beliefs that coincide with it.


This implies that 'Paganism' has a history and a set of facts that is universal.

You also imply in your rant, that there is a certain set of things, that needs to be fulfilled to qualify as pagan. In your book that seems to mean a list of neo-wicca 101s.

This could lead to the conclusion that it is you who knows very little about the variety of paths and believes that fall under the pagan umbrella. Which seems strange to me, since you've been on these fora for a bit and I think we have a very large variety of flavors here.

I stand with the board's definition of who's pagan. Which is basically non JCI and self-identifying as pagan. I don't tell people what they need to fulfill, so that I accept them as pagans. And I really appreciate, if others do the same.

Of course there are obvious dabblers with not a clue, or fluffies who refuse to have a clue - that's an entirely different matter in my opinion.
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Re: Issues with Credibility?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2012, 05:23:30 am »
I have not read previous responses so there maybe some repeat of position or argument to support it.

Quote from: r2squared;60755
.. For example: there happens to be a local gay bar in my town that has allowed a woman to read the client's Tarot for a price, which she gets to keep. I've questioned her credibility since she told my Scorpio friend that he's a fire sign (when I believe we all know they're a water sign, correct?) yet she seems to be a well respected figure to the misinformed, unknowing crowd.


That's actually a bit of an iffy position.  The scorpion is a water sign based upon prime zodialogical position but also a fire sign based upon its place of living and association.  In the old European table one associated the fire salamander to fire but the scorpion is also associated to the south in many areas and its placement of fire and at times as a totem symbol.

So by deduction your basing yoru response off of a european based zodialogical placement and alignment.  Not necessarily alternative ones or positions based off more of a shamanic wheel of the year type placement and association.

Quote
More so than that, I've become shocked at some of the "pagans" I've met who don't even know the simplest of principles from casting a circle or even the importance of the Elements and the Watchtowers. Most of them have no historical background to their blind faith and simply follow it for the spell craft. I doubt any have taken any sort of year and a day for studying.


Again a big assumption.  Watchtowers are not required nor recognized by all practices.  Circles are not a required componet of many practices.  Usage of the elements in the sense you seem to be implying are also not a universal requirement.  Nor is a year and a day a universal requirement.  Most of the notion of a year and a day originating with Wicca vice any other system I am aware of.

Quote
Now the same Tarot lady from the gay bar is intending on opening a mini occult store inside the bar. This...really disturbs me. I can just see my exploited religion being turned into a side fad for the community, and let's face it, how are a bunch of drunken gay boys going to take something like Paganism seriously, especially from one so misinformed? It actually makes me quite angry that people like me who do take the time to read and learn don't get a say in this...but I also feel as though this isn't my place to say anything.


To turn your argument upon you, I don't see how anyone can look upon your arguments and not be insulted by thier being pagan.  I follow a shamanic pathway which has none of what your speaking of.  I follow a Hedge / Greenwitch pathway which also has none of what your speaking of.  Was initiated into a family folk tradition that is based upon Stregia and that has little of what your preaching.  My own family folk traditions have nothing like what your speaking of.

So should I rise up in revolt to what your presenting?  After all you are competely wrong and misinformed based upon my history and knowledge.  Not saying you truly are but presenting it as an argument position.

As for drunk men, i've seen more spiritual things discussed and presented at hunting parties in the evening where people were so drunk they couldn't stand up. Seen more truth revealed by drunks at some bar than i've ever seen revealed in some saintly church or coven union and ceremony.

Ironically drink is also a major factor in many male mysteries.  The problem here being to many of those mysteries are being pushed aside or ignored.

Quote
I understand that Paganism is beautifully crafted to be subjective, and two Pagans are very rarely the same. I do believe, however, that it's a good idea to know the history and the facts of Paganism with the many spiritual beliefs that coincide with it. It gives a since of background to know why we believe what we believe and why it is we use what we use.


Who is to say she doesn't?  It is assumption to assume that we have more in common than that which seperates us into individual camps.  Even the history and facts are subjective as to what is what in many instances.  Which history is the more correct or proper then becomes the position one must take in my opinion.

Quote
In situations like this, what have you done as a Pagan?


Try to respect their right to believe as they do and support it.  For historically its not a far step to take away from one who is different then move to a large group who is different and take from them.

That's not to say I won't sit down and talk with them or try to discover more about them and their pathway.  Maybe even compare and contrast our two pathways and how we read or do things upon it.

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Re: Issues with Credibility?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2012, 10:15:50 am »
Quote from: r2squared;60755
More so than that, I've become shocked at some of the "pagans" I've met who don't even know the simplest of principles from casting a circle or even the importance of the Elements and the Watchtowers.


None of which have any relevance to my religious practice to start with, so I cannot truly bring myself to care that people don't know things about religious practices that aren't mine.  (Hell, I can't bring myself to care that people don't know things about religious practices that are mine, because I have a sense of proportion and awareness of how fucking obscure what I'm doing actually is.)

Quote
It actually makes me quite angry that people like me who do take the time to read and learn don't get a say in this...but I also feel as though this isn't my place to say anything.


Correct.  You don't get a say in how other people live their lives, make their money, or entertain themselves.

Quote
In situations like this, what have you done as a Pagan?

 
Minded my own damn business.  If it's not about me, it's not about me.

There are thousands of people out there who some idiots will think have something in common with me and therefore associate me with their actions.  Someone who thinks that a tarot deck or a star chart even begins to have any reflection on or relevance to religious practices is too ignorant to make it on my list of people to be concerned with.
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RandallS

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Re: Issues with Credibility?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2012, 03:03:27 pm »
Quote from: r2squared;60755
For example: there happens to be a local gay bar in my town that has allowed a woman to read the client's Tarot for a price, which she gets to keep. I've questioned her credibility since she told my Scorpio friend that he's a fire sign (when I believe we all know they're a water sign, correct?) yet she seems to be a well respected figure to the misinformed, unknowing crowd.

I'm not sure what not knowing astrological stuff has to do with her ability to read the Tarot. She might be great at Tarot (what she's selling) and awful at standard western astrology. Since she isn't selling astrology charts but Tarot readings, why does her ability at astrology matter? If she said incorrect things about how cars or computers work, would you assume she was horrible at Tarot reading?

Quote
More so than that, I've become shocked at some of the "pagans" I've met who don't even know the simplest of principles from casting a circle or even the importance of the Elements and the Watchtowers. Most of them have no historical background to their blind faith and simply follow it for the spell craft. I doubt any have taken any sort of year and a day for studying.

Casting a circle, knowledge of the elements and the watchtowers, and studying for a year and a day have nothing to do with many Pagan religions. They have a lot to do with many varieties of Wicca, of course, but they are many Pagan religions that are not Wicca-like where these things are not part of the religion at all. It's therefore quite possible to be Pagan and not know a thing about them.

Quote
Now the same Tarot lady from the gay bar is intending on opening a mini occult store inside the bar. This...really disturbs me. I can just see my exploited religion being turned into a side fad for the community...

"Occult" does not equal "Pagan" let alone specifically "Wicca".

Quote
....and let's face it, how are a bunch of drunken gay boys going to take something like Paganism seriously, especially from one so misinformed?

Errr, aside from the fact that "occult" doesn't mean "Wiccan" or even the broader "Pagan", not everyone who goes to a bar gets drunk.

Quote
In situations like this, what have you done as a Pagan?

Minded by own business and not imposed my religious beliefs on others.
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Re: Issues with Credibility?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2012, 03:48:36 pm »
Quote from: r2squared;60755
In my town, being a Pagan isn't the issue. Being an actual Pagan, or simply calling oneself a Pagan seems to be the issue, and it's one I think most of us in here come across more often than we think.

For example: there happens to be a local gay bar in my town that has allowed a woman to read the client's Tarot for a price, which she gets to keep. I've questioned her credibility since she told my Scorpio friend that he's a fire sign (when I believe we all know they're a water sign, correct?) yet she seems to be a well respected figure to the misinformed, unknowing crowd.  


One mistake doesn't necessarily qualify one as a  bad tarot reader, especially if this mistake is related to identifying a client astrological sign.
Also, what exactly qualify the crowd as misinformed in regards to her tarot reading abilities in comparison to you?

Quote from: r2squared;60755
More so than that, I've become shocked at some of the "pagans" I've met who don't even know the simplest of principles from casting a circle or even the importance of the Elements and the Watchtowers. Most of them have no historical background to their blind faith and simply follow it for the spell craft. I doubt any have taken any sort of year and a day for studying.


Well, it sounds like a perfectly valid pagan practice, one that can be defined as such without the usage of "". Are you labeling as non-proper-pagans anyone who doesn't adhere to neo-wicca?

I ask because the one year and a day study time and the watchtowers concept are very common in Wicca, less common or unused in other forms of witchcraft and paganism...

For me, a pagan person  is a polytheist person - therefore not necessarily a witch, let alone a wiccan.


Quote from: r2squared;60755
Now the same Tarot lady from the gay bar is intending on opening a mini occult store inside the bar. This...really disturbs me. I can just see my exploited religion being turned into a side fad for the community, and let's face it, how are a bunch of drunken gay boys going to take something like Paganism seriously, especially from one so misinformed? It actually makes me quite angry that people like me who do take the time to read and learn don't get a say in this...but I also feel as though this isn't my place to say anything.


It is not, sincerely. The tarot reading lady has a right to her business both litterally and figuratively unless she is certifiedly conning people. Beside the fact that those 'drunken gay boys' all got a functioning brain and are likely to not base their opinion of a religion on a single occult store. I sidenote that 'wiccan store' is not the same than 'occult store' or 'pagan-flavored store'.

Quote from: r2squared;60755
 

I understand that Paganism is beautifully crafted to be subjective, and two Pagans are very rarely the same. I do believe, however, that it's a good idea to know the history and the facts of Paganism with the many spiritual beliefs that coincide with it. It gives a since of background to know why we believe what we believe and why it is we use what we use.


This assumes that paganism is not an umbrella term that embraces various religions, all of which having or not having their history.

It also assumes that every single pagan should adhere to one way of handling and perceiving their faith.

Quote from: r2squared;60755


In situations like this, what have you done as a Pagan?

 
Nothing. It's not my duty or responsibility to police other people beliefs, business ventures or occult practices.
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r2squared

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Re: Issues with Credibility?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2012, 12:25:02 am »
Quote from: Aine Llewellyn;60771
Have you tried speaking with the Tarot reader at this bar?


I haven't really wanted to speak to her, mainly because of the reaction I got with this thread. Sorry everyone if I offended you, I assure you I had no intentions of heating up a debate about what is or what isn't Pagan. And true, perhaps some of the points I used are vague and irrelevant to most on here.

Even the neoWiccans I have met, with all the other Pagans and dabblers, most people I've come across in my town just don't really seem to have a firm background in their beliefs. That alone is what's the most frustrating to me is how these people can't be bothered to understand where those beliefs (or lack there of for some) came from.

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Issues with Credibility?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2012, 12:45:11 am »
Quote from: r2squared;60918
Even the neoWiccans I have met, with all the other Pagans and dabblers, most people I've come across in my town just don't really seem to have a firm background in their beliefs. That alone is what's the most frustrating to me is how these people can't be bothered to understand where those beliefs (or lack there of for some) came from.

I'm curious about why you feel they don't have a firm background in their beliefs.  What qualifies as a firm background, in your opinion?

In your first post, you mentioned that pagans you've met don't know "basics" like casting circles or calling Watchtowers.  But, as many responses have pointed out, those things are not part of many pagan paths (including mine).

What are you looking for and finding lacking in the pagans you meet?
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Re: Issues with Credibility?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2012, 02:26:52 am »
Quote from: Aster Breo;60924
I'm curious about why you feel they don't have a firm background in their beliefs.  What qualifies as a firm background, in your opinion?

Also, by what qualification can one arbitrarily and measure the convictions of another person's beliefs.  A person's outward expressions of belief are just that: outward.  You have no way of looking from the outside in-- even if you skinned the believer in question.

I can cast circles well enough, with our without an implement, with our without vocalising, with or without moving, and I only call the watchtowers-- or archangels-- if there's sufficient need.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2012, 02:27:27 am by MadZealot »
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r2squared

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Re: Issues with Credibility?
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2012, 10:10:00 am »
Quote from: MadZealot;60934
Also, by what qualification can one arbitrarily and measure the convictions of another person's beliefs.  


You know, you're absolutely right. =/
I find that the more I come here, the more I question what I already know (or lack there of). It's a good thing, I enjoy new perspectives!

Going with most of the replies here, I again meant no disrespect or assertions that an understanding of those terms are required. They're actually not, and I didn't mean to insinuate that. I still don't like the idea of her opening a little store in there, I just don't. It's not my place to speak to her about that, though.

r2squared

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Re: Issues with Credibility?
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2012, 10:10:59 am »
Quote from: r2squared;61078

I find that the more I come here, the more I question what I already know (or lack there of). It's a good thing, I enjoy new perspectives!


Just a side note - I'm so flattered that this made home page! I believe this is my first post to do so ^_^

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