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Blessed Bees * last updated May 3, 2000

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Victim Mentality
by Melissa Oringer
(c) Melissa Oringer, 1999-2000, All rights reserved

I find many things about the Pagan community lovely, joyful, fun and entrancing, not to mention wise, enlightening and plain old challenging.

The bitter rind is the folks who seem to rejoice that aligning themselves with the "Pagan" label gives them a perceived minority or victim status. It's like they finally don't have to be numbered among their enemy, and they feel empowered to (1) release the associated guilt they've been carrying around (rightly or wrongly) and (2) expel all sorts of venom on the group from whom they've left. I find being in their company painful.

A healthy skeptism is one thing. But paranoia is another. Be prepared for folks to be ignorant about you, and base their actions and beliefs on that ignorance. Don't expect the world to change, and do insist on your rights if and when they are infringed upon. Accept that there are other religions and not all of them agree that yours is valid. Accept that no matter what, some of them will always feel that way. Be as true to your own personally held beliefs as you can, and review them often. Don't poison your own spirituality by wasting energy on the folks who refuse to accept multiple points of view. Don't give them power. Do grow your own power and work within the system. KNOW the system - it's the best defense anyone ever has. And keep your passport updated.

It bugs me when I hear Pagans wanting and wishing so hard to be a majority, to be the folks in charge. I grew up surrounded by Christian holidays and, particularly during the Christmas season, learned to willingly wear blinders and earplugs. You can get snippy when someone says "Merry Christmas" for the umpteenth time, hide in your house until all the nauseous music and pervasive decorations are finally down, or you can live your life.

I was in Israel during the Chanukah season 9 years ago. Yes, it was heady being among the majority. There were menorahs on all the taxi cabs, lighting another bulb on each day. People sang the old songs on the bus, in the street. The army kids were all hitchhiking home for the holiday. It was as gaudy and tacky as American Christmas, but for a change it was MY people being loud.

And then I saw the Christians and the Arabs, who were put into my old position.

Being the folks in power is only a solution when the power is shared.

There's also a great deal of wisdom in the phrase "get over it". As long as you're looking back, simmering and resentful and angry, you are missing what's ahead. That doesn't mean to forget. It does mean to forgive, work for what can be restored, and when required, let go. Then move on and re-build what you want, creating new stuff along the way.


(c) Melissa Oringer, 1999-2000, All rights reserved

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Melissa Oringer, all rights reserved