Stomping out Gatekeeping

Excitement vibrates through your body as you post the image of your newest tarot deck that you made to one of your favorite online Pagan Facebook Groups. With great reason, you are extremely proud of something you have spent hours making because although finances are tight, you are a decent artist. You eagerly wait for the comments of how beautiful your deck is but instead you get flooded with comments from Ms Bun Bun telling you how you are doing tarot wrong and you are a horrible witch. Welcome to the Pagan Online community, filled with Gatekeeping Bun Buns, eagerly awaiting for people to post “stupid” questions or rituals that she views as being wrongly done.  Ms Bun Bun patiently waits for any “infraction”, epic keyboard warrior that she is, so she can point out how SHE is a 7th generational witch and High Priestess of Such and Such Coven who knows the “rwight” way of practicing magick.

Ms Gatekeeper Bun Bun wants to convince the world that her way is the only true way and if anyone even disagrees with her, she wants to wave her $19.99 High Priestess Degree that she got off the internet. Ms Bun Bun feels validated that she spent some money on an online course that took 6 hours of her life away. It is better than actually spending time in the books, doing some actual experimenting and living. Some Bun Buns even feel that because they are “woke” and oh so sensitive to the plight of everyone and everything, they get to tell everyone how their way is right and everyone else’s is wrong. I feel that there is a huge amount of WOKE culture that is going on within Gatekeeping. Please don’t even get me started in on the entire debate of “smudging” vs “cleansing” and the “correct” herbs that are used. Moving on.

Gods, how I despise Gatekeeping and unfortunately there is no way you can get away from it. It existed back in the early 2000s when I was in yahoo chat rooms and it exists these days in Facebook Groups, Tumbler Posts, TikTok Videos etc. I didn’t like being told that there was a “rwight” way back when I started and I still dislike seeing it these days. So how can we help with this gatekeeping? Simple, we stomp it out wherever we see it. It has no place in our community for one simple reason; our community is vast and varied.

I go back to my one statement that I use constantly; you ask 11 Pagans one question and you are going to get 12 different answers. Paganism/Witchcraft is a path that is going to be tailored for each person that is practicing it because each person is going to have a different set of principles and skill set. Paganism/Witchcraft is an unorganized religion/practice. We do not have a traditional hierarchy of priests and priestesses nor do we have a set of “rules” that spans the width of our belief. There are no Ten Commandments and I, speaking for myself, know that is one of the reasons I left organized religion. You can’t even say that the Rule of Three is universal because I know some witches who don’t believe in it. There are even witches out there that don’t even celebrate a deity. See, varied community!

So the next time you see someone gatekeeping, tell them to zip it. Gatekeeping isn’t teaching in any form. Ms Bun Bun and her fluffy entourage aren’t attempting to correct misinformation. In fact, most of the time, these keyboard warriors will just be regurgitating some “fact” they found through a quick google search, if any research was done at all. We are allowing these Bun Buns to scare and in some cases, harm those that are brand new to our community. These novice witches are looking for nothing more than a helping hand or reassurance and unfortunately, they sometimes run into these Gatekeeping Bun Buns. Who most often, will scare off our newer folks.

We must do better as a community. We must not be afraid to stand up to people like this because that is the only way our community will get better. It is our responsibility as older and or experienced witches to stick a pointy boot up these Gatekeepers buns.  There is no one that is going to change it other than us. And please, do not argue with Ms Bun Bun. You will not win. She doesn’t want logic, she just wants to be right. So let us start a movement and kick Ms Gatekeeping Bun Bun out of our community. 

Until next time witches. May the brew in your cauldron never burn and your broom never splinter.

  One thought on “Stomping out Gatekeeping

  1. August 9, 2020 at 9:59 am

    To borrow from the parlance of my Tradition, with words that may be familiar to others that share in its lineage, a Circle can be drawn ” … as a boundary between the World of Men (sic) and the Realms of the Mighty Ones… “. It is a circle that we draw to separate energies. But it is not an unbroken wall. It has a Gate. And we place a person as a ward at that portal. Someone whose job it is to makes sure everything within the Circle is Protected and Safe. And that the work that is done within that circle does no unintentional “harm” to anything outside it.

    That is a Gatekeeper. Someone on the boundary that is looking out for the safety of both sides.

    I know what “gatekeeping” is in reference to these days. For reasons in support of the word picture above, I have disdain for that particular word choice in recent times.

    Man, it sucks to read about these kinds of experiences. However, in my (clearly biased) view it is truly unfair to throw Covens under the entire representational bus of Gatekeeping. At the same time, I understand why this happens. Experiences like the one described in the post above ARE too frequent. But I would challenge the idea that it comes from an earnest coven member with a real policy of magical tolerance.

    I feel like the crux of the experiences like it is a manifestation of poor, or absent, mentoring. No one should be telling anyone about how their magic should work WITHOUT an agreement and consent that it is allowable to do so. That is, in my tradition, the foundation of a Magickal Mentorship.

    Now, before anyone is tempted to turn my words into a critique of this site, Auntie Snarky or any other online magical community let me be very clear. I understand that lessons and guidance here and across the internet have nothing to do with my Coven or my magical practice. I guarantee they look nothing alike. And that is how it _should_ be.

    To the point of Policing and Gatekeeping: anyone worth their Magical Salt knows it is just not their place to critique out of the context of learning, teaching, or collaboration. In my opinion, a public forum is no place to even discuss your process. But I know that doesn’t wash with newer witches. Because while the internet is full of such trolling, it is also the fastest place to find like minds and hearts. How do you find inspiration and share experiences when you can’t (or won’t) gather with others?

    So, Gatekeeping. Next in line under Cancel Culture? In my opinion, no. However, Covens and their members need to better practice their versions of “To Know, To Will, To Dare and To Keep Silent”. _In the context of a Coven_, unless you are pledged to a covenant of teaching and learning, it is no one’s place to critique or instruct EXCEPT within your Coven.

    Next time someone “offers” you a contrary, judgmental opinion to your craft, don’t cancel them. Council them. Complement them on the interesting perspective of how _they_ must practice and ask them to respectfully leave yours out of it.

    Like

  2. August 9, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Please forgive the edits that were missed in the final version of my comment, Aunty Snark. Would have re-edited for corrections given the privilege. I hope the message still rings through as intended.

    Like

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