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Author: Belladonna Laveau
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In Wicca, we understand that everything happens for a reason. We believe that the Goddess has her own plans, and when things happen that we don’t understand or like, we look for the positive. We strive to see our lesson in the issue and grow from it. We do not blame others for our problems. We do not attack those who are different from us, or with whom we do not agree. We rejoice in the diversity and variety of life, knowing that each individual makes the web stronger. We appreciate that others have different lessons from us and different strengths and each of us focuses on being the best we can be to make a better planet for all of us. Essentially, we strive to make lemonade out of the lemons of life, knowing that the Goddess gives us what we need, even if it’s not what we want.
It’s not easy being Wiccan. Many people coming to the path feel like all they have to do is change their clothes, maybe join a Facebook group or twelve, and there you are. Wicca is a way of life. It’s easy to talk about principles. It’s harder to incorporate them into your character. It’s really hard to practice them yourself, especially when things aren’t going your way. Your character is not tested in the happy times. Your character is tested in the difficult times. Your character will be shown in how you react after you feel wronged, when things don’t go your way, or when you feel you have lost the battle. Your character is not defined by the mistakes you make or the challenges you are faced with. Your character is defined by the way you react to your challenges and mistakes.
Which brings us to the subject at hand – Self-Righteousness. Let’s first define Self-Righteousness.
- (also called sanctimoniousness, sententiousness, and holier-than-thou attitudes) is a feeling or display of (usually smug) moral superiority derived from a sense that one’s beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those of the average person. Self-righteous individuals are often intolerant of the opinions and behaviors of others.Wikipedia
- confident of one’s own righteousness, especially when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others. Dictionary.com
- having or showing a strong belief that your own actions, opinions, etc., are right and other people’s are wrong. Miriam-Webster’s
There’s this current trend of “calling people out” for their behavior, but there are consequences to slinging the mud. My beautiful and beloved people, this is just RUDE. Please don’t do it. A wise old man once told me, “I can’t sling the mud without getting the mud on me.” That’s stuck with me – like mud. Maybe because I liked to sling it. But, I asked myself what that meant and really examined that thought. I CAN’T point out the ugliness of others without getting some of that ugliness on me? OK, so, let me get prepared to take a shower, after I write you this article, and lets look at the mud we have slung all over this community.
The Goddess and I think you’re perfect, but that doesn’t mean you’re better than anyone else. We are ALL extraordinary and unique individuals, doing our best every day to make the world we experience a better place to be in. We all have different mastery and we all have different challenges. It aggravates an already difficult issue for someone to sit in judgment and point out the flaws of a person already in crisis. It not only doesn’t help. It’s hurtful. We as Wiccans strive not to be hurtful. Harm NONE, right? You CAN’T talk about others on Facebook, at a party, or in the privacy of your own home without being hurtful. Don’t let yourself do it. Notice who’s stirring the shit, and refuse to participate.
Self-righteousness is a sneaky, shadowy bastard that infects our minds and affects our communities insidiously. It can happen to you before you even know it. You have to examine your thoughts, behaviors, actions, and words. You must catch yourself on those times when your good intentions have you retelling a story about a friend’s plight without thinking of the consequences, or your moral compass has you enraged at the actions, deeds or opinions of another.
Facebook makes a great place to share your feelings and ideas. It’s also a great place to sit safely behind a computer monitor, get half a story, pass judgment and say things to people that you would never have the courage to say to their face. It’s completely okay to disagree with someone. It’s not any of their business if you don’t agree, and they probably don’t care. So, instead of taking off on a rant that might destroy someone’s day, or self-esteem, or even their life, why not just read something else? Does it makes us feel powerful to rip someone to shreds? Is that ok? Are we just avoiding focusing on the things we need to work on? More importantly what are the karmic backlashes to that, and what does that behavior do to our community?
We are ALL working on our issues. We all have problems. We all have shadows, and light. We are ALL whole beings with good and bad things about ourselves that we do and don’t like, and that others do and don’t like. Pete said something to me one day that brought all of it into focus. He said, “Bella, It took me 70 years to realize that what people think about me is none of my business. If you can get that in 40, you’ll be 30 years ahead of the game.” I took that to heart. But, there’s a whole Pagan community that hasn’t learned that yet. There is also a whole Pagan community who thinks their particular take on life is better than everyone else, and it’s their personal crusade to let others know it. Unfortunately the ATC is not immune to this, even though we have had the benefit of Pete’s wisdom to learn from.
Looking within, reflecting on your own self, and where you need to grow can be difficult. People don’t like to do it. But, witches listen differently. The things you are complaining about are telling the rest of us the things that you perceive to be wrong with YOU. You might want to consider the dirty laundry your airing while you’re complaining about Ms. Suzy. Looking in the mirror and seeing the true lesson Spirit is asking you to learn is a high-level skill. It takes practice to develop, and a willingness to face some hard truths about yourself. It is very much worth the effort though, as it gives you the ability to change your world from the place where you have the most ability to effect change, within your own being.
The Goddess tells us that if that which thou seekest cannot be found within thee, then it will never be found without thee. If you look at someone and see a lack of compassion, then maybe you don’t know all the details, maybe you don’t fully understand the problem, but the Goddess is showing you a lack of compassion because YOU need to have more compassion. It is definitely NOT your place to point out to the person you’re in judgment of that they don’t have compassion. Maybe compassion isn’t their issue at all. Maybe they are learning to finally stand up for themselves. Maybe they are protecting themselves against a bully. Maybe that man just took that thing away from the other person because it was his to begin with, and by protecting the person that you perceive is the victim you are further victimizing someone else. You don’t know.
And more than that, you don’t know what you don’t know.
Self-righteousness is not a Wiccan Value. As our community becomes more and more mainstream, these things must be said and remembered, or we will continue to fall back into the patterns that we were raised under and that we are trying to move away from. Notice your judgment. Recognize that judgment does nothing but victimize everyone, mostly you, and just walk away from it. Not your circus, not your monkeys. If you can’t walk away from it, go to the mirror and ask yourself: “Why is THIS bothering me so much? Why is THIS what I’m so focused on?” And then wait for Goddess to answer you.
Concepts of “right” and “wrong” are Christian Ideals and have no room in the Pagan world. All experiences have value and everyone has purpose, merit and worth. The Pagan world does not shrink before the judgments of others, or it would have never come out of the closet in the first place. So pointing out that you don’t like what Suzy is doing isn’t going to stop Suzy from doing it. It’s just going to alienate Suzy, and it makes it impossible for you to help her, if you have the ability to do so. Why would you want to make yourself part of the problem? If you have a solution, offer it with love. But don’t be attached to Suzy doing it your way.
Judgment leads to suffering. Be careful the questions you ask the Universe. When you tell Goddess you don’t see how someone could make the choices they have made, she obliges you by giving you that lesson. You find yourself all upset about the actions of Suzy that you have decided are ‘wrong’, and then suddenly your life is messed up with the exact thing you judged. Well, at least now you know why Suzy made the choices she made. That’s the path.
If you are trustworthy, you will meet those with honor. The good king does not see the betrayal around him, because he does not have betrayal in him. It’s a magical principle and a scientific fact. The world shows you what you are looking for. You don’t have to believe in it. It believes in you, and it will cause you to focus on what you need to see and learn, regardless of what is happening in the world around you.
Blaming others, pointing fingers, gossiping, and calling out the bad behaviors that YOU do not approve of in others are NOT Wiccan values. We look in the mirror. We deal with our own problems. We see everyone as a reflection of God and Goddess, and we trust that they are learning their lessons too. Thou art Goddess means I am, you are, and everyone else is too. Goddess can’t possibly be “wrong”!
Love is the Law. If you don’t have it, it’s not anyone else’s fault. As a matter of fact, none of this is anyone’s fault. You GET to live this amazing life any way you want to. Create beauty, create love, and create wonderful things. Let the haters be haters, recognize them for what they are and don’t be one of them. The ways of the Underworld are not your ways, but they are perfect and they are not to be questioned. That means that difficult, sometimes painful, things happen. But they happen to teach us, and we are supposed to learn from them. Be the solution by being the change you seek. If someone is having trouble, help them. Don’t punish, judge or condemn them for not having the answers, or for making mistakes. Shine a light of love, and make the world a better place.
Share solutions, explore ideas for positive change, and figure out how to empower others in the community to find their own divinity. Strength and beauty, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence – THOSE are Wiccan values. Work on incorporating those into your life, and they will lead to your own happiness, and you will be an inspiration to everyone, not just Pagans.