I Didn’t Become Pagan to Join a Doomsday Cult

April 16, 2015 at 11:41 pm 5 comments

I tried being a socialist in college, a Trotskyist to be specific. When I lobbied or voted or did anything that was part of “the System” they sneered at me and told me it wouldn’t work. And sometimes it didn’t. But sometimes it did. Progress was made. Sometimes it was lost. When I was working at Macy’s, I knew my co-workers weren’t wistfully waiting for the Glorious Proletarian Revolution. They were waiting for better wages, health care, paid sick time, child care. Fresh food that they could afford in their neighborhood. Sometimes, yes the anti-capitalists put on their suits and lobby for those things, or simply create grassroots solutions, like raising money to hand out food to people. Great awesome. But oftentimes they are too busy yelling that socialists in suits that have “sold out”.

Anarchists and Socialists are all about ideology and no practical solutions. I am not naive. I struggle what to do with myself in capitalism, and I rent out rooms to low-income people who often have to choose between repairing their car, or eating or paying the rent. I know we don’t live in a sustainable system. But all John Michael Greer, Rhyd  and others write is filled with despair, not practical solutions. Oh, maybe JMG has a bunch of suggestions about how to be a Perfect Eco-Homesteader Survivalist, I don’t know. But I’m trying to *recover from depression* (that was yes, somewhat related to trying to find a place in “The System”) but reading stuff that rages against it with no redemption- wow why don’t I just join a Doomsday cult? I also personally know both homeless people & wealthy people- so neither one is to me an Evil Other. Among Pagans, I have not found any help or support in finding employment. Just a bohemian version of a ghetto/victim mentality. Same with left-wing groups I have worked with. There’s always someone else with a better resume they can hire.

Whenever I see any Pagans managing to be financially successful, or get a building or anything off the ground, everyone else gets mad and tries to tear them down. Oh no, you’ve sold out to the patriarchy/Christians/capitalists etc. Well look, I am going to go out there and find decent work, and then I am going to help my fellow autistics and other disabled folk find it too. Because guess what? Being a eco-doom blogger does not pay us anything!  I might even commit the horrible selfish crime of having a baby! Because no true activist or spirit-worker could ever do that! Totally fine if you don’t want kids, but I feel like others think I’m selfish and don’t care about Mother Nature if I do. The Pagan movement will die from lack of support for its own and infighting. If anyone wants to join me, I’ll be with the Unitarians. Not that they are perfect but at least they aren’t a Doomsday cult. I am still a socialist at heart and I’m still a Pagan and a polytheist but I will be looking to work with people who will get things done in the near future- regardless of their ideology or religion or lack thereof. I’m not waiting for your damn revolution.


Entry filed under: Disability Rights. Tags: , , .

Re-Framing Autism Awareness BECAUSE Neurodiversity Panel & My responses to Feedback

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. caelesti  |  April 17, 2015 at 12:48 am

    To clarify though, I want to make clear that Rhyd Wildermuth is a good guy, and I do not believe he is ableist or think that of anyone else on the Gods & Radicals site. I’m glad to see people challenging systems of oppression and challenging us to get out of our comfort zones, but I would like to see more practical suggestions people can do in their local areas, while balancing out their other life responsibilities (self-care, family, jobs, school etc) Especially when people are dismissing doing this or that conventional suggestion as being ineffective.

  • 2. Rhyd Wildermuth  |  April 17, 2015 at 6:40 am

    Thank you for your concerns.

    To be clear, I would not for a moment suggest anyone not have a child (ever–which is why I fought against the ‘population control’ stuff in the Pagan Environmental statement), nor make a living regardless the circumstances (my sister works for a corporation, as have I, and I actually recommend them if you don’t want your paychecks to bounce or get discriminated against for sexuality or other reasons, as has been my experience in every ‘small business’).

    Another thing–I understand the depression greatly. I was repeatedly off and on meds when I was younger, and tried to kill myself multiple times (a story I shall tell one day). And what I am constantly looking at in the world is so heavy with despair that sometimes I want to just stop caring because I’m so full of sorrow.

    This is ridiculously depressing work, and mostly thankless. The only way I continue to have hope has been the overwhelming response of others who’ve now also been writing about these problems, inspired at least in part by my blundering attempts to explain this.

    That is, there are now more people working on the problem, rather than just a tiny handful of us, and that will be the only way for us to make the world better for everyone–when everyone’s involved, even the people who’ve benefited most from Capitalism now. That notion, I think, alone sets Pagan Anti-Capitalism out from the past movements who either call for violent overthrow or an end to ‘civilization’ (my particular problem with groups like Deep Green Resistance and John Michael Greer). Everyone must be able to come through to the other side, or we just repeat the same cycle of oppression and slaughter.

    One thing, by the way. You mention in a comment elsewhere that Gods&Radicals doesn’t pay. The internet blog doesn’t (yet…maybe never), but the physical journal will. We’ll be doing an announcement about that very soon for the first issue.

    Be well,

  • 3. caelesti  |  April 17, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Thank you for your response- I will keep thinking, and reading stuff that informs but *doesn’t* depress me. This wasn’t a response to just you (esp. the childfree thing- I’ve just encountered a lot of obnoxiously self-righteous childfree people!) but the schismatic socialists of my youth. I remember some of the reasons I fell away from them is feeling that they were not committed to democracy or nonviolence. Though I’m well aware both of those things are certainly not commitments of the dominant power structure, either! Also I just assumed that writing was unpaid because it was Pagan *and* anticapitalist- double whammy! But you know what happens when you assume…

  • 4. Amanda  |  April 25, 2015 at 12:08 am

    I empathize a lot with this. I haven’t read The Archdruid Report for a while because it’s too depressing, though I haven’t quite gotten tired of Gods and Radicals yet (it’s too new).

    I have meant to write my own post about the “Respectability Politics” article on G&R for a while but haven’t had the mental stamina to. Some of the things in that article bothered me. Not all of us can be “freaks”. Some pagans seem to think I’m a sellout if I have a “respectable” job and wear business casual clothes to work and don’t have any tattoos or piercings. (Not to mention how I’m in a monogamous heterosexual relationship and we’re legally married. And we want to have a kid. Yep, we’re total sellouts.)

    At least that respectable job I have is teaching environmental science at a community college. So I’m not working to enrich a for-profit corporation. And my husband works for a non-profit rural water supply corporation, who’s mission it is to simply make sure that people have water. Except he also has to be “respectable” and go to board meetings and stuff like that. Is that anti-capitalist enough?

    I read G&R’s guide to fighting capitalism, and it says you shouldn’t have a mortgage, you should only rent. How am I supposed to do all this anti-capitalist urban homesteading stuff I want to do in an apartment? My husband and I bought our own house SO THAT we could fill the yard with gardens and fruit trees, and get some chickens, and install things like a greywater system and rainwater collection and maybe even some solar panels. You know, stuff you’re not allowed to do if you don’t own your own property.

    I really do like G&R for having the courage to actually say that capitalism is bad, which seems to be worse than heresy in our society. I just saw a documentary the other day called “Capitalism and Sociopathy” that was making a similar argument, that capitalism is a sociopathic system that rewards sociopaths and discourages altruism. Good for them. It needs to be said.

    I guess what bothers me is when we get into the “are you anti-capitalist ENOUGH?” or “are you pagan ENOUGH?” arguments. I’m extremely grateful to the gods for the stability I have in my life right now. It wasn’t always this way for me, and I’d be a total fool to give it up.

    Sorry this comment ended up long. Maybe I should have just put it on my own blog after all.

  • 5. caelesti  |  April 27, 2015 at 7:43 am

    I didn’t interpret the respectability politics article as “True Pagans Must Do All the Countercultural things” whatever those may be. I think people shouldn’t have to suppress who there are in the name of a “greater good”, though at the same time there are better ways of dealing with the media and getting along in the rest of society.

    There are *many* different approaches to anti-capitalism, the G & R project seems like it is fairly open to various views. Rhyd & Alley Valkyrie are both anarchists but I don’t think all the writers are. I’m a socialist at heart but more of a pragmatic progressive in practice. I can respect other people’s choices to refuse to participate in things they don’t believe in (having a bank account, owning property, cooperating with politicians & business people) while weighing my own choices with my values & practical needs in my own fashion.
    You and your husband are both doing great things for your community. And even if you were working for a corporation that others considered “evil”, that does not make you morally the same as say, the Koch brothers. No more would I judge a young man or woman from a small dying farm town who enlisted in the military and fought in a war they didn’t believe in. Nothing is totally morally black & white and everyone makes some degree of compromise. Gandhi, MLK, and every other social justice hero who gets idealized were all human beings who messed up, just like us.

    Very much agreed about unregulated capitalism encouraging sociopathy and discouraging altruism. It’s ok if your comment is long, I’m glad that I helped gel your thoughts together and gave you a little “virtual company”. I’d rather have long comments that are civil and interesting than no comments or ones that don’t add to the discussion. Looking forward to your post.


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