Raven Grimassi blogged today. I suggest reading his take, and questions, about the current community.
I tried to post a reply, but wasn't successful, so it looks like I have my blog of the day!
I've enjoyed reading this post and the discussion in comments as well.
I think the flooded market is a good thing, or at least a natural thing/just another part of the cycle. Back in the day a new seeker literally had to seek out others with time and effort and a personal dedication to gaining the knowledge and experience they sought. It kept things in check, the secrets were shared amongst a few who were (hopefully) responsible in how to use this knowledge and power. Today, with a flooded market, a new seeker doesn't have to look hard to find "a way in" their task is to discern what is true and what is false. This is also a safeguard that the people who are supposed to find the real knowledge will, and those who shouldn't will be too wrapped up in watered down material to do any real damage. Of course, both of these have their drawbacks: The old way, many naturally gifted people lost out on the opportunity to develop and use their skills. The current way, people are more easily misled and more people are out there giving us a bad name. With the later, who cares, we've always had a bad name! We need to work together, wether you consider yourself hard-core or traditionalist and consider anyone who hasn't ready the necronomicon a fluffy bunny. We are all threads of the same tapestry.
I do agree that the separation between Wicca-as-religion and Witchcraft as practice is splitting the hair too fine. As one whose Sicilian ancestors called to Diana and Proserpina and Hecate, I embrace the word "Witch" and know it is my religion without any other buffer words needed to make it pretty for others. However, when I was 16 and coming out to friends, I made the distinction. It was easier to use a new word that didn't have so many negative connotations associated with it. Once I was mature enough to be secure in who and what I am, I embraced the word Witch. I think that culturally, we're at a point where we can all start doing this. We're mainstream now and while that opens us up to a flood of band-wagon jumpers and people with little life experience or magical experience calling themselves "Priest" or "Priestess" I think we can use the momentum to our collective advantage. But first, we have to be a collective. Trash talking those who have gained popularity in a way you might not agree with isn't the way to make things happen. We don't need to worry about other groups trying to tear us apart when we do a fine job of it on our own. (I'm referring to one of the "anonymous" comments here, not the original post.)
The post started out about books: Book sales of *all* kinds are down. Borders just closed their remaining stores. Aside from the contracting economy, people seem to prefer downloading free books on kindle and google. Warning! Generalization Ahead: It's a sound-bite kind of world where the current generation, who has grown up with the internet, feel entitled to have all information and experiences at their fingertips without having to leave the comfort of their own home to get what they want. This doesn't mean we stop creating options for the community to connect or stop facilitating learning opportunities. Others have talked about the economy and the gulf between traditionalists and do-what-you-feels, so I'll close by pointing out the current astrology aspects:
Pluto, the generational planet has just changed signs. It just left Sagg, the sign of instant gratification and hedonism. It's not surprising that these themes have been reflected in the community in the past decade. Now, with Pluto moving into Capricorn, we're in a position to take a more disciplined look at our recent past. Capricorn is the sea-goat ascending the mountain and diving back down into the waters again. Are we at the point where we find ourselves about to climb the mountain once more? Are we plunging into the sea? Heading down into the depths before we can reemerge?
Thanks to Raven for the thought-provoking post!