I love words. No, seriously, I do. Sit and think for a second- we articulate our thoughts, beliefs, feelings, opinions, love, hate, anger, sadness and happiness through words. While we certainly have a host of non-verbal ways to express many things, sometimes the only way we can articulate a specific feeling to another person is through words.

Perhaps I should specify- I love the nature of words. I love their explanatory power and the way in which they allow us to share thoughts with one another. I love the bodies of works that have been passed down through the ages with the written word, but I also love the ones that were passed down through spoken word.

This all seems rather tangential, but I promise it does lead up to something.

If you’ve not been under a rock, you are probably aware of the rather intense debates going on in the pagan and polytheist community lately. Well, you are probably at least aware of some of them, because more are popping up every day, but most are at least partially related to one another. I suppose this is my official weigh in on the matter.

I don’t care what you believe. I really don’t. I think that we, as bloggers and writers who use the internet to express our personal religious opinions and ideas on traditions and gods and spirits and ancestors and whatever else we talk about, are all equally empowered and able to speak about whatever we want.

I do think some of what you write is bullshit. I think some of the writings by the writers that I respect most are bullshit.

Guess what? We all have different opinions. Regardless of what current controversy is going on, we are all going to disagree with one another at some point in time. One day, a person that you idolize, whether it be in the pagan community or elsewhere, will say something that you find is full of shit and absolutely embarrassing. There are many ways to easily handle this, some of which include not reading them or realizing that the people who are writing this are, in fact, people. We are all different and express ourselves differently.

This doesn’t mean we need to stop discussing, though. But what it does mean is that we shouldn’t take someone’s personal beliefs and practices as a personal affront to ourselves. Yes, if someone says something entirely awful on a social level or if they say something that has literally been proven false, you can call them out on it. What isn’t cool is acting like a bunch of rabid morons, frothing at the mouth and spewing vitriolic rhetoric at one another just because someone suggested something on their own personal blog, in response to something they specifically had been asked.

Remember what I said, about how I love words? Words are beautiful. You can paint pictures with them, you can create artful masterpieces. With words, you can both start and stop a war. We have to remember that, while discussion is important, hurling personal insults never solves anything. We get angry when others lash out at us, misunderstand us and condemn us, but we do the exact same damn thing to ourselves. It’s not just one group or the other, either. I’ve seen pagan people want to disassociate from polytheists, polytheists from pagans, pagans from pagans, polytheists from polytheists, witches from pagans, animists from theists….the list goes on. While our different facets mean we can, and will, often clash, the multitude of movements that have spawned from the emergence of modern paganism and it’s impact upon us still ties us together. From the outside looking in, people see us often the same. If we tear ourselves apart, we’ll just be little shreds and fragments, lost in the sea of belief. Our traditions won’t survive if we don’t have people interested in carrying them on because we alienated everyone as we act like self righteous asshats to the people we call self righteous asshats.

I think discussion is a beautiful thing that makes us grow, personally and as a collective. There are a lot of issues we should probably sort out. Just please remember, acting like assholes never solves anything.

And, dear friends, if you just have to be the asshole, at least do so in such a sarcastic and intelligent manner that the people you think are assholes will admire you for. We all need a bit more sarcasm and sass in our lives.