The other day, during my monthly Trump rage, while reminding people of the global Bind Trump ritual, I was called out onto the mat by one of occultism’s self-proclaimed Big Names, who declared that people like myself were destroying the work of decades by Wiccan Elders to convince Christians that Wiccans are not Satanists. Needless to say, I did not take kindly to the lecture, especially given the implication that the lecturer considers themselves a Wiccan Elder—the fact that they called me Forest Gump didn’t endear me to them either.
What makes this person a Wiccan Elder? Is it their long experience with Wicca? No, I would not call seven years of experience worthy of the label of Elder. No, what makes this person believe that they are a Wiccan Elder, and a leader of the Craft is the simple fact that they were initiated by someone who was initiated directly by Alex and Maxine Sanders, the founders of Alexandrian Wicca. Likewise, this Big Name is now referring to his wife as “Witch Queen.” Again, the only justification is that they claim a superior lineage to the rabble, a claim of initiation that some Alexandrians doubt happened.
In my case, I do believe that an initiation did happen. But I believe that it was the old game of “I will give you a degree, if you give me one.” In this case, it appears that a Golden Dawn initiation (an Inner Order one) was given for a Wiccan initiation. It should be noted that I actually doubt that they are just two steps away from the Sanders. Nevertheless, even if they are telling the truth, I do not believe that they deserve the respect they are demanding from others.
This is not the first time that they have played the superior lineage card. For years, this Big Name has claimed to be the best leader in Golden Dawn, for his contact with the Secret Chiefs of the tradition—uber-humans who only he is enlightened enough to be in contact with. And seven years ago, they claimed contact with a uber-secret branch of Italian witchcraft. Two years ago, they received their uber-special Alexandrian initiation.
They are not the only ones who try to play the superior lineage card. One cannot throw a stone without hitting someone who has been personally picked by the gods to lead mankind to a glorious new age, or a witch who is descended from the many witches who were burned in Salem. Mankind is awash with people with better lineages, better contacts, superior wisdom, and better personalities than the rest of us, the unwashed rabble who should fall behind them in adoration.
Unfortunately, the esoteric world has far too many people like myself, who could care less about your superior bloodline, your superior lineage, and you having been kissed by the gods.
No, my Elders are those who have served for years without having to trot out a superior lineage. Morning Glory, former owner of Herbs and Arts, who provided a place for witches to meet and hold classes, she is an Elder in my book. Cassandra Ravenwolf, who taught herb classes, answered my silly questions, and provided a place for the community to meet, she is an Elder in my book. Alia Deny, who has helped introduce many people to the community, with decades of service under her belt, she is an Elder in my book. My Elders have served for decades, and have never asked me to automatically give them respect just because their lineages were better than mine.
And while I will never be an Elder, despite having written about Wicca and witchcraft for twenty-five years, I refuse to respect someone whose only claim to being an Elder is that they have a better lineage than I do. (The exact reason why I am automatically disqualified for Elder status is that no one realizes exactly how long I have been involved in the community, how old I really am, and most importantly, I keep saying things that no proper Elder would dream of saying—the community has voted, and I am exempt from all such duties, thanks to the filthy words that keep coming out of my mouth.) No, only actual service to the community, and acknowledgement by the community that you are doing good work, counts towards being an Elder in my book.
So those people who believe that I should kiss the hem of their robe, due to their uber-specialness, can go wash their heads in a bucket while I continue to be (as this great leader said) the Forest Gump of occultism. After all, I know my place in the scheme of things—I am here to annoy those who seek to be Elders without possessing any actual merit, and expect instant elevation to chief wombat. It is not a nice job, but someone has to do it.
[Author’s note: This column was started previous to the death of Alia, president of the Hearthstone Community Church; she will be missed by all of us in the community that knew and loved her.]