Again, the Neo Pagan American experience feels the shock of tragic revelations regarding sexual abuse and depravity. The suffering and victimization of Moira Greyland comes forward to the national conversations once more. Years ago, we read part of this horror show in an article in The Wild Hunt. The fact that it is a chilling look into the ways that entire empires of Personality Cults can protect perpetrators of heinous criminality never ceases to astonish this writer.
The predatory nature of the narcissist, put into spiritual positions of authority, becomes writ large in our communities. The fact that our communities are fringe to the overculture only amplifies our inability and unwillingness to discuss the wolves in our midst as a body. In our race to escape the trappings of a society that seeks to oppress that which is different, we seem to lose our sense of accountability to our chosen “villages”. We throw the word leadership around ourselves like priestly mantles, yet often do none of the housekeeping inherent in the roles of stewardship.
As Ms. Greyland bleeds out for us across the pages of “The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon”, those of us in leadership would do well to look down at the tips of our shoes. We may find the blood of our own peoples have soiled our soles, as we stepped through their silenced pains and anguish in our rush to the next festival, the next gathering, the next…whatever we find interesting and aggrandizing at the moment.
Years of abuse by one human child. Contemplate this. Years of emotional and physical destruction and violence on a person, yet not one person in our communities saw this and made a call? We keep hearing these stories, stories of familial and proximity based crimes. And yet, no universal codes or guidelines have come forth? Surely, it is time to come together and make this happen.
I will not speak to the publisher of her book’s problematic associations because that is two shades away from sideways victim slashing. A lot of that is happening right now in the high school hallway environment of social media. Talking heads, yes we have them even in the Pagan worlds, are already undermining the survivor by slamming her choice of publisher. Yet the question is, what Pagan publishing house would have printed it?
We must do better, family. We must do better, even my enemies. We must do better, those who I do not know. I claim no false kinship in this cause, but claim common humanity.
For those of you who do not know there is now a new head of the ball, Gerrybrete Leonard-Whitcomb. She has allowed yours truly to stalk her for a few so that we can bring you all some highlights of what goes on behind the scenes of an event most of us look forward to for an entire year.
How do you feel about taking over as Head Mistress of the ball, were you nervous, excited, or wondering what in Hel’s name were you thinking?
All of the above!!!! And it also depends on the day you ask me this! Like most things in my life it wasn’t really a matter of deciding to, actually there wasn’t much thought involved! (Which could be my problem) Mostly it was the love of it being at such a wonderful event, watching others have a great time, and knowing that we need to keep it moving forward!
What is the wildest, craziest idea you’re thinking up for the ball?
I am definitely a free thinker, which usually gets me in trouble, however if I let you in my brain you would probably runaway screaming, so I’ll keep the crazy ideas to myself and committee to shoot down politely as not to scare the locals.
Are you happy to be getting the reigns? Or do you feel like telling everyone to shove the reigns where Ra won’t shine?
I’ve always been a take “the reigns” type of person, but again it does depend on the day you ask on whether I am on top of the mountain, or trying to crush someone with it!
Any advice you’ve asked of your mentor?
I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t speak to Gordon, he is absolutely incredible at what he does and my work is really cut out for me to fill his shoes, but somehow ill get it done, and probably in heels!
What is the most insane question you’ve heard Gordon receive about the ball?
I can’t even begin to answer this question, but a book could be written on some of the crazy things people have asked or requested.
Anyone ever ask either of you would there be any human sacrifices, death magic, or Sex Rites involved (don’t give me that look cuz people have asked me was it some type of orgy party, Ha! The world is full of fidiots.)?
Actually and unfortunately YES they have! And depending on WHO asked sometimes they got an answer that probably still left their tongue on the floor for weeks.
What would you like to see happen within the future of the community?
Of course I can give the “beauty queen” answer! But it still holds true! I would love to see unity in the community being non judgment of each other!! I can’t begin to tell you the nasty things I hear behind my back even from people who don’t even know me, it’s okay, I know they must really have issues and I have big shoulders. This is the only community in the world where you can be who you are!!! I know that must scare some people, but acceptance is key!
How rich would you be from all of the times you’ve heard Gordon being asked if both Wiccans and Pagans were allowed, even though it clearly states WITCHES ball?
I can honestly say I have never heard that one, but have been asked if NON-Pagans can come!
Ever been tempted to hex someone for saying witches aren’t real? Any regrets?
No one has ever said that to me, surprisingly. But I’ve had my share of my right wing friends patronizing me with stereotypes.
Do you think you’ll ever wish you had just stayed in the shadows instead of becoming a figurehead?
This made me giggle…… I think you need a balance of both shadows and limelight. Sometimes more fun can be had in shadows…..
What is the dumbest thing you’ve witnessed during the ball once everyone was liquored up?
Oh let’s see, people going into wrong rooms at the hotel, falling into bushes, urinating in public, okay enough about my ex…..
Do you think if there had been an All Witch Lives Matter movement in Salem that would have stopped the Witch Trials sooner?
Um no….but I am thinking I need this on a t-shirt LOL!!!
Should only witches be allowed to attend Salem University (yes, it is a real school, Nessa wants to go, she even had me make her a t-shirt with their school colors, motto, and name for College day last school year. Such a Minnie me. It’s nothing like Hogwarts though, THAT would be fangtastic, nut they don’t teach magic.)?
Well how could you tell? Anyone can call themselves a witch! (Much like any other religion). Actions speak louder than words in this case. I can tell when I see a true witch, but to limit anyone of learning anything to me would be silly. I believe the only valuable thing we truly own is our knowledge, everything else can be lost..
Why is there never a cauldron there? There could be a huge one filled with liquor, and a lil bit of punch.
I am not sure…. Probably because we have to play by the “Royalty house” rules, lol, but great idea!!!
Will you have one for next years ball?
Well, since this question was left unanswered, I just might sneak one in. I still play in the shadows. Muahahahaha! LOL!
Thank you Gerri for being such a good sport and answering my insane questions. I think some crazier ones for next year.PROMISE!!