So, recent events being what they are, it’s hard to say the world is always what we think it is. There was a video by a guy named Tim Pool not long ago where he was talking about a study which breaks down to “conservatives” outnumbering “progressives” about 3 to 1, with Progressives making up only about 8% of the population, while conservatives make up 25%, while “disengaged” individuals share more values with “conservatives.”
Now, we know that the vast majority of public pagans and pagan organizations tend to be very liberal, and tend to be pretty progressive. Go to a pagan pride day, for example, and you’ll probably find elements that look like a (toned down) gay pride day as well. Everything Diversity is celebrated. Almost every pagan group I’ve interacted with in my local area, that’s at least “public” tends to be this way.
But also in my experience, and from what I’ve read, these public groups and their events tend to be rather…small. I came across a post by a lady named Trey Capnerhurst who runs a blog called Dispatches from a Pagan Abbey. She dropped a post about the recent Toronto Pagan Pride event they held there and how it was basically a shit show, obviously. This might have been personal bias due to the fact she was apparently a scapegoat if things went to shit (according to her post) but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a shit show. The idea of Pagans not being able to organize and run events isn’t so much a meme as it is a reality at this point. Though apparently the TPP folks were happy they got something like 400 people to show up for their event (which according to Trey is shameful because Toronto is the biggest city and they should have had so many more people).
This is not an unfair evaluation on Pagan numbers. After all, while there is no truly accurate data at this point, the number of Pagans of all kinds in North America probably is in the range of about 1.5-3 million.* Sure, that’s not great numbers, maybe 1-2% of the population, but that puts on on the levels of Jews and LGBT communities. So ideally the numbers at our gatherings should be larger, especially in larger cities.
Well, Trey in her post makes a special note of the importance of making sure that N*zis don’t show up to the event. Since “However, pagan spaces are now commonly known as infiltration points for N*zis,” as she put it directly. And yes, she really spells it N*zis. Which tells me that this isn’t someone interested in just keeping out National Socialist pagans and heathens, but anyone she deems a Nazi because such things are so horrible she can’t even say the name. She treats it with the same power Jews do G*D, which they also refuse to spell out. To quote the relevant part.
Many of you will notice that the line up was a little…white at this point. I certainly did, but I didn’t actually expect much better from a group of white women. However, pagan spaces are now commonly known as infiltration points for N*zis, so actively planning your event to reduce the chance of N*zis seems more than reasonable in today’s climate. So when we could no longer confirm the Morris Dancers, which I personally love but again are kinda white, I suggested an taiko group that I had just made contact with to fill the empty time slot. They were all Asian women activists, perfect N*zi repellent, so I thought it was a brilliant fit. They could totally keep up the energy and do a set or two. After all, we have that space designated for sound and dance, and we also have our Norse fighters demoing in a different area. So great, right? Again. Blank stares. They specifically said that they didn’t see how it fit in. I wasn’t even sure what to do at this point. It’s…the exact equivalent. The Norse fighters are coming to demo and live an ancient fighting tradition from the West. The taiko drummers do the exact same thing from the East. I mean, only folx who are looking at everything from a totally white perspective can not grasp how racist it is to dismiss taiko drummers while embracing Norse fighters. And still pretending that deliberately making the choice not to include Indigenous Elders (yes, they did that) but starting off with a land acknowledgement takes the curse off it.
The line up she’s talking about is the entertainment line up she pushed for them get because an entire “PPD” filled with nothing but lectures and venders with no other entertainment is boring as fuck (which I agree with). It’s a bit jumbled, but I think the line up was some non-SCA fighters demoing stuff (because the SCA refused to do it for insurance and the con didn’t ask about anything other than fighting), some belly dancers, the Morris dancers who bailed, and…I don’t remember the rest. Yes I clearly have the post pulled up and no, I’m not reading through it again. Because it’s not the point.
The point is the line up was “too white” for this white lady and she wanted some token Asian girls to come play drums to scare away the nazis. Which shows me she has absolutely no idea what Nazis are like because a) most Nazis love Asians (especially Japanese girls), b) consider them “honorary aryans” because that’s what the Nazis did, and c) because Asians, especially Asian women, are racist as fuck! Because nothing gets a Nazi more excited than the prospect of “the day of the rope” while his asian girlfriend berates him for buying only 100′ of cheap rope when clearly we’re going to need 500′ of good quality stuff because we don’t want the ropes to break mid hanging!
So yeah, “activists” or not a bunch of cute Japanese girls banging on drums isn’t going to scare away the Nazis, as it were.
But here’s the larger issue, and why I posted that article and survey. Given that “Paganism is an infiltration point for Nazis” we have to ask the question of a) why is this and b) what does this mean. The simple fact is most Pagan gatherings, no matter how progressive, tend to be overwhelmingly white. The base for this is simple. Paganism started out as a spiritual movement by white/europeans to get back to their spiritual roots for something that made more sense to them than Christianity. You don’t see a lot of non-white Pagans for a couple reasons. Most of those who already have a “pagan” religion like Hindus or Buddhists, or Shinto, or any of the hundreds of others out there, already have their own national/ethnic communities. Apu the Hindu doesn’t need to get together with Jim the Heathen and Becky the Wiccan to experience Pagan religion, he’s got his own community who have been practicing it for centuries. The only people who don’t have that are white people, and maybe some black people, but even then black people do have long living traditional religions and massive support for black only communities, so they don’t need to go join up with the whyte folks.
Despite this fact, that Paganism is a white movement for white people, because they’re the only ones who really needed it, you still have a lot of progressive pagans insisting that, like the BBC with Achilles, “someone has to be black.” And so, again, most Pagan events tend to be highly progressive.
Yet the survey shows that for every one progressive, there’s at least three conservatives, and of the six that “don’t care,” maybe two who lean left, and four who lean right. So let’s break it down. The Progressive and one of the leftists go to the con, the three conservatives and the four “right leaning” don’t, and maybe the last leftist goes or doesn’t go because they don’t care. At best, 30% of Pagans might go to the convention/event because they either believe in the events progressive “nature” and 70% will have nothing to do with it because it goes against how they feel the religions and their events should actually work and are physically not welcome there.
This does bear out in what I’ve seen and read with solo (and some group) practitioners. While they rarely say why they don’t join local groups, they almost universally say “the local groups don’t fit me.” To give a further example, when Gods & Radicals went on their “we need to remove the alt-right from paganism” spree, the overwhelming majority shoved back, and told them to fuck off. For every poster who took the G&R position, there did seem to be between 6-7 telling them to fuck off, at least 3 of which were down right Conservatives/Alt-right.
I do think that can explain the attendance at the Toronto PPD. 400 people would likely be the two most left, which means that a potential 1500+ additionally could have shown up, but have been made to feel so unwelcome because of their political and social views, they refuse to participate in the “Pagan Community” in that city. If (and this is also kinda likely) that 400 was merely the most leftist, then a potential 3600+ could have shown up, but didn’t. Because the political environment is so toxic and unwelcoming.
Now, this is mostly theory crafting based on data and experiences I’ve had and heard about. But on a personal level, even before I became something of an actual National Socialist, when I was just a mid-line conservative who saw socially pretty liberal, it was very clear to me that my views, and thus my person, were not welcome in the slightest. I suspect that’s the truth for a lot of pagans out there. Something to keep in mind.
*based off US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey which found 342,000 Wiccans and 340,000 Pagans in the United States in 2008. Given we’re now 10 years later, and Heathens are a completely different catagory which is at least comparable to both Wiccans and Pagans at this point (so 340,000), and given both births and conversions, not to mention that probably 2/3rds live “in hiding” as it were.