Class Dismissed  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

It has been my observation, which i will make no attempt to certify as being wholly accurate, that there is a class structure even within Paganism. Yes, Paganism, that one-size-fits-just-about-everybody spiritual vehicle that more and more modern day humans are gravitating towards, having exhausted their attempts at trying to make sense of the Dogmas of most mainstream religions. I think we can agree that more of the planet's sentient beings are educated to some degree than at any time in history, and along with that enlightenment comes some measure of an appreciation for logic. Now logic, as your right-wing-fundamentalist redneck can aptly demonstrate, does not come naturally to a healthy chuck of the demographic, but for those non-inbred free thinkers who make at least a half-hearted attempt at grasping the concept, observing life around oneself with a open yet skeptical mind can do wonders for one's I.Q., enabling one to slam the door in the face of those pesky young men on bicycles without some deep seated fear of eternal damnation. So, since most Pagans seem to be ahead of the curve in regards to critical thinking skills, we can divide most of us into two classes right here; Intellectuals, and those who WOULD be given the time and ability to remember very big, obscure words. You'd be amazed how many very, very big words I've managed to use in my writings of which I have no clue as to their real meaning. All I know is they look good in a sentence. Just think of it as intellectual camouflage........

While still on the subject of intelligence, or lack of it, I remember coming out of high school thinking that college was the last thing I'd have a rat's chance at surviving. Not that I was all that bad in high school, but having such a devastating deficit in math was all it took to convince me I was no where near as smart as I sometimes thought I was. So, I joined the navy, breezed through every class they threw at me, and later excelled in whatever training program I undertook to nail down decent employment, still blue collar, but employed. It wasn't until I was offered the chance to go to nursing school, and entered community college to take care of my "fundamentals" did I realize that, hey, this stuff wasn't nearly as hard as I had thought it would be. Yes, math was still a sonofabitch, but I seemed to pretty much already know the rest of it, having been such a book and media hog all my life, being much more interested in shows such as PBS's Nature than the Wide World of Sports. Matter of fact, I felt rather dismayed that the obscure facts these people were grinding into us was something we had to pay for to be able to call ourselves educated. Now, you want to call someone educated, you send him to engineering school, or computer science, but c'mon, all this advanced English and literature and specialized history does not make for a very productive or bright citizen. No, I don't know what species of acorn the Mona Lisa was sitting on when Leonardo was painting her mug, and I don't care. A person will eventually find out who Leonardo was on the discovery channel if his high school failed him whilst trying to keep him from being "left behind".

Back to the class thing; you have intellect, and you have economics. I would venture to guess that most Pagans will fall into the middle to lower middle class, with a few scatterings amongst the rich and piss-poor. The piss-poor are far to busy trying to keep their heads above water to worry about which God is going to burn them in some hell once they kick the bucket. The very rich are to busy being very rich to bother themselves with spiritual matters, which is usually why they are rich to begin with. If they had taken Christ's advice from the get-go, there's no way they could have accumulated all that wealth at the expense of society in general and not feel the breath of Satan on their necks.

So why is Madonna and some other rich celebrities getting all jiggy with new age religions? BOREDOM. Let's face it, once you have attained as much fame as you can and bought every material possession you can imagine, what else IS there to do with your time? Besides, it just might have occurred to them in reflecting on their wealth that maybe they have to atone for it in some way. Who knows, but you have to wonder why it took them so long to getting around to getting serious about something, which with most celebrities is just a fad anyway. Harry Chapin, the singer-song writer, was one of those few remarkable celebrities who actually could see past his own selfish wants and actually care about the hungry in this country and abroad. And of course, he died young. But he died with no burden on HIS soul.

So why do we minions down here in the mid to lower middle class bother with alternative spirituality when we still haven't achieved our own pots of gold? Well, for the most part, we have never been in a position to attain these goals, and frankly, have come to appreciate that we never will and don't really care. We are the ones with half-way decent roofs over our heads, too much food for our own good, televisions, our computers, and no more bullies and popular people making our lives miserable. We are all grown up, we have jobs that although suck a good portion of the time, pay the bills with something left over for things we don't absolutely need. We are the ones who do not feel driven to compete with our neighbors and do not make our livings trying to rip off our fellow citizens, and we have an intact, if somewhat flexible, sense of right and wrong. We dress in outlandish outfits when in the company of like peoples, having long ago given up on the idea that fashion was for real people and real shapes and sizes. Too many of us are fat and out of shape and are happy to live with the consequences. Yet many of us attempt to divorce ourselves from the mainstream feeling it is necessary to remain true to our Pagan philosophies and the love of our Earth. We are the first ones, at least those of us in the UPPER middle class, and yes, we populate that strata also, that buy the new hybrid cars and put solar cells on our roofs. We populate the herbal and natural food stores, and we most often have the gardens in our backyards upon which we refuse to use pesticides, herbicides, or artificial fertilizers. We are the ones that keep the few new-age shops in business, if just barely, and we keep the few and far between Pagan festivals alive in the country side. And yes, when we are pricked, we bleed just like everybody else.

You will see the occasional lower class foray into the pagan community, but not usually with good results. Even within Paganism there exists those religions which can be co-opted just as easily as Christianity and Islam by groups bent on intolerance and hatred, racial bigotry and a thirst for violence. Those who might have joined the Nazi's or the Klan might instead be attracted to the off-beat appeal of an old Nordic religion such as Asutra, which many skin-heads and neo-nazi's gravitate towards due to it's apparent appeal to a very narrow racial grouping. OK, fine, there were no Zulu warriors being invited to share a place in the halls of Vahalla, but then again, the Vikings were doing most of their hell-raising no where near the continent of Africa, so...DUH! The world has gotten a whole lot bigger since, my fair-haried, blue-eyed friends. Zeus might very well have been impressed with their bad-ass warrior ethos and shared with them the respect of inclusion as well. And there are the Satanists.....oh yes.....those petulant children who not having gotten their share of candy will poison the whole bag of it for everybody just to get even. Yes, I know, many of you who consider yourselves satanists will argue that Satan is misunderstood and that you are not evil people, that you just know what you want and go for it, anybody else be damned. Well, it's that don't-give-a-shit-what-you-think attitude at the core of this "religion" that turns most of us off. Hey, we want what we want to, but we are not going to use a religion or the backing of some deity to steamroller our way to attaining what we want, either. If what we want requires someone gets hurt, then fuck that, and fuck you too!

I'm sorry, did low-brow little me use a curse word? Yes, I do have a habit of using such invectives when my ire is awoken, and I have a bad habit of getting worked up over things I consider to be totally unnecessary bullshit. Like coats and ties, fine trimmed lawns that poison our environment, and Southern Baptists who can't keep their damn noses on their own faces. I am NOT going to your hell. you are NOT the favored of the almighty, so fucking get over it.

Slow, deep breaths....there.....OK.......think calm thoughts........Stevie Nicks in black lace....yea.......ommmmmm..........

I'm not saying that class structure within Paganism should in any way divide us, but we DO live in slightly different worlds and arrive here for slightly different reasons. Some Americans use their intellect to pursue the almighty dollar, while others use it as necessary while recognizing the peril our pursuit of that dollar has put our entire planet in. Some of us became Pagans simply because the pretty people didn't want us, and we discovered that that was actually a good thing. Too many of us are only passing through, until the next cool thing happens along, or we devolve totally into atheism altogether. There is much in this world that argues against faith of any kind, especially the behaviors of the so-called faithful of the mainstream belief systems. To believe in something despite there being no penalty for not doing so; well, I can't think of a more pristine reason for being Pagan. At least I know that should I win the lottery, or I lose my job and end up in a tent city, my love of Gaia and the Goddess and God remains, for they do not need me to exist, but I will be much, much poorer without THEM.

So sayeth this poor white trash with a filthy rich vocabulary.

This entry was posted on Friday, June 19, 2009 at Friday, June 19, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

3 slick comments

Yes!

June 21, 2009 at 6:26 PM

Vocabulary, vobaulary....I have an awfully hard time getting the words to explain the experience.Can't help my vocabulary either-it was embedded in me by my filthy-upper-middle-class upbringing, I'm afraid!
Sometimes I think mystics and Pagans need a whole new language.

Love,
Terri in Joburg

June 21, 2009 at 10:55 PM

A wonderful Essay for me to read on Solstice/Father's Day.

Damn-o-graphically speaking the "real" Rich make up a paltry 3% of our population..the other wannabes pretending to be wealthy are mortgaged to infinity.

You're right about the Celebs..after you can "get" anything and have tried it all, what is left?

I guess that we can't escape being in some sort of hierarchy..we've arrived from a structured society wherein the most powerful and aggressive males lead through intimidation and the threat of personal violence. We are scared little creatures and desperately want there to be a benevolent superior force in the universe because the way Life works down here is bullsh*t!

We Humans are simultaneously too smart/too dumb for our own good...we know exactly what's wrong but can't seem to fix us?
If a cosmic "fixer" showed up I suspect that they would have to eliminate about 66% of the existing population which is beyond redemption.

Maybe that's too optimistic?

June 22, 2009 at 9:30 AM

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