What To Do With Intolerance

Do I Get eMail! Egads!

Do I Get eMail! Egads!

Taking The Bait Or Rising Up Against Intolerance

It’s that time again… I get eMail. Boy do I get eMail. Some of you have started your own spiritual centers or business and have sent me messages about eMails like this one. You’ve asked how I might handle this situation or respond to that one.

When I get an off the wall email, I’m trying to share them and share how I handle responding to them. Sometimes not responding isn’t an option. People are coming to you out of a sincere perspective that you might be able to help them with their problem, or question. If you’re going to put yourself out there with a spiritual shingle and claiming to be a teacher or minister/priest or any type of expert, then you’re going to have to find a way to respond to everyone. No matter how crazy or annoying their email to you might be.

But there some tricks to figuring out if an email really needs a response or not. Sometimes you’ll receive a correspondence from someone trying to scam you, or get you to respond to bait you into a fight that they can then use against you and your reputation. Don’t take their bait!! Walk your walk and rise above their attempts to undermine your goals and your journey.  Here’s my latest “baiting for a fight” email.

Name of sender: David
Referred By: Just Surfed In
Email Topic: Site Feedback
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————————- COMMENTS ————————-
I used to be a high priest in Wiccan. The sad thing is I didn’t know at the time the real facts behind everything I was involved in. We were told Halloween is not connected to Samhain, although it is. We were told Halloween is a Christian holiday. It is not. So we are left with the story of Samhain and Halloween allowing people to embrace satanism/luciferianism as one connection to the same being, Lucifer/Satan. (which Wiccan priests do, but are not allowed to make that public. I still have the symbol with the triangle and eye.)This is why the cults use propaganda and intentional misinformation, because it’s an underground well known fact we are not supposed to disclose the secrets. And yet, being this is the case, how can people REALLY be truly free? All of this suffocates freedom and peace. It definitely did for me. After 27 years, I had to leave the country under an assumed name to get away from all of this. I have my friend email from an alternate ISP so it’s not connected to me or him at all. Talking about this stuff can be quite dangerous, for obvious reasons. I just thought I would pass it along. They use and exploit people all the time, without them even knowing and it’s very tragic.

There are a number of things in this email that lead me to believe this person has no idea what they’re talking about. And the purpose of this correspondence is nothing but a show of intolerance through an underhanded dialog.

Starting with the first line. Now maybe the phrase is the result of a typeo. I doubt it, but ok..maybe. Second clue, someone who goes through legitimate training and study of any path to become a minister/priest will discover facts, inaccuracies, falsehoods and truths about the topic they’re studying. One does not become a Priest or Priestess in any faith without being exposed to the pros and cons of that faith. It is up to you to use your own knowledge, understanding and common sense to decide which things you read have truth for you and which do not.

The next section of the email focuses on denouncing Wicca as a worship of Satan. Clearly a concept instigated by a non-Pagan trying to vilify Wicca. Linking Wicca to Satanism and Luciferianism is another misconception a legitimately trained Wiccan Priest would know better than to do. And as far as I know, Wicca is not one of our Pagan Metaphysical denominations that practice in secret. Gerald Gardner pretty much put his tradition out there for all to see and understand. It was his desire to take the old ways out of the shadows and show them as honest and caring practices. While there are some Pagan traditions that practice in secret, they do so out of concern for being attacked by the outside world, not because they are trying to hide something from the outside world.

“And talking about this stuff is dangerous?” David says. Really? Because after 40years of talking about it, 35 years of practicing it, and over 25 years of teaching it, I’m fairly sure I have a pretty good handle on “this stuff” and it’s not dangerous “stuff”. What’s dangerous are the intolerant people who wish to do us harm for practicing a faith they don’t understand or hold a huge amount of misconceptions about.

Now the infamous “they” who use this stuff to exploit people is a concern for all faiths. Pagan or non-pagan;  faith itself is something that can be exploited to create power over others for selfish means. We’ve had plenty of cult stories about those kinds of groups right here in the U.S.  David Koresh and his Branch Davidians are the first group that come to my mind. He believed himself to be the final prophet and many people fell under his control.

I’m not naive enough to say this kind of thing doesn’t happen in paganism. It certainly does and perhaps the David who sent me this email was part of one of those groups. But the misinformation being shared in this email doesn’t give me the feeling that he’s talking from experience, but rather is using this form of subject matter as a rouse to scare people into giving up their pagan beliefs. An underhanded attempt to control and manipulate others from the source of fear. One of the tactics a cult would attempt to use to control those who easily fall into this type of fear mongering.

Ok, so we have a pretty good idea this email is full of crap and not what it seems. Many would say ignore it. Delete it and go to the next email. And that would be fine….for anyone but me. 😉

I believe in empowerment above all else. So to let something like this go simply isn’t in my nature. But there’s a way to respond without taking the bait. As an example, here was my reply.

Hello David,
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Sadly you have some misinformation in your note. Samhain is the pagan holiday that celebrates the end of summer. “Samhain” is a Gaelic word that means “Summer’s End”. It has nothing to do with Lucifer or Satan as these are Christian characters and not Pagan ones. Not even Celtic deities or heroes. So there really isn’t a connection between the pagan celebrations and the Christian holiday of Halloween. Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve is based on the idea of honoring the Saint’s on All Saints Day. On All Hallow’s Eve, families honor their relatives who have passed.
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You can learn more about the accurate history of Samhain and Halloween from:
Fantasy & Folklore of Hallows Eve – U.S. Library Of Congress

These type of emails to me are opportunities to correct misconceptions. Will it fall on deaf ears? Maybe, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. And maybe there’s that one person out there who doesn’t know the facts. Who just might read a response given with respect and sincerity that stops them for even a brief moment to think, “maybe I’ve been told the wrong thing and perhaps I should do some research before I do this again”.

Knowledge is a powerful tool. But it cannot benefit anyone if it’s not shared or expressed. Remaining silent isn’t an option in my mind. And I stand in some pretty good company in that perspective. So when you receive an email such as this, you might consider some of the wise words I fall back on when trying to decide what to do.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.”  ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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This was the 1020th post on Springwolf Reflections.

That probably means something from a Shamanistic Numerology standpoint.

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© Springwolfs Hanko

© 2014 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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