Drawing a Line in the Sand ~ Racism in Paganism

There appears to be new pervasive negative influences rumbling through the pagan world.  This movement is slowly building walls, creating boxes for sorting and labeling people, their beliefs, and practices. It’s negative, harmful, hurtful, constricting, and goes against everything I believe and think about paganism and spirituality.  While these ideas are being spread and presented as a movement against racism and cultural appropriation, they actually enhance and promote racism.  These ideas pave the way to restriction and segregation of human beings and their free will to practice their spirituality, to embrace the divine in their own way, through their own means, across cultural and ethnic boundaries.

The people promoting this type of restricted spirituality talk about “Closed Cultures”, often stating that before you can honor and worship a divinity from a culture that is not the culture you were born to, you need “permission”.  I adore Kuan Yin, I have loved this goddess most of my life, I honor her in my home with statues in her image, with candles, herbs, and flowers on my home altar, with a tattoo on my body.  I’m not going to contact the Chinese embassy and ask their permission to adore and worship Kuan Yin.  Period.  And no pagan anywhere in the world has a right to stamp their foot and demand that I seek this “permission”.  Period.

My book, The Spiritual Feminist, has aroused the ire of the “Spiritual Separatists”, as I call them.  I was accused of cultural appropriation and racism because my list of 45 goddesses include goddesses from around the world, goddesses from many different cultures and ethnicities.  The irony of these accusations against me were not lost on me.

I’m an American, my own ancestry and heritage is a melting pot of several different cultures and ethnicities.  I don’t have a right to worship or embrace Native American spiritual practices?…Both of my great-grandmothers have ties with American Native tribes.  One is a quarter Lakota Sioux, the other is a full-blooded Chippewa woman.  I don’t have a right to connect with Hawaiian deities?…My husband is Japanese, 3rd generation Pacific Islander, with family on the big island.

Do you see the danger here?  The ignorance?

Everything I believe and feel about spirituality in general, and paganism in particular, is sullied and tainted by the “Spiritual Separatists” and their attempts to police our spirituality and spiritual practices.  If we sit back and allow this movement to grow, if we allow these people to intimidate us, if we allow these people to insult and label us, we will contribute to the destruction of our religious freedom.  Instead of trying to “protect” cultures and ethnicities from “appropriation”, they are dividing and classifying people according to race, they are in effect trying to implement spiritual separation.

Pagans unite for Religious Freedom!  Support “Multi-Cultural Spirituality”.

inspiration 36

Note ~ I talk about racism in paganism in the last segment of this radio broadcast:

“Something Wytchy” with host Onyx Moon




8 thoughts on “Drawing a Line in the Sand ~ Racism in Paganism

  1. Just a small note on permission — certain Native American cultures and some West African cultures require certain permissions for things that involve the knowledge one acquires through initiation–in some African cultures, this is something that comes with age or with particular rituals or ceremonies. For Native Americans, knowledge truly is sacred, so they’re very particular with what “outsiders,” or those who have not been initiated, know. Granted, these instances deal more so with information and the witnessing of ceremonial procedures than with costume and attire and other visual rites. Sascha Scott does a great job of acknowledging the Native Americans who permitted her use of particular photographs and information in an article about Awa Tsireh.

    • Hi, Jordan!…thank you for taking the time to respond and for the information you provided. I can see where “secret” rituals and knowledge are protected and only revealed to initiates (it’s this way in many covens as well), and this should be respected.

  2. it’s this new generation of “social justice warriors” who’d rather be opressed themselves than let themselves see that even “minorities” can be awful and problematic (and even if not, they don’t just intrinsicaly need protection because they are a minority))

  3. Such a true shame to hear of this tho I’m not surprised. I’m unable to hear your radio pod casts Amethyst, goes w/o saying that’s a disappointment. I find these ppl that say “you can’t be a Witch” “u weren’t born into the faith of Wicca” “so u have no right to practice it” and so on and so on they go attacking another that they haven’t taken the time to know or care to are quite shallow in my view. I’m very surprised you were accused of cultural appropriations and racism. My Goddess what’s next?? Have we not been chastised, looked down upon, seen as “crazy” forced to practice our faith in the privacy of our own homes, worried enough over whether or not the police will be called over a celebratory bonfire, neighbors telling their children they can’t play with ours esp if a Circle is involved and no one has a private back yard, seen as worshipers of the Devil, and just “not right”??? Upon this pile now added is cultural appropriation and racism and being told whom u have the right to worship. Against my own feelings of how to treat another I find these ppl annoying and that’s being nice. Who are they to claim the sole right to practice a specific spiritual preference? This is my question. A damn shame is what this is. Instead of coming together as a collective force that deserves respect, a faith that doesn’t deserve to be practiced in secrecy but openly and generously toward all who believe in a faith that is spread far and wide across the globe for thousands of years, we now must face these ppl who accuse 1 of us of racism. I’m sorry this has been directed at you Amythyst. There are hundreds of Goddesses/Gods. No one has the right to tell anyone whom to/or how to worship let alone question anyone’s Ancestral heritage. If it was I who had been accused I wouldn’t have bothered explaining what I believe, my genealogy or my Husbands. These type of ppl are not worth your time nor deserve it. If they decide to pursue legal action, they will surely find a dead end. You are not a racist in any form. You and I as well as everyone else have every right to practice, inform, worship in any spiritual preference we choose. That’s that. BB.

  4. What is it with these self-appointed spirituality-police type people anyway? I can understand being mindful during practice; I have seen messy results with willy-nilly mixing of pantheons without foresight of possible results of work done. But what authority do they think they are exercising by telling others they are not allowed to worship with certain deities or certain ways? That sounds like the same people that suppressed the belief systems to make it match their politics and put themselves in power, and even used war to do it. Not loving in any way, and to me they may not realize they are traversing a very negative space. Go Amythyst! 🙂

  5. Thanks for your insight. I don’t believe our deities put a limit on their followers/worshipers. Idea’s of separation/segregation belong to man only.
    Really appreciating everything you share as I am still so new on my path.
    Thank you!

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