Since I started writing Playgans
, oohh four years ago now, I've been asked several times 1) What is a "playgan"? and 2) Am I one?
I've already clarified the exact meaning of the term "playagan" over at the page funnily enough called The Term "Playgan"
but I will state it again in brief just to be on the safe side.
A playgan, is someone who plays at being pagan. Hence the very witty play on words as I merge the two together. Clever nae? (Actually I can't take credit for the term, like all things on the Internet it was stolen from someone else, but I thank them for it. Or I would if I knew who they were.) In short they do not take their faith seriously. In fact if you asked them to quote you one thing from Gerald Gardner's Ardaines they'd probably go in to some kind of reality rejection shock and curl up in the fetal position.
So here we go. I have a list of things that may well make you a playgan. It is by no means the difinitive version, but it's the main ones that plague this new age faith.
Rebel without a Cause:
Sooo, you've decided to rebel. Go you. Don your black (badly applied) eyeliner and listen to angsty music. Yea stick it to the man. Particularly The Man.
Your parents don't understand you, so to spite them you're going to stop going to church, start writing the sign of the Devil on your hand with a non working ball point pen so it looks like you carved it in (you hardcore non conformist you) and maybe even dabble a bit in the occult. Just y'know, the non soul destroying suff you found online, because well, actual Devil worship, that's taking things a bit too
far. I mean, what if it's like...real
But oooh look. Wicca! This looks kinda cool, and hey look it says there is no Devil! Shit dude you're sorted, none of this is actually evil, but it's still not mainstream enough to be socially acceptable by everyone. Score!
Look at me! Are you looking at me? Why aren't you looking at me? LOOK AT ME!
Ah so now you have a new faith. All is right, your inner chakra is calm, well you think it is...not sure how to tell...but there is still one thing. Nobody seems to care. Your parents have taken to ignoring you when you sigh huffily at the breakfast table each morning, and your mother even complimented the black lacey gloves you just cut the fingers out of. Urgh! And what's worse, they haven't even so much as raised an eyebrow at your denouncement of the Christ almighty. They just gave each other that look you think is their secret code.
Well you'll show them. It's time to stick your foot out of the broom closet, just eeeever so slightly. I mean you bought your first book in Wicca a week ago, all the while looking over your shoulder to make sure no one you knew was about. While at the same time hoping that the guy at the cash desk would look at you with a mixture of awe and fear. But he didn't. Oh well, he must have been too busy admiring your fingerless gloves to notice what you were actually buying.
Besides, it's about time people knew what you were. Because, what's the point of having religious beliefs if you have to keep them quietly to yoruself with dignity...not that you want to force your new faith on to anyone, that is against the Rules. And you need to honour all faiths and accept that All Gods are One God. Even if yours is the only correct one. Oh no quick hide it's that girl from school, the Jehova's Witness. God...s
what a stupid faith to have. I mean really, One God. Pft, please.
So what can you do to proclaim your new faith. Oh oh! The book you bought had a nice little pentacle! Hmm, it's a bit small actually...oh well it will do for now till you can buy a new bigger one. Maybe one with lots of sparkles and shit. And hopefully someone will notice it around your neck and be shocked and affronted by it. Mistaking you for an evil devil worshipper. Oh the joy you feel at the anticipation of being able to start an argument over why what you're doing isn't in fact evil but a way of life that connects you harmonously with mother nature in way they can't possibly comprehend! Ahhh but wait...you don't want to come too
far out of the broom closet, not just yet...I mean it's Christmas soon, and you're not sure if Wiccans get Christmas presents. Should really look in to that...oh I know! You can wear your pentacle on a short chain. One that is just long enough to hide under your shirt, but whenver you move or stretch it slides out just enough to let people see it. Genius!
Oh and you can stop saying "Oh God" I mean that is totally such a Christian thing to do. You should start saying "Oh Goddess
every so often. Just to spice things up a bit. Yeeeah.
Head up own Arse Syndrome:
"It's a Witch thing. You wouldn't understand."
Ahh so now you have either taken a bounding leap from the broomcloset, or you have at least informed one or two people of your new found faith. Bravo. Now you get to act all smart and self righteous with matters concerning the "unseen world" Never mind that you can't tell us anything about the Qabalah, the Goetia, or the Aetheral Hierarchy. Just so long as you follow these basic mantras, your qualifications in aiding other towards higher understanding of the spiritual will be a success. 1) Remember the balance between Light and Dark (ooooh!) 2) Karma (aaaah!) and 3) Harm none (ooooh again) 4) Anything else that makes you feel better about yourself so that you can make out you're a better person morally and spiritually. And if any one dares
to question your authority simply tell them "It's a Witch
thing...you wouldn't understand!"
Utter self delusion:
"Ah but you see I'm just doing what my ancestors before me did..."
Ah yes, this is called the "witchier-than-thou" complex. Just after you have decided to become a witch, you turn to your mother one day and ask her "Has anything weird ever happened to you?" And she'll ask "weird how?" And you'll say "I dunno, weird, like spooky" and she'll sit and think for a while, and then she'll tell you about when she was younger and she had a feeling that her mother was going to phone her, and five minutes later, she did. "Aha!" you'll think, "It's genetic!" In a burst of clarity, you suddenly realise that your mother was a repressed witch! And therefor your grandmother was a witch; your great-grandmother got burned at the stake in the Salem Witch Trials (even though you live nowhere near Salem and that was farther back than then); and your other relatives were all Celtic or some form of tribal clan type origin thing...aaah you have unravelled the mystery at last. You truly are witchier than everyone else.
Utterly missing the point of other religions:
"Ah but you see, you're wrong, we do not work with the devil, it's all light and the harmonies of nature...no really it is!"
Oh dear...someone has finally called you out on your smudged eyeliner and giant pentacle with the various gemstones glued on to it. They've asked you if you worship the Devil and all you can do is ramble on incoherently about the harmonies of Life and Nature and the Great Mother. And they still tell you you're worshipping the Devil. What's a "witch" to do.
Here's a little advice I've picked up over the years.
1) It is pointless to try and persuade someone that you're pagan God is not an agent of the Devil. If the person is a Christian then by default, any God other than their own is False and you are a filthy little heathen. Some people will smile politely and allow you to go about your business without caring much. It's your soul after all not theirs. Occasionally however you will meet one person who is concerned about your soul and will do their best to "save" you. The best you can do at this time is thank them and tell them that your soul deosn't require saving. You already gave it to the Devil for safe keeping! (I kid I kid...sorta) The bottom line however is, you will not convince them otherwise, and it's a waste of oxygen. Especially if you end the argument with "and my religion is older than yours and therefore correct."
2. Some of the most talented witches, pagans, practitioners of "the craft" I have ever met, are not "good" witches. It's sickeningly arrogant to assume that all witches are, in fact, White Wiccans just like [insert fluffy author here] tells you to be. There are Real Witches who do believe that they worship Satan. There are even athiest witches who don't believe in karma. The other pagans are sick and tired of reading dire warnings about the threefold law and the ethics of love spells. It's been said a thousand times already, and it still only applies to the Wiccans, so get out of the way -- some people are trying to practice serious paganism, don't make us hex you.
You heard me, I'm not indulging you anymore.
"So how am I like supposed to know what's like Wiccan and what's not. I think you lie?"
Well now that I've broached this topic with you...read some of Gardner's books. See if they mention anything at all about how to make aromatherapy shampoo. And remember: Most "Wiccans" are not practicing Wicca at all. Like you, they've only read about some watered-down, feelgood version of anti-Christian-nature-worship that an author is promoting under the title of "Wicca." The author has taken out everything from the original version of Wicca that s/he doesn't agree with; her readers will scrap anything from their books that they don't think feels quite right; and the people they "teach" will walk away with a completely distorted concept of what Wicca involves. No wonder so many people are convinced that the sum total of Wicca is the Rede and the Five Elements! If this author knew anything about Wicca itself, wouldn't she mention the fivefold kiss? Or warn you about performing the Great Rite with your coven leaders to attain a higher degree? And if you're reading about a religion, wouldn't she explain a bit more about the ancient Gods whose names you've been casually dropping in her spells? (By the way -- have you ever noticed that the "Old Gods" are any Gods that weren't Christian? Just pick and choose, kids! Then refer to them as if they were all worshipped in this one, common, ancient, hidden religion.)
Utter utter denial:
"But this stuff is a step to higher magick!"
"But but it is!....right?"
Have you ever met a fellow Wiccan who practiced high magick? The High Priest or Priestess of your circle, maybe? No? How about high magick webpages, instead of some "Wiccan" rambling on about something? Any how-to books on the subject in your local New Age shop? No? Of course not. They wouldn't sell. Magick takes discipline, and the majority of neopagans would much rather be told they're a witch the second they open the book rather than through blood and sweat training and lifelong research.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Wiccans can't learn heavy magick; rather, that the Wiccans who know what they're doing are mature. You'll never catch one of these wearing ten pounds of pentacle jewelry and picking arguments with Christians. In fact, you'll probably never even realize that they're Wiccan, at all. They have better things to do than wave it in you face like a flag they bought at a cheap outlet store. They actually respect their religion.
Continuing to live in denial deserving of a Bitch Slap:
"But but...Wicca is the oldest religion!"
Wait...what? There were no religions prior to 1950? Man oh man! The Hindus, Jews, Buddhists and all are living a lie! Everyone apart from you, has a false religions. Is the hypocrisy burning through your thick make up yet?
Oddly enough, no one had heard of this supposedly ancient religion until Gerald Gardner came along and started selling books about it. His first (rather vague) books sounded suspiciously similar to Margaret Murray's descriptions of what witch covens are supposed to be like in her Witch Cult in Western Europe, published several years earlier. (Historians find Murray's "facts" not only dubious, but outright dishonest.) Gardner's description of Wicca soon turned away from intellectual, masonic-type rituals (oh, by the way, he had previously been a member of the Golden Dawn, ever heard of that?) to a simpler version which sounded more suited to ordinary people.
Gardner's info on this ultra-secret cult supposedly came from his membership in a mysterious coven run by "Old Dorothy," who has conveniently vanished into the mysts of time. So, at most, we can believe on Gardner's word that there was one pre-Gardnerian "Wiccan" coven. There is absolutely no evidence of earlier "Wiccan" traditions. (Although there's plenty of records of other secret occult groups, such as the Knights Templar par example.)
When Gardner started his own public coven, the first and purest form of the religion of "Wicca" was born. But just as the Christians are made up of several different sects (the Protestants breaking away from the Catholics, the Mormons breaking away from the Protestants, etc.) Wicca has evolved into several different traditions in the past 50 years. The most well-known branches are Alexandrian, Dianic, and Seax Wicca... which are you? (What, you don't know? Isn't that like a Christian having no idea which church s/he attends?)
Oh and while we're at it. "Faery Wicca". Not a tradition. It's the name of a book. The "tradition" extends far, far back to the time of the author's publishing date. Same goes for "Celtic Wicca," "White Wicca," "Healing Wicca," and so on. Having a religion involves more than liking any certain author.
But I'm not here to debate Wicca itself.
I has have said (often) I have no problem with Wicca.
But you, people like you who don't know you'r facts and spout bullshit all over the net. If you read this and you sided with the type in bold you are a Playgan.