Pagan Blog Project: E is for Ethics When Dealing With Predators

Communicating online or in person to hurt or take advantage of another due to insecurity, lies and manipulation for self-gain, has become quite a prevalent practice I have witnessed unfolding more commonly in recent years, in the magickal and spiritual communities.  I call these people predators and have personally witnessed and been exposed to this treatment myself.  What never ceases to amaze me is when their supporters or fence sitters (which usually tend to have a cult like dedication to them) witness this behaviour and either encourage it, support it or engage in it assuming it will never happen to them, which it more often than not –  does.

Some of these predators can be quite dangerous and wear a fake glamour mask of kinship to lure in potential victims whom they can use and abuse as they see fit with little or no consequence.    What I have also seen is these predators manifest as egocentric community leaders (whether it be self-elected, through a group/organisation or propped up by their followers) and have an apparent two facedness or anger management issues who often project their issues onto those around them and do not tolerate being challenged– again without consequence.  This can also be seen in predators who claim to be representatives for the gods or a specific path and project they have the “only” or “right” way of practice and see others with contempt who provide services to the community these predators see as competition.  So more often than not, these predators try to rid themselves of the competition through slander of them and their practices to everyone and anyone who will hear them.

These predators have many narcissistic attributes which can at times be representations of their sociopathic tendencies, yet constantly cry victim if you confront them, always blaming others for issues and never taking personal responsibility for their negative actions.  These predators also never like to be questioned about their motives or experience and often lie to save face much to the distress of their victims, which some sociopathic predators seem to revel in.  Predators feel others are envious of them and try to bring them down when opposed.  Therefore the victim mentality is quite prevent in these types and more often than not these predators are very badly emotionally and mentally damaged and have a skewed perception of right and wrong.

What can be done about this in our magickal communities?  From what I have seen – not much unless its to: protect yourself from interacting with them when you witness bad behaviour, reduce your exposure to it, be vigilant about proper etiquette in interaction with them ie always question and never follow blindly, speak out directly to the offending parties in a tactful way if you feel something untoward is occurring, have honest interaction with those who ask of your experiences without letting your emotions and personal feelings drive you and also speak in detail to any organisation who represents your local community (ie Pagan Awareness Network or Pagan Alliance in Australia) who can keep records if anything develops into litigious situations.

Why is this so? Well basically because warning people off predators  publicly can lead to a myriad of issues which can include retribution of slander which is steeped in falsehood or in some cases ligation.  That is why I see this issue as a double edged sword – it can help yet cause damage at the same time.

So what do we do? Do we stay silent when we watch friends, acquaintances and strangers in the community be constantly sucked in and spat out by these predators?  Do we speak out to our own detriment or do we simply move on and forget about it?

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I would like to honestly get some feedback in what others think about this because I feel it’s a very important issue which is constantly being challenged in our magickal and spiritual communities.

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15 comments on “Pagan Blog Project: E is for Ethics When Dealing With Predators

  1. The double edged sword does make it difficult to choose an appropriate course of action in this situation. I honestly think I would just back slowly away and then run for the hills when I see this happening. Irrationality cannot be reasoned with and the followers of these people are more than likely to not be receptive to warnings about the red flags. Perhaps encouraging education about red flag behaviours and the consequences of being caught up in unhealthy situations could be covered in workshops and study times but apart from that I reckon the messenger is likely to be shot. Prevention is probably much more successful than cure in these cases so education on predators as early as possible would help greatly.

  2. It’s a tricky situation that is fairly prominent at the moment. In my position, I would warn friends and family to be careful if I had serious doubts about other’s intentions (especially those who are in authority positions), but I don’t think I would stand out publicly to try to defame them That kind of direct offence is often just fueling their ego or paranoia and will probably only start flame wars. I think tact and thought needs to be used in situation like that, not outrage and emotional lashing out. Sometimes fighting fire with fire is just going to end up burning everyone.

    It’s really sad that this kind of situation seems so common currently and it’s been one of the main reasons I’m really reserved about joining local community. I’m hoping this is just growing pains in the grand scheme of things and the movement as a whole will become more balanced as it matures… but you will still undoubtedly get some predators no matter how much the community grows. Awareness, thought and tact. It’s a battle of the mind, this one, not of the heart.

  3. Posts like this help. It may help someone identify a problem before they get too caught up in it. Unfortunately, there will always be those who either don’t heed the warning, or believe it doesn’t apply in their case.

    Predators prey on the weak and insecure. So, another question might be, how are we addressing the insecurities of those within our communities? The predator will take well-meaning advice and then twist and exaggerate it until it becomes something harmful. The poison is swallowed along with the bread because it appears that they are saying the “same thing.” How do we strengthen our younger members so that they can recognize poison when they see it? How do we meet their needs in such a way that they’re not hungry enough to swallow it?

    The people who fall prey to this are often starving for approval, which the predator gives out and withholds on a whim. Why are our young people starving?

    • Thank you for sharing!

      I dont necessarily agree with you that all victims of predators are weak and insecure – some of the strongest and confident people I know in the scene have been blindsided.

      I do agree however that we need more communication with respects to this issue with more education on the dangers of predators in the scene 😀

  4. I think you’re right, Tina. It is a double edged sword because on the one hand predators shouldn’t be allowed to trample over people just to make themselves look important. On the other hand, I think it feeds their egos when they get the reaction they’re hoping for by stiring things up. I think they trip themselves up.

  5. I think the appropriate action depends on a number of factors, including how one comes to learn about the predator and predatory behavior (e.g., first-hand experience, reputable third-party, or hearsay), the sort and gravity of the predatory behavior (e.g., spreading innocuous misinformation like the Burning Times trope or bilking people out of savings or passing invalid initiations), and whether one has the right or standing to speak out (e.g., if I’m not an initiate of a tradition, I’m not the best person to call a person out for passing invalid initiations).

    I do not think that how inconvenient it is for us should be a major consideration.

  6. So tricky! I think it’s very important to educate people on what is generally considered appropriate and what could be dangerous or predatory. I would warn friends about someone if I know s/he is a predator. Would I speak out during a ritual or festival if I saw something going on that made me feel uncomfortable? Maybe. I think it depends on the situation because some ritual work is designed to push our boundaries and a person may be willingly participating in something like that, but if the situation appears abusive, I’d like to think I would step in.

  7. Thanks for your thoughts Cosette – I get what you mean about ritual work but I wasnt thinking of those situations but the ones where you are physically or emotionally abused 😉

  8. You call that sh*t out. You say no. You block abusers from your forums, feeds and phones and after a polite explanation why, you owe them nothing more not even a thought. They are trading on your compassion, insecurity and kindness. They don’t have any. They have nothing inside their head that is original, so don’t give them real estate for free in yours.

    You teach and learn critical thinking along with magick – you take the p*ss out of your belief where it is not blasphemous to do so. You razz yourself constantly. You don’t do the New Age Fluffy Pagan thing where everyone has to get along straight away and touch and make intense eye contact. (Check out cult mind control techniques it’s allll there.) DON’T divulge serious stuff straight up as a demonstration of honesty, authenticity or any other idea of realness. It’s not real without the context of a relationship with you it’s just facts that can be used to blackmail you.
    You stay fierce and proud and loving and bend your knee to none but the Creator!

    Much love and muito axe’ ❤

  9. Pingback: Pagan Blog Project 2014: Adventures in the Blogsphere | Australis Incognita

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