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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Public Abusers in Paganism

Yesterday I heard the news about Susun Weed: that she was arrested for choking one of her students, that her abusive behavior is apparently nothing new. I've never really followed her work, so I didn't know about her reputation for hostility; when I followed the news and read all the accounts, old and new, of her mistreatment of students--when I saw that behavior justified and rationalized on her very own website--I immediately thought of other abusers in witchcraft, pagan, and earth-based communities. (Ahem.)

Some abusers are very good at crafting public personalities that mask their behavior in private. "What?" people claim when the allegations come out. "So-and-so would NEVER do that! They're so warm and kind and gentle!" Other abusers, though, lack that skill. They can't help but engage in very public, very visible abusive behavior: lashing out when they're challenged, screaming at people in rituals and classes, belittling their followers, enforcing corrosive hierarchies. Yet what should be obvious red flags are explained away. "Well, she's very passionate about her work." "He's calling someone out because he cares about justice." "They've got a warrior's spirit!" "Oh, she's a crone, don't take it personally." And here's the thing: even if, for some reason, you're okay with violent behavior in public, public abuse is usually only a taste of the abuse that's occurring in private, where power dynamics can be twisted in the abuser's favor. Think of 45: was anyone really shocked to learn that he's a violent rapist when we all heard him bragging openly about grabbing pussies?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Virginia Carper
    Virginia Carper says #
    One more comment, this was discussed in another forum which featured a writing from Weed. In it, she compared herself to Baba Yaga
  • Asa West
    Asa West says #
    Working with "dark" deities can be a really transformative experience if you undertake that work mindfully and with a commitment t
  • Virginia Carper
    Virginia Carper says #
    What struck me was why put it on her website and have people focus on it? It is a red flag to a casual observer that this person i
  • Cristina Potmesil
    Cristina Potmesil says #
    All abusers have to justify their behavior. Most often it is by projecting blame onto the other person for a baffling assortment o
  • Virginia Carper
    Virginia Carper says #
    As a parent, I was told to never yell at my children. Yelling was useless. It was also a sign that the adult gave up. Yelling was
Finding the Masculine in Goddess Spiral: Anthology Update

"The moon shone brightly, and I knew that She was watching over me. I knew Her to be more than anything and everything, and I felt Her upon my face, my body, and my heart." - Entry from Finding the Masculine in Goddess Spiral, a soon to be published anthology by Immanion Press.

July 30th came faster than I could imagine. Now, with deadline passed, over 30 submissions sit before me, the task at hand: to curate and edit, Finding the Masculine in Goddess'  Spiral: Men in Ritual, Community, and Service to the Goddess

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