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Going in Circles

I have a hard time saying no. I hate confrontation, and am terrified of hurting people’s feelings or alienating them. This is particularly difficult when said person occupies a position of authority. And right now that’s the only thing keeping me in my coven.

I started studying Wicca and paganism when I was 14 years old. I hid the books from my uber catholic mother by stashing them between the mattress and the box spring of my bed. I devoured these books and practiced in secret, all the while still attending Mass on Sunday and singing in the choir.

I left the church when I was 21, and began working at a small pagan bookstore. I loved my time there, but still felt that something was missing. The sense of community.

As a solitary pagan, I felt isolated and miserable. So I went back to the church, and found myself hating it.  This cycle would repeat itself several more times until a little over a year ago, when I finally found a coven to join.

The leader of our coven is a very charismatic man. Logan met him once, and refuses to come to another ritual where he is present. Logan warned me that my teacher is skeevy, and probably teaches so he can sleep with his students. I laughed it off. I couldn’t see it happening. But I started hearing the stories of him cheating on his wife with members of the tradition, with students, his wife’s fragility, his so called power. Everyone within the tradition seems to have heard of the rumors and yet, people dismissed the allegations idly.

Then one of my fellow dedicants started sleeping with him behind her husband’s back. He called it initiating her into the inner circle of the coven, an exclusive group that would practice more serious and deeper energy work. I was also invited into the circle, but refused. I began to realize the truth of what Logan had said.

Lately it feels like things are falling apart. My friend seems like she’s lost herself, like she’s afraid to leave. She talks about how strong his energy is and how quick his temper flares. I ask her if she wants out, if she needs help. But she says those oh so dangerous words, “I love him.” I still offer to help. His wife seems broken, gone. I can see pictures on the walls when we have classes of how pretty and vibrant she was at one time, but she seems an empty shell now.  I try to talk to the other coven members, but they act as if nothing is wrong, after all, he sits on the Elder’s Council, surely they would know if something was wrong.

I’ve started to distance myself, only to be met with hostility and my dedication to my religion questioned. I want to leave, but I am afraid to speak out. I don’t want to rock the boat. I don’t want the confrontation. But people are being hurt, people I care about. More and more girls have joined our coven and dedicated themselves to this tradition since my own dedication a year ago, and I have to wonder if anyone will do anything to stop it before one of them is the next object of his attention. It seems that no one else has the will to stand up to him, including the council.

So if I don’t say something, who will?

Based on the definition of the missing stair as found here:http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/2012/06/missing-stair.html


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 24th, 2014 05:28 pm (UTC)
That must be such a difficult and terrible situation to be in. :/

I wish you luck in dealing with it.
Mar. 24th, 2014 05:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I still haven't decided how to act
Mar. 24th, 2014 07:40 pm (UTC)
You want to say something but sometimes you don't want to be the person to rock the boat. :/ I hope you figure it out as well!
Mar. 25th, 2014 08:30 pm (UTC)
Me too
Mar. 25th, 2014 03:57 am (UTC)
I'm sort of familiar with this situation; a friend of mine was in what was called a Cult of Personality (hers wasn't Wiccan, but the circumstances were similar).

I studied Wicca for a while when I was younger, and have heard about sexual energies being used to strengthen magical working, but this still sounds wrong to me. I hope you make the best decision you can.
Mar. 25th, 2014 04:52 am (UTC)
Oh that is a hard place to be in.
Mar. 25th, 2014 11:22 am (UTC)
I walked away from a charismatic abuser (in a work situation, not a religious one). The people I tried to speak out to at the time didn't believe me, so I did what I could and got the hell out of there. I lost a lot of friends and I had a lot of emotional bullshit to work through after. I don't blame you for wanting to save everyone else, but if you can't--get yourself out of there anyway you can.

Mar. 25th, 2014 08:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I'm sorry you had to go through that.
Mar. 25th, 2014 03:00 pm (UTC)
Ohh..this is so difficult...i think you should try and find people who know ab't him so that you can act together! don't do it alone...or rather RUN!! for yourself...
Mar. 25th, 2014 03:11 pm (UTC)
What an an awful situation. I hope you can extract yourself as quickly as possible. <3
Mar. 25th, 2014 06:26 pm (UTC)

I'm realizing I'm afraid of repercussions more than rocking the boat. Its a scary thing to be afraid of someone you're supposed to trust.
Mar. 25th, 2014 06:31 pm (UTC)
Remember that that person does not have any true power over you. And although the community may not immediately understand your withdrawal (although it sounds like there is some unrest due to these behaviors), I think they might eventually. The hard part is that you don't have an immediate place to retreat to practice. But I think that practicing solitary would make you feel stronger in the long run, than allowing yourself to be poisoned.

Mar. 26th, 2014 02:24 am (UTC)
Totally agree with you.

To OP: Recognizing you can't trust someone is important! Don't settle for an abusive situation, even if getting out is scary too. You are better than that. Trust your instincts.

I think your friend will have to realize the same on her own. While she still loves him (or thinks she does, but it amounts to the same), he's still going to have power over her. Be there for her, but don't sacrifice yourself. You're worth more than that.
Mar. 25th, 2014 05:56 pm (UTC)
That sounds like such a complicated situation. I hope that you're able to make the decision that's right for you.
Mar. 25th, 2014 08:08 pm (UTC)
I hope you find the will to say something and / or to walk away. Being solitary for awhile until you find the right coven, a safe one, would be a better idea. Though I can understand the yearning for community.
Mar. 25th, 2014 11:15 pm (UTC)
This is so sad. I hope your friend can work her way out of that situation.
Mar. 26th, 2014 01:30 am (UTC)
I can see why this is such a dilemma!

But would anyone disagree that the leader's behavior harms others? Not just the impressionable women he has affairs with, but also his own wife and the spouses/SOs of those women?

From my understanding of Wiccanism, harming others is strictly NOT Wiccan. What you really need is a second church, to leave both the leader and the council members behind, if they would put up with this.

Ugh. I feel for you.
Mar. 26th, 2014 05:01 pm (UTC)
That is absolutely true. We sometimes network with other circles, so I'm seeing if there is anyone I might jump ship for.
Mar. 26th, 2014 04:13 am (UTC)
Seems creepily slithering into cult territory there :/. What a douchebag.
Mar. 27th, 2014 03:42 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, an all too familiar story. Nicely told.

Mar. 27th, 2014 03:54 am (UTC)
Thank you. I wish that it wasn't a familiar story at all
Mar. 27th, 2014 06:22 am (UTC)
Ugh. This makes my stomach turn. However, this was also really interesting to read about. (I hope that isn't offensive, given the subject matter.) Wicca/Paganism is something that I've always been interested in, but don't know that much about. It's kind of neat getting an insider's story. (Not to say that I'm assuming this is how it is in all cases!)

Are you planning on staying?
Mar. 27th, 2014 05:16 pm (UTC)
No. I wont stay. I'm just trying to find the courage to go.
Mar. 27th, 2014 07:15 pm (UTC)
:( What an awful situation. I hope you can find the right path to leaving, and maybe to have some others come with you at the same time.
Mar. 27th, 2014 08:55 pm (UTC)
Uggggggggggggh. Things like this are part of what eventually made me decide that Neopaganism was not for me - not just that they happened but the complete lack of accountability that I tended to see when they did. :(

I am so sorry you are dealing with this.
Mar. 27th, 2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
I had a gentlemen send me naked pics of himself and call them "pagan pics" and offer to hook up with me and worship my inner goddess.

No. That is not paganism, that's you looking for a warm place to stick it.
Mar. 28th, 2014 01:33 am (UTC)
I hope you find a way to resolve this. What a hard situation!
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )


Light in the Darkness
My heart was broken open over and over and over again... and it just kept getting bigger.

It's time to either grow up, or disintegrate.

'What makes the desert beautiful,' said the little prince, 'is that it hides a well somewhere.'

To write love on her arms

You risk tears if you let yourself be tamed.

I want to do to you what spring does with the cherry trees.

The books that help you most are those which make you think that most. The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.

To whatever end.

I would not deny you, but by this good day, I yield upon great persuasion, and partly to save your life, for I was told you were in a consumption.

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