It didn't go so well. (Warning: Uncensored slur below. I'll give a warning again when the image comes up.)
I sent the organizer a message on Facebook:
Looking back, I got a sickening feeling that he didn't understand that Lughnasa is a Gaelic Festival, not just a NeoWiccan holiday. I was too excited at the time to notice the connotations, though.
So I was feeling really good. He seemed to understand about the "Shamanism" and I get to do my god's festival properly.
Then, on the Facebook Group, I see this posted:
In case you didn't see it:
Um...?!??? So I talk to my boyfriend, who immediately A) didn't realize that guy was leading the group this year (he met him at the Imbolc ritual), and B) suggested I just leave. I didn't just want to leave...I still had that sliver hope that maybe he would understand. I decided to message him privately again, wondering if he originally missed the first message I sent and only saw the second one.
Oh, also: Animistic ritual? What? That isn't a religion... That's a type of belief. (As my boyfriend says, I'm a theological nerd, and notice these things!)
Anyway, I messaged the organizer:
After I sent this, I messaged CAORANN on Facebook for help and advice. I was surprised to get a response back so soon, as well as numerous resources. The CAORANN member wished me luck, and I went back to the organizer's Facebook message to add these sources:
Looking back, I should have just started with "What you really mean to say: Shaman Edition." I tend to assume people like resources as I like resources, but that wall of text could look offensive.
I got a response the following morning (warning again: he uses an uncensored slur):
But I wanted to say goodbye to the group as well as possibly educate others on the problematic word "Shaman." I didn't post under his announcements, but made my own post:
(All these links will be included at the bottom of this blog post.)
Unfortunately, someone...didn't understand.
So I reposted the GN FAQ on the word "Shaman", since it was the most concise:
And while I tried to move it to private messages, he continued:
I know I'm blocking out his name, but it's worth mentioning that his last name is...apparently, legally fluffy. It's the equivalent of "MoonSpirit." Just. Why?
So I am already convinced he won't listen:
But he keeps going...
As soon as I posted that, I then came across a very poignant quote:
And that is true. I don't consider this group "blacklist", since they haven't blacklisted me or banned me from the group. I'd like to try...but I won't if I know the organizer is against putting forth any type of critical thinking, or listening when I present problems with rituals. As I've posted before, there is such a thing as being "too open" and accepting. There is a difference between being open to people and cultures, but not to harmful and/or hateful ideas. I don't tolerate the latter.
For reference, here are all the resources linked in the screenshots:
- "Shamanism" by Akhav
- "Shamans, stones, authenticity and appropriation: contestations of invention and meaning" by Jenny Blain
- The Gaol Naofa FAQ, page 75 at section entitled: "Celtic Shamanism"
- "Plastic Shamans and Astroturf Sun Dances: New Age Commercialization of Native American Spirituality" By Lisa Aldred
- "What you really mean to say is: Shaman Edition"
- Orientalism by Edward Said
- Andrea Smith's quote