We're not getting any younger, and, with the deaths of several prominent pagans over the past 365 days, I'm beginning to question the next generations of pagan role models. Who will they be? What will they be like?
Leaders and pioneers in paganism will be determined by those who follow, and, those who appreciate and support them. Pagan media will jump onto the same popular trends that social and mainstream media does, merely, with flamboyant pagan flare. Which reminds me that pagans finally have a reputable media source; at least, one that has publicly announced taking on the role. Thank you, Wild Hunt! Going forward from this moment in time, our future generations of pagan media will have been birthed from this.
So, in my imagining of the next generation of pagan leaders, I began to remember those from the past: who they were by reputation, and, who they were as media remembers them (you'll have to click the links).
My mentor and High Priest seems to have gotten around a lot. He used to tell me stories of "those who came before". He loved chatting about Herman Slater (1935-1992). In fact, "ornery" and "hypocrite" were often summed into the chatter about "what Herman did". What did Herman do? He made the community-at-large start talking! There was something about marrying a Satanist..? That's most of what I remember from story time.
So, I looked Old Herman up on the net to see if my memory was as good as I perpetuate it to be. As I sat back skimming Wikipedia, a few things joggled my brain: Welsh Traditionalist Wiccan high priest. Magickal Childe shop and publishing (197?-1999)...yes. Hosted a weekly cable show? (I don't remember that.) It was called "The Magickal Mystery Tour". Also, he did a lecture video, "An Introduction to Witchcraft and Satanism"... (Here, I have an "aha" moment.)
Hey, did you hear what Herman did? He got all the witches talking!
We cannot forget about Auntie Sybil (1917-1982). She passed away, down here, don't ya know? She wasn't my Auntie, but, apparently, that's what all the locals called her. She had such a wonderful and colorful life, being raised by hereditary witches in Britain who could trace their lineage as far back as the 16th century. She was "Britain's Most Famous Witch", but, according to my HP, Florida witches adopted her as their own. She was wise (in a provincial way) and could whistle up the waves. I used to tell him how much I envied him his familiarity with her. All I knew of her personality was what snippets I get out of Hans Holzer's Ghosts tome.
For the longest time, I would always confuse Sybil with Jessie. At least, that's how she was referred to in classes: Jessie-Bell. The wide world would eventually call her Lady Sheba (1920-2002). Then, there's Georgie Patterson - "Pat" to his familiars.
Although, we still have Uncle Bucky among us modern pagans. I remember meeting Raymond Buckland through his big, blue book. It's story time all over for me, again, and my HP lulls me into meditation by reciting the Descent of the Goddess, or, The Love of the Priest and Priestess.
Raymond Buckland, Oberon & Morning Glory, Vivienne Crowley, Dorothy Morrison, Margot Adler... These are the individuals who are bridging the gap between those pioneers and leaders who have already passed across the veil, and those of us still alive. Going forward from this moment in time, our future generations of pagans will have been birthed from how well we learned from them.
When they are gone, we will be left to ourselves.
Most of the witches I learned about from my mentor were, somehow, related to British Traditional Wicca. Each one of those names, directly or vicariously, had a connection with Gardner. In my recollections, I never had heard of "Fairy Wicca" or "Dragon Wicca", et al. These were novelty ideas that I remember sprouting up on bookshelves. I remember Silver Ravenwolf just introduced the wide, witchy world to "Pow-Wow", for crying out loud.
Now, there are well over a hundred different traditions of witchcraft and wicca, alone. Wiccans and pagans are drawing lines in the sand to differentiate from each other, as well as heathen folk from volk, magicians from witches; reconstructionists from traditionalists, and, hard polys from soft ones. That a lot of polytheists needing direction in the future. Much more than we've ever seen from paganism's past.
So what, if any of the living persons, listed above, feel as though I'm jumping the gun on my musings? In consideration of so many divisive lines, we should all agree that I have damned good reasons for pondering the generations to come. Just sit back for a moment and really think about the next generation.
(Ikinde Skreja Ominnsaer, CFTP 2014)