Figuring out the next step

Tonight I posted a goodbye to the Cill on TC, which I’ve been a part of for just over 5 years now.

It hurt a lot more than I expected it would. But, TC has become a hostile place to me and my social justice concerns. So much of my work with Brighid involves social justice. It didn’t feel right to continue keeping flame in a Cill that was based in a place so toxic to me.

(The Cill itself is full of lovely people with whom I’ve found some wonderful friendships and community, and many of them are concerned with social justice issues too. However, the board in general where the Cill makes its home is still toxic to me and to social justice, and I couldn’t find a way to reconcile these things.)

I struggled with the decision for several days, and eventually it became clear that leaving is the best thing for me. And I felt a strong surge of agreement from Brighid.

Right now, I don’t know what comes next. I’ve kept the flame for 5 years now (more or less; I’m not perfect about keeping shifts because I’m human) and I’m no longer in a Cill. I do know that I don’t want to join another Cill, at least not yet.

I will likely continue to keep the flame on certain nights, such as holidays, or when I feel the need. I don’t know what else I’ll be doing. The face of my worship and Work is changing.

It’s a little scary, but it’s time.

-M

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6 thoughts on “Figuring out the next step

    1. Lots of little things have culminated in an atmosphere of blaming social justice people for any problems or breakdowns in communication and desiring us to shut up, as well as blanket condemnations of social justice as a group and referring to us with the mostly-pejorative term “social justice warriors.”

      The latest blowup over this stuff was the last straw for me, but I’ve been feeling increasingly uncomfortable and unwelcome at TC (because of my social justice leanings) for the better part of 2 years now.

      (I should note, it’s not staff who have contributed to this atmosphere; it’s the host and several users who skirt the rules and don’t break them but still post shit that WILL get the SJ people riled up so we can look like the bad guys when we get emotional. The staff have been trying really hard to keep things together, which I appreciate. But the general atmosphere at the board has still become toxic, and it’s clear the host just wants us all to go away. So, I’m going.)

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      1. Wow, I’m really sorry to hear all of that. There’s a broad spectrum of people who support various social justice causes (with various definitions) and while some of them are more extreme, we should not all be painted with the same brush! After all this is the Cauldron, which I think has been one of the most inclusive pagan spaces on the net for a long time. It’s sad to see it becoming less so as various controversies arise. IIRC, Randall tends to be more on the conservative side. (He’s the host am I correct?)

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        1. Yeah, which is why it sucks so much. With some mild tweaks to the rules as they stand TC could become a pagan interfaith discussion and debate forum that’s more socially just — but Randall seems unwilling to entertain that idea. (You are correct; he is the host.)

          I don’t know how conservative he really is. He’s been giving a lot of lip service to “supporting social justice” in his posts on the subject, but then will complain about social justice warriors and how we’re all meanie pants, so I tend to disbelieve he’s really as supportive as he says, you know? But when it comes to other political stances he seems to lean pretty liberal. I think this is just a case of really *not* being able to understand social justice concerns because of the advantages he holds in society.

          Until recently I sort of felt TC was more socially just than it’s turning out to be; I mean, it’s where I *learned how to be feminist*, from my conversations with other members. It’s where I really discovered social justice as a broader concept and it’s where I got my activism fuel.

          But the fact is that ALL of us are getting painted with the same brush because of the actions of a few people (there were issues with people bullying in the name of social justice; I’m not trying to paint over that occurrence**), and/or breakdowns in communication that can happen with ANY topic, not just social justice — and in fact, when you see the same sort of communication happen with *pagan* topics (like when people get frustrated at the umpteenth “PEACEFUL GODDESS MATRIARCHY” post), the same broad brush strokes or vilifying doesn’t happen as it does with social justice topics.

          So basically, one set of rules for social justice conversations, and another for pagan ones.

          Very unfortunate all around.

          **Absolutely I don’t think social justice bullying should happen, but I also understand it’s easy to slip into: when you’re just SICK AND TIRED of the same old bullshit it becomes very easy to slip into the tactics of toxic call-out culture, because when you succeed as what I call “social justice as performance art” there IS a momentary high, a feeling of victory, a feeling of “haha, I really GOT that person”. This makes it addicting, and when you’re so tired all the time from dealing with kyriarchal bullshit in your daily life, the high you get from trouncing someone in an online discussion can be a hard thing to escape.***

          ***general ‘you’, of course.

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  1. I could have sworn that I replied to this when you first posted it. Just wanted to say – I support whatever decision you have to make and you’ll always be my Brighid sibling. Part of my Flamekeeping practice will always be to accept the honor of tending Her flame from you, even if we don’t keep together anymore. ❤

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