Let’s face it. I never got along to well with any kind of German pagans. And yet I am pagan. At least Kemeticism is a polytheistic pre-Christian tradition and does per definition count as pagan. But many pagans have serious problems with what they call “institutionalized” religion. And the fact that the Ancient Egyptian religion appeared in a context of a high culture with a monarchy, even theocracy and a politically well organized nation, is reason enough to condemn Kemeticism. And historical movies showing brutal slave drivers and glamorous Pharaohs probably do the rest. Many Kemetics are aware that they are not too welcome among pagans – and from my personal experience I may add: especially not if they are German.
To clarify this first I really do not care about being accused of “generalization” because what I am going to report about is what I have experienced personally, how I felt about it and what conclusions I have drawn from it. Because THIS is actually what creates opinions. No matter how much information you may provide, how many claims about your attitude you state, the impression that will remain in people’s minds are to a very high extend created by personal experiences and the emotions connected to it. It is MY view and I am expressing it. People who make different experiences are free to express theirs. So if anyone of you, dear readers – and I do expect some of my “counterparts” to find this – feels criticized unfairly, all I am going to say is that you should have considered earlier how you treat me. Perhaps you have expected me to take in all the insulting jokes and abusive remarks and keep silent. Perhaps you thought I would endure all your hateful prejudice and your unfulfilled expectations. And possibly you were hoping I’d care for your inferiority complex… well, no, I do not. Because honestly, why would I spread tolerance and patience to people who haven’t shown any to me?
I have been in the pagan scene for about 20 years and meanwhile I know what I am talking about. I am not reacting impulsively to some unimportant little drama on a random message board. I have had too many of those to give them some particular importance. What I have encountered is just ANOTHER example in a long row of disappointments which MANY people are aware of but feel totally helpless about and do not dare to mention. What is different about my personal situation is that I have run out of patience. I do not feel I am obliged to prove anything to people. I know who I am, I may not be the fluffiest person on earth, I may be tough in discussions, but I am loyal, reliable and communicative. If my lack of will to endure humiliation seems like generalization, well, I am terribly sorry for you. And I do not care. Actually I guess that is how generalizations appear in the end. People have LIMITS. You can’t expect them to take in all your hate and negativity and smile and let you act out your neuroses. There is neurological evidence for the fact that “generalization” or simplifying into patterns and categories is basically an emergency mechanism of the brain to cope with emotional stress and avoid mentally destabilizing situations. Don’t you worry I will, after I have calmed down keep on acting like an adult and be polite but I have neither the will nor the strength to search for experiences that will prove me the opposite. If someone wants to show me else go ahead!
So here is what I have experienced about German Pagans. I have avoided them for the past few years. Before I have regularly been part of the pagan online scene for about 20 years. This time I agreed to join a group because it was run by a friend. We were talking a lot about how to support pagans in Germany because apparently by now the German pagan scene has gone through some heavy splitting and conflicts. To be honest I am not a very social person at least not in real life but I may say I am damn good and experienced at administrative work and that is exactly what I offered to support my friend’s initiative. I mean most people are not to enthusiastic about all those really boring jobs such as accounting or administration but it needs to be done and it requires a lot of time. And I would have gladly provided that amongst other things such as lectures on Kemeticism.
So I popped up on this pagan board trying to explain a few things about Kemeticism whilst taking care of the preoccupation as it is known to me, posting info, doing research (even on Germanic pagan topics which is after all the main topic about that message board), provided and translated English scholar work kindly offered by some friends who are scholar historians, offered osteopathic advice and FREE treatment, joined the chat to talk to people directly, invited my Swiss friend since she speaks German, too, suggested several events including organization… and all I got basically was cynical posting about Egyptians and the “elitist thinking of high cultures”, misogynic remarks and hateful comments about people from other countries.
What shocked me most, personally, was the anti-American xenophobia. It’s not exactly being racist because that is a big no-no in Germany but there is this subtle suspicion and hate which is 90% direct against Americans. UK, Scandinavia or Iceland are being glorified because it fits so well with the visions of Vikings and Druids. But anything that is further south like Greece or Egypt or Mesopotamia is already being rejected – especially if it is somehow classified as a “high culture”. So once again people use a scientific term to define identity by it just like in this ridiculous discussion about monotheism and polytheism. And America seems the biggest evil of all. I am guessing it fits well into the (distorted and biased) image of “high culture” which is most likely charged with some religiously related traumas as they occur frequently amongst pagans. The crucial thing about this, there is close to no distinguishing between “American politics” and “Americans” – after all there is certainly a lot that can legitimately be criticized about American politics and considering my timeline – believe it or not – it is actually my American friends who are offering the most sophisticated and well considered criticisms to American politics and society.
Average People are dealing with the same problems all over the world. When I read the Facebook posts of my friends being annoyed about being stuck in a traffic jam or struggling with dumb colleagues, arguing with neighbors or being in trouble with getting a job or continue their studies I see that there really is no big difference in everyday’s life. We all struggle the same everyday no matter where we live. And we are Pagans and care for our gods. The only difference to German pagans seems that they categorically reject everything that is NOT German or connected to one of the aforementioned idealized countries. Apparently the fact that people are all pagan, yes in this case even specifically Norse pagan does not count at all. Paganism – it seems – is not related strongly enough to any actual ancient values but to a group identity consisting of bias, prejudice and personal inferiority issues which are bing projected on various virtual “enemies”. May that be “the modern autonomous woman”, “Americans”, “the mainstream people” or simply “ALIENS”.
So basically there are two things which succecfully avoid being accepted in the German pagan scene:
- because I am kemetic
- because I have American friends
There is no way back for me.
Pagans are still a minority in most countries and yet there IS already an international scene where people from all over the world meet and talk to each other. So instead of isolating yourself in ignorance we could actually start to talk to each other and work together.