What’s the best thing about being heathen? The worst?
I think the answer to both is sadly “other Heathens”. At their best, heathens are some of the nicest, most sharing people and really know how to have fun. I have had a great sense of community with other Pagans that I have lacked for many many years. its great to feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself, and its hard if you have no way to scratch that itch otherwise. At their worst, there are many that call themselves Heathens that are insane sociopaths, racists (or both) with little to no care for the actual religious movement as a whole. Sadly I have seen my fair share of both sides, and I’m still a relative novice. I mentioned my previous Kindred, and the stuff that was going on there that led everyone to basically quit – it would have been easy to allow that to cloud my judgement of everything.
Around my area, at least, there seems to be a slight issue with tribalism. Some groups have more power than others and try to become the local Heathen Popes, whilst others try to kick the whole “community” thing to the curb, and ignore any sort of rules or actively antagonize other groups. both are VERY tiresome, and reek of people that have no matured past High School suddenly finding themselves in a leadership position they should not be in.
Its easy to allow people like this to make you turn into something very similar, but its important to try to be the change you want to see in others – those hate-filled terrible groups have a way of self-destructing after a while on their own. There’s no reason to go down with them.