Monday, June 06, 2005

Get thee behind me, Teenagers

Call me authoritarian, but I sincerely believe that any NeoPagan younger than 21 should be placed under round-the-clock supervision by a crack team of child psychologists, drill sargeants and High Priestesses, with tranquilizers and bitchslaps applied as necessary.

Now, before anyone lets fly with the angry e-mails chock-full of invectives and Silver RavenWolf quotes, let me just say that yes, I was once a NeoPagan younger than 21, and yes, I was none too terribly bright about it. I wrote longwinded, surly letters to my college newspaper about the history of Halloween and the discrimination I believed I was being subjected to by evil, hatemongering Christians. I wore a Celtic-style pentacle the size of a dinner plate. At one point, I think I was even saying "Goddess bless you" whenever anyone sneezed.

To sum up, I was very, very annoying. But in my defense, I don't recall being anywhere near as annoying as the teenaged NeoPagans currently infesting my sphere of existence. (And please note, that's my sphere of existence: the ones in your neck o' the woods might be lovely. If so, buy them a round of cherry phosphates, on me, and tell them I said cracklin' good job.)

I'm not normally so angsty about the Teen Pagan set ("Um, yes you are."--Everyone), but a good buddy of mine had a run-in with one of the little varmits. He was having a conversation with several of his friends about various aspects of ritual work, and the subject of altar placement came up. He asserted, "It really doesn't matter where you put your altar, as long as you have a valid reason for it."

At that point, one of our local teeny-boppers piped up. "Well, I don't make excuses to my Gods. I put the altar in the East because my religion says so."

There's a rational, logical part of me that says with some direction and a reputable reading list, this kid could turn out fine. With a little luck, he'll go on to never make inane, insulting comments like that ever again, especially to people who've been practicing "his religion" longer than he's been alive. Unfortunately, that part of me just got shanked by the part of me that growls at neighborhood dogs. I realize that I'm well on my way to becoming that scary old man at the end of the block with an overgrown lawn and boarded-up windows, and you know what? I made peace with that a long time ago. If it repels the children who can't tell the difference between Dungeons & Dragons and spirituality, then by all means, bring it on.

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