In just the last few years Paganism has made great leaps and bounds in becoming more public, better understood and more accepted in this country.
I love many of the things that go along with this. More public ritual and ceremony that are easy to find. More pagan publishers and a wide assortment of new books covering both modern views and researched historical theories. Many shops that carry supplies and lots and lots of fun goodies. Lots of discussion and visibility on sites like Facebook. I especially like the pages for Pagan artists, Pagan businesses etc.
Lots and lots of online classes from well respected Pagans of all traditions.
But I also find myself appalled at some of the crass commercialization of Paganism. Someone can always find a way to twist things and make a buck. And I am NOT talking about legitimate Pagan businesses, we need more of them.
But now there are snake oil salesmen selling Wicca initiations, the secrets of witches, demon fighting ebooks. It makes me a little angry, a little sad for curious people who will get sucked in, spend their money and decide that it is all a crock, because what they bought was.
I have to blame both the snake oil salemen and the people who want something (spiritual enlightment) for nothing (no effort).
I tell myself that this is no different than the Christians who display crucifixes everywhere and tell everyone they are Christian but do not attend church or read the Bible or put any effort into finding out what Christ taught. Some of them get their pockets emptied by the television preachers who are getting rich off of them. Most people can make a distinction between this and legitimate people of Christian faith. There aren't enough of us yet for that distinction to be clear. I'm sure we will get there.
But I have this nagging thought that we have awoken Old Gods or at least asked them to turn their attention to us once again, and they might be disappointed or perhaps amused, who knows?
Welcome to the 21st century, my fellow Pagans, where even the old religions can be trivialized.
I suppose it is the price we pay for coming out of the shadows and it is, in my opinion, a good argument for being as public as safely possible, each in our own way, to reinforce the concept of a serious spiritual path and help new seekers avoid the con artists and find reasonable people to answer their questions.