Spiritual Bigotry

I’ve been seeing a strange trend lately… well, strange to me. Since acquiring the store a few months ago, we have heard a few times that people were concerned that the energy there would become “too dark” now that we have taken over. Now, in general the response has been overwhelmingly positive… but as for the negative responses, I can only assume it’s because of our involvement in the Craft.

For example: A woman came in a couple months ago and said, (with a definite tone of sharp concern) “The store’s not going to become more WICCAN is it???”

I let her know that, yes, it WAS going to become more Wiccan… and more Buddhist, and more Christian, and more Native American, and more Voodoo, and more Thelemic, and more everything else, to boot.

I am wondering how that would have gone over if she was concerned about the store becoming more Jewish, or more Buddhist, or more <fill-in-the-blank>? Certainly there seems to be a disconnect here. These people honestly believe that they are part of the open minded elite, and I’m sure would be shocked to learn that they are just as small-minded as those fundamentalists that they look down their noses at.

Anyway… I think it’s a good thing, actually. Mamma always said if you weren’t pissing somebody off then you weren’t doing anything important. Our goal has been to change the clientèle of the place and I think it’s happening organically. Even just the colors we have chosen to paint the place changes the vibe dramatically… and I’m sure will contribute to some feeling that the store has changed too much for them. That’s fine. We know that change is good… and let’s face it… the place had gotten so damned saccharine that I’m surprised no one ever went into a sugar-coma.  We’ve been working hard to ground the place. And I am finally really happy with how it is turning out.

So if you are one of those people who is out there reading my blog because you are concerned about how the store might change… that it might become “too dark” for you… then don’t bother coming back in. The store is not for you anymore. We are more Pagan… more Santeria, more Hoodoo, more Islam… we are more Taoist, more Feng Shui, more everything. We are a bit more enlightened (and yes, a bit more endarkened!) now. And if that scares you well, good. We are a mirror. The demons that you see are your own.


39 responses to “Spiritual Bigotry

  1. Yeah, because *Gods forbid* that anyone else’s spiritual needs would be served by the store. After all, your sole purpose for existing is to be there only for that one person. I’m sure that pays the rent. LOL

  2. What a fantastic icon that is! I remember when I first realized there was a rift between “metaphysical people” and enlightened/endarkened (*snerk*) Pagans. It was shocking. I thought they were supposed to be open minded. Hopefully, some of them will become moreso after visiting your revamped store.

  3. Oh, good grief. I found myself sitting here about to type, “This is a joke, right? You don’t really get people in the store like that, do you?” until I remembered that, yes, there really are people like that out there, even in what we like to think of as the more enlightened fringes of society.
    I’m sorry you’re having to deal with that.

    • Oh, you do, you do. (coming in late to the thread)
      At our store we’ve had people complain when we moved book sections around. We’ve had someone complain because there aren’t any carpets on the floor (there never have been… it’s venerable fir-wood hardwood). Guess they felt self-conscious about the noise. On the other hand, we had one guy go off because he thought we had taken the squeak out of the floor. (We hadn’t. It’s still there.)
      If you have an established place, there will be people who dislike change of any kind. I have no idea who we might have lost because we got a beautiful mural on the ceiling, or closed the inconvenient and inaccessible bathroom to customers, or hired more women, or took the glowering picture of Gurdjieff out of the window, or demolished two fixtures in the front to replace them with movable displays.
      And then there are the people who are mad because you didn’t have the book they wanted in the store RIGHT NOW. They’ve been browsing it for two years and it’s always been there and they’ve never bought it but now it’s gone because somebody else bought it and HOW COULD YOU?!?!?!?!?
      See, you don’t even have to tweak them on the spooky stuff.

  4. ….what in gay hell did she mean by that? Did she expect it to stay ABSOLUTELY devoid of anything of substance?
    “No, ma’am, we’re not going to change ANYTHING to make your little fluffy-bunny white-lighter paradigm feel the slightest bit uncomfortable. Heaven forfend there be any people in the world who don’t think like you. Would you like another crystal necklace, silver ring and flowing caftan to go with your bigotry?”

  5. Yup, what you said.
    I really enjoyed being there the other day. But I forgot to get the blueing. O well, guess I’ll get it at my next class. I think you guys are doing a great job on that store.

    • Thank you so much! We loved having you there and look forward to having you there as often as you would like to teach!
      You should come see the store now… we painted a wall red! It looks awesome!
      (We’re thinking about telling people we chose red because we couldn’t get that wall to stop bleeding. Do you think that’s too much??) 😉

    • Oh that’s nothing compared to the woman who told me that she refused to recycle because, if we all create our own reality, then by her very act of recycling she would be reinforcing the idea that the environment is in crises, thus creating a reality in which the environment was in crises. Her answer was to simply ignore the problem, saying that she was creating a reality in which the environment was just fine, and the rest of us would end up in one that suffered from environmental collapse.
      Oh, Holy Jebus… I don’t think she was a bigot… or a “fluffy-bunny”… or even a “white lighter”. I just think she was incredibly self-centered and stupid.
      And for the record, my store recycles. 😉

      • Holy smokes! That’s just… sad. Unfortunately, I’ve run into that attitude in plenty of places, where we Have No Problemz. And when I’m the dumb kid who speaks up and says, “Ya know, I’m not really O.K. with what that person is doing and I can’t work with him in a circle, because I don’t want to be part of what he’s doing,” suddenly, -I’m- the problem. Because there wasn’t a Problem until I called attention to it. Therefore, I must be the Problem. Because I should just be O.K. with things that -aren’t- O.K. How dare I call shit shit? I’m just “negative and untrusting.”
        Yeah, what.ever.
        Whenever I hear the phrase “You create your own reality,” I start looking for exits. That’s where some of the most stunningly sick crazy hides out, in my experience.
        I’m a student of ‘s and found your journal while noodling around on the net, hope it is all right that I went and added you. Your class at pantheacon was most useful and moving for me, thanks!

      • Oy vey! A second example of verbal diarrhea that earns her the “ASSHOLE” stamp right across her forehead! What is she going to do … just lay in the middle of the street with flowers in her hand and not create the reality of getting run over by a bus??? (actually that might be a good thing)

      • I’ve actually had people say things like that to me – that they create their own reality to the extent that getting hit by a truck is a choice.
        All I could say was… what???
        For added bonus fun, I’ve had people tell me that some of us “choose” to be born into abusive family situations so we can “learn” certain life lessons. Now while I agree that there may be something to karma and rebirth and what samskaras will push a person toward in a cycle, to just simplisticly say that to someone who -is- a survivor of such a family situation is a Very Bad Idea. I was amazed that someone belived such crap and was spouting it to me – and puzzled as to what the goal and purpose of this belief and acting on this belief might be.
        I’m still boggled as to what one gets from having this belief and from working (or more acurately not working) in alignment with it. What are the benefits? What is the take home from this? Why would a person buy this? I don’t understand it.

  6. Ah, yes, one side sneers at the “fluffy bunnies” and “vapid white lighters” while the other side gasps, clutches their crystal pendants, and talks of “lower vibrations” and things “Not of the Light” – both employing stereotypes and knee-jerk responses.
    Welcome to the pagan retail community…

    • I totally hear that… it ends up just boiling down to the same old story: demonize the opposing party and then you don’t have to think about where they are coming from.
      For the record, I don’t think the woman was a “fluffy-bunny” (it’s a term that I think most often gets misapplied… a real fluffy-bunny is actually kinda fun to hang around, at times… they are really sweet people!) I think this woman was a bigot. There’s a whole arena of reasons why I think she might be the way she is… and a lot of it just boils down to fear. I hope that many of these people will eventually realize that we are in fact not a hellmouth and that they can still come and get their angelic and ascended master essences. Only now they will be stocked next to the hoodoo oils.

      • Oh, sure, and I’m not saying this particular woman was fluffy-anything, just that there can be (and are) bigots on all sides of the divide(s).

      • Don’t I know it… it reminds me of a Pagan student group that I started back in my community college days… I came to a meeting one day and found that on the chalkboard one of the speakers had drawn a little Christian fish with a circle and slash over it. It turned me off… aren’t we all supposed to learn how to live with –even celebrate– each other’s differences? If we can’t even start accepting others then how the hell are we expecting them to learn how?
        We’re all on this little rock together. The time for drawing lines in the sandbox is way over, in my opinion…
        It’s good to hear from you! Looking forward to seeing you guys in September!

  7. Yeah!!!
    I am glad to read that you are increasing the spirit/numen of the store. There is an esoteric store that we used to really like out this way and the owner focused so much on business development that it lost the quality of why we liked going there. Maybe it will change back but it has been a disappointment for about 4 years now.
    So thanks for being intent on making the store what you want it to be.

  8. Kudos to you for taking the shop in the direction in should go. The whole “rounded-corners, padded for your protection” crap cheapens the spiritual experience and makes it feel insignificant. And points to you for using the word saccarine. 😉

  9. We are a mirror. The demons that you see are your own.
    Amen to that! People really need to stop projecting their issues onto other folks and just learn to deal with them.
    Keep up the good work! I will make it in there someday…possibly during spring break so I can head out early and miss the traffic.

  10. Yeah. I used to encounter that when I was working psychic fairs about ten years ago. On the other hand, sometimes people would come in asking specifically for a Wiccan or a “real witch” (which means something a little different in southern Appalachia).

  11. I’ve been so busy working on stuff for our last faire, I just haven’t had time to make it into the store yet, but any change would be good.
    I’m looking forward to seeing you at the store soon.

  12. I made the last comment, but got an error message and it may have been marked as Anonymous.
    Anyway, I’ve been so busy making stuff for the faire last weekend, I just haven’t had time to make it into your store. Any change there will be good.
    I look forward to seeing you two in the store soon.

  13. Wooo Hoooo!!I must say I’ve wickedly enjoyed every bit of your post, AND of the replies too!*wiggles all over with wicked pleasure*… and boyz, just have a look at that icon!!
    All I can add is that I have a pagan friend here (quite on the “harmless side of Wiccan” as well, so to speak), who dared open the first Wiccan and Witchy store in town. Well, a few weeks afterwards, a delegation of old Christian ladiez led by a christian nun came over and started to picket the entry, twisting their hands and wailing in despair, calling the place “the House of Sin”, (its true name was Lunamagick, thanks!). Then they called my friend out and announced her solemnly that each time they passed by there, they were compelled to cross themselves… Now, this is perhaps an extreme example, but I myself, in spite of not owning a store, had my good share of this bullshit thrown on me by “spiritual folks” who used to come to me to get their channeled work with their Spirit Guides… Some of them started to feel so damn uneasy, in spite of the fact that they were still getting the same Guides. They started to question the Spirits in a very unpleasant way, asking them whether “they were in the Light”, and what not… and -guess what? – in the end, many of them just hit the road and never came back, saying that they could feel my dark side coming out, nad they didn’t want to have anything to do with it… I guess it was all Hekate’s fault, as Mama told me…. (sigh)

  14. I like that: more enlightened and more endarkened. Like you, I want both. Good for you — it is unwise to live one’s life or pursue one’s work by other peoples’ standards.

  15. i am grateful that you are changing the store to reflect more diverse traditions. i look forward to classes there, and i plan on coming in and placing a special order soon, too!
    customer service means dealing with the (groan) public. often, it sucks.

  16. Thats awesome.. Good for you for taking that step and putting the “real deal” out there and not just staying in the realm of the “airy fairy” as we have taken to calling it. it is hard to find a shop that sells the tools of the trade (any trade) instead of all the acrylic fairies and unicornes ( not that some of those arent bad)

  17. Magickal Dolphins and Dreams
    Well I for one loved your store. I was so thrilled to see so many Paths represented, especially the African based ones, which so many people fear. I can’t wait to get back down to California and see what else you’ve added.
    May your business be prosperous!
    Love and Light,

  18. pfft
    i think if you had a seriously discounted *sale* on all the dolphins and Louise Hay books, they’d change their tune.
    (then you’d have enough money to build that black marble back room altar with the poryphyry phalli lamps and the fancy blood-catching brass vessels on the side!!) 🙂

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