This article is an opinion piece about the debate held on the SA Pagan Council group on Facebook regarding Vampyrism and Satanism in regards to Pagan religion in South Africa. My first instinct was to do research about the religions and groups involved. I believe, as with everything in life, you cannot do it properly if you don’t know what you’re talking about – which perhaps, proves the point of the debate itself. I set out to try to absorb as much information as I could on Paganism and Satanism.
….. And then I picked up the transcript of the debate.
Within the first ten pages or so, I realized that it was all unnecessary. The research was not going to be of any help to me at all, and all that was needed in order for me to write this article, was to listen to what the people were saying. To really read between the lines.
Going by what was said in the debate, there were a few things that happened in the past between various groups and even between members of the same groups which have caused a lot of heartache and pain, even jealousy and animosity, and I picked up on that a lot.
In my opinion, it’s one of the reasons why the debate was such a good idea, so that those that had something weighing on their minds could open up and bare all, discuss and argue it with the fellow members of the discussion and move forward. This occurred many times and the outcome was always positive, with the two opposing parties remaining respectful and in most cases working through their issues. It was also a pleasure to read how beautifully everyone greeted one another before signing off.
I also noticed that a lot of the debate time was spent on discussing Satanism and vampyrism being involved with Pagan ways, with a bit of Christianity thrown in here and there. Some comments were a little perturbing to me, because I am of vampyric nature and a Christian, and I felt that maybe the people making the comments didn’t quite know as much as they should have about the topic. Nonetheless, it seems that there is still some concern regarding this matter.
It’s really, really simple.
Starting with the facts: Satanism and Paganism are religions – different religions with different beliefs, ways of life, thinking and values, as with every other belief system, but they are RELIGIONS nonetheless. They are ways of life we as individuals choose to follow; we make conscious decisions on who we will pray to, what we believe and what communities we will join. We stand up for our beliefs, be it Christian, Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism or Satanism. Therefore Paganism and Satanism cannot be compared or linked together in the sense of whose belief is “better” or “more right than”.
However, vampyrism is what most Vampyres consider to be a condition, a state of being determined by heritage, something we are born with. This I think, I am able to compare to being born gay or lesbian, or with a disability, being born a genius or with eleven toes. It is not a choice. Full stop. It is who you are, in every cell of your body, mind and soul – whether you like it not and not something you wake up one day and decide to be.
Having said this, and as it was mentioned by certain individuals in the debate, that Pagans as a whole should not be turning away vampyric Pagans. This is unfair discrimination and contradictory to what Pagans are supposed to stand for.
Another issue that arose was the differences between Pagans, which almost made me want to say, “Girls! Girls! You’re both pretty!” In the hard times we find ourselves in today, being judged for looking different or believing in different gods, with so many people not appreciating Paganism for what it is, and putting its believers on the proverbial “whipping post”, this is not a time for squabbling. These two groups should be standing together, finding mutual ground and together fighting for what they believe in.
It shouldn’t matter what ones opinion is of the other, or how one dislikes how the other runs things, what matters here is that you respect one another as fellow followers, these groups should unite and TOGETHER fight all the diversity and fight for what they believe in and the right to do so.
On a much more positive note, once the topic was changed to community building, it was amazing and so delightful to see how everyone came together. In my opinion a definite highlight of this discussion.
Now if we could only respect our neighbors and stand together like this in every way of life, the world we live in would be a much happier place.