Monday, February 6, 2017

Social Media Occult Groups - What to Watch Out For

Ever join an online metaphysical discussion group? To see what goes on in such a place even if your desire is not to stay or partake in discussion? You're right, the majority of these occult groups are scary places. Why? For the most part they tend to be created not by scholars or more experienced practitioners rather rank novices end up making such groups in the hopes to maybe corral a few skilled mages into their group in the hopes free information can be disseminated. It's an old tactic and I know dozens of worthwhile practitioners who have also been roped into joining such groups including yours truly by a novice hoping they will learn something valuable.

No this isn’t one of those diatribes against getting hijacked into one of these groups without your permission which none of us can stand nor are appreciative of rather this is more about the quality of these groups and the information they provide versus the time you’re wasting there. True it is annoying to get hijacked into these groups when you never gave anyone permission to add you without asking and of course the key to there is to unsubscribe from them a.s.a.p. then delete the noodnik who took it upon themselves to add you to their group without your permission. Eventually you reach a point of zero since it comes down to the fact such people become scarce on your friends list. Being hijacked like that is just rude not to mention obnoxious.

No I’m talking about stepping into one to see what sorts of info is being shared and *shudders* by whom. It seems every lunatic with a keyboard hangs out in these groups to witness the sheer silliness which passes for “information” these days. During this past POTUS election, there was much ado about ‘fact checking’ from the Left, the Right and even others who had no vested interest other than to say, “Get it right if you’re going to say it!” So why can we not expect the same of our metaphysical groups? Hmm? In the past I have been and still am a member of lots of metaphysical and occult groups as well as guitar groups in social media sites and here are some of my observations for you to be aware of...

1. Groups Tend To Be Set Up and Run By Novices - folks who barely understand the nuances between altar, Hoodoo, ritual, cemetery, Wicca, circle, pyramid, quartz, and so on from one another. In fact they’re hoping to meet someone who can educate them for free. Will you be their free instructor? Do you have the time? The inclination? The wherewithal?

2. Novices Barely Know Anything YET They’ve Been Practicing the Occult the Longest! - funny thing when I began to practice Witchery, a serious change in my life like this took hold of me and it meant a lot to my life's history. So much so that I right then and there logged it down in a notebook. Thus I can remember exactly when and where I dedicated my life to the Old Gods YET even McWiccans out there who claim to have been at this 20+ years have no clue what date s/he started to practice. Really? Wow. So your conversion to Wicca or Paganism really meant a lot to you then I guess, hunh? Do you know when you got your driver’s license? When you graduated HS? Got married? Had your first born child? Yet you cannot remember the exact date you started practicing. Right. Sure. How about you’re yet another wannabe pretending to be something you’re not? Sounds more reasonable.

What about the token Know-It-All's in the group? Such as the one who tells everyone he's been at it for X number of years YET he has never heard of things anyone with his amount of experience SHOULD know such as variations of Witchery and traditions (including ones which aren't Wiccan based), it's medieval history, use of herbs, roots, Moon phases and so on? Beware you're most likely dealing with a book learned neo-Pagan. They are a dime a dozen so be cognizant of their limited amount of knowledge and wisdom on occult topics even when they claim lengthy time periods of practice.

3. Intelligent, Well Researched Posts Belittled By Fools - if you decide to hang around and observe a group, you notice who takes time to research a topic and post it to the group. Only to have some McWiccan or Ceremonial Wannabe reply with some nonsense like, “That’s how you do it; I’m Kemetic (or insert any tradition/path here) and we do it differently”. Really? You win a No-Prize for your efforts “Mr/Ms Kemetic” because no one cares. Posting such a foolish reply makes you look like a dunce. Better to keep your mouth shut and let folks believe you are one instead of opening it and proving their suspicions are correct about you, right? 

Now IF you were to continue your sentence, “...I’m Kemetic and we do it differently such as doing X this way by starting....” where you are sharing your knowledge and experience then that’s terrific because in fact that’s what such groups were meant for - to compare notes with one another. However when you don’t share the experience and knowledge part, you look like a fool who is just grandstanding with nothing more to add. I’ve seen this time and time again over the years - even in my own groups going all the way back to the late 90's when I ran my own Yahoo Groups. Thus beware of these sorts of people.

4. Spamholes! - Hey, I love Lon DuQuette, his writings and his videos however let’s face it, the man is a spam asshole or a spamhole. He joins every occult group on FB NOT to share in any discussions - that would be beneath his high holiness - but rather to SPAM every group on his list en mass so that everyone knows all about his latest book, latest coffee shop appearance where he’ll be singing one of his lame folk songs he thinks we care about or some such thing. Now yes I’m picking on Lon because he’s HORRIBLE at the whole spam game as is Jason Newcomb who does the same bloody thing and is another spamhole. "Buy my canvas magic circles!" lol This isn't much different than ol' Koetting and his "living god" spam he likes his minions to go around and spam groups with. 

So some of these groups are created for the sole purpose of promoting the owner's spam. Okay at least that's an honest approach because you know it's spam city going in and there won't be any surprises. The downside? Few to none of these folks doing this ever took any professional marketing training so they know jack and shit about marketing, advertising let alone selling in such groups. Thus these groups tend to be little more than spam-pits where you find little useful information outside of spam. 

Other places are smaller groups run by marketing wizard wannabes whose wish is to do good and again no concept nor knowledge of how to deal with spam properly thus they end up allowing too much spam and their groups fall prey to being little more than just a spam-pit. All they would have to do is make a hard rule that IF you wish to be allowed to spam, you MUST make regular contributions to group discussions. This is what I have had to do and thus far it has worked remarkably well for many years now.

Let me finish this by saying as a marketing rep myself, I am not against anyone doing marketing for their metaphysical business or to peddle their wares & services. Again there is NOTHING WRONG WITH IT - when done properly. Therein lies the rub. Thus if you wish to become well off, then put down the occult books and study marketing and advertising for a change and not just one or two books either. Delve into the subjects. Eat them up. There is much to be learned. Because if you're going to do something, then do it right the first time.

5. Allowing All Topics Open For Discussion! - here’s how you know you’re in the presence of rank amateurs! When these wannabes allow any and all topics to be discussed - OR they rule out something say “spell requests” (some call it spell begging) and avoid it completely or like some Pagan groups create a sub-group where this sort of thing is hashed out regularly. Still what do they allow? Oy vey. All sorts of ~HOT~ topics from Karma (Ugh! More preaching?) and 3 Fold Rule (hasn't this dead horse decayed yet?) debates to current politics in the news (another useless topic for an occult group). African religions (always a fire starter!), animal and blood sacrifices (nooo that NEVER starts a flame war!) Aleister Crowley - it seems this old pedophile’s life is the only thing some people have to talk about these days. Then we have the whole "Magic = Psychology" weirdos and their goofy Jungian paradigm included in this where people take it on themselves to run around informing everyone Magic is nothing more than what’s going on in your noggin. Always a great fight starter. Living God disciples and their master, Koetting, who few practitiners have much use for these days yet allow this drivel and make it interesting for the arguments to crop up.

What about the whole Herbal/Medical advice? Highly illegal YET McWiccans and wannabe physicians abound in the Pagan community who know jack shit about real science, diet, physiology, biology, chemistry - not one of them a legal physician BUUUUT they know enough from studying Cunningham, Beryl and a few online herbal websites that makes them feel they’re qualified to dole out medical advice with herbs. (Especially IF they have passed some sort of home study course in herbs! *cough, cough*) Just be careful allowing this advice to go through your group because if Mary McWiccan gives medical advice on YOUR group with YOUR permission and something negatively happens to the person taking her advice... like say they die as a result? Guess what? You’re also responsible and can be hauled into court of law in front of a judge to answer for allowing this to be shared in your group. Doubt me? Ask any defense lawyer.

6. Blind Leading the Blind - while an occult group’s purpose is to foster communication between its members, very often this is not the case. Typically you see one woman take front and center stage with, “I’m Josie, here’s a photo of my altar of pussycats. I just love pussycats. I have 3 dozen of them around me. lol I’m often troubled by money woes trying to pay for their food and health costs but I’d never give up even one of my pussycats. I’ve been a Wiccan for over 30 years. I’m a very powerful witch so feel free to ask me anything!”

Obviously I invented Josie however she is typical of dozens of posts I’ve seen in Pagan and neo-Pagan occult FB groups I’ve been in under pseudonyms. Funny too because IF Josie really IS a powerful witch, then WHY does she have such money woes? If she has such issues, also it begs the question WHY is she trying to lead Novices as well? Yet this is a perfect example of daily life in a typical FB group. So Josie really isn’t as powerful as she thinks she believes herself to be. Especially later when we see a few months down the road that Josie is asking people to help her take in her pussycats because she has to vacate her home due to eviction for non-payment of her mortgage. NO, this is NOT a slam at all! Rather it is an observation only and an all too common trope that happens in these groups. Should Josie be teaching novices if she cannot attend to her own personal issues? And yes those are enormous issues to deal with not tiny issues we all deal with on a daily basis.

Sort of like those who really don’t know nor understand Divination nor what it’s about, how to use it, when to employ it and so forth. They just read the little white booklet that comes with their Tarot pack, memorize the cards and that’s it. No there’s a whole lot more to it than just that. IF you just started learning Tarot, you should NOT be answering novice questions about Divination. Hello genius? Because you may lead someone to a false sense of security or give them the wrong info. Those who try to do this are the Blind leading the Blind. That’s what Josie is.

7. Posting Personal Drama - it’s an occult discussion group, not your private therapy group. You want it to be successful? Then cease and desist with the personal drama and apply your metaphysical know-how to your own personal woes. Hello? Oh, certainly an occasional anecdote is all right because sometimes it’s nice to decompress and get an opinion from someone else. However, some folks make groups just so they can use them as their personal form of group therapy. *smh* Yet the members never seem to notice this nonsense and so each day the little Goth princess has to post more of her personal drama from home about her husband, employer, neighbor, whoever and it gets old fast AND what’s worse, it is never ending. From a so-called "spiritual leader". YET none of the group members ever bother to take notice.

8. Posting Memes - rarely is anything more useless than posting something as inane as a meme especially in an occult group. Memes are often made specifically for opinions to spread an opinion about a particular political belief or stance. The other part of memes is to be funny. While at times humor is useful for groups, most of these memes can be seen in your regular feed on your wall. Save them for these places but if you must, then go ahead and post them to your group. Just realize you’re not doing your group any favors as a result of posting them to your group. What's wrong with posting something original of your own making?

9. Posting Free PDF’s/Books - sure everyone loves a free book yet truth is the vast majority of these shared to most groups are already shared ad infinitum on other groups so what’s the point? What makes your group special? Nothing. You’re just another parrot parroting other parrots. Try refusing to allow them for once and make everyone who wants free pdf's go hunt for them or join another open Pagan group that has them all. Do you have any idea how many groups out there have free pdf’s of all of Crowley’s crappy books? Seriously. A LOT of them do. It’s almost laughable. Reminds me of Jehovah’s Witnesses the way Thelemites and Crowleyites run around uploading them to every occult group's Files section. Choose to be different. Stand alone if you must but do so. 

10. Taking/Ripping Off/Stealing Material From Websites, Books as well as Other Groups and Refusing To Give Due Credit! - big time foul here folks. Don’t do this. You may think you’re making your group cooler, hipper and smarter but you’re not. Best thing to do is to NOT do this and force yourself to write - regardless of how bad your writing is. The more you do it the better at it you will get. Okay? Bear that in mind. Do not rip off another group, website or writer to make your group better like so many do. Be original. Be unique.

Some things I have seen in online occult groups and have worked to avoid myself however you can as well to make your own occult group spiffier, tidier and more enchanting than the usual drivel that passes for occultism out there. Do not allow yourselves to get caught up in the miasma that is what others believe you should have for the occult when you know better. It’s your group. Make it unique, fun and a place others will talk about. :)