Welcome to the Dark Side ~ Part 1

Trophy Hunters in Paganism and The Craft

We have Trophy Hunters in the Community. Just thought it was time to actually put a name to it and how it affects the Community. If it applies to you, please understand that my intention is not to insult, but rather to bring to light actions that while may seem harmless and fun, are, in fact, used to bring disharmony into the community and actually results in an attempt to invalidate or demean others. While it might not always be intentional, it still affects the Community in a negative way.

Let’s take a quick look at what a Trophy actually is from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

tro•phy noun \ˈtrō-fē\. plural trophies
Definition of TROPHY
1: something gained or given in victory or conquest especially when preserved or mounted as a memorial
2a : a memorial of an ancient Greek or Roman victory raised on the field of battle or on the nearest land for a naval victory b : a representation of such a memorial (as on a medal); also : an architectural ornament representing a group of military weapons
3: a game animal or fish suitable for mounting as a trophy —usually used attributively
4: one that is prized for qualities that enhance prestige or social status —usually used attributively
. . .
Synonyms: boast, credit, crown jewel, honor, jewel, pride, treasure, glory

A trophy can be given (such as an unexpected award), it can be earned or gained (such as a college diploma), or it can be stolen or acquired by other means (such as taking the hood ornament off of a Bentley automobile and placing it in your living room). In the latter, the hood ornament is not something you actually have a “right” to, but becomes a sympathetic expression (like in sympathetic magick) of something you feel you “should” be or wish to be entitled.

In the Community (Paganism and the Craft), there are a variety of “trophies”: running/managing a group, officiating a rite, a third-degree crown, and other recognitions and acknowledgements. While, in a spiritual sense, we do try not to strive for mundane displays of “trophies”, but sometimes they are necessary for the benefit of others. For example, in a coven, the wearing of the crown helps others to identify with your experience level and to remember to hold you in a position of regard to your opinions and guidance by virtue of your experience and training.

The phrase of “Trophy Hunter”; however, is not used in relation to acquiring acknowledgements of training or position. The Trophy Hunter hunts spouses and/or mates of people in “position” in the Community.

The Trophy Hunter is usually a new person or has only attained ranking in lower levels and attempts, by virtue of having sexual relationship with the mate/spouse of a leader/HPS/HP in order to (1) acquire or publicly declare the equivalent power of a leader, Priestess or Priest (magickal); (2) acquire equality to the Priestess or Priest without investing the time and acquiring the training and experience (status); or (3) acquire psychological superiority over the leader, Priestess or Priest (psychological).

Our religion, by its very basic tenets, is a nature religion and, thus, we have a deep respect for sexuality and its place in nature. By virtue of this basic tenet, we embrace and hesitate to say ANYTHING whatsoever about the sexual activity of other members of the Community. HOWEVER, it needs to be pointed out that sexuality can be misused for inappropriate reasons.

We have ALL seen examples of families, covens, friendships, occupations, and all other phases of life negatively impacted by inappropriate sexual intentions. Basically, it is not the ACT or RITE that can be inappropriate, but rather the INTENTION or PURPOSE behind the act that we need to address more often in the Community.

Trophy Hunters are often easy to spot. They will often speak publically (to the Community) about their “conquests” of a leader/HPS/HP spouse. When they do so, they often will stress it proudly so that the listener fully understands that they were “easily” able to bed the spouse away from the Leader/HPS/HP. Sometimes, they will even state that the Leaders/HPS/HP “must not be as good as they are in bed” or that they are, by virtue of their sexual encounter, proven to be more “special” and worth more regard in stature than the Leader/HPS/HP. I have actually had Trophy Hunters present lists of their conquests repeatedly in front of any new listener that might happen to wander by.

SEXUALITY IS SACRED. It is not a “weapon” to be used against other people in the Community. It is not a “tool” to give someone a psychological “boost” in an attempt to replace proper dedication, training, and experience. It is not proper to use it to attempt to demean or invalidate the position, magickal power, or experience of others.

TO THE LEADERS, HPS, AND HP OF THE COMMUNITY (PAGANISM AND CRAFT)

The Craft, by its basic reputation, can be overwhelming to new people. It makes new people feel vulnerable and sometimes powerless against established practitioners. Sometimes, people think that the whole of Paganism and the Craft is worship-based and that any magick is simply an offshoot of particle movement or prayer. These are the people that are most susceptible to misusing the very freedoms that our beliefs afford us. They THINK they have a handle on the religion. They THINK they have been able to effectively define magick in a mundane-related or Christian-theory related manner. Then, one day, they run into an experienced elder somewhere and they see something that is “out of the box” of their well-thought out assumptions.

This invokes a very natural sense of fear and self-preservation in new people. It is facing the unknown and when people are first facing an unknown, their instincts kick in and oftentimes in direct contradiction to their very nature or intent. The Craft, however, can be, at times, a constant state of facing the unknown. WE DANCE IN MINE FIELDS. You can put all the flowers around and dress in white, but this is the basic truth of magickal workings.

IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LEADER/HPS/HP TO ADDRESS THE MANIFESTATION OF TROPHY HUNTERS IN THEIR GROUPS. Turning a blind eye to a negative psychological manifestation in a student because you don’t want to “look like a prude” or that “this is part of our religion” or “people might think you are jealous” is unacceptable. This is not, in fact, a “sexual” issue. It is a manifestation of a “control” issue that is a clear warning sign that a seeker is in distress.

For the Seeker’s psychological well-being and safe journey on the Path, it is YOUR responsibility as Leaders/HPS/HP to address these issues just as much as if it were any other unacceptable application of our beliefs or a sudden change of personality.

REMEMBER TO FEED AND WATER YOUR SEEKERS AND SEE THAT THEY ARE WELL-CARED FOR WHILE IN YOUR CHARGE. Leaders/HPS/HP are Stewards of others souls. We are not the owners, but the Gods have placed the very spirits of our Seekers into our safekeeping to help them on their journey.

Brightest of Blessings

Mead Muse

FOOTNOTE:  I’ve been getting a bunch of message about this blog and want to add part of one of my responses:

Your situation is not by any means unique. It is a result of lack of proper training and guidance. That is all. As I said in my blog, it is an indication that a Seeker’s needs are not being properly addressed whether as a result of a group or even by the Community at large.

You ended up in a rough situation by lack of knowledge and, as a result, have had to deal with consequences that could have been avoided from the start if an Elder has taken the time to sit down and speak with you about the Community. I don’t want to see others going through what you went through.

There are chronic Trophy Hunters in the Community, but it mostly it comes from a lack of understanding either generally or of their own psychological needs. It’s a symptom of a problem that Elders need to step up and take responsibility for, instead of bitching in the background and pretending that it doesn’t really hurt anyone. It does and you know that from firsthand experience.

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