This was originally intended as a comment to delux_vivens
about a post in her LJ
about White Pustule Woman, but I decided it was worth putting here.
WPW, for those who don't know, is a white woman who claims titles such as "medicine woman," "drumkeeper" and "shaman." She trades on prophecies she claims are Navaho and Hopi in origin, even though she is neither Navaho nor Hopi. Recently, the people whose traditions she has been pirating for her financial benefit have been calling her out on it, and she has been demonstrating that her dream that "all pathways to wholeness are respected by all cultures" does not extend to herrespecting those pathways to wholeness that she claims to walk when those who actually are the keepers of those ways tell her, "You're doing it wrong!"
It is nothing new for the people of the First Nations to speak against those who steal their ways. The Lakota outright declared war on them in the '90s. This is just the latest round in that war. The particular tactic WPW has adopted this time around is to state:I believe the teachings of earth based spirituality are the right of every person to practice!
You know what? It's true: we all live on the earth, there she is right under your feet, go right ahead and worship her if you feel so moved. People have been doing that the world over for as long as there have been people!
You know what else? Having the right to earth based spirituality does not mean having the right to every
earth based spirituality. I practise and teach what some call an "earth based spirituality." No one has a right
to learn what I teach: whom I accept as a student is between the Great Ones and I, and if someone started going around claiming to be a Witch and citing me as their teacher they'd be lying. Worse, they'd be lying to the Great Ones. Worse still, they'd be stealing my name
. If they were charging people for religious services on the basis of that fraudulent claim, it would only exacerbate matters.
Stealing someone's name is the sort of thing for which hexes are not overreactions.
I've got worse news for White Pustule Woman: The Great Ones are not mocked. They know their own. They know when a thief comes before them. They have a way of letting someone know they're not amused at their pompous bullshit, and it ain't pretty.
But as I'm writing this, I wonder if it's even accurate to call the traditions she's stealing from "earth based spirituality." That's not a term I've ever seen defined to my satisfaction, and I don't much like it. Some may call what I teach "Earth-based spirituality," but I don't -- I call it Witchcraft. And while I may recognize similarities between it and what I occasionally glimpse of various people's religious paths, I also see some differences.
From what I've seen, from what practitioners of the various paths of the First Nations, the ATRs, etc. tell me there is a heavy focus on community
. If you're not a part of the people, you're not a part of the path. If you're not living, dying, celebrating, suffering, and struggling with the people on a day to day basis
, you're not a part of the community. I'd call that a "community-based spirituality" rather than an "earth-based" one, the latter title seeming to depend on an assumption that being on the same rock circling the same sun provides people who have never and will never meet -- let alone people who only met because one colonized the other -- the same bond that families, neighbors, communities have for one another.
And that's bullshit.
So I join the growing chorus of First Nation practitioners, of ATR practitioners, of those who heed the Great Ones regardless of the names by which they reveal themselves to us by saying: White Pustule Woman, knock off the bullshit. Find your own voice, find the Great Ones on your own path, find your own Name.
 No link, I will not support this woman.
 Google likely won't help either, that's not actually what she calls herself.
One's right to choose one's name ends at the point where one undertakes to defraud.
 As I have for decades.
 And all her foul ilk, they know who they are.