|Meditations Upon Kleenex
||[Feb. 6th, 2011|10:59 pm]
Feri Tradition Blog
So, who says, "Pass me a facial tissue, would you?"|
Nobody, or almost nobody. Everybody calls them "Kleenex." Even when they aren't Kleenex (tm) brand facial tissues. Back in the day, the Kleenex people invented a facial tissue that was so good (or at least so common) that their special brand name, the name that was supposed to mean their kind of facial tissue and none other, became the generic word associated with those disposable snot rags.
This, understandably, upset them. After all, if their brand name had come into generic use, how would anyone asking for a "Kleenex" be sure that the square of paper they were receiving was the genuine article? How would people know that they were entrusting their nostrils to a properly soft and hygienic caress? And, most importantly, if they are handed another (inferior) tissue, will they not blame the true Kleenex for their misfortune?
Back in the 1980s, we* had a similar problem in the British Traditions. See, back in the 1950s, there was no Gardnerian Wicca. There was just Wicca, or Wica, depending on which edition of the unchanged-since-antiquity Book of Shadows one was using. Nobody had to make a distinction until Alex Sanders split off to start -- Er, "reveal," yeah, that's it -- his own version. Then there was Alexandrian Wicca and
It got worse. Somewhere in the late 1950s/early 1960s, someone had the insight, "Hold on now... If we aren't allowed to go out and recruit**, and we're so secret no one knows how to find us, won't our tradition die out?"
And so began the tradition of Outer Court teaching. You can't recruit for a coven, but you can offer purely informational classes on magick, or maybe offer to teach a little magick (but not The Craft), and see who stays after class to ask for more.
Naturally, only a handful of those who attended Outer Court classes asked for and received full initiation. Which meant (somewhat obviously, in hindsight) that there were some people out there who thought they were doing witch craft, Witchcraft, or (gods forbid) Wicca without having been smacked upside the head with the Sacred Salmon***.
This accelerated in the 1960s and 1970s, as British initiates came across the pond and set up shop in America. The Outer Court non-recruitment tool was used again, and the same results were had.
Almost. See, what no one had accounted for was that America was busy having The Sixties. Spirituality hungry folks were soaking up whatever they could get from wherever they could get it, and mixing it all together into a package that worked for them. Then, confound it, they were sharing it with whoever couldn't run away fast enough. So people soaked up the Outer Court teachings and mixed it with Goddess Worship or the Gaia Hypothesis or stuff from strange little science fiction novels****, and coming up with Dianic Wicca or Green Wicca or what have you.
Wicca was everywhere! And it wasn't British! There was only one thing to do... Blame someone.
Which brings us to the Terrible Troubles of the 1980s. Witch War One (more or less). Accusations flew as fast as occult magazine letters columns could spread them. So-and-so revealed Forbidden Secrets to the unwashed masses. Thus-and-so wasn't qualified to teach, because her initiation was invalid. This Guy charges for initiation, and This Other Guy requires his students to have sex with him. And teaching the Craft by mail? Get the pitchforks and torches...
Of course, it all lead to the utter destruction of British Traditional Wicca. No, wait, I think it was the other thing. You know, the bit where nothing much at all happened.
You'll notice that the Kleenex brand is still selling strong. And that the British Traditions are still producing
snarky bastards initiates.
This has all happened before. It will all happen again.
*I am an initiate of Central Valley Wicca.
***Come on, you didn't really think I'd even hint at the Dread and Awful Secret Rites of Initiation, did you?
****Do I really need to spell this one out?