by Demelza Hillier


    I feel like I have spent my life looking for kindred witchy spirits, only to find a whole bunch of jerks instead.

    I remember the first time I came across witchcraft. I was about 13.

    I was flipping through the pages of a teen magazine and in between the agony aunt pages and the pull-out boyband posters was a regular monthly Wicca column with a witchy advice and a spell of the month written by a mysterious looking black-clad lady.

    These were the early 2000’s. Witchcraft was in. Witchcraft was hot.

    zoolander mugatu hansel so hot right now that hansels so hot right nowSorry. Can’t miss any excuse for a Zoolander.

    Dude. I was hooked. I quickly bought a whole bunch of teen spell books and formed a coven with my then best friend who, fickle as teenage besties are, ended up dating my brother and soon left witchcraft behind.

    I didn’t though. I was a witch for the long haul.

    After a few years I started to get lonely.

    I was the only witch in the village, and even though I knew a lot of teenagers who got into witchcraft (because back then in the post-Craft, Buffy and Charmed-filled years it was hella trendy to be a witch), they didn’t seem to take it very seriously and gave it up a few months later.

    The witchy internet forums didn’t fill the hole either. I wanted my tribe. I wanted my people.

    So as soon as I got to university, being a doer rather than a dreamer, I looked into setting up a Pagan Society to meet and blend with other pagans. Huzzah! Soulmates! Bosom buddies! Sisters of the Goddess, ra ra ra!

    And since then, I have met a lot of pagans. A lot of witches, a lot of wizards, tie die hippies and pentacle-dripping goth types. Geeks, freaks, and muggle-borns.

    I went to meet ups in London, I hunted out the pagan and wiccan people in my friend groups.

    Anyone who dared sport a pentagram necklace or wheel of the year hoodie, anyone who listed “pagan” as religion on Facebook, anyone who even smelled a whiff of hippy, I saw them and I chatted to them if I could work up the courage.

    And I came to a nasty conclusion.

    A lot of pagans? Douchebags. Complete tools. So, so fucked up.

    I thought I would be coming home, but I couldn’t feel more out of place around most of these people.

    I remember going to events where every conversation would be a tense battle of who knows more about x subject.

    I saw that a lot. I experienced a whole lot of name dropping.

    The old masters – Crowley, Gardiner, Fortune – and their books were casually mentioned at every turn (legitimate writers y’know, all the serious witches read them).

    And those of us who got here via Fiona Horne or even (horror of horrors) Silver Ravenwolf? Well, you could curdle the milk, wilt the crops and be chased out of Salem with that glare.

    I met loads of people who seemed to be chasing Alternative and seemed wanting to be as unusual and strange and cool as they could, and that felt weird.

    It was really frustrating to be looking for a deeper connection and keep finding people who wanted to be “different” or “cool” or create an interesting identity for themselves. Urgh.

    I met a lot of seriously fucked up people too, and I mean a lot of these.

    People addicted to drama (HOOOOO mama, did I meet a bunch of those), people who had truly awful people skills, people who were stuck in victim mode, people who really needed therapy and professional help but chose paganisim instead, people so spacy they had no grasp of reality, and people who were just out-and-out jerks.

    90s witch 1996 witches the craftgif source

    The thing with paganisim, witchcraft, wicca and all that jazz is that it is a religion of individuality, and the shadow side of that is that it can really easily turn into a religion of ego.

    Yup. I went there.

    I mean, paganisim is the best, do not get me wrong. In a world where so many spiritual schools preach denial of the ego, denial of the physical, just, well, denial and ascension really, paganism says

    “Hey, isn’t this world just the best? Physicality rocks dude, let’s party!”.

    We are so free to experience our own truth and spirituality, and Pagans are some of the most open-minded, give-it-a-go folks you ever did see.

    It even makes space for all the mermaid-lovin’ goddess-huggin’ spiritual weirdos out there (cough cough). It’s brilliant.

    Problem is that this emphasis on individuality also means that, given the right circumstances, the ego can be given free reign to wreak it’s terrible rule.

    (By ego I mean that part of all of us that messes with our sense of self worth, makes us want to be right no matter what, prove ourselves as better than others and creates separation and competition and fear and, when fed too much, turns into an asshole.)

    Paganisim and witchcraft draws egos who want to find a way to be special, unique, different, who want a way to be better and more powerful than others.

    It attracts already epic egos with a Wizardly God complex, because, a religious system where God is optional and where you can use magic to make the things you want happen?

    It’s like overinflated ego heaven.

    I couldn’t take it. I was done with the events where one douchebag would talk over the main speaker, just to prove how much he knew.

    I was done hanging out with people who wanted to be witchy because they wanted to be edgy and cool.

    I was done with the shallowness of it all, with the constant ego battles, with the drama and the showing off.

    I just wanted to meet some lovely, genuine people who loved the Goddess and loved the earth and were fascinated with witchcraft.

    But I felt like the odd one out – the most muggle-esque pagan in a coven of eccentrics, The Quiet One who just wanted to talk about goddess and not battle literature.

    The Sensitive One overwhelmed by all the power play and annoyed by the new age cliches.

    It seemed, in my own little weird-ass niche, I didn’t fit in.

    I didn’t get on with other pagans. Hell, I didn’t even like other pagans, the fucking jerks.

    So I gave up trying to make contact with the pagan world.

    I hermited it out and started actively avoiding pagans because I was afraid of meeting more assholes.

    I started eyeing those little tellsigns I was looking for before with suspicion. Pagan, hey? What’s wrong with you?

    DemiPagan1Lone Pagan once again. Sigh. Image from unsplash

    And then, something BIG happened.

    I joined a year long spiritual training course that I had always wanted to do and I remember dreading starting to the in-person classes because I was properly terrified and convinced the class would be filled with drama mama assholes.

    I made sure I had a get out plan in case I couldn’t hack the dickery.

    I remember coming out of that first class elated, going THANK THE CHRIST! NORMAL SANE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!

    So many lovely, polite, friendly, normal people (well, my baseline for normal is me, so take from that what you will) who were passionate about spirituality.

    Wonderful people who became dearest friends and inspirations for me, models of how amazing pagans can be.

    People who managed their own personal troubles and fucked-up-ness (because everyone is a bit fucked up somewhere) with compassion and awareness and like fucking adults.

    And the best thing? A complete lack of Ego Wizards and Drama Witches.

    (I don’t know if you can hear the angelic chorus ringing in my ears here, but it’s there.)

    Since that day, I have met more and more Awesome Pagans.

    I participate more in the community than I used to and, though I am still wary and do meet the odd in-person crazy, I know my people exist now and I look for them. I just have to let them know I’m there too.

    The thing is, the lovely ones are just much quieter than the asshole ones because they are trying to avoid the assholes too.

    The lovely pagans are a lot harder to find, but they are worth it.

    What’s more is that in the last couple of years I have met a whole bunch of closet pagans who stopped trying to interact with other pagans because of the same reasons as me: they kept meeting jerks and began to think that’s all there was.

    People who were so put off by the other people they met that they put their witchy beliefs on hold for a long time.

    I know there is a whole massive lot of secretive solitary pagans, goddess lovers and witchy folk out there keeping themselves to themselves, wishing and dreaming that they could just meet someone else who is as nice and sane and normal and witchy as they are.

    Maybe you are one of them.

    If you are, I want you to know you are not alone. There is more to pagan people than power wars and the jerks you already met.

    DemiPagan2Your Tribe Awaits. Go find them. Image from unsplash

    There are sweet, sensitive people, fiercely intelligent people, fantastic exciting people, and grounded earthy people out there, just like you.

    Amazing people.

    Inspiring people.

    They are just keeping quiet, like you are.

    Wishing they could meet you and be your friend.

    We just need to be brave and show up and be present so they can find us.

    To show them that it’s safe and that not everyone is a wannabe douchebag any more.

    You are not alone. Your tribe is there.

    Maybe its time to try finding them again.


    About the Author:

    DemiBioDemelza Hillier is a Mermaid Priestess, an Artist, a Dancer, a Professional Mermaid and a lover of peanut butter. She teaches peeps about Goddess, writes fab e-courses about connecting with your bad-ass mermaid spirit, and teaches dance internationally. Additionally she loves playing the Ukulele, expensive breakfast cereal, all the animals and…. Gary Oldman as Dracula. Sssssh. You can learn more about her work and get free mermaid goodies at her website Rockstar Priestess, pop on over and say Hi on Facebook or join our mermaid coven at the Mermaid Sisterhood.



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    • Show Comments (15)

    • Lady Lavender

      Thank you for this. No mistake I came across this today as I am feeling a little backlash from one of the online groups I belong to. The whole this is supposed to be about sharing, asking questions and encouraging each other respectfully. Yet I feel that what I share is somehow stepped on by one of the leaders. I’m not pushing my agenda but sharing a little as appropriate from my own experience. The idea is (not to boast) that “I have been doing this for about 50 years and have had some wonderful, amazing experiences, So hang in there newbies! You do you and follow your path!” We all have to share from where we have been, are and desire to go.But I get the feeling it is not being received very well. Thanks for letting me rant. it just hit me a little hard today and I know the best thing is release it in love. Blessings!

    • Dae

      I relate to this article so so much. Thank yo for writing what I’ve been thinking for years. I’ve gone to open circles that were run by local covens and all the covenors were being completely cliquish and didn’t welcome new comers. So I decided to create a welcoming group for the quiet folk who just wanted to learn and meet new people. We are slowly growing but I love these people like family. Thank you for being THAT person :)

    • Samantha

      Goodness I needed this. I have encountered all of the problems you listed and I was feeling about ready to give up. I assumed it was just me, like maybe I was just better off solitary, but you’ve given me some hope!

    • Rose

      Beautiful and yes it is amazing to find your real tribe!!!

    • Tab Sta

      Beautiful, I love this!

    • Gar

      All day.
      You go sister.

    • Mim

      Loved this!!! Thank you!!!! I also love that you use “hermited” as a verb! MY PEOPLE!!!! Blessed Be! )O(

    • Critter

      Aw, thank you for posting this. I do get sick of certain pagan circles. True confession: ran an eboard for a pagan association at my college, I was the financial director of the group. O.M.G. the fucking people who wanted to sabotage me and take over my position, even though I’m the one who first opened our accounts, and they had no idea what they were doing. People who promised the organization’s money and advertisements to other organizations and people without consulting me or the rest of the eboard first. And then the point blank refusal of the rest of the eboard to discipline and do something about the trouble makers who were clearly crossing a line.
      And there there was all the petty hate. People were just soooo mean to each other if, God forbid, one of them followed a religion or path the other person wasn’t happy with. We had a Hindu girl yelled at by one of our members and told she wasn’t a “real pagan” because she wasn’t following some European tradition. (Hello, racism! Also, she’s from India, I think she can tell you herself whether she’s pagan or not, thanks.) Oy.
      I kinda withdrew from the pagan community for a long time after that. Ceased considering myself pagan. Witch, yes. Pagan, no. To this day, I still don’t like calling myself a capital P Pagan, or neo-pagan. I just got so sick of everything.
      So, girl, I feel ya. I do think think the witches who don’t associate themselves with religious purity are the ones I get along with greatest. To this day, still have a hard time getting along with most people who call themselves “pagan” or “new age.”

    • Joanne freyja

      Omgs I too have had a similar experience , pagans can be the least excepting and ego centric arses I have ever experienced, I tend to go to faery gatherings now rather than pagan ones , I have run pagan moots and attended different ones throughout north west england , and I have come to the same conclusion as above , I have found a small group that I joined some months ago and just keep to my own.

      Thankyou for posting this

      Blessed be

    • Shadow

      Maybe the problem isn’t these ‘other Pagans.’ Maybe it’s the person who made this post. Maybe the problem is the fact that this whole thing is sponsored content and the author think’s she’s a mermaid. Just maybe there’s a reason she made eyes roll.

    • DarkMoon ????????????

      Hhmmmmmm. Not All Pagans are Douchbags! Not all pagans are Witches and not all are pagan and Wicca is certainly not pagan.

      Witchcraft as opposed to Wicca? Or the Craft? Magical practices abound. You have the Magic within you and you always have you have just be looking in the wrong places for teachers … And dear Ms. Fiona Horne certainly isn’t one. Pagan Magical Pactices are many … Druidry, Shamanism, Voudoo rtc .. Then, there is Occultism and Metaphysic and SUPERNature.

      Don’t write all us Pagans and Heathen Elders off.

    • Lisa

      I’ve been walking this path since, blimey, the mid nineties and in all that time I’ve been a part of a committed group where I’ve mixed with Pagans, Witches and Druids and I realised a few years back i just could not hack it anymore. You nailed it, the egos of some of these people! It’s so hard to have a serious conversation about anything with someone when their main concern is who has the biggest pentacle. For some it’s just a sheer power trip. I’ve been sneered at when discussing my personal path at a Pagan Federation conference by someone who had just given a lecture on Egyptian Magic, I’ve encountered Witch drama and sheer hostility and I have subsequently realised as I get older and wiser that Pagans can be just as bloody bad, if not worse, than some of the other religions that they enjoy sneering at and belittling. Oh the snobbery, the drama. It’s a frigging nightmare!! I’ve not networked physically for many years, and you know what? I don’t miss it one iota. I am far happier doing my own thing, and the few like-minded pals that I have are on the other side of the keyboard. It took a long time to realise that I didn’t need to be in a group to live my truth; my spirituality is my own after all and I don’t need acceptance or a Priest or a Priestess to pass judgement on how ‘Witchy’ I am. My bookshelves are bursting with tomes by all the people you mentioned above and more besides, but this is a path that never ends and I am always searching, I’ve just come to understand that it’s easier, and far more rewarding, to do it on my own. I know I’ve already said it, but thank you so much for writing this because it’s so important. You bloody nailed it!

    • Wayne Hilborn

      “Hermit-ted it out?” – Hermet is the root of Hermeticism which is why many witches are solitary.

      I am an Author on Hermeticism and wrote “The savvy Sorcerer”, etc.

      Hermeticism is not a social group and is better taught by greats like Franz Bardon than Crowley (unless you like all his poetry mixed in).

      Hermeticism is the truth of all. I can prove that within this very comment if you are willing to spend an entire 15 minutes invested in yourself instead of whining about your cohorts.

      Paganism is simply a catch all term meaning Non-Christians and it does attract every nutter that wants to peeve their Christian mommies.

      Your identification as a “Mermaid” has the word “nutter” screaming in my head.

      Hermeticism is from Egypt and even Jesus was likely Hermetic as his family fled to Egypt (which was hermetic 2000 years ago). According to the New testament Jesus lived in Egypt for over 80% of his life, and somehow he learned magik.

      “If you have faith [“EXPECTATION” is better word]as small as a mustard seed that this mountain will move from here to there, then it will move.”… Hermeticists teach this exact thing.

      I am now going to teach you an AUTHENTIC MIRACLE (I’d call it magik).

      No books.. No study.. No sales.. No meditation.. Straight miracle..

      TRY THIS EASY MIRACLE NOW! (Seriously) —> Walk outside and pick two fluffy white clouds. Now paint one of them blue with your mind, and soon it will completely vanish while the control cloud remains totally intact. This works because nobody has any notions about the solidity of a cloud.

      Try to dissolve a brick in a similar way, and you encounter the minds of everyone who has ever seen, heard of, or touched a brick.

      Try to dissolve the cloud in front of friends and you invite skepticism which can pollute and/or cancel your magik. (IMPORTANT) Filming or discussing your miracle can add skepticism.. Remember.. YOUR MAGIK IS SOLITARY (BE a HERMIT).. This is why… You affect your life more than others with conscious creations.

      Really do this. Even a novice can do this every time. Just be alone to prevent the pollution of skepticism. It is surprising ho wmany people will not try something so important as a first magik/miracle.. If you can dissolve a cloud 20 times in a row it can convince you that yopu are godly and part of the all (god).. We are all portions of god including every untrained Christian mind and every crackhead (equally as intelligent as Christians).

      Christianity is bad for belief because it is very fake and even evil as they allow their people to manifest worries. If-if-if conscious creation is true then there can be no greater evil than the largest religion that does not teach this. A loving Christian mother can kill her own daughter simply by WORRYING (worry is a powerful type of prayer). The daughter may now be subject to attacks, rape, or even a murder to satisfy the mothers worry… There are other ways Christians constantly kill each other, but worry is the most prevalent.. Their entire religion is worry based… worrying about floods, pillars of salt, and hell…. Even worry of death can lower your vibration when you need it the most and bind you to this lower plane. If you want proof of god… Then you can find proof simply by following this meme… The Hermetic,Hindu, and Buddhist were right… this is merely a common dream we all share.

      Did you know “Rhythmic Breathing” can double your psychic energy/Prana?
      Untrained minds are dangerous to all. Legitimate possible dangers in using the lesser “Law of Attraction”, such as how placing someone’s mansion on their vision board could cause the family living there financial hardship, illness, or even death so the home is vacated in time for their deadline.

      They only wanted a house, but managed to kill a family and incur karmic wrath in their miss/untrained process. This is an exaggeration, but the point is valid and possible.

      Magik can be dangerous unless you are trained to avoid negative imagery and use correct wordings, as all thought is prayer and every word is a magik spell.

      If you think your mother has moved into a bad neighborhood, then she could be attacked just to satisfy that prayer/random stereotypical belief/thought/expectation. They all work with the same mechanisms.

      ALL THOUGHTS AFFECT REALITY. Not just the thoughts we pick and choose during prayers and affirmations.

      Many of you think that if you pray or affirm for something then a god is listening to you, and may provide it for you if you are deemed worthy. The truth is that we are ALL god… collectively!

      Being a portion of god has its privileges however… It means we can alter our reality through the use of our imagination.

      The simplified idea behind Hermetic Magik is simple. Nothing is real.

      Do you feel real? You’re made of atoms that are mind-boggingly empty? Atoms are 99.9999999999% empty space? You are only 0.0000000001% real, and that is best case scenario.

      The Buddhists, The Hindus’, The Wiccan’s, Ancient Egyptians, and even the people of Atlantis (according to Thoth) all live under the same religious philosophy, that we live in a PERFECT Giant High-Definition mind of a deity in which we are all a part.

      Time also flows (collapses) backwards which is important to magik. This is proven in an experiment entitled ‘The Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser’. How does the past changing affect our magik? This is how it works.

      Imagine you are drowning in the ocean and you are a skeptic… Then you would die.
      NOW – Imagine that you are drowning in the same ocean but have faith in your magik or a god of some kind. Suddenly! Three days ago… (IN THE PAST) (IN THE PAST) a cruise ship receives a different weather report and must now alter course. It’s now perfectly aligned with your rescue in three days.

      You could still be at home packing for your sailing trip the following day, and yet a cruise ship and 3000 passengers have already revamped their superposition to align with your rescue.

      Look at your synchronizations to see if they were scheduled prior to your affirmations or prayer. Affirming for a parking spot reminds a mother an hour ago that she is running late.

      Do cloud busting and learn that magik IS REAL.. and Can magikally bring you your desires… Just learn that YOU ARE GOD.

      Manifesting a blessed life could be as simple as setting a timer every 30 minutes so you can switch “WORRY” into gratitude. Even be grateful for a fender bender as it may have saved you from a worse accident down the road.

      It saddens me to see a witch who has given up.

      This comment is a hermetic view.

      Wayne Hilborn (Author of “The Savvy Sorcerer”, (I always teach for free and Youtube channle and website are in the works under same name, etc.)

    • Michelle

      Thank you! Yes, I’ve quit every group I’ve tried to join because they were all douchebags and weirdos. You hit the nail on the head with this article ????

    • MalaMoragain

      Thank you for writing this! I felt the same way and had similar experiences as I grew as a Pagan. And I honestly felt that a lot of people were drawn to The Path more so just to piss off some one in their life/family. So many people want to thrust religion into the face of others, but true spirituality is supposed to be accepting, in all it’s forms, regardless of their beliefs. And kindness always goes farther. But I do love my solitary path, as it mingles with many other people of like mind, even if I’m not very community minded in that respect (I grew up in a church going household, I love my family and am blessed that they support my choices and beliefs. But I do think people wish to mimic the organized beliefs we have been raised in, which just is not for every one).

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