In Wicca the young are served the least and the worst. While honoring our elders is much needed, the dismissive or exploitative way people under 35 (or under 30) are often treated by more “traditional” Wiccans sets us up for a troubled future – some of which we are already experiencing. There is a very real generation gap, and some of the ideals that were adopted by Wicca in the 1960s and 70s are still there among the youth but are moderated by a reality of very different demands than what has been experienced by our elders. The elders must learn to respect and listen to the experience of the youngers; without this considered exchange the wisdom of age is rendered irrelevant because wisdom that helps no one is not wisdom.
I’m going to expand on this at some point ((readers may have to remind me)), particularly in light of Starhawk’s statement last year that pagans need to reach out to younger women via their own platforms (Facebook, Myspace, etc.) While this overlooks young men, I agree with the general spirit of the sentiment.
I’m seeing some success in that direction in the Twin Cities community, and I’m delighted to say I was wrong about how effective they would be. The reaching-out is working because those managing it are managing it exactly correctly. The trouble, frequently, has been one of relevance. There’s a lot of “pagany” stuff that I don’t like or don’t want, and I’m not alone – but I’m also one of the few unafraid to say it out loud. Hell is likely to freeze over before I’d go on a “pagan campout.” I don’t do festivals. I like the great outdoors, and I am grateful that nature allowed humanity to evolve the sense to move into caves.
However, I’m impressed to see a job/business networking program and some integration with “geek culture” ((although I can’t say I’ve cared for the way it’s been done in the past)) without confusing religion and fandom.
What really needs to happen first though is that the elders who want to reach out to the youngers must stop and really examine their attitudes and assumptions. Maybe do that exercise where you deliberately call up stereotypes about different groups and where those stereotypes come from. The youth will benefit from doing the same exercise. Before the groups can connect you have to look at these attitudes, as they really are dividing us all right now.