Open Letter to Star Foster,

Please stop blogging about religion. Actually, I think you’d be best off taking a hiatus from religion in general for a while, but your religious blogging has a poor track record, and I think you’d be best off taking a break from that for a time to re-prioritise your life.

First off, as best as I can tell, based on the last decade of religious blogging you’ve left for the whole world, your time in any religion, since the first time you left Christianity, has been about three to four years. That’s a pretty short shelf-life for a religion, if you want me to be frank. You were Solitary Wiccan for, what? Four years? You were a Ravenwood novice studying for your initiation for, what? Three years? And after you initiation, you took off for Hellenic polytheism within *four weeks*. Four weeks! Who spends all that time studying Trad Wicca just to jump ship less than a month after initiation?! You spent four years tops in Hellenism. Before your foray into IBAB Wicca, you were a Southern Baptist and then Pentecostal (by your own admission), and if memory serves, you were raised in the former and had less than five years in the latter. Now only just since August, you’ve been a Methodist. At best, you’re clearly searching for something that you’re probably not finding in religion; at worst, you’re getting into these religions for all the wrong reasons.

Regardless of your reasons for switching religions at such a pace, blogging about it clearly isn’t helping you do anything but burn all your bridges. Unless that’s your goal, I urge you to stop.

Which reminds me: You want to know why pagans and polytheists all over said blogospheres are talking about how you’ve gone back to church? BECAUSE YOU’VE BEEN BLOGGING ABOUT IT. You want to know why so many pagans and polytheists are rolling their eyes to your face and bad-mouthing you —mostly behind closed doors, but occasionally in public? Because you’ve spent an OBSCENE amount of time since going back to church bad-mouthing pagans and (though mostly by proxy, from what I could gather) polytheists left and right, as if you’re intentionally burning your bridges in an effort to “prove” that everyone in these communities is as unfriendly and spiteful as you say they are –when the reality of the matter is that this everyone in those communities who’s bad-mouthing you is doing so BECAUSE OF YOU.

It’s not rocket science, Starling, this is clearly all a basic reaction to things you yourself have been doing and saying. You’re the one being unfriendly. You’re the one being spiteful. You’re the one with the proverbial quill dipped in venom, who is taking every opportunity to stab it just at any pagan/polytheist who stumbles upon your blog again. And once again, you’re insisting on innocence in this matter when it’s all been you taking the active role in this mean-hearted nonsense; you can’t fault people for an equal reaction to your bile and direct it back at you; all the FMPPHs that you think the pagan/polytheist community is full of are only acting so because you’ve really given no reason for people to be nice to you, at this point.

Additionally, I really do believe that you should take a hiatus from religion in general for a while, and do some real soul-searching and find some real spirituality. I do believe, at this point, that if you really did love the gods of Hellas even a fraction of how much you went on about it, there is no way you would have ended up going back to church “for the community”. I think you’re “into religion” for all the wrong reasons, and I think you have to figure out if it’s really for you or not before diving head-first into another faith within four years (as an aside, were you aware that some people are having, mostly humorous, side-bets about what religion you’re going to dive head-first into come 2018? My money is on Freerange Scientology, to be honest —if only cos that way you can fancy yourself OMGz, Most. Oppressed. Religion. EV4R. I really wouldn’t put such histrionics past you, at this point, considering your track record.) I don’t think the religious communities of the world can take it if you don’t take a few years off from religion AS A WHOLE, and really do some introspection and self-examination of what you really want and need out of life, and if religion is going to fit into that for you; maybe call yourself an Agnostic Deist or Theistic Humanist, if you really want to cling to a spiritually-minded label for that time, but just take a fucking break from religion for a time, and really learn what your wants and needs are in this life.

Also, and I want to make it clear to all who read this that, while it is no secret that I do dislike you, I absolutely am not against you when I say this, but I do think you should cut the crap, already. Your Patheos Pagan Editor mantra was “I never wanted to be a BNP…” Bullshit. If you never wanted that, you surely wouldn’t have jumped at the chance to manage the Patheos Pagan Portal, now would you? If you never wanted the harsh critiques of damned near everything you say on the Internet, you would not have been busting your arse to make sure every social networking site had full access to your blogs. If you never wanted the pagan and polytheist communities to have such a reaction to your return to Christianity as many of them have had this last month, you would never have given them a reason to do so —no, you would’ve just been all “hey, I think it’s best for me to go back to church and blog about that, now,” and seriously censored yourself from the dozens of times since where you took an opportunity to bad-mouth the pagan and polytheist communities.

I gotta admit, Star, you’ve made it so that I can truly appreciate the fact that Teo Bishop/Matt Morris (or whatever his name is now/again/omgwhutevs) never took the opportunities to badmouth people that you have taken —but then, Teo Bishop seemed to have been a genuinely nice person —bland and unremarkable, as a blogger (at least in my opinion), but people liked him because he was very sincerely a nice person. He didn’t always have the most-informed opinions, but he was nice, gracious about criticism, and if he couldn’t be (presumably), he kept his mouth shut. Frankly, you’re a bitch. You’ve probably been one for quite some time. You’re every bit the mean girl you like to complain about, and I doubt you really have a clue about this, but you seen to have devoted substantial time to establish this real pattern where you’ll be nice, for a time, and then you turn on people —maybe it starts with a disagreement, or maybe you just get bored and think there’s something missing in your life, so you “liven things up” and turn incredibly mean, but you don’t see that you’re doing it, cos you still have a handful of people who’ll support you even when you’re in the wrong, and then when even they get sick of your shit, you still do the whole “not my fault” act and blame everyone but yourself, cos you’ve dug your heels in. See, the thing about “victim blaming” is that it’s only a fallacy when a person really is the victim in the situation —not even wearing a micro-mini and electrical tape on the nipples in the toughest part of the inner-city is an invitation to rape a woman, so if someone does, she’s clearly a victim, who is, by that nature, blameless. But when someone, such as yourself, establishes a pattern of bad behaviour that makes people dislike oneself and drives them away, someone who is mean and nasty to the point that people give it right back, then one is no victim; you are NOT blameless in this. You’re the only common denominator in whatever problems you’re having online, right now, and Occam’s Razer, the probability that your problems are indeed, your own damned fault are pretty high, right now. If you want people to ease up on you, try doing the opposite of what you’ve been doing this last month —at the very least, if you refuse to give up on religion or even just blogging about it, at least STOP being such a gods-damned bitch.

Now, I realise that I’m probably writing this to you in vain, cos your ego has been about the size of Texas since you managed Patheos’ Pagan Portal, and you tend to ignore any advice from anyone, especially the good advice. I realise that I’m saying this mostly cos it’s been on my mind this last couple days, since I’ve learned of your apparent conversion back to Christianity –which I initially thought was a joke I made after someone else made a joke about following yours and Biship’s lead. I realise that even if you read this, you’re probably not going to take a lick of it to heart until something big happens that really makes you re-think what you’ve been doing by flitting around between religions every 3-5 years, and even then, at the rate you’re going, this hypothetical point of self-discovery on your end will be a complete fluke and not actually taking my advice, cos I figure this’ll be at least ten years from now. I do, indeed, realise that I’m mostly saying all this because it’ll make me feel a bit better to say it, rather than let it sit on my mind for another day or two —which is a perfectly valid reason to say something in the manner I’m doing so. So I don’t need your commentary, but if you’d like to prove me wrong on anything I’ve so far hypothesised about what your reaction to this would be, I certainly would like to see it (I don’t *have to*, but it’d be nice).

And so in closing, I truly do wish you well. No, I really don’t think you’ve been a worthy adversary this last 7-8 years, but you’ve certainly given me example after example of how not to be, and for that alone, I’ve been at least a little grateful. While I realise that you probably won’t take my advice to take a few years OFF from religion as a whole, for a change, I think it’s better to give that advice than to not, and maybe the part of me that’s optimistic to a fault does hold onto some hope that you’ll listen and go forth to do some soul-searching and figure out exactly what you believe and what you want and need in this life, and whether or not religion will benefit you in getting any of that —I’ve certainly hoped for sillier things, before.

Cordially,

— Ruadhán J McElroy

PS: Stop claiming you were “holding up” the traditions of Hellenism or ANY pagan religion you were a part of. Elaion’s Bob Clarke has been practising Hellenism longer than you or I have been alive (and we’re about the same age). There are people from Greece who, apparently in an underground fashion, have been doing it longer than that. You’ve “held up” nothing. You practised Hellenism, for a fairly brief time, and nothing more. It was “held up” by people long before you decided to play Cara Schulz’s sidekick for a few years. There have been people before you who’ve actually “held up” their religions so that people like, more than, and even less than yourself could do the practises as carefree as you did.

I really hope that this claim of yours, for your sake, was just a failure to understand what that phrase really does mean, and not more histrionic tiara-seeking.

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5 thoughts on “Open Letter to Star Foster,

    • I’m glad that a lot of other people, especially from the polytheist community, seemed to think this was necessary. I haven’t looked back at her blog since I wrote it (pretty much just to fact-check what sects of Christianity she was in before IBAB paganism), but it wouldn’t surprise me if I’m correct that it has fallen on deaf ears. Girl still seriously needs to take this advice, whether she wants to or not, it’ll do her some good.

  1. Yeeeeesh. I’m very much in agreement with Alley’s response – which, obviously, also puts me in agreement with you!

    I should not have gone to look at her blog. I should have known better. I did, though, get down as far (with much skimming) as ‘When I converted to Paganism I did so because I was certain Christianity was wrong.’

    Wouldn’t it have been lovely if Ms ‘I don’t want to be a BNP’ had actually chosen to be a Pagan – and a representative thereof, by virtue of her blogging – because she’d thought that Paganism was *right*, not somehow that it was, what, the reactionary choice? Not at all surprised that, given this and all of the rest of what you point out too, she drifted back Christianity-way. But.. why can’t people just make their choices and not trumpet them about as if those choices say a single tiny thing about the nature of the thing they have affiliated with/rejected.. instead of simply something about what they chose for themself.

    Bleh, I’m grumpy today.

    • Oh, no worries at all! Grump away! 🙂 if you just read Star Foster’s nonsense, I understand completely.

      ETA:

      Wouldn’t it have been lovely if Ms ‘I don’t want to be a BNP’ had actually chosen to be a Pagan – and a representative thereof, by virtue of her blogging – because she’d thought that Paganism was *right*, not somehow that it was, what, the reactionary choice? Not at all surprised that, given this and all of the rest of what you point out too, she drifted back Christianity-way. But.. why can’t people just make their choices and not trumpet them about as if those choices say a single tiny thing about the nature of the thing they have affiliated with/rejected.. instead of simply something about what they chose for themself.

      I agree completely. As I’ve said many times before (mostly on here), I’m not a big fan of the secularisation/”humanisting” of paganism in recent years, but I’m also not exactly married to the term, and I feel it says less about my religion, or anyone’s religion, that it says about the subculture they belong to. I’m probably not the best person to ask to be a representative of the pagan community, and I probably am not the person to ask to nominate a spokesperson —but I do have some affection for the term, and I recognise that there is plenty of overlap between a lot of my social and political interests and that of most pagans, and some Hellenic polytheists also identify as pagans. What I do think is an informed opinion that I have a right to, though, is that pagans don’t need any spokespeople who are only involved in it cos they just know that they don’t want to be Christians, and the top dictionary-definition of “pagan” is “one who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew”.

      And I’ve got nothing against the seekers of this world. Some of the wisest people this world has known have been lifelong seekers of truth and the Divine and the best possible relationship with said. But Star was never a seeker. Like you said, she was reacting against Christianity, so she toddled on down to her local metaphysical bookshop, found some pagan stuff, and got into Pop Wicca. Then she somehow found a coven willing to let her study under them (which, at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if she only sought a Trad coven cos she’d already annoyed too many eclectics at her local PPD or some shit), and after she got her initiation, she made a post about it on Patheos, that really pissed off her coven-mates, she deleted the original post, replaced it with some passive-aggressive whining (titled something like “Why Initiation made me appreciate solitary wicca”) and within 3-4 weeks, she jumped ship for Hellenismos in what she painted as a revelatory conversion, but which anyone with a memory greater than a goldfish who saw her original post about initiation, especially of they read the comments, knows was just her thinking this was going to spite a bunch of people who now considered her an oath-breaker. And now that she’s burned all her bridges in the pagan and polytheist communities, she’s going back to church, and I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts, within 3-5 years, she’ll be in a different one, if not a completely different religion.

      If she actually IS genuinely seeking anything, she’s clearly not finding it in religion. I found Hellenism after a five-year period of polytheist-leaning agnnosticism after i became disillusioned with the Church of Satan and realised that I probably didn’t need that CoS, anyway, cos polytheism always made the most sense to me (to say the very least). I didn’t just jump into something cos I thought it would spite the thing i just left the hardest. I took a moratorium to sort out my beliefs and needs and wants and one day when I least expected it, I found the old Neokoroi website (I want to say this was 2005/06?) and everything else fell into place. I didn’t pick what looked neatest, what had the coolest toys, what I thought would piss off my parents the most, or whatever; I went with what I was led to after a time of figuring out who I was –which is kind of how I found LaVeyan Satanism, as well (and I don’t regret my time in that, I just think I got what I needed from that period at a time when I needed it most, and then i didn’t need it anymore, so it was time to move on –now yeah, there are some people involved in it that I kinda wish I didn’t know, but LaVey’s work stands for itself, not every crypto-fascist couchfuck who decides to grow a vanDyke and be all “I’m spooky, Hail satan!”).

      For her sake, I really hope she doesn’t *have to* hit a “spiritual rock-bottom” to realise that she’s going about this in the wrong way, but considering her track record, she’s probably going to have to before she figures out who she is and whether or not religion even needs to be a part of her life. Some people get on fine without an organised or otherwise pre-defined religion (the latter being that which most polytheists and pagans do), but others need it to help give them discipline and structure, while others need religion as a spiritual outlet. I doubt she doesn’t need religion at all, for any reason (I’m of the opinion that most people *do* need it, for one reason or another), but she needs to figure herself out before she latches onto another religion in another four years

  2. Pingback: Keep Your Respectability Politics Out of My Paganism | Of Thespiae

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