Stuck in the skies again between hither and yon, I finally have time to focus and address the “cats’ tails and eyes of newt” business.
First and most importantly, I want to thank the multitude who wrote to me: some horrified, others calming – all surprised. Your kind words helped me continue breathing deeply during the time before I was able to actually read the piece myself.
My impression is that a significant number of you did not quite make it through the meandering text to the final coup de grace, and it was largely these people who felt the article was “not so bad”.
It actually was, “that bad”, although not because it succeeded in undermining the reputation of Canada’s First Lady, who despite the journalist’s best efforts sails unscathed above the aspersions and innuendo. Nor am I concerned about my own reputation – I’m too old and cantankerous to really give a damn.
Many of you who have been to our meditations in Montreal took offence at the strange description of our heritage home – a rare, peaceful haven in the city’s boom and bustle. Feminist and pagan friends were miffed by the fear factor that was invoked against powerful women of a spiritual bent: OOOOOO! Scary witches! Almost everyone who contacted me about it commented on how simply juvenile the journalist made herself out to be, with estimates of her emotional age ranging from 12 to 15.
These days in particular, when there is so much noise being made by the media about reconciliation and the redressing of Canada’s attempted physical and cultural genocide of the First Nations, when we are smugly patting ourselves on our collective back for not being as (openly) rabidly xenophobic as our neighbours to the south – now, especially, it distresses me that the ancient wisdom traditions of the Earth can still be portrayed as frightening and primitive, and scarcely anyone even blinks an eye. To me, this is what was most upsetting and surprising about what was written in that article and the reactions shared with me. Almost no one noticed the racism, and that is eminently disturbing…. Were I a rabbi, a priest, a monk or a nun rather than a teacher of Earth-based spiritual traditions, would the same sort of treatment have been tolerable?
Mature readers of course understand that the writer was exposing her own fears and prejudices. Sharing the wannabe-author angst of many journalists, perhaps she just got carried away in metaphor and hyperbole. It is even possible that she was trying to be funny.
Maybe our encounter was a premeditated deception, profoundly devious and cynical. She might have made up all that bit about angels. Then again, it’s possible that being open and even vulnerable was, in retrospect, an intolerable state for a person wishing to be perceived as a “serious” journalist. One that needed to be corrected, with a vengeance.
She would not be the first to confuse intellect and cynicism.
p.s. Thanks, Slav…