It’s been awhile since I’ve really, truly written anything regarding the Occult community, so I figured something like this is long over due.
First, let me start off by apologizing to those who have ascribed to this tumblr in hopes that they will expand their horizon and general knowledge of the Occult and the specific niches that I discuss. True, this can be a decent source for information, as well as thoughts and ideas—however, it should not be expected to be a regular occurrence necessarily. I say this, because despite what I know, I am relatively quiet on a large variety of subjects and issues. The reason for this—I admit— is largely due to the fact that I feel that my input on such issues either offers very little new or that it is covered by so many other sources (it just takes some looking) that it isnt worth discussing. That being said, lets get down to the core issue I’d like to bring up today: language.
Perhaps it’s just the circles that I run in, but I am actually quite amazed at the relative disregard of genuine thought towards usage of language. Recently, I joined a vampire group on Facebook, figuring that I’d just sit and monitor what people are doing/saying, and when possible, educate people regarding Vampirism, energy work, otherkin, etc. Much to my dismay though, it seems that this growing number of individuals within this group continue to use and often times make references using terms that could easily lead people on to believe more extreme things than intended— and worst of all, there is little to no thought shown in its usage. For instance, in a conversation I had with one such individual from that group, he referred to individuals who identify as vampires, otherkin, etc. as “supernaturals”. In fact, to be completely fair in quoting this individual, his usage of the term “supernaturals” to describe people who would explore this group he also included “Wicca’s (yes, Wiccas, not Wiccans), Warlocks, and energy workers”.
This kind of use of language is ignorant at best, and toxic at worst. And this individual is not the only person to use such speech in communicating thoughts and ideas regarding the Occult. It isn’t uncommon to see mention of “shape shifting” a long with questions regarding “Werewolves”. So, whats the big deal here?
The big deal is that if you want to be taken seriously regarding what you experience and how you identify, a great deal of care should be taken to distance one’s self from fantastical words. Looking back on the first example I gave, for instance, not only was the term “supernatural” improperly used (as it included groups of individuals who made a choice to live a particular lifestyle. eg. Wiccans, Warlock*s, energy workers) but also it grossly misrepresents those involved in Occultist activities/identities. Sure, I understand why he used it, but what upsets me is more or less the fact that this individual took this as an accepted label for what we are. Furthermore, he seemed relatively perplexed when I pointed out that using that term to describe us just causes problems. Using the term “supernaturals” paints a false picture of what we are as it 1) gives people the impression that we have powers beyond that of a normal individual therefore transcending humanity in some way, and 2) it implies that the things we identify as, engage in, etc. are somehow unnatural (which is false, given that there are a wide number of people reporting the same/similar experiences).
So whats my point? My point is that the use of language is paramount towards acceptance. Using words like “shape shifting” or “supernatural” to describe therian shifts or occult related activities/persons/identities sends mixed messages. True, while the use of a term may be correct in its definition, words often contain multiple definitions— some of which are not as well known or used by the general public. As a result, the continuation of such language also allows for less genuine individuals to give those of us who are knowledgeable and who strive for understanding and acceptance a bad image. In short: in order to be taken seriously by the general public, great lengths need to be taken to ensure that words are carefully selected in the explanation of the occult.
*A warlock in the occult community is defined as an individual who uses the occult (energy work and/or magick) for self gain, and self gain only. This may or may not be (though often times is) at the expense of other individuals.