When you started out in your new religion, you were an idiot.
I know. We all were.
You might still be an idiot. Or maybe you just feel like one sometimes. You sure feel embarrassed about some of the stuff you used to think, anyways. You don't want to go back to that; you got carried away and made a fool of yourself in front of the people around you, and didn't know how ignorant you were. You breathe a sigh a relief now, because you have all the resources and tools you need to do it right. And you've developed a capacity for critical thinking, thank goodness.
Maybe you had a helping hand from a more experienced person. Goddess knows what you would have done without her. Just think of all the beginners out there who never had that - they're blundering around without a clue! You sure are lucky. You're privy to things you might never have learned otherwise. It's a special privilege.
You might not be a Grand High Whileawayan Priestess, but hey, you have experience. You're there when someone has a question. Somebody has to stand watch at the newbie entrance, right? Somebody has to make sure they get pointed in the right direction. Somebody has to make sure they don't embarrass us all! (You know. Like you used to.) That's why you take on a teaching role for people in your path. It's an important job, and you're happy and proud to do it. Out of the goodness of your heart.
Or maybe you're older now. Maybe you had to struggle on your own to get where you are. Maybe you have a fat butt. You have a lot of responsibilities in life outside of your religion, and you don't have time to be mentoring all the empty-headed fools who crowd your inbox. You are not anybody's teacher. Of course, you're perfectly content to grumble in confidence to your peers about those empty-headed fools. All the same, you snap to attention when someone pipes up with a foolish question. You crack your walking stick against the ground, not afraid to tell someone when they haven't got a clue. And when a sad fool tremulously asks what he should do, you say, "Begone, fool! I am not anyone's teacher!" You are really very insistent about that.
Either way, you spend a lot of time conversing with other pagans, online and off. Whether you're the fuzzy type or the prickly type, you know that another batch of idiots is coming in on the next tide. Some will learn. Some will not.
You'll make sure of that.
They don't know what they're doing, after all. It's up to you to show them how things are done. Not that there's an established way of doing things really, but...there's definitely a wrong way to do things! And you can't let them do that. You have to warn them. You have to tell them when they're doing something you feel is wrong. Before somebody else gets to them first. It can be so hard for people to unlearn bad information. That's why you surround yourself with friends, to help. You certainly can't get to them all by yourself!
You don't want to be mean about it, though. Sometimes you offer criticism. Sometimes you offer an alternative. Sometimes you just laugh in their face. Anything to keep from answering the question that was asked. That's never wise.
But sometimes, you really aren't sure of what to say to someone. Maybe he's asked about something you haven't studied personally. Maybe he's asked about something you really don't like. Maybe he's asked about something dangerous that you've never tried. But deep down, you think you have a pretty good idea of what to say to a newbie. You simply know better. They have no idea of what can happen. You've heard the stories. Thankfully, you've managed to successfully avoid all those pitfalls. You've avoided all the risks.
And if there's one thing a newbie should avoid at all costs, it's risk. Since you're an expert in that arena, you're the perfect person to teach him how. "You clearly aren't ready for this," you tell him, time and again. And if you're lucky, he never will be.
Honestly, it doesn't matter to you what he does after he's taken the time to educate himself. But he won't feel the need to do those foolish things by then. He'll have seen the light.
It's your moral responsibility to make sure nobody hurts themselves, or other people. That's what anyone in your position would do. It can be a Herculean task; this place is like a bloody madhouse sometimes. You fear the day when the lunatics take over the asylum. Some days, it seems like you can hardly tell the idiots from the sages anymore. People surprise you all the time. That's why you should always act on the assumption that you're talking to an idiot. Because if you treat everyone around you that way, no one can ever accuse you of being one. Never again, that is.
You can't stress it enough: people have no idea what they're getting into with this life. Who in their right mind would choose it? Who would ask for all this darkness and grief? Who would let their soul be burdened like this? They can't imagine the weight. Anyone who asks for this in earnest deserves what they get. All the loneliness, all the helplessness, all the despair. All this questioning and dust. You certainly didn't ask for it. You didn't ask anyone to make you this way. It's not your fault. It's not your fault.
It's not your fault.
That's right. You didn't choose this. Maybe...maybe you should just get out. You're in your right mind, after all.
Good night, and Merry Misrule.