You want a despot? This is how you get a Despot ….

There is a well known tale in Irish Mythology of King Bres (aka Eochaid). An unpopular individual. One who’s reign was unhappy and unjust, even if initially legitimate. In the ned he was disposed, and the rightful ruler (Nuada) was returned to leadership. Bres runs to his father (a Fomorian) to help regain his power, and is told he sort of earned this, by being a stingy sod. But his father suggests talking to another king of the Fomorians…. Balor of the Baleful eye. This ends in the second battle of Mag Tuired.

Now some of you might think I’m telling a tale, of some current world leaders? You would be wrong. This is a tale more applicable to Pagan communities. Most of these communities end up as small kingdoms, where a single individual, or a small group of individuals run the show.

Gods knows I’ve seen this story play out in several places.

  • Milwaukee, I’ve written about this in places, but there was a very feudal nature to how that community ran.
  • I left a small community, quite healthy. I returned to a city where it was again quite feudal, and woe to anyone who questioned the rulers.
  • Certain promenant pagans who can’t play nice with each other (look at you Salem)

What can you do about this? Well firstly it is not inherently bad, that a small group of people run things, it is probably a very efficient way of doing things, when it is done wrong. If you read the story I wrote in the first paragraph, there is no emancipation of the masses. Just the return of a just leader, over an unjust one. It also ended in a bloody, nasty, costly war.


Again this story holds a place in Pagan communities. Witch Wars, and similar skirmishes, are usually power struggles. Ones that never should happen, yet many of us can roll our eyes and go “oh no not again”

So again, what can one do?

Here are a few ideas

  1. Try to be responsible when appointing new leaders. Are they fit for the job? Do they seem a little too slick?
  2. You ignored (1) and you now have someone not quite how like you imagined in a position of power? Limit the power they have. Don’t allow all powerful individuals if you can possibly help it. You may as well stick you head in the lions mouth, and have a friend kick it in the nuts, that is more pleasant than the death by a thousand cuts having a “Bres” in your community will allow.
  3. Work out the best way to resist someone if (1) happens and (2) is worst case scenario. Over the years I’ve been the bull in the China Shop, I’ve been the sneaky bastard, I’ve been the wise ex leader. I’m best at the middle option to be honest. I can do the last. The first? Its going to be messy, and possibly make it even worse
  4. Do you even have to listen to that leader? Who gave them power? Sure others allow that power, but do you? Ignore them.


In the end you do not have to start a fight, to be a warrior. Standing up to despots, bullies, and arseholes, often destroys their power.




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