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Article ID: 4470
Age Group: Adult
Posted: November 29th. 1999
Community Power Who Holds it?
Why YOU are more powerful than you may know!
Welcome back everyone,
For many of us, this past weekend (in America) was a celebration with family and friends. A time to give thanks and share a meal. Like many of you, Wren and I spent Thanksgiving with our immediate family on Thursday and then with our Pagan friends over the weekend. The original story behind Thanksgiving is quite a bit different that what many of us think it is. (Check out Re-Discovering Pilgrim America for details). This perception vs. reality is worth noting. Why? Because things evolve and things change, this is a constant and something you can count on. Thanksgiving IS what WE want it to be.
The Neo-Pagan community is in a constant state of change. In fact, it is quite different than it was just 3 years ago. We no longer have to prove that we are a spiritual movement. Our sheer numbers and the consistency in our root-level beliefs are enough to render this a fact.
Over the past two decades, one of the few things that Pagans engaging in discussions about the future of the earth-based religions could reach agreement upon was the idea that any form of organization would have to come from the grass-roots up. The hierarchical 'top down' model held no appeal for most pagans. "Ah, but who or what would steer this movement up from the local communities?", someone would inevitably ask. The suspicious glances which often accompanied this question usually prompted a tactful change of conversational subject matter.
Yet that bothersome question about 'how will this all happen' continued to nag at our psyches. As it turns out, the nagging question probably kept us distracted long enough to stay out of the way when 'it' actually DID begin to happen.
I think the first time that a newspaper columnist or television anchor did a follow-up (and turned around) article based on the sheer number of Pagan email that they received following a negative piece, we were (let's be truthful here) shocked. Then it happened again... and again... and again. "It" was the spirit of a real Pagan community embodied and empowered by the many voices which make 'it' up.
Today Neo-Pagans are empowered and organized in a way that we did not foresee just a few years ago. And it DID happen from the grass-roots level up and it DID happen without a central leadership or established hierarchy leading the way. It happened because YOU did it. This was and is an organic movement by the community itself.
YOU wrote the letters and sent the email. YOU passed along the news clips, the announcements, the contact information. YOU got together in your small towns, big cities and in the Pagan forums to plan public events, workshops and outreach programs. YOU decided to stand up, speak out and in doing so, YOU inspired others to do the same. YOU are "It."
The ultimate test on the validity of any work is found in the work itself. It is either sound or it is not; it is either empowering, energizing, thought-provoking, spiritually uplifting and useful or it is just a bunch of dead leaf words blowing the wind.
The thousands of Neo-Pagan communities have set down deep roots. Let the winds blow. We will stand up just fine
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