Moving the Broom Around
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Article ID: 12393
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,030
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Author: Granny Nighthawk
Posted: May 18th. 2008
Times Viewed: 3,746
Witches and other Pagans are notoriously (and necessarily) cautious about disclosing their identities and the locations of their rituals. This is not because it’s “fun” to be part of a secretive clique, but because history has left some pretty big scars on us as a whole.
One would think that in a modern “enlightened” society all that would be behind us now. However, that is just not the case. True, there aren’t too many tales of public Witch burnings anymore (although in some third world countries it still happens), but there are significant reports of people getting fired shortly after their Pagan status is made known, of parents losing custody of their children, of harassment and of other more subtle discriminatory and ostracizing incidents.
With that in mind, how can the modern Witch pack up her broom (okay, I’m going to use “her” to mean both him and her, simply because I am a “her”… get over it, guys) and fly away from her comfortable Grove, Coven, Nest, etc? Churches of nearly every denomination and flavor can be found in the Yellow Pages, but it is rare to find any entries that would lead her to anything Pagan oriented.
My husband and I just relocated twice in the space of two years. The stresses of relocating and moving are hard enough without the prospect of leaving your spiritual community and teachers. But this is what we had to do, so the job search went hand in hand with a constant check in at Witchvox.com to see what the new area had available in resources.
What we looked for was a good mix of practicing groups in different traditions, a regular schedule of public events, and a local source for craft supplies. We found that it was also helpful to look at the Clergy page, as Pagan Clergy are generally knowledgeable about unlisted resources. If nothing showed up even close to our traditions, we didn’t even bother to apply for a job there.
When we did find an interesting match of job opportunity with a pagan community, we tried to set up a time to meet with a couple local leaders and visit the pagan shops while we were in the area for the interview. It is amazing what kind of a feel you can get for a pagan community just by going to the local supply store! In some cases, we were lucky enough to be able to attend a ritual. If visiting in person wasn’t possible, we tried to phone one or two of the community leaders and pick up a feel that way.
A couple other resources have proved to be helpful. Mapquest.com and other similar locating sites proved to be invaluable to finding out just how close a community was to where the job was. This is one of the limitations of Witchvox, in that listings are grouped by State, (or country for the international job-hopper) and then by alphabetical order by city on some screens (Groups, Clergy, Shops) and by date (Events, Local News) on others. Otherwise, I would never have known that Citrus Heights was near to Sacramento while Grass Valley is too far for more than an occasional visit.
Local, independent bookstores (not the big chains) and food co-ops are well worth visiting while in town, just to look at the notices board. Sometimes you can find things that aren’t listed elsewhere. A visit to parks and wildlife refuge areas will give you some time to slow down and listen to the land.
A couple other Pagan event websites include The Wiccan/Pagan Times http://www.twpt.com/calendar.htm, Wishdiak.com http://www1.wishdiak.com:8081/calendar.php and Larry Cornett’s regional calendar http://members.aol.com/lcorncalen/CALENDAR.htm. If your Trad has a national website, see if there is a listing of groups nearby.
While you are there, what omens cross your path? Do any creatures (animal, fey, or human) bring you a message or at least come to greet you? My most significant occurrence was actually at a hotel in the indoor spa/pool room. To my surprise, a cricket approached (crawling right up under my hand) and spoke with me at length about the needs of the land here! In Tucson, it was the sound of COMPLETE silence when we visited the desert that blew us away.
It’s not a foolproof method, to be sure. Just because someone follows a similar Tradition doesn’t mean that you will be comfortable in circle with him or her. In Tucson, we met many wonderful people, yet we did not find a community that felt like home to us. Nevertheless, there were things that we experienced and learned in that desert environment that could not have happened elsewhere.
The gods have their reasons, after all.
Once you do move, be patient both with yourself and with the existing community. It takes longer to settle in than you might expect. Heck, just finding the local grocery store is challenging in some places, never mind figuring out which box contains the forks! (In spite of meticulously marking all the boxes with contents, we actually used plastic disposable cutlery for the first three months!)
Remember that the community in the new place has been practicing according to THEIR rules for many years. If it rubs you the wrong way, you don’t have to like it, but you do have to respect it. If it feels totally out of whack, talk to the leaders, open a discussion, or just check out a different group. If nothing fits, experience again the freedom of being a Solitary.
There is a lot to be learned in that path. Talk to the Goddess of the Crossroads and see if there is a change in direction in store for you.
In short, start here. Witchvox has done an immensely wonderful job of organizing all the listings of anything Pagan across not only the USA, but also the world. We not only use it for relocation, but for vacationing as well. We made some great connections when we went to the UK a couple years ago! The site is easy to use (given a few small glitches) and very comprehensive. If you’ve never ventured beyond the front-page articles, take a moment and pull up your own town in the sidebar to the left. I bet you’ll find groups and events that even you didn’t know existed nearby!
The Wiccan/Pagan Times twpt.com
Larry Cornett’s regional calendar http://members.aol.com/lcorncalen/CALENDAR.htm
Copyright: DL Scott aka Granny Nighthawk
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