Community and the Pagan Tribe
Article ID: 13965
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,783
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Author: Maggi Horseman
Posted: May 2nd. 2010
Times Viewed: 4,496
I have been thinking lately about the support function of community and training within a group. Social and religious groups are organic by nature. People are different from one another and focus, understanding, dedication, purpose, and communication styles are different for all people. Thus, long-term commitments within groups have their hiccups, misunderstandings, and alas, drama. Why is it worth it? Why isn’t everyone solitary? Here's my story and perspective.
Often people have left Christian upbringing and come to Paganism as a way to get away from oppressive Mother Church. I left the church I grew up in because I had had enough of the hierarchy of church leaders and the politics. I had tried to keep in mind that my behavior should honor God in his house. I was very devout and dedicated to my religion and devotion to God. From there, I decided to learn as much as I could about early Christianity and what Jesus was actually trying to teach. I read about Gnosticism, Asceticism, and Judaism. I even got my first taste of Kabbalah. I really liked the ideas of the overlooked Female figures in the texts other than the Torah: the Shekinah, Lilith, and Sophia. I decided that my practice would have to be of my own making, as the Christian church didn't resemble at all the early teachings. I read the Gospel of Thomas.
I took a step further when I discovered sex and decided that God created something that was a beautiful gift to humanity. I could no longer focus solely on a transcendent reality when earthly existence could be harmonious and beautiful. I was angry at how I was raised as a subverted female and broke away from my foremother's history and became a raging feminist. The Goddess helped me become a healthy woman rather than an ashamed, cowering girl. I started forming a sense of self with the support of the other women in circle together with me.
Some of what I had loved about the church was the ritual. Formalized robes, altars, incense, candles, song, prayer, and traditions repeated over the years. I also looked up to the crone who had taken me under her wing in service to the Goddess. A solitary path with just me, the God, and the Goddess was fine for my sense of peace, but much of the splendor of miracles and magick were found sharing with other people. I wanted formal training and I wanted to share with other women who needed the healing and transformation I had received. I had an undeniable will to give back that which I had gained so much.
Therefore, I sought out the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, which became my coven, friends, and spiritual family. I met them in 2001 and joined in 2002. I initiated in 2005 and consider my life's Work to be within this organization. What makes coven work worth it is the smiles you see every time you meet, the heartfelt connection, and the support and feedback that we all progress together. The longer I am within the ASW, the more I can see the growth over the long term.
This Wheel is the hub, the moving, spiraling, yet steady point that I build my life around. The organization itself is stable and strong, and I know that it will always be there for me. The people, the magick, the Work give me strength for everything else that life throws at me. The harmony created between people in accord lends me faith when I am in doubt, and light when I am confused or in dark places. I know that there are at least 20 people in my life that I could pick up the phone and be brutally honest with and get in return from them unerring support and understanding.
This past Yule I had the opportunity to celebrate ritual and fellowship and participate in sweat lodge in one weekend. By Sunday, I felt an overarching aura of love and care that continues to deepen through the years. I am so blessed to have such a caring community and such strong friendships.
All of that sounds so cheerful and lovely, but in truth, it is the trials and tears that you share that create those bonds. Like a long-term relationship or marriage in its proper form, commitment to a magickal group of people creates bonds with people that otherwise you would not come in contact with. That sounds like my birth family as well! It is made up of people that are automatically my kin, but people that if it wasn’t for the history and bonds shared, I may not seek out in normal circumstances.
The commonality of goals and the commitment to ideas, gods, and growth in general give coven mates and members of spiritual communities the spiritual glue and commitment to each other. More importantly they all have the commitment to the Great Work. By the Great Work, I mean the lifelong process of spiritual evolution for each person on his or her own as well as helping others to grow. The goal of the Great Work is to find closer union with the divine and then through that wisdom to help others and help the world be better and more evolved. This gives an understanding that we are all on this path, alone in our humanly experience but working together on the same path going in the same direction.
Now, almost 10 years after I first discovered my Tribe, I find myself a part of an evolving and growing community of similar magickal friendships in NJ as well. The cycle has come full circle and I find myself actively creating sanctuaries to give safe harbors for new seekers on the path. And in this labor, I am able to start giving back to my teachers before me who have had so much vision, focus, and patience for the covens I was a part of and for me personally as a growing magickal person. I have hope and faith for the future.
The coming year will be busy with lots of challenges that come with the blood, sweat, and tears of foundation and dream building. But the upcoming years will plant the seeds that will grow with laughter, tears, joys, and tribulations. I hope that I will learn, deepen friendships, and strengthen my family both by blood, chosen family, and communities. As those seeds mature, I have faith my hard work will be well worth the rewards that come with fostering a new tribe. What Paganism has to offer us is connection: connection to our selves, to our Gods, to our heritage, and to the Earth in all her forms and all her creatures.
Community is waiting for you. Your tribe is there, waiting for you to find it or waiting to be built. Seek out your tribe. Give thanks for your spiritual family. Approach your tribe in right action, with your heart engaged and you higher self as your guide. Approach your gods with truth, honesty, and honor. Do not make commitments or promises lightly, but the ones that you do, uphold with ferocity.
In this era of the turning of the ages, we need the close-knit communities of like minds for support through life’s many challenges. Within the warmth of community may we all turn away from fear, from ego, from doubt, and from loneliness.
May we learn, breathe, and live this magick that it may create abundance that blesses us all.
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Author's Profile: To learn more about Maggi Horseman - Click HERE
Bio: Maggi Horseman has been studying for 10 years as a Celtic and Norse focused Witch. She is a Second Degree Initiate of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, a Wiccan Tradition, (www.sacredwheel.org) and is a member of one of its covens Chalice of Living Stars.
She is mainly interested in the Celtic and Norse pantheons. She has relationships with Brigid, Herne, Freya, Odin, Artio (Celtic Artemis) , and the Morrigan, but is dedicated to none.
Maggi’s interests range from qabala, tarot, astrology, aspecting, Thelema, faery, nature devas, kitchen witchery, herbalism and gardening, shadow work, sacred dreaming, martial arts and warriorship, women's mysteries and empowerment, and magickal painting.
Maggi has a BA Degree in Fine Art and Anthropology from Salisbury University. She serves on the council of the Northern NJ Pagan Fellowship a networking, social, ritual, and training group. She is currently teaching and training for 3rd degree in the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel with hopes to start a new Assembly coven in northern New Jersey.
Read more of Maggi’s poetry, prose, and comentary on her blog at https://lettinggoisflying.blogspot.com.
Other Articles: Maggi Horseman has posted 17 additional articles- View them?
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