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GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
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To Know, to Will, to Dare...
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August 3rd. 2014 ...
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Moral Relativism and Wicca
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Rediscovering My Pagan Faith
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Some Differences Between Priestesses and Witches: Duties and Trials
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Pagan and Witch Community Commitment
Article ID: 12659
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,605
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Author: Lady Abigail [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: June 15th. 2008
Times Viewed: 5,243
A short time ago I moved from the Orlando Florida to Indiana. I have to admit that I have had a few adjustment issues with the weather and living in an area that proudly calls itself the “Bible Belt.”
I am a practicing Witch and Pagan who is way out of the broom closet. Each time we have moved I quickly seek out others within our Pagan/Witch communities. A place of home. I think we all like to find that fellowship with others of like minded spirit. This has also allowed me the opportunity to be a part of numerous Pagan and Witch communities all over the world. A blessing I consider myself extremely privileged to have received.
Being the new Witch in town can be both wonderful and heartbreaking. Sometimes people accept you openly without judgment. Sometimes they judge you before they get a chance to know you. From my travels, I have been fortunate to receive the joy of acceptance as well as the lessons from the disappointments of rejection.
Over the years I have talked with many within our community: Witches and Pagans, groups, hives, and covens. In talking with both Elders and those new to learning this path, there is a fear that our communities are becoming somewhat selfish. We are beginning to compete and criticize one another. The one and perhaps greatest point of concern to many in each community is, “How can we build our Witch and Pagan communities as we embrace the principles of individual freedom?”
This is not to say any of us have all the answers but only that perhaps we see and may understand a little more. Also most of us have had to deal with and heal from the same growing pains you may be straining from today.
Seeking Within Pagan and Witch Communities.
A community is a social group made up of individuals and/or groups, of any size, whose members reside in a specific or social locality and often have a common cultural and historical heritage. A community is a group of people that share social, religious and/or occupational commonalities. These can be in shared interests and perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists.
We are a community within ourselves for we are the believers of magick and energy. We are Witches, Pagans, and Neo-Pagans or by whatever name brings you comfort and distinction. We are not the same, however we can learn, grow and expand ourselves within our diversity. For any community to thrive, it must be a cohesive group that stands together with the shared belief that within understanding all things are possible.
Within every community, each member brings his or her own unique skills and understanding. It is within these communities that we share and are allowed our own personal freedoms.
If we begin to judge each other, to criticize how one person or one group works because it is differences, then we are no different that those who burned, tortured and hung the Witches of old. In our judgments, we not only weaken ourselves but we weaken the entire community. Once damaged, it can take years to heal the spirit within.
We can protect ourselves from some of the growing pains if we understand why this happens and that it is a natural part of a community’s maturity and growth. Every new group of people, be they Witch, Christian or Pagan, will have some form of growing pains when coming together as one group.
It is extremely important to remember as you begin to work within a community that growing pains are normal. Once a group or member of a group moves past the “NEW” stage, you will find there will be fewer bumps along the road. You will have members come and go for various reasons and have to make some adjustments for each. All this is normal and natural when a new group or community of any kind is forming.
You will need to work not to blame yourself or assume the responsibility for what happens or for every little problem that may arise. All groups experience disappointments, setbacks, and some level of conflict occasionally. ‘Especially in the beginning.’ It is how we deal with those conflicts that show how well we can grow as a community.
When a community or group comes together for the first time, they are taking the step in ‘forming’. Even in joining an already formed group, you put your best foot forward. While forming, you know very little about each other, the common beliefs and hopes for the group drew everyone together. Everyone is on his or her best behavior ...a little on eggshells because there is so much you don't know about each other.
As you became more familiar with each other, you became more comfortable. Individual differences emerge, sometimes in contrast with your own practices and beliefs. As a group, you will find you sometimes make assumptions with regard to each other’s personalities and sensitivities. Sometimes those assumptions are off the mark.
When working with a new group or with new people, especially if there is little experience with each other, there can be a testing of each other. Disagreements, conflicts and differences can boil quickly between people and tend to take their own course.
In distinguishing your group and community’s path, you must work to resolve each difference as you stumble through the storm. This storming (growing pains) is a natural occurrence in every group. It's a passage that helps the group and community grow together to validate common beliefs and to determine new agreements in dealing with challenges as they arise.
This storming or growing results in the "personality of your community." To emerge as a community, each member needs to put their individual preferences secondary to the greater vision for the community’s uniqueness. But remember that you are each a different spirit with a different personality.
Once a problem arises, you work to resolve it. But more importantly, you grow with new agreements and understanding on how to deal with such issues next time they arise. The coming together and new agreements allow everyone to move forward, to be strengthened, and to center on its true vision.
It's the common vision that will keep you all together. It’s the diversity within the community that will make it strong and will enable you to achieve a greater vision than any of you could ever hope to attain! You are again individuals working as one within a community and a group of people with the vision to grow in spirit and kinship.
When the storms come, don’t quit. Don't assume blame. Recognize the storms for what they are... Storms. Don't forget the feelings of excitement and great expectations you all had when coming together for the first time and when you first meet.
Making a Community Work.
If there is a desire for a strong, true and lasting community, there must be a commitment to the fellowship by all its members. The members being those who live and work within the community itself. No, you don’t have to all meet someplace once a week, although that would be nice. (That might not be possible if and when a community grows into the thousands.) Yet you must get together in the meeting of one spirit.
Make a commitment to work with and act responsibly with one another and to do well and make positive discussions for each member as well as for the community as a whole. Even if you have never met the other members in person, this should be foremost within your desires if a community is to survive.
A community is much like any other group. When first formed none of us had ever met each other before. From the oldest to the most recent members, we all have the same ideals for making our community strong and positive. We want to be a part of a group of Witches, Pagans and spiritual people who are dedicated. This means to many of us being involved and working within the community as best we can.
This does not mean that everyone has to think alike, or has to do the same thing on the same day. We are not the same people; our backgrounds, beliefs and lives are different. But it does mean that we do all that we can, as we can, not leaving all the work to someone else. But if everyone shares in the work that they can do then you will see growth in your community.
A community is also not made up of one person, one group or one family. It is again the shared responsibility of every person within the community. Sometimes we (myself included) will, for whatever reason, try to do it all. I don’t think it is because we can’t get others to help so much as we just get carried away.
I know that I personally don’t know how to stop and I had problems asking others to help. I didn’t think they would have said ‘no, ’ but I never give them the chance to say ‘yes.’
So, being a part of a community means asking others within the community to help when needed. It also means letting them help and stepping back so they can, good or bad. No one can grow if they are always standing in the shadow of someone else.
If you have made the decision to be a part of a community then do your best to be fully committed to the collective energy that makes up your community. It is hard not to become complacent and even lazy within any group of people. Sometimes we become drained in all that is going on, especially if there are growing pains to deal with.
A community is like a fellowship and should come together with five core beliefs and principles. (A Pentangle of Power.) These five core beliefs are: Purpose, Balance, Responsibility, Unity and Growth. Together, they are encircled by the understanding and desire to join as one all encompassing influence within the universe.
Within a community there must be balance. It is like watching the seasons turning naturally within the wheel of life. First you have the beginning; it is like watching the birth of spring. Soon you find comfort and relax; it is what we desire in the long life of summer. Then we have moments that are fragile like the tender leaves of autumn and the death that comes from winters cold. With each breath we take in life and with each breath we release it again into the universe.
You come to understand the respect necessary for the Earth and to embrace the light and dark in all things. You must work to learn how to stand together and to protect and encourage your brothers and sisters in times of turmoil. The storms and icy winds from within your own circles will at times cut you with its devastating blast, yet you learn and grow stronger by means of the experience.
There will be negative people and situations. This happens in every group of people in history and society. Negative situations can be learned from and can be an opportunity to gain strength and insight. You may have to work hard to bring the positive back after a negative situation. This is all part of growth.
Positive situations give energy and light to all within the community. You can draw on the freedom within these times and apply this energy to the progress in the growth of your community as a whole. The positive situations will help others around you to remember there is a balance and that we all have an individual responsibility to each other to seek out the good within.
Sometimes you may feel that you are standing alone. Hold strong to your spirit and power. First steady yourself and then give unto the community you have chosen to work with. You can then look at the work, the growth and the commitment therein as a pledge made for the shared purpose of good.
The shadows and light grow and wane within any community of people. When we accept this, we no longer need to be defeated by every curve that life throws us. Once we have learned where the shadows are, we need never fear them and freedom from that fear allows us to take control and grow in the positive energy.
Once a commitment is made you must be ready to consider what you can do within that commitment. How you can Work, Volunteer, Hold Ritual, Sabbaths, Esbats, Teach, and be a part of Gatherings within your community. What are you able to do both physically, spiritually and emotionally to help your community grow.
There are times when being a part of a community requires enormous determination. You will not agree with everyone. You will not get along with everyone.
Sometimes you will feel it is a great calling and a great honor. Sometimes you will feel like you just walked through a fire. But if you look around, you might notice the person beside you smoldering as well!
You can’t always expect to have someone else come and put out the fire. You might just have to find the water hose yourself. Yet the good thing about a community is that once you pick up the water hose, you will notice that more and more people are running over to help keep it steady.
We are Pagans and Witches … Dance, but dance together.
In the spirit of a magickal community,
High Priestess; Lady Abigail
Copyright: Copyright © 05012008
High Priestess; Lady Abigail
Ravensgrove Coven, Greenfield IN
Location: Greenfield, Indiana
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