Community and Perception
Article ID: 15753
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,396
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Author: Ruby DragonLily
Posted: January 22nd. 2016
Times Viewed: 2,496
What is community? The community is where you live, work, and play. Community is important to the ongoing survival of many groups and Earth Based Religions fall into that category. When I say ‘Earth Based’, I am encompassing Pagans, Wiccans, Druids, Heathenry and many, many more. Community allows like-minded people to come together as a support system for each other. When you are in a religion that is a minority, and others are basically scared of you (yes, because some are just afraid to learn) , you need to be able to rely on the community around you to meet like-minded people. This will allow you to have friends you can speak more openly to, a line of knowledge you can reach out to and overall a better sense that in this large world you are not alone in your beliefs.
Community is more than that though. It also allows us to teach and show the unlike-minded people that we hold jobs, pay taxes and don’t sacrifice the local chickens for ritual purposes. That only holds true though when we, as followers of an Earth Based Religion, behave ourselves in a way we are open to unlike-minded people. When we put ourselves out there and people approach us because they don’t understand or don’t care to understand, do we really think they are going to grow into understanding us if we act like jerks to them? Let me tell you a story from years ago…
We were attending a Pagan Pride Day event in the Midwest and we had one lonely protestor, a young Christian gal. She wore a shirt that had something about the reason for the season was for the harvest and made comments about how we are all going to hell or something. Finally someone approached her and asked her if she knew the meaning of the harvest and the time of year and they politely informed her that yes, her shirt is correct but not for the only reasons she thought. They invited her to join us to learn what we knew and what we believed. Reluctant she did finally decide to join in and listen and sat and learned and by the end she had made some friends and we had made a friend in her. Now, no one converted her from her beliefs but we did arm her with accurate knowledge so she wouldn’t feel compelled anymore to protest a spiritual gathering that was outside her belief system and she stopped trying to convert us. It took one side to be the bigger person and to offer up an act of kindness to diffuse what could have been a far harsher reaction.
Perception is a big part of life in everything we do from family to work. Sometimes we have to sit back and see how we project ourselves to others. When we lash out at other religions because they don’t understand us then we are giving them more ammo to continue not understanding us. My mother always told me the best way to calm a situation with an irate person is to kill them with kindness. I have grown up keeping this in the back of my mind thru a multitude of situations from customer attitudes, employee attitudes to general everyday occurrences in public. Overall, this philosophy has worked because if you are calm then most people will automatically calm themselves.
We can also look at this from a different point of view. If we get mad and upset and start debasing them then how are we any better than they are? In the end that person leaves thinking ‘yep, that person is going to hell and is a horrible person’ and spreads that word to all. So don’t be the one individual that ruins it for everyone. Instead, help be a part of the community that brings it back to earth!
Back to community involvement and how you can get involved… Talk to your local stores to see if there are any group gatherings and if not, then start one. It can be as simple such as a meetup group with a date, time and place. Do a picnic in the park and enjoy just talking. There is no need for a huge social media presence; isn’t face-to-face out in nature what our religion is based on? Make it so everyone can bring his/her favorite tarot deck, divination tool, book, drum or whatever makes them, them! Hang up flyers around your local stores but don’t limit it to just a pagan store. Reach out to coffee shops, herb stores, and think outside the box because not all pagans frequently visit the local pagan store.
If you show up and there is only one other person… then you have succeeded in starting a community link of like-minded people! The key though is for that link to stay neutral and let arrogance stay in the back seat. We have to remember there are many paths for Earth Based Religions and we will not always agree. The great thing is though, we will always be learning! Keeping an open mind to others will help us grow in our own path.
Our Spiritual Path tells us we should help others, be it creature or human. I know I tend to flock to the creature side of things only because creatures don’t typically act like they are better; they continually learn and adapt. We, too, can benefit from this. Think about your path and your past for a minute and think of a time when you learned something. Knowing now, thinking back, how did it alter your path? Communities allow us to continually grow, learn and chase our dreams! Chase those dreams with the help of like-minded friends while teaching the world it is okay for there to be more than one path to your resting place. I leave you with this quote:
“It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.” -- Henry David Thoreau
Bright Blessings To All,
Location: southeast, Nebraska
Author's Profile: To learn more about Ruby DragonLily - Click HERE
Bio: Ruby DragonLily is a practicing kitchen/garden Witch in the midwest. She enjoys sharing with others, learning and being outside. She has coordinated for local PPD events, held workshops, picnics and been a part of building the communities for many years.
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