Community Pagan Pride
Article ID: 13402
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,818
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Author: Debbie Bailey
Posted: September 6th. 2009
Times Viewed: 3,245
Ever heard of the term “Chreasters”? I hadn’t either, until a student used it during a discussion in one of my 101 classes. While chatting on the subject of sabbats, she informed the group that her family used the name “Chreasters” for Christians who only went to church on Christmas and Easter. I had to laugh at the term, but afterward, another student brought up a similar question that plagued me into the following week—so much so that it motivated me into writing this article.
“What about us?” she asked. “Really, we’re no different than they are.”
I have to tell you that stung more than just a little, yet I didn’t know to what she was referring. Pagans aren’t Chreasters. How silly. We don’t even celebrate Christmas and Easter.
In discussing it further, she pointed out that our own tradition or spiritual family—of which I am the founder and high priestess—isn’t much better about attending rituals and sabbats. In addition, she explained that it appeared to her that though our members as a whole wave the Pagan Pride flag with great fervor, when it comes to going to rituals they’re more hit-and-miss with their participation than consistently celebrating as a coven or group.
Sadly, after thinking about it to some extent, I have to admit she’s right. Since she’s the newest member of our tradition she tends to pay closer attention to such things than we who have been in the group longer. Without realizing it herself, she’s become our tradition’s Jiminy Cricket. Every group needs their own Jiminy Cricket. For annoying though her remarks or reminders are sometimes, she does make us think and keeps us on track.
One would think that after some twenty-odd years of practicing my Pagan Path, I would pay attention to such details myself, but I can only plead my ignorance of these happenings as more of an overlooking of the situations. By that I mean, I’ve just allowed tardiness to go unquestioned and absence to go unnoticed, as it were.
So, I decided to do some research on the subject. I asked a few other family-oriented covens and traditions, such as ours, if they, too, felt that the same situation was happening within their groups. Again, sadly, the outcome for many was the same.
Numerous groups reported that their pagan members tended to only come if their spouses or significant others could make it, or they didn’t have to work or if there wasn’t anything else going on in their lives.
“Wasn’t anything else going on”? What the heck did that mean?
So the question I pose to all of you is, do you have comparable circumstances happening within your coven and or group? Do you have members that chronically make excuses for being late or having to leave early? What’s going on with our modern Pagan Pride? Our unity? Our spirituality? Our villages?
In becoming modern, which we must in order to grow with the world around us, have a good many of us turned into—dare I say it?—Samtains or Belhains? Do we merely feel the call to gather and celebrate the Pagan holy days as a spiritual family or grove for only a couple or maybe just the four greater sabbats out of the year? And, what about the lesser holidays within our belief system and the esbats—not to mention the simple joy of merely coming together as a pagan family or community?
Many pagans are solitaires but when and if we choose to become part of a coven or grove, tradition or pagan group, we need to remember we’re part of village, of sorts, just like our ancestors. We’ve pledged ourselves by commitment to that community.
Think about your own group, grove or tradition? Where does your pride and spirituality within the pagan community begin and end? As with other secular, national or state holidays, our sabbats come each year on the same dates. We have plenty of advance notice as to when they’ll be taking place. Regarding the particular times, designations, and other pertinent information, hopefully, all are given ample notice to plan.
So if we’ve dedicated ourselves to a particular group, how disrespectful or thoughtless to the host or hostess, priest or priestess, holding the sabbat, esbat or gathering, are we being should we arrive late? Or leaving before clean up is complete? Or . . . wait until the last minute and give an excuse for not showing up at all?
Yes, we all have lives. We all have families. We all have jobs that sometimes interfere or make it so we can’t attend our celebrations. But if we’re all being truthful, how many of us use excuses to justify a reason for what we do or don’t do concerning the sabbats, esbats and our group gatherings?
No, we don’t all live in the same small villages anymore, which made it easier in some ways for our ancestors to commune. Yet did it? Many had to travel days sometimes to be a part of what they considered was a local celebration. It’s not much different now—though for the most part we don’t have to travel so far—especially in some of the larger cities such as the one in which I live.
Still, it’s understandable that now and then it’s a little demanding to gather our families, our potluck dishes and make sure we have all of the other implements we’re supposed to bring and still get to where we’re going on time. Yet, we find the time, energy and resources for other important events within our lives.
Why is gathering as a Pagan Family to celebrate and honor our ancestors, the Goddess and God, holidays and spirituality such an exasperating experience? It shouldn’t be, and that’s where planning comes in.
I teach the ‘Old Ways’ of community and unity, as well as the love of the Goddess and God through the wisdom that has been handed down from generation to generation. On my tradition site one of our mantras is . . . If you’re going to talk the talk, you need to be willing to walk the walk.”
My informative student wasn’t exactly gentle about her view on our particular community’s participation. No surprise there. She’s not a gentle person when it comes to speaking out. Good for her. However, the power of her scrutiny gave pause for many of our members to really think about where each of them is on their personal paths within our spiritual family.
It’s time to stand tall and really walk the talk.
Now, I offer you that same less than gentle question. Be honest in your personal vigil.
What about you and your spirit family? Are you any different than the Chreasters?
Location: Tualatin, Oregon
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