Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 4th. 2017 ...
Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion
February 10th. 2017 ...
Understanding the Unseen
Kitchen Magic and Memories
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
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A Child's First Yule
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What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
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Witchcraft from the Outside
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Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
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September 3rd. 2016 ...
Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?
What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?
August 12th. 2016 ...
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July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
The Evolution of Thought Forms
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Magic in Sentences
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
Native American Spirituality Myopia
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
A Pagan Community. At What Cost?
Article ID: 12080
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,372
Times Read: 4,875
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Author: Crick [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: January 6th. 2008
Times Viewed: 4,875
Greetings folks. When one looks beneath the umbrella of pagan beliefs, there is a wide diversity of paths. We come from all walks of life and experiences. And yet in spite of the many different approaches to Paganism, there is one underlying topic that is constantly being brought up.
That topic is “community”.
As it is, we are humans first and Pagan second. And so there seems to be a strong interpersonal desire to be a part of a community.
But at what cost will it take to create a viable and thriving Pagan community?
We have many of the same problems and obstacles as the general population, except in microcosm. There is the class acceptance for instance. Wiccans not wanting to recognize traditional Witchcraft as a valid path. The infighting of the Asatru. Solitaires being snubbed by their peers for not engaging in the group psyche and for choosing their own levels of advancement as being valid to them. And so on and so forth.
We have the problems with uncontrolled egos. And since each enclave of what is seen as a Pagan community is generally very local to each group, these irritants become known rather quickly and the problems that undisciplined egos bring, are amplified. Oh how many times have I been involved in or an observer of a so-called “Witch War”.
And yet we constantly talk about community.
There is the very human problem of folks and groups wanting to be the “one”. It’s as if so many individuals and/or groups want to re-invent the wheel.
Name recognition becomes more important then the personal satisfaction of participating in a Pagan community.
A true Pagan community cannot consist of all leaders.
In my personal opinion it should consist of folks who are not interested in labels and personal status. Rather it should consist of those folks who just want to associate with other folks of like mind.
There is no place in a Pagan community for a strict dogma that requires all Pagans to think and to pursue their paths identically.
This is not who we are.
Oftentimes someone will step up and offer an opinion and almost immediately there will be an opposing opinion offered. And don’t get me wrong; such a discussion of diverse ideas and thoughts is a healthy thing and certainly a welcome building block in any successful Pagan community.
But far too often we stray from an objective conversation and allow ourselves to fall prey to the name-calling and flaming that is completely anathema to building a thriving community.
If we are ever to embark on the development of a Pagan community, then certain parameters need to be set out that are accepted by the majority of those who will be involved in such a gathering.
I don’t for one second profess to have all of the answers. Nor am I any more perfect then anyone else. We have all had our days when we wish we had held our tongue just a bit. Its part of being human and so we move on.
Some of the questions that I would raise follow the tenor of Pagan Community at what cost?
For instance, under what auspices should such a community be recognized as? Is there a deeper identity beyond just Pagan community? We need to keep in mind the diversity of what we are looking at here. Often times an attempt at community falls short because we fail to realize that not everyone wants to be considered one massive coven or blot or clan or what have you.
And so what could a viable Pagan community offer that would appeal to the majority?
What would entice folks to put aside their personal differences and enjoin in a social gathering based upon Pagan precepts?
Another question would be just how organized can a Pagan community become?
Someone once said that gathering pagans together is like herding a bunch of cats into the same area. And so is it even possible to envision a viable community?
I personally think that if we, in each of our locales can overcome the desire to be the “Organizers” if you will and instead simply work anonymously together, that a loose confederation is indeed possible. This would be akin to the times when small villages would converge upon a common area for purposes of trade and celebration. At the end of the day we all return to our respective paths and comfort zones with the knowledge that we participated in something greater than our individual groups or ourselves.
Isn’t this one of the desired goals of being involved in a Pagan community?
Another question, which follows along with the concept of organization, what actions if any would be in place in the event that a person or group from the Pagan populace is going against the accepted parameters in a Pagan community?
Does a viable Pagan community accept all who proclaim themselves as pagan? How far does community tolerance go?
In the general populace when one commits an offensive action there are the options of a legal system, jails, fines and so forth. What if any options would a working Pagan community have in such instances?
Of course we can turn to the mechanisms of the general community in most instances since we as Pagans make up a proportion of that gathering. But there are extraordinary situations in a magickal community.
How do we define and then enforce such acceptable behavior?
Part of this question is obvious of course; some would say that we probably want to conduct ourselves as we would in the greater community. However the greater community is loosening many of the standards and rules of conduct that led to establishment of community, as we once knew it.
Do we, as Pagans want to live to a higher standard? Isn’t this what spiritual growth is about and wasn’t it these ideals that brought us into the folds of Paganism to begin with?
And so when we determine what standards we want to hold ourselves to, then such a community must decide if it is going to leave it to each member of the Pagan community to follow or will there be a judgment by the gathering at large in the event of any disruption of the accepted standards.
I realize of course that for on line groups it’s as easy as moderating or banning a member from such a group. But a true working Pagan community extends itself into the pagan populace where folks are face-to-face and not just anonymous typescripts from a computer.
The possibility of a problematic situation arises whenever two or more folks gather. What goals would a Pagan community set for itself to lessen these situations?
In closing, I would just like to say that I personally would like to see a viable Pagan community where my coven and I would not be dictated to. A loose federation of like-minded folks working towards an acceptable common goal. A community where one could share and learn regardless of which path one chose to follow.
Our life and spiritual lessons are not the same; that is what makes us individuals. But our magickal/mystical/spiritual beliefs should suffice to lay a common groundwork for those that follow the Pagan path.
Common respect based upon such an understanding could very well serve as one of the founding tenets of any community but in particular “Our Community”
Location: Manheim, Pennsylvania
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