In Search of the Simple Life
Article ID: 11298
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: November 19th. 2006
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When I was a kid my dad used to buy a magazine aimed at small holders and those who wanted to live a self-sufficient lifestyle. This seemed a bit strange as we lived on an air force base in Germany at the time. Needless to say, I didn’t understand it or why my dad bothered to buy it. When I realized I was Pagan, my dads’ collection of magazines became of great interest because they offered information on recycling, limiting the impact of our lifestyle on the world around us and how best to live in harmony with nature.
When I look at how I have lived my life in the years since becoming Pagan, I realize how much more attention I should have paid to what those magazines had to offer. Now I live in an urban estate and feel disconnected from nature by the hideous sea of concrete that surrounds us. Often it is only the thought of owning my own plot of land in the country and living from it that keeps me going to my nine to five. But that dream is still a long way off.
I want to live a simple life; this is my Pagan dream, to be part of the land and world around me and not separated by some artificially constructed cocoon of wires, brick and steel.
I visited my dad a couple of years back after a long period of estrangement. He lives on a mountainside in Tennessee with his wife and her family. It was beautiful and I have to say the people were more polite then those who dwell in any city that I have ever visited and things just weren’t complicated. During this visit it was really made clear by my own thoughts that this is the way we are meant to live...in small communities with everything we need at hand produced locally, building what we can with our own hands and minds, and amusing each other and ourselves with stories or songs. This may seem like an Idealistic view of a rural lifestyle, but without Idealized visions there is no vision at all.
There is, of course, a whole new range of problems with rural living. There is hard work, illness and failing crops. But there are more ephemeral problems of an urban reality: crime, depression, disconnection, unemployment and social decline. I think we have to look at our lifestyles as Pagans and ask ourselves whether having faith in the Gods is enough. Shouldn’t our aim be to live as close as we can to the way nature intended us to?
Right now, there are probably thoughts of people living in mud huts going through a lot of minds. That isn’t what I am saying we should do. It is possible to generate electricity for small communities using renewable resources. In fact, many things are easier and cheaper to do on a smaller localized scale.
For many people it is possible to work from home which is a great boon if one desires to live in rural locations. The days when it was necessary for us all to huddle into overcrowded cities to find work are long gone. Public and private resources are still being fed back into the Metropoli and so breed the majority of modern problems, but that can only be changed over time and by migration back to more rural areas as more than just holiday homes.
One of the ideas that I have seen voiced on this very site, and have looked into myself, is Pagan Communities. Not communes, but villages founded by Pagans seeking to bring themselves back to a simpler way of life and share their beliefs openly without fear of reprisals from those too ignorant to learn. Each village could be self sufficient with the right kind of forward planning. What finance is needed to keep the communities up and running could be achieved through sale of excess goods. It isn’t that long since that was the way villages and towns operated. Iit is only through the growth in power of centralized governments that this form of community has been eroded.
How many of us who live in cities can honestly say that we know our neighbor as more then a nodding acquaintance? With a smaller community in which we work together and see more of a small group of neighbors, the bonds of community are strengthened. Our shared beliefs would also be a reinforcing factor in the creation of these communities adding much needed strength to the whole Pagan society and offering places for others to come and learn.
On a larger scale, self-sufficient Pagan villages would also offer a window to others as to how we operate as a faith and a community. Such a development could become a prototype for such villages all over the world, not just for pagans but also for developing countries where the centralized way of living has not yet become the norm and allowing them to bypass the errors already endured by the western world.
I once brought this idea up with some friends and there was some dispute that by doing such a thing we would worsen the problem of understanding. But in all honesty if people don’t understand you or your beliefs when you are their neighbor, family or friend, it will not matter if we choose to live apart.
Think of how hard it is for new Pagans to find information and obtain help with the somewhat scattered nature of Pagan society and how much we could all have benefited from being able to go somewhere where we could spend time learning and being guided by a community of experienced individuals.
It would be simple enough with funding and enthusiastic participants, but funding seems in very short supply when it comes to Pagan society and that very quickly kills enthusiasm.
Remember that 'Pagan' comes from the Latin 'Paganus', which translates roughly as ‘Rural’. Iwas an insult thrown at non-Christians.
I long for clean air in my lungs and soil between my toes and would happily accept the title ‘Rural’ as no insult.
I am Pagan and proud.
Location: Oneida, Tennessee
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