So a a little while back an article on Witchvox by Juniper asked and answered the question “Where have all the Gardner’s and Crowley’s Gone?(an Answer)”
Before I grab the soapbox and stand upon it, let me direct your attention to Dr. Myer’s Excellent article and idea of The Clann-Maker.
So here’s the thing…
I like what Juniper has to say. She comes across a little harsh in the article, but sometimes the truth is harsh.
I had to come to that conclusion AFTER a bit of time and reflection. See, years ago I had had the realization that I was going to have to start building the Pagan Community I wanted to experience back in Anchorage… well my first reaction to Juniper’s well done article was a hearty…
The soul of compassion and wisdom, I am not… at least not always. I have my moments, but,… anyways she’s right.
Heck it’s kind of how I ended my recent article in Thorn.
We need to be the community and the elder’s we need, and our spiritual and physical descendants will need. We need to find new and better ways to acknowledge and honor our Elder’s and Leader’s. (Thus the whole ‘go look at what Brendan said’ part of our intro…check this out too while your at it!)
Now in the past I have said that Paganism is a religious, spiritual, and social movement made up of several overlapping and intertwined religious and regional communities.
I Have also observed that for the different Pagan faiths and paths there seems to be an overall theme of individual and group development into being a better person(s) (personal growth and perhaps enlightenment, although it is not neccesarilly phrased as such) by practicing certain rites, and developing our relationships with the Divine (or the essence of All That Is) and with the Spirits of the World Around Us (Elements and Land Spirits), and living certain intertwining and overlapping virtues and values.
I think that in the area of community building there are certain stages or experience/realizations you go through as a member of the Pagan movement whatever your particular path or practice.
1. Find something lacking within your local Pagan community…
2. Realize that if you aren’t finding what you want out of/in your local community… eventually you have to either do it yourself or shut up about it!
3. Actually engage in the work of building community. Starting a newsletter, hosting a e-group or a social, or getting involved in the work of some of your local or regional Pagan community organizations.
4. We have the Challenge phase… something causes you to either re-evaluate or pull back from your involvement.
5. Is either : dormancy, you practice your path on you own… eventually your living of the values and your continuing personal evolution causes cautious re-evaluation and on to stage 6… OR in some cases stage 5is purely re-evaluation with no break from involvement in the community (my observations seem to indicate this is the rarer of the 2 forms of stage 5…
I am basing these on my own experiences and observations… I am not sure yet how well these stages translate across the bandwidth of the Pagan movement.
This blog is part of my own stage 6, as is my Building Pagan Community column for Thorn magazine, along with a renewed involvement in some of my online projects from years past… including the Pagan Community Builders group on yahoo.
What stage are you in?