Archive for ‘Community’

September 24, 2011

Random Discovery: Spiral Scouts!

This won’t be new to everyone, but I just learned that there is a Pagan-themed, but open to all faiths, version of the Boy/Girl scouts! Wish I could have done this when I was a kid, instead.’s article on Spiral Scouts

September 22, 2011

Responding to Troy Davis’ Death: Community Responsibility

The death of Troy Davis, a recently executed and very likely innocent man, has sparked discussion and writing from my friends in other faiths. But, as far as I can tell, no Pagans are writing about the situation.

Being un-organized is one of the Pagan community’s defining characteristics. Liberated from rigid perspectives, we can move intuitively, shaping a practice and our perspectives organically. With no system of transference, education and spiritual development must come from each of us – deeply personal by definition. We are responsible for ourselves.

So, what do we lose?

Although we are a diverse community, the importance of the Earth and the recognition that we are pieces of a whole – whether that whole is divine, biological, or some combination – is a common idea I find across modern earth religions. Theologically, the execution of a potentially innocent man (seven of the nine witnesses later recounted their testimony, and clemency was still denied) should spark outrage among furious Pagans everywhere.

And perhaps it did. Perhaps many of us, independently, signed petitions and challenged those around us to see the imminent injustice.

But what could we accomplish as a community? And is there anyone out there writing on the death penalty from an earth religious perspective?

So much of what I see online and in the average bookstore is focused on spells without much theo(a)logical grounding; and too often a false history. At best, you could make the case that most of that writing revolves around identity formation, which is a consequence of the lack of organization.

I won’t deny that I found the earthy path as a teenager. It took time to develop a religious understanding and identity, and that is important work. I don’t want everyone to think the same, or lose the potential and significance of the personally developed. But we cannot stop there. We need to move forward, grounded in our ideas and practices, towards social justice and community responsibility. We need to put our voices out there, calling for equality and humanity.

Because we are earthy. Because when you are a piece of the whole, a human on Earth, a soul in the Divine Nature, being responsible for yourself demands community engagement.

August 27, 2011

Building Community

Although many people who find themselves on an earthy path seem to work alone, perhaps because they don’t know anyone else (like me, when I started) or by choice, I think there is a particular strength in working in community.

Not only is there a combined energy in working together, there is also an element of recognition — I see you, I witness your work, I acknowledge your humanity and ability. We, as social beings, have many rituals that require a community. Weddings. Funerals. We have a need to be seen and understood, to know we are real and we make sense. Setting aside the intentional rituals that can be a part of someone’s practice, we all seem to lay patterns, enjoy being known by others.

At the moment, in India, I am lingering in H.H. the Dalai Lama’s home in exile. His presence draws foreign travellers from around the world; there are also many classes here, from yoga to music. Remarkably, I mostly meet other women travelling alone, and often run into people I know. The shopkeepers recognize me, I have familiar faces wherever I walk, and I am beginning some incredible friendships. And I’ve only been here about a week.

By stepping away from my life in Chicago, by coming to this radically different country, I am reminded again of the power of recognition. I am known here, I belong (in a simple way). Eventually, I will move on, continuing this journey through new places and communities. But it is worth building a small life here, because it brings renewal. There’s something powerful in community, especially those formed by women (sorry, fellas). There’s something deep there, some potential that can bring great healing and support.

Remembering how lost I felt in my early years of modern witchcraft, how disconnected, strengthens my belief that even if we enjoy the benefits of practicing alone, positive community involvement is somehow essential to our wellness.

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