Archive for ‘Ritual’

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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