Pagan Community - What Works?
Ever since the early 1970's when I first became aware of such concerns, there has been talk of forming a pagan community. To my mind there has always been such a community though it has not always
been publicly evident as such. For the most part it has been due to the repressive policies of the Abrahamic belief systems that have necessitated a hidden and thus a secret society.
Since the beginning of humankind, pagans have been about and quietly practicing their craft. Some have engaged themselves as solitaires and others have thrived within small and secluded covens or similar
gatherings. In all reality this is what constituted a pagan community. Regardless of what approach one chose, the magickal artshave always been preserved and studied as such. Spiritual growth has continued to flourish in spite of the obstacles that it has had to overcome.
And depending on what era one lived in, these obstacles could well prove to be fatal.
And now with the indignation of religious/spiritual censorship being slowly cast aside, and with the advent of the Internet as a means of mass communication, there has been a call for an open pagan community.
This call for such a community has in essence been the first step towards establishing such a public entity.
However over the years it appears as if those who have expressed a desire to achieve such a goal have started to spin their wheels per se.
Granted there are small groups here and there who immerse themselves in their local projects, however there is little if any connectivity beyond their particular locales with other such like minded groups.
On occasion someone from the so called pagan community will be invited by one of the Abrahamic groups to participate in a meeting or a short lived council if you will. And these individuals will state that they are representing the so called pagan community at large.
However, in all reality this is a fallacy for the umbrella of paganism is far too diverse to be represented by one individual or one style of pagan related belief. And at the end of the day they are in all reality simply representing their own particular group and/orproject without any authentic endorsement of the majority of those who call themselves pagan.
Folks will peripherally say that what these folks are doing is a good thing and then will go about their lives without any actual involvement in the process of the moment. And such involvement by the majority is crucial if such claims are to be seen as valid and not as the chest thumping that it invariably is.
And also in all reality there is no pagan community as envisioned by the Neo pagans of today's society. In fact the words "pagan community" is euphuism for identifying those who have a similar
interest in the magickal arts. But then that is where the similarities end. For the magickal arts encompasses a wide and divergent system of beliefs.
And this is where the lack of fruition in developing such an envisioned pagan community begins.
There is a fallacy in place amongst neo pagans that a pagan community can be fashioned after the same mold as used by the Abrahamic religions. As long as this fallacy is endorsed, I seriously doubt that there will ever be a realistic pagan community established as such.
I personally believe that this fallacy is a result of the huge and rapid influx of folks from the Abrahamic belief systems into paganism.
This is one of the setbacks of the Internet, for in all reality, the craft is not for everyone who seeks it.
To truly embrace paganism and to fully realize all of its potential offerings and rewards, takes discipline, patience and a deep desire to learn. In short it requires a dedication that is not very widespread in today's society.
As we have seen from the multitude of bloated egos amongst those who call themselves pagan, there is a resistance to these time honored qualities. And yet, instant gratification is an unrealistic tenet of paganism.
With human nature being what it is, it is very difficult to divest oneself of one's former beliefs in favor of a belief system that was previously foreign to them.
Within the Abrahamic belief systems is a centralized authority, a concept that will never work with pagans. There is an authoritarian rule that is male dominated that also will not work in paganism. And finally, though the various branches of Abrahamic belief systems may have slightly different approaches, their collective belief systems worship one male God. And this absolutely will not work in a viable pagan community.
And so why do pagans continue to embrace an approach that is destined to fail from the start?
Perhaps it is because of the familiarity of such an approach that originates from ones former comfort zone in the form of their previous religious/spiritual beliefs?
And so how do we collectively as pagans get to step two if at all?
I wish that I had the answers but as one individual pagan all I can offer is a personal perspective for what its worth. I personally believe that the closest that neo pagans will ever come to a pagan community is at best a loose federation, a gathering of the tribes if you will. Such a federation may want to consider a round table of
representatives consisting of members from all of the various pagan disciplines. This would mean a loose collaboration of sorts amongst Witches, Druids, Voudon, Asatru, Wicca, Native American, Yoruba,
Santeria, and so forth.
Is such collaboration possible amongst such a diverse group of beliefs?
I really don't know, but without such collaboration all that is left is step one, where small groups of folks do their own thing without any tangible concept of community outside of their own local locales. And even within the same locales there will continue to be a lack of realistic cohesion, for each group inevitably wants to
This is another aspect of human nature which seems to be amplified in today's society.
Or worse yet we will have certain elitist groups and/or individuals claiming to represent all other pagans as a whole. Sound familiar?
Or another thought may be to stop putting so much idle talk into creating a pagan community per se and instead put our efforts and energy into our individual groups in the form of teaching the tenets that are necessary to fully embrace paganism for what it can really be.
Perhaps by these worthwhile efforts we will create a pagan society by way of accomplishing that which is more readily attainable.
In effect, changing the mind set that is our own worst enemy and which may eventually lead to our downfall as a societal accepted belief system.
Such an approach has worked for centuries prior to the onset of neo paganism. Why change that which is not broke in favor of something that may well be unattainable and which is for the most part based upon a concept that doesn't work for paganism?