Where can we grow from here?

So a recent article on The Wild Hunt has me thinking…

(do read all the comments at TWH, a whole lot of wisdom is contained there-in!)

“However,  that the hosts of a popular Pagan program have turned atheist should evoke some soul-searching about growth and maturity in our communities. Chas Clifton recently pointed out that pre-Christian (pagan) philosophy used to embrace everyone from the “hard” polytheists to the skeptical materialists. Who (and what) are we not embracing? Where are we not growing that these smart and talented folks must find their spiritual (or philosophical) satisfaction elsewhere? What do you think?”

Well, it seems to me that the Pagan community could really stand to do a lot of work and soul searching on issues of Pride and Community.  I say this as a Pagan and Gay man who has often seen parallels and contrasts between his two subcultural communities.

Why do we seem to have so much trouble coming together across lines of faith or Tradition to build community on the local, regional, and national levels?

Why aren’t there more Pagan community groups, professional organizations, and charities?

Why aren’t more of the people who complain about various lacks in the Pagan community getting up and trying to do something about it?

Why isn’t there a more thriving Pagan oriented Press?  Where is the Pagan communities equivalent of The Advocate, for example?

For those in the U.S….

Why, when we have full Constitutional protection for freedom of religion are so many of us so willing to hide fearfully in the closet?  If we do not excercise our rights we shall surely lose them!

Just a few questions… any ideas out there folks?

7 thoughts on “Where can we grow from here?

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience with the Horned One. I love the imagery of you and Cernunnos becoming entwined as one from root to branch.

    I’ve recognized for sometime that the Antlered God (as well as stags from other mythologies) are associated with trees. His antlers for one thing are tree-like. As well as the lunar-seasonal cyclic associations of the antlers, they also represent the Tree of Life/magical fruit and The cosmic tree of All Things. That the tree (if the interpretation be a valid one) grows from Cernunnos’ head is quite an interesting mythic addition to the mystery of his symbolism.

    I’m always on the look out for other’s experiences with Cernunnos. So again, thanks for sharing.

  2. Pingback: The Wild Hunt » Update: Outgrowing Paganism?

  3. Why aren’t more of the people who complain about various lacks in the Pagan community getting up and trying to do something about it?

    Our inherent insistence on individuality, I think– this unfortunate tendency for us to *want* to be different because we grew up being the weird kids with beliefs no one else held. At some point, maybe the difference of our beliefs became more important to us than the beliefs themselves. Becoming part of a community would mean sacrificing that countercultural, defiant ‘edge.’ Imagine– somewhere down the line, are druid groves going to pass around collection plates? Will Pagan organizations have ice cream socials and Bingo nights?

    Before I meander too much, I wanted to thank you for this sentence in particular:

    Why isn’t there a more thriving Pagan oriented Press? Where is the Pagan communities equivalent of The Advocate, for example?

    You’re absolutely right. I’m editing the fledgling Pagan magazine Thorn and you’ve reminded me, quite powerfully, what we should be trying to do. The task just seems enormous right now because– well– I have to wonder, how did the community get so far without an Advocate equivalent? Why has so much time passed before the beginnings of our community’s maturity?

    Tired thoughts aside: thank you for a renewed sense of purpose.

  4. Pax

    Well Chip,

    I don’t know that the occasional Bingo night or ice-cream social would be so bad… The local Hellenismos community BBQ and Bull Burning could be fun… everyone likes BBQ! But you are right our community has had some major growing pains regarding individual vs. group identity… and the fact that many of us came to Paganism from elsewhere probably has something to do with it to.

    Sometimes us converts can be downright rigid about things, more so than those born and raised.

    As to your second points… from what I have been able to see of your magazine at its sight it looks like a fine addition to the community! I look forward to getting my hands on a copy and reading articles online! (subscription when the money comes along)

    As for an Advocate equivalent… in some ways I think Wild Hunt is becoming the online analogue, and given your own magazines willingness to include News coverage, Thorn may well become the print analogue. We are in a new media age and many of the serious community minded Pagans are fairly spread out in the U.S. so I think the electronic media are a natural… community campfire as it were.

    I would love to hear from some Brits on their thoughts on this whole discussion…(hint?!)

    The amount of time it has taken our community to begin to mature is in direct proportion to the pressure we experience from the outside. The GLBT community would not have blossomed in the ways it has in the last 30 years without the likes of Anita Bryant and the Christian Coalition.

    And you are more than welcome for any inspiration my ramblings may spread!!!


  5. Pax

    Thanks Yvonne!

    Your articles are fabulous… I particularly liked your piece about Theology!

    I had some vague idea that in a physically smaller nation, with a well-developed rail-system, that geographic issues would be less of a barrier to community cohesiveness.

    Then, again, in Anchorage, AK. a town of around 330,000 you regularly had folks say that things on one side of town or the other were too far away… ~sigh~

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