Saoirse April 1st, 2017
I missed doing an article for last month. My computer crashed! I am thankful we have a new computer now, and I can write all I want!
This month falls in between Sabbats, March 20 being the official date of Ostara.
This is one Ostara that I have planned no gatherings, and will not attend any.
It’s not that I don’t have peeps, and it’s not that I lack invitations.
It’s that staying in has become routine for me.
Those who have been reading my articles know I’ve been struggling for a bit over 2.5 years now.
I am not having nearly as many bad days as I did before. Travel is still difficult for me sometimes, however, so I do not commit to anything I don’t absolutely have to.
Plenty of people interpret a thing like this as lack of interest, but a lot of other people in my Community know firsthand how it feels to be this way. They have been very supportive, and make me feel slightly normal. This means more to me than anything else.
I admit, a few years back, I struggling with Community, and was thinking of becoming a Solitary. I was embracing the counterproductive attitude that “Pagan Community” is somehow flawed, and I was too good to deal with “the drama”.
The fact was, I was actively engaging in the drama, and all I had to do was disengage.
When I got sick, I did not have the energy to engage in the online or in-person debates so many other opinionated “socially aware” people in our community, like myself, were taking pride in. I considered it educating people when I “called somebody out.” The result was World War Three, every single time. I unsubscribed from all chat groups, and stopped posting views and opinions online completely. I focused on things like spending time in person with people, and working on my art, which took up so much time, I did not always check my social media page every day.
More importantly, I admitted there were some individuals I had relationships with who were not healthy for me. It was just a few people, but once I decided I could not maintain these relationships anymore, I started spending time with other people who were uplifting and supportive.
Fast forward about two years, after countless doctor visits, endless tears, and worries I would NEVER recover. I started having more good days, and I got a job reading Tarot at a new local shop. I was offered hours also doing so at a different shop. A group of us gathered at the one shop to do an arts and craft group, and potluck once per month. I was asked to teach at both shops. I also shared my art at community shows, and even made a few sales! My things will never make it to a fine gallery or make me rich, but it fills my days and my heart, and I enjoy the people I am involved with.
My role in community changed from online discussion and free, open to the public things to being a part-time businessperson people treated with love, and respect. The crafts group gave me the opportunity to just show up and be a human being nobody expected anything from. There has not been one bit of tension, drama, or disagreement in that group, and we have been gathering for almost a whole year. We are all Pagan.
These things showed me how dramatic, and whiney I was being thinking “Pagan Community” is flawed. How could that be so? There are so very many different circles in our communities and so many different circles within circles. There is endless opportunity for all the diverse people we are, and there is always room for a new person. There is also room for change.
Back when I ran open to the public groups twice monthly, I saw myself as the one who made things happen for people. Now, I see that’s the wrong approach. People who manage, facilitate, or direct are not the doers, they are the delegators. I realize in our communities, typically they say clergy do the work, and other folks just show up…but I learned a very valuable lesson. That isn’t necessarily so. Pagans are like Xtians in the sense there are plenty who like to help. Maybe out of 40 participants, five to ten people help run the gathering. But that is ten to twenty percent of the attendees who are making it happen. That is pretty good. Even if all one person can do is show up and empty the trash or give one person a ride home one time, that is still helping, and almost nobody shows up for Community and has no desire to contribute. Maybe somebody can’t contribute except to just attend today, but in a couple of months, they can.
I misunderstood Community and it took me being too sick to put up with things I made the mistake of allowing, and then just being too sick to leave the house to learn to value just how good of a Community I do have.
Community has been a very big part of my healing. Two of the very first places I was comfortable being was at the Pagan shops where I read, even on days when I am not feeling my best. On days when I was not up to leaving the house, friends from the Community came and kept me company many times. On the days I had no company and was home alone, I could reach out to loved ones online. On the days they were having bad days, they reached out to me. Being able to share my talent for divination, and the information from my years of study makes me feel appreciated, but most of all, it makes me feel useful.
I honestly did not think, sometimes, that I would survive this illness, but my Community kept me going on days I would have not have otherwise bothered. It literally, helped save me. I am so thankful for all the wonderful gifts being part of the Pagan Community provide.
May you all be blessed with a great Community as well.