Friday, February 7, 2014
[Pagan Blog Project] C is for Community
This is going to be about my need for a community, not necessarily about pagan communities at large.
Last Sunday February 2nd, I had a wonderful experience going to the UU group's Imbolc celebration. This was because Chalice--who lead the ritual--was doing so under the understanding of the Gaelic framework and the festival's history.
It was a great experience.
Gaelic Festivals are about community. In fact, parts of how Tairis defines Gaelic Reconstruction Polytheism includes the bonds of community. So, it sucks that I'm not in a "Gaelic" community. So far, I have been looking for a community through paganism, but that hasn't worked out so well. The UU group was proving hopeful, but with a recent event, that hope is on hold. I have the screenshots to document what happened, but it basically came down to the organizer this year wanting to host a "Shaman Ritual" and myself objecting due to how racist Shamanism is. The organizer claimed I was being disrespectful of his beliefs, so I said I'd stop going to the UU group rituals for this year. (I rather not have an argument about this every month, and being silent feels too wrong.)
So. What do I even want out of a community?
There was an article I read on patheos a while back about the pagan community. The author of the article was making the argument that the pagan community needed to be nicer to one another and unify. That pagans owed one another kindness, or something like that. I don't recall the exact wording. But one of the first comments really stuck with me. A woman posted about how she--as a pagan--did not consider there to be a pagan community. "Does anyone come over to help babysit my kids? Help me when I'm sick?" My mind then went to Christian communities. While I was never quite part of one, I knew someone who was. That type of behavior is not foreign for those types of church groups. People watch each other kids, have parties, support one another, etc. People helping people who in return help people.
That's what I want, in a way. I don't know if I can ever have a Gaelic Community, where I can watch daughters parade during Imbolc or share stories at Samhain after dusk. It'd be nice. I might have to settle for something semi-online, which is something I'm unfortunately use to. My friends back in PA are scattered about, so I will always have to have a long-distance relationship with them even if I ever did move back. I am building friendships with other Gaelic and Gaulish polytheists online with a community chat, which is bringing me a great sense of community. And I will have my relationship with my boyfriend for in-person, as well as Chalice.
Right now, I'm playing on a community server of Minecraft that is so far three "families" myself, my boyfriend, my Gaelic friend, her husband, and another Gaelic friend (who may bring his wife onto the server.) That type of community is also enhancing, because I can welcome people into my "home" and be hospital in the way I'd like to be. It's obviously not real, and doesn't substitute the real thing, but it's a nice medium until I can get that real thing. Maybe. Someday? Who knows.
I guess the point of all this ranting is that I want an in-person community, but I'd be more than happy for a tightly knit online community as well. A way to share with many people. It's something I miss from being part of the theatre back in Pittsburgh, and something I never really got from my blood family. Ideally it'd be nice to share in customs, if not also beliefs, but even just the commonality of "we like each other" would be wonderful too.
I'm happy for now. And I'm not willing to settle with a group that is problematic. I'll keep tight my personal connections and the bonds I'm forming with people who enrich my life, not add drama to it.