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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

Groups

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C65989237/E20090602142136

How many groups really are about the gods and the magick?

It's pretty bad when your first three topics don't want to write themselves. It's worse when you look at the Pagan blogosphere and nothing leaps out at you. You know you've struck a dry well when even the forums you frequent don't inspire.

I guess that leads more or less back into one of the topics I was thinking about.

I've been thinking about pagan groups lately. That's not surprising, considering what I have been reading.

There was a time I would have given a lot to belong to a coven or circle or grove. Not an online group, but something where you can actually see the people you are talking with, raise a glass or two, laugh and belch and argue fine points of pure and applied philosophy far into the night and well into the next afternoon.

But, and that is a really big "but," most of the groups aren't worth it.

Now I know some of you are going to take offense, but hear me out.

Let's take as a working assumption that a real pagan group is going to be about the magick and the gods. Or maybe about the gods and the magick.

So where does that put all the political activists and "Pagan Community" groups? If that is going to be their focus, well and good, but it's not about the gods and the magick, is it? I'm not saying that those groups don't serve a purpose, even though I probably don't agree with it. I'm just saying that those are groups first, and the paganism is a distant second or fourth. And yes, I am a big one for manifesting your beliefs in actions that can change the world. But calling a group pagan just because of it's membership doesn't cut it.

This is a hard distinction to make because so much of the modern (read post 1950s) pagan movement was tied up in the various protest movements of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Are those battles won or lost? Well, I suppose it depends on the battle, but I would call most of them won. And those battles really don't have that much to do with the full moon (Lady in the Court of Stars) in a week or so. Personally I am not interested in women's rights or minority rights, I'll just settle for treating everyone as if they had equal rights.

Then we come to the victim groups. While showing off your current wounds and old scars may bring some temporary surcease, that isn't going to let you heal. It's not going to make you a better person, and it certainly won't bring you closer to the Divine. Using that logic, you might as well cut off your fingers and toes, or your feet and hands. At some point, you'll run out of things to sacrifice.

Either you heal or you endure, but your pain doesn't grant you power over another. Pay attention to that bit, it might be important.

Modern Pagans attract more than our fair share of the victims. I've learned that we do them no favors by enabling their victimhood.

Then we get to the social groups. Again, they're important, but they aren't exactly Pagan.

And at this point, I have to be honest. Even a few years back, I would have looked for one of these groups, even as I told myself I was looking for something else. I wouldn't have been honest with myself or others. And I suspect that most people would do the same.

There is another type of group I haven't talked about yet, and that is the cult of personality. Fortunately they're pretty easy to spot, so I don't have to go into detail.

What does that leave us?

Well, a pagan group is going to be about the gods and the magick.

There's one really big scary-ass implication there.

Anyone who really joins a pagan group will do some growing up.

It's all about the transformation. Magick is the essence of change and evolution. Gods make you stretch. The Story is not the Journey.

The blade has two edges.

You can't touch others without being touched. You can't change the world without being touched. The magick flows through you and shapes you as surely as it does the universe. Just something to think about.

No fortress
No armor
Just me and the magick
Of Blade and Shaft

My SPEAR burns and tears
Yet it only reflects
Flame and Wind at my core
Drawn from Earth and Water
Bound in Spirit

"Save and protect us!" you cry
"May I strike true!" says me

Know the secret
Attacking, I am attacked
Wounding, I am wounded
Sacrificing, I am sacrificed
First and Final Reflection

I like that piece, it's one of my more striking ones. Pun intended.

Like I said, I don't think that most of the groups are worth it.

But then, I don't think that right now I could do what a real Pagan group demands.

Posted: Tue - June 2, 2009 at 02:21 PM

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A narrow slice of life, but now and again pondering American neopaganism, modern adult pagans & the World.

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