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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Pagan institutions
Pantheon Foundation: building 21st Century Pagan infrastructure

When talk is not enough, it is time to build.

This month, with the Claremont Conference on Contemporary Paganism and PantheaCon, I’m taking the month off from my regular blog post to announce the formation of a new Pagan service organization: the Pantheon Foundation.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Hi Sam. Looking at your web materials the initial organization appears to be very heavily focused on CA/Bay Area leadership and m
  • Sam Webster
    Sam Webster says #
    Thanks, Graybeard. Yes, most of us are Bay Area and Jason of The Wild Hunt is in Eugene Oregon, but that aside, you are right on b
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    So, Sam. Does that mean you are starting out by excluding all the pagans who have different views on so-called "social justice" a
Pagans (mostly) like the idea of credit unions

As 2013 was winding down, I put out a call for indebted Pagans who would be willing to be interviewed as I began exploring our relationship with debt.  One brave Heathen, Melanie Swaim, was willing to do so, and the post I wrote after we talked blew the doors off the Witches and Pagans Facebook page, garnering (at last count) 1,137 likes and 162 comments.  I'm told it was, to date, the most liked post on the page for this site.  That deserves some serious unpacking.

First things first:  I took one idea from the many which came out of my conversation with Ms Swaim, and ran with it:  that she had to seek out guidance and support for her financial challenges in a religious community other than her own, because hers does not have that type of infrastructure.  To be clear, I interpreted this is simply an observable fact, not an incrimination of Heathens in any way.  Most, if not all, Pagan religions have a fierce independent streak running through them.  Anecdotally, it seems that individual responsibility is a more important value across Paganism than even community. 

Developing institutions in Paganism, financial or otherwise, is going to run into conflict with these dearly-held values.  Add to that the very small number of people in Paganism as a whole (and the smaller numbers practicing any particular faith in the community), and it's not surprising that the organizational maturity isn't quite there to develop safety nets for each other yet.

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  • Kveldrefr
    Kveldrefr says #
    I would think that part of the issue regarding credit unions in particular is that many Pagans make a virtue of poverty, taking pr
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    I've heard of virtuous poverty (but not the term, did you coin it, Kveldrefr?) so often that it feels like it must be true, but I
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Credit unions belong to the depositors, a.k.a. members. Allowing Christian depositors allows them to vote for the Board of Direct
Financial support in the Pagan community

There has been some wonderful online discourse about the role of institutions in modern Paganism.  There are those who believe the price -- of leaving behind our counterculture roots -- would be too high.  Others believe that this is the only path to a mature religious movement, and still others propose solutions that include both.  I believe it's important to include the idea of financial institutions in this dialogue.

I'm not necessarily talking about banks and credit unions, although nothing is off the table.  While Pagans are frequently loving, giving people, our community lacks any institutional ways to support one another financially.  A credit union would certainly fit part of that bill, but not every problem can be solved with a loan.  Each of us face challenges and opportunities that could look very different with a bit more money:  wardrobe for a new job, affordable day care, credit counseling, even basic money management skills.  These challenges are quite effectively addressed by some religious communities.  Should they be in ours?

"There's a certain amount of self-reliance expected by Pagans," I was told by Melanie Swaim, a Heathen who accumulated a large helping of medical debt that she's trying to pay off.  "I had to go to another religion to get help with my finances."

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  • Carl Neal
    Carl Neal says #
    Once again you have explained my feelings in a more eloquent way than I could have. I agree with this wholeheartedly. "Instituti

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