I was chatting with some friends about the discussions about Pagan leadership. There's a conference planned for hard polytheists, and Shauna Aura Knight is writing a series on community building that's good reading (and thanks to Jo for pointing it out to me!). I'm really happy that constructive dialogue is starting up, and I hope that it yields community building and infrastructure in the Pagan and Heathen communities. When I think about my own strengths and weaknesses as a priestess/gythia, and what I'd like to leave as a legacy to my community twenty or fifty years from now, I don't want bickering with monotheists, or other Pagans to be that legacy. I'd like to build a support system for our faith.
Some of that comes from my background as a teacher and speech path; one of the goals in working for ChildFind was to assess both child and family's needs and connect them to government and private resources that would help them improve their lives. What we deeply need, IMO, is the same kind of training and access to resources, because when people seek spiritual counseling and connection, they're often hurting and in need of healing. I am not a healer, but I can help direct someone to the type of healer that they need. Of course, this type of work involves knowing yourself (and oh Gods, we talk about that alllll the time, but HOW do you know yourself?) - that's heavy duty metacognitive work. Just to pick on myself a moment, because modeling often helps people figure out their own processes:
Knowledgeable about the resources in my area (public and private)
Have articulated personal monastic/ministerial ethics, ideals, and goals
“Wherever we live, we are surrounded by symbols—if we choose to see them. We can go through life ignorant of this rich imagery, or we can open our eyes to the deeper truths inherent in much that surrounds us. For those interested in exploring the philosophical and the metaphysical, a world filled with symbols is infinitely rich and rewarding, leading us to a greater understanding of ourselves and bringing a fresh perspective to our lives.” – From the book
From crosses to triangles, colors to flowers, symbols permeate art, myth, fairytales and movies. Most everyone knows that a heart pierced by an arrow symbolizes love, as well as that of a red rose. But have you ever considered how that association came to be made?
What about the pyramid on a dollar bill, “the finger”, or the significance of the red string bracelet worn by Kabbalists? Or what does it mean that Bill Clinton “points” with his thumb when giving a speech or that kohl lined the eyes of Ancient Egyptian women? Where is the subtle symbol concealed in the FedEx emblem that earned it one of the top eight logos in modern design history?...
Being Solitary is a defining part of who I am as a Pagan. I meet so many other Solitaries in my journeys and often find them feeling disconnected from the greater Pagan Community. That is why I write this blog and speak on this topic whenever I can. The specific topic I write about today applies to every segment of the Community because, when it comes right down to it, each of us are Solitary within our own minds, and that’s important to remember. Even Traditional Pagans often feel disenfranchised or isolated, (and most practice away from their Covens as well as with them) so this article is really for everyone in the Community.
A few of you might be aware that I was involved in a very serious (and very stupid) accident in mid-December. I quickly sent out a call to my friends asking for healing energy directly from my hospital bed. I was in extraordinary pain when I sent that request and was badly broken. One aspect of my life as a Solitary has been to shield myself from the energy of others in most instances. Bad experiences from my past have made me very cautious about the energies I take in and (generally speaking) I never open myself to energy from people I’ve never met.