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PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in community building

Dear Friends,

Effective immediately, please stop telling me to delegate.

Thanks so much.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Culture of the Imagination, Part 3

Last month, I wrote about the psychological dynamics behind the sacred spaces we create together and the ways we might utilize the power of sacred space to create a better world. This month, I'll be writing about what happens when the people to whom we have given power abuse it, and in doing so weaken both the internal and external cultures of the imagination we've worked so hard to build. Specifically, I'll be writing about the work of Marion Zimmer Bradley (MZB), its influence upon a generation of Pagan women and the destructive effects of the recent pedophilia allegations against her.

The younger Pagans among you might not recognize the name, but if you're a Pagan woman of a certain age, you'll remember that MZB is the author of a much-beloved novel called The Mists of Avalon. This novel tells the Arthurian story from the point of view of its women and follows the life of Morgaine, otherwise known as Morgan le Fay. It was released in 1983, just a few years before I left an abusive family of Jehovah's Witnesses to live with my grandmother, who was also a Christian conservative. An avid reader, I found the novel in 1986, and it changed my life in ways that echo even now. It was the world I wanted to live in; a place where women existed in community with one another, where they wielded the ancient power of the divine feminine, where the sacred was protected from the mundane. Because of that book, I was drawn to Western European Paganism, and then to Celtic Pagan spirituality, and then to a degree in Celtic Studies, and then to Cape Breton. In a very real sense, The Mists of Avalon shaped my own culture of the imagination and helped make me the woman I am now.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • C.S. MacCath
    C.S. MacCath says #
    In hindsight, it sounds uncomfortably like what Moira Greyland has written of her mother. Interestingly, that passage struck me a
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    C.S. and Carol: I actually have found a paragraph from one of the Avalon books which could, in a certain light, be construed as a
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    In re: Diana Paxson and the MZB situation, please see Diana's public statement here: http://www.diana-paxson.com/writing/avalon/ma
  • C.S. MacCath
    C.S. MacCath says #
    Thanks for this, Anne.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you, Anne. Good enough for me, too.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Culture of the Imagination, Part 2

Last month, I wrote about hiraeth, the cultures of the imagination we create as a Pagan community and the empowerment that occurs when we cultivate sacred spaces together. This month, I'll be expanding upon that theme with a discussion of the psychological dynamics behind this process and some suggestions about what we might do with the power inherent in it.

"I think the search for community, be it within the traditional cultures in Alba Nuadh1 or the various pagan cultural communities, is the proof of how crazy global consumerist culture has made us and, indeed, how wrong it is for us. We are instinctively looking for what felt right. I don't think that a homeland of the imagination is better than an actual community of people who see and speak to each other, but perhaps it can form a useful bridge to sustain isolated cultural thoughtful pagans during this period of global cultural and environmental decline." - Sylvain Grandcerf

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Alliances

 

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    I think the application of hospitality is a good idea. What I've seen more in these flare-ups is not so much bristling over someo
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    I agree, Terrence, and people who come in with that attitude in an interfaith setting soon leave, without any converts. Of course
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Thanks for your thoughtful and helpful article, Ivo. In the last few months we have seen far too many pagans picking nits and de
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Thanks for this, Ivo. We who work in interfaith certainly live by this attitude. I daresay that the various trads, covens, and i

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Hand, Heart, & Eye

 

There are many of late who have written about abuse in the Pagan community. This is not the first time that I have seen a rise in the discussion and the debate on how to deal with these serious problems. After a time, when the acute triggering incidents have faded from the collective memory and from news coverage, we drift back towards business as usual. I have seen this pattern wax and wane several times in several communities. Some people focus on the specific individuals, their transgressions and how they should be dealt with. Others respond by creating policy statements or rules that are to be adopted and enforced by organizations. Some, and we should offer a special blessing for them, choose to focus their efforts on supporting and healing those that have been injured. Like all crises, when troubled times like these arise the best and the worst comes forth.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Thanks Ivo. This is good advice. In addition, I think we need to have a critique of patriarchy and all forms of domination includ
  • Ivo Dominguez Jr
    Ivo Dominguez Jr says #
    Dear Carol, I certainly agree with you on this. I believe that critiques and analysis are a part of the solution.
Saving money as a community:  the sou-sou

As the Pagan savings challenge progresses, I'm aware that there are Pagans who are not participating because my weekly (and impersonal) posts aren't motivation enough to keep it up.  The pressures are many, and my voice is small.  But my belief in the power of savings is strong.

  • Savings is a discipline, as surely as devotion and magic are, and discipline is its own reward.
  • Savings transforms one's relationship with money, changing it from one of reaction to one of intention.
  • Savings results in a pile of money that literally wouldn't have been there if it hadn't been saved, which is the sort of reward that even the most right-brained among us should appreciate.
  • Savings requires the right mix of patience and attention, which in proper measure can nurture virtually anything.

So in keeping with my sincere belief that each and every Pagan should have a savings plan as part of their spiritual practice, I present an alternative for working groups:  the sou-sou.  It is one of the simplest savings programs to understand, but challenging for the typical American to participate.  It came to the United States from West Africa, and is most commonly used in this country by populations who are on the edges -- or outside -- of the traditional money system.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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:

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