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The swirls and eddies of the rising tide pull us ever closer into the dizzying dance that is summer. Here in the British Isles, summer is when everything happens: festivals appear from May to September, weekend events and week-long retreats. It’s a busy time of year, when we ride the solar energies to the point of highest light. We feel our spirits rising with the sun, and let its rays illuminate our paths and nourish us body and soul.
It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy. My schedule is packed until October, with pagan events, priestly duties and more. By the end of May I can already begin to feel a little burned out, and summer hasn’t even really gotten into its stride yet. What I have to do is look to nature for inspiration.
The growing tides of light can entice us to do more than we should, to overbook or overcommit ourselves. What we don’t want to happen is to have the summer solstice upon us and be too tired to celebrate it. We need to harness our energies, to pool our resources so that we can access those lush depths when the time is right.
Our agricultural ancestors welcomed this time of year: it was warm, and if they were lucky the crops were planted and growing well. Vigilance was still needed, yes, but at this point what will happen will happen. The hardest work was yet to come, during harvest season. So too do we need to see that at this time near the highest light we need to remember not to burn too brightly, or we will have nothing left when it is time to reap what we have sown.
Take some time out, time to regroup, time for stillness and reflection. Enjoy the present moment. Spend time alone with yourself to check in on how you are feeling, emotionally, physically, mentally. Have you over-committed? Are you doing too much? Really feel how you are in this present moment, and use that knowledge to help you find that balance point between motion and stillness. Ride the energies up to the solstice, yes, but ride them with care. Riding headlong and reckless can lead to you being unseated, and you might never get where you wish to go in such a manner.
The earth hums with the tides and times of life. At this time of year she is reaching upward, and so too can we reach upward to find our heavenly bliss. But we must keep our feet rooted in the ground, in order to feed our roots with that wonderful light and warmth streaming across the land. We can’t run on an open circuit; we need to be grounded. Deep relationship nourishes both parties.
Blessings of the summer to you all!
Many Pagans define themselves as "Earth-centered," and yet, so many of us fail to actually live in harmony with the earth. I've written before on the Pagan Activist blog about environmentalism. And I admit that--in my frustration--I've written a few harsh and perhaps even incendiary posts on the topic. I don't know that those have done anything to change anyone's mind.
However, environmentalism is a part of Pagan leadership and community building, which is why I'm writing about it here....
This is the first in a series of posts on event planning. First, I'm going to outline some really bad event planning processes, and then I'll go into some event planning strategies and methods that are a bit more helpful. When I'm teaching leadership workshops, a lot of Pagans ask me, "Why do our teams have such problems working together?" I can tell you that poor event planning processes accounts for a lot of group blow-ups.
I've planned a lot of grassroots events. Some Pagan, some in the scifi-fantasy fandom community, and now some as a fiction author. I've seen a lot of things go wrong. Heck, I've contributed to some of those things going wrong. A lot of how we humans learn seems to unfortunately be through making mistakes of our own. Recently, I've had a few people asking me for advice on event planning. And as it happens, I've been part of a few online event planning processes that have reminded me of some sure-fire recipes for disaster....
Famine, cannibalism, disease, crime – it was widely rumored in ancient Egypt that during a terrible time in its past the forces of isfet (chaos) completely upended the orderly society of which Egyptians were inordinately fond. The first “intermediate period” between kings became the subject of several Middle Kingdom teaching or wisdom texts, such as The Prophecy of Neferti and The Admonitions of Ipuwer. These writings essentially bemoan the terrible things that are supposed to have happened, and warn readers to maintain maat (balance, justice) in order to avoid a recurrence.
Here’s the thing – there is no real evidence that the catastrophic events actually happened. Modern scholars lean towards the idea that they were written primarily as propaganda, reinforcing the importance of unifying under the king, keeping religious observances of the neteru (gods), and keeping things on an even keel.
I just posted a bit about Pagan environmentalism and the connection to Pagan leadership. It was a bit philosophical, so I thought I'd follow up with a more concrete post on specific things you can do as a Pagan leader and event organizer to reduce your use of resources and reduce environmental destruction.
Have you ever been to a Pagan festival or other event where there was a ton of trash left behind at the end? Have you ever been to a Pagan ritual where people were using styrofoam cups, or using plastic plates that just got thrown out? Have you ever been to a Pagan event where the land was left in a far worse condition than when you arrived? Or where there weren't recycling options, or where, despite there being a recycling dumpster, Pagans failed to sort their trash?...
When my wife and I started the Oak Court (for those of you new to the column, that's the name of our coven, and the street we live on) we weren't setting out to start a coven. Heck, our little gathering didn't even have a name in those early days and certainly wasn't called "The Oak Court." We simply invited a few friends over who weren't involved in any other small-circles or covens and grew from there.