There have been a lot of posts about community lately, including a few that missed the mark entirely (and won’t be linked to, as the level of vitriol contained in them is revolting and shouldn’t be shared). I’ll link to a few below, but they really are endless.
I have a community. There are a people that I talk to everyday and hang out with and laugh with and share silly videos with, people who I can talk about the gods and spirits and worry over religious matters with. None of them follow the same path I do. I don’t always have the context for revelations that make them excited. But when they stumble on new research, I still celebrate with them. We rant to each other. We laugh with each other. We try to make sense of weird happenings both in waking life and spiritually. I don’t know what I would do without them.
I would really like to have that physically.
I would like it, but I don’t need it. I’m hoping to develop it, but not yet. I’ve got ideas and big hopes, but we’ll see. I may be more cut out for just finding a few friends and giggling together with them and working, for the most part, on my own. I definitely don’t want to be involved with any local groups at the moment.
Ultimately, all I need is the spirits I serve and a book to write my experiences in. That would get stifling, being unable to share my experiences, but my path is about the spirits and gods first, and doing work for them, and until they push the community issue I’m content with the friends I have. The friends I trust and love and confide in. I don’t need more than that, and I’m not ready to help with anything more than that honestly. I have to work out my own ego issues and figure out how to tame my tongue a bit better around people I find repulsive. After all, in a community we often end up with people we dislike but have to deal with on some level, and we have to clamp down and get work done for the good of all of us rather than spatting.
(That’s really what I’m having trouble with right now, and I have to remind myself that even if I think someone is damaging the community, others don’t, and my opinion is not law.)
Sometimes I feel like I’ll bite through my tongue from holding myself back, but I know ultimately that is worth it. Not that I always hold my tongue – I often speak sharply and cruelly before catching myself, and I used to speak with as much vitriol as is common in certain online areas – but I try. I have to remember when a group or person is worth the effort of an argument, disagreement, or dialog. I have a low tolerance for people that don’t question themselves or each other and form packs of rabid dogs, which is why I tend to drift. I spent my time as a hungry animal wanting nothing more than to tear someone apart. I’m no longer that.I want people I can talk to, and I found those people.
That’s enough for me, right now.
When I have the patience, when I have the willingness, when I have the time, I’ll start thinking about a physical community. I’ll start thinking about it and exploring that option and figuring out how to build with others something that will last (hopefully) so that people who come later will have a structure. Have a support. We do have supports and groups, but so many of them are in shambles or claim openness while being closed or are very specific (which is not bad, but is limiting). I don’t feel ready to do much now, but someday I will. I’m grateful for the community I have, the people I know, the voices that comfort and challenge me.
Community takes time. It takes some cultivation. It also takes being willing to accept the unexpected – and possibly rethink what we expect and need from the communities we want. Community is like a garden, and sometimes plants have to go, and sometimes you’ve got to tinker with the soil and sometimes it just doesn’t work and you can’t help that. But communities serve and support, and if we can’t set ourselves down and really do that, really think beyond ourselves and our egos – get ready tumblr, I’m going to say words that make you shriek – we’re doing it wrong.
- Making Bright: G is for Group
- Freedom Isn’t Free, and Neither is Community
- The Logistics of Running a Kemetic Anything
- Dusken talks about the pagan community
- Pagan Groups: Why Not?
- Pagan Groups: Seeking to Find
- **** Your Ego
- Benefit the Community, Not Yourself
- Kemeticism is like a Fandom