This year has been interesting, to say the least. While there has been some heartaches, there have also been some incredible strength and connectivity shown in 2012 as well. It has been a year of personal growth for me and also a year of collective growth within our community.
So while everyone is doing lists for the closure of 2012, I thought I would do one too. Looking at the road behind me and the mission on the road in 2013 is an important part of my spiritual path and it is a blessing to be able to use the tools of reflection and introspection to help solidify purpose.
Reflections of 2012:
- I am grateful for an incredible year of travel and connection within the Pagan community. This year I was lucky to travel to Chicago for Pagan Spirit Gathering, to Minnesota for the Sacred Harvest Festival and to New Mexico for the Covenant of the Goddess national Merry Meet meeting. In addition, I have been blessed to go to Pantheacon and to have it be my local event here in California. I have been able to meet some of the most incredible people on the journey this year, connect with others around spirituality, create genuine friendships and explore my own place within the Pagan family. I have listened to some of the most incredible music, had awesome roommates, and been able to teach my craft in different places across the country. How amazing this adventure has been for me.
- The remarkable struggle for gender equality within the Pagan community has mirrored my own desire for social justice within the world. It is not about taking sides for me, I believe in much of the mission of both sides of this struggle. What I find to be important is the process of addressing the need for equality within any community. It is embarking on a journey to push against what has been the norm, in a search for what is fair for those who are otherwise without a voice; this is such a powerful moment within our history as a Pagan community. Watching people silently sit in prayer at Pantheacon, during a ritual that used discriminatory language in its description, was powerful. It was amazing to see 90 people observe the rights of others to worship as they please, in a silent and respectful way, and yet stand in solidarity against hate speech and discrimination. It was powerful to watch Ruth Barrett and Melissa Murray spend hours talking about crossing a bridge to better understanding at Pagan Spirit Gathering. Their example of coming together and opening communication in understanding differences was so powerful. May we continue to open the doors of discussion in 2013, with the use of respectful and embracing tactics to social equality.
- Being on the panel at Pantheacon with some of the authors of the Shades of Faith anthology and talking about the needs of minority Pagans within our community was an incredible experience for me. Sitting with Luisah Teish, Luna Pantera, Szmeralda Shanel and Uzuri Amini was inspirational and such an honor. It was incredible to be among such company and to also talk about the collective need for cultural diversity within the community I love. I was able to see much discussion happen around the other minorities sects at the Con, including the People of Color Caucus (that I missed) and a lot of online discussions among people of color within the Pagan community. There has been more openness to the shared experiences of the minority Pagan and it is wonderful to see the train continue to move from the station
- The increasing presence of Pagan writing on the internet has been increasingly important in our sustainability. While the Pagan portal here at Patheos took a hit with the loss of several of our incredible writers, two of them went on to write for independent blogs. We have also seen Teo Bishop and T. Thorn Coyle writing for Huffington post’s religious section, the first Pagan writers to do so. The Huffington Post also did their list of 27 must have books for a Pagan book shelf, one of which was the Shades of Faith anthology! It is nice to see more platforms come up for quality Pagan writing!
- I am grateful to have completed my degree this year and to be accepted into the California State University East Bay to complete my Master’s program. There is a need for professionalism, education and skills within the Pagan community; I am excited to join others that have already supported this need.
Coming into 2013:
- In 2013 I want to continue on a path of oneness with all that is around me. Here are some of the things that I feel are going to be important to me personally or important to the Pagan community.
- I am so excited about my growing natural hair. I have had so many supportive and honest conversations from others in regards to my process and it is enlightening and fun! I am excited to see what continues to grow from my scalp in the 2013 year and share the stories that I come up with in the process. The more stories that ethnic women share about natural hair and culture, the more likely we are to avoid situations like what happened to the news reporter in Louisiana. The story of Rhonda Lee is infuriating and it is important that cultural sensitivity become a mission for all people to support. http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2012/12/14/tv-meteorologist-rhonda-lee-fired-for-defending-hair-on-faceboo/
- Speaking of cultural diversity, I have been inspired by the call for more discussion around the need for diversity within our community. I am a part of a Shades of Faith ritual this year at Pantheacon, working with other priestesses to show diversity in practice. I know that there will also be another People of Color caucus this year at Pantheacon and the potential for a suite. I plan to participate when possible, speak when able, write when words are available and support when I can to the mission of representing the inclusion of all races within Paganism.
- The lack of respectful communication within the Pagan community has been frustrating and exhausting to me. For a spiritual group of people, we often struggle with extending respect to one another and it has been harmful in our engagements. I cannot blame others without supporting healthier solutions for those I come in contact with. I am human and therefore have expressed my own communication in ways that I feel I should have done differently. I hope that my experiences aid me in practicing the tools I use professionally and that I teach. I will try, to the best of my ability, to be a part of the solution and communicate in ways that mirror tools for others. It is one of my missions.
- Work to the best of my ability to walk my path publicly and be about what I speak about. We need to continue to be transparent in our process as spiritual beings so that we lead by example and know what we are following. Transparency is essential to a spiritual path and to leadership.
Gratefulness is a core principal in my practice. I must connect to those things that make me who I am and work to integrate them into my understanding of my path. I am grateful for the experiences I have had and those I have yet to have. I am grateful for the chance to write for this blog, for Pagan Newswire Collective Bay Area, Timeless Spirit Magazine and being an author with Megalithic/Immanion press. I am honored to have my third book in production and to be released in 2013. I am thankful for the love and support of my friends and family. I am thankful to have the trust of the young people I work with and the community that I support as a counselor. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue my education with my Master’s program in social work and bring more information into my writing, counseling and teaching within the Pagan community. I am grateful for my relationships, the sadness, the joys, the fears, the moments of clarity and the confusion.
May 2012 be a positive transition to a newer and better you. May we all embrace the New Year as a new opportunity to expand our love for one another, extend empathy to our brothers and sisters and represent hope to those who might need a reminder of our infinite possibilities. May it be so, may we live it, may we be it, may we give it… to each other and to ourselves. So mote it be and Happy Calendar New Year.