I ran across a CNN news story yesterday that really got me thinking. It spoke of the danger of the “Spiritual But Not Religious” movement creating self-centered, selfish people instead of creating community and promoting charity.
Yesterday I raised the question “what if we get big and mainstream?” without actually exploring it. Today I’m wondering “if we get big and mainstream and are made up mostly of solitaries, what then?” because it suddenly seems like we’ve got a big ol’ elephant in the room I’ve only just noticed.
Backtrack: I was solitary for almost 10 years. I was interested in being part of a group and I joined a few of organizations and was active on a few forums, but I was not in the business of creating community. I held no responsibility to anyone and depended on no one. I studied what I pleased and where I pleased and my obligations were fleeting and social.
Today I am a student of a trad coven and the whole dynamic has changed. I have homework, I have copious notes to take, practices to practice and an obligation to help my coven with gardening, buying supplies and even being the designated driver at Beltane! (which was an adventure!)
The truth is, despite all my wandering among the ideas of the Pagani, I never really actively engaged the Pagan community at large until I was involved in a coven. I paid more attention to Pagan news, contributed to Pagan charities, listened to more Pagan music and attended more Pagan events. Being actively aligned with a religious identity engaged me and pushed me to give back to the community that has been so important to me.
I am by no means saying we should all be Wiccan. What I am saying, is that being active in a Pagan group of some sort, being bound by mutual obligations, is good for us individually and communally. There is nothing wrong with being religious, in participating in religious rites and belonging to a religious group, as long as it’s kept green and dynamic.
Trees shed their leaves every fall to sprout new leave growing in the old pattern each spring. Just like the leaf, we need our time “attached” and our time “detached”, but we always benefit from belonging to a tree.