The July sun shines bright and merry in the summer sky and the vegetables are starting to be heavy with this year’s harvest. This time of year, we would normally be several Pagan gatherings in and the lack of time with my chosen community weighs heavily on me. I find my thoughts returning again and again to the festival season that wasn’t. Many of the Pagans close to me share my lamentation – there will be no mass dancing around the fire this year, no skillful weaving among dozens of sweating bodies, no drummers pounding out a shared rhythm through some sort of musical alchemy.
There is no substitute for the specific magick of a community physically together and sharing the ecstasy of life and music. I miss the faces I normally see during Festival Season, the uniquely deep connections forged during our times together pull at my heart. But there is another truth present here as well: we are all still here. The beloveds I associate with Fertile Ground Gathering, Rites of Spring, the Faerie Festivals and more have not vanished off the face of the earth. We are simply confined to our own homes for now and figuring out new ways to connect while the pandemic sweeps across our nation.
Some Pagan communities have moved to Zoom and other online platforms – my own community, the Frederick Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (Frederick CUUPS), has done so and is offering more programming than ever. We are discovering something interesting: UU Pagans from as far afield as France and Sweden are joining us as we learn, worship, celebrate, and grow. The community that was once specific to Frederick, Maryland, has grown much larger geographical borders. During this time when we cannot gather with our usual communities in person, the connections we are growing online are incredibly important.
As we hear so frequently, this time of physical distancing is a marathon, not a sprint. A good relay team passes the baton between distance runners to cover the miles of a given course. The obstacles of geography are falling away and an opportunity is here to knit closer ties with Pagans we might otherwise never come to know. At the ever-burning festival fire of the heart of Paganism, there is room for everyone to dance.
I developed a reading to help figure out my next steps forward in supporting our community during pandemic times. If you are interested in joining the dance, perhaps it will be useful to you as well. This reading is all about community, so it takes the form of a festival fire.
This reading can be done with any system based on sortilege: Tarot, Runes, Ogham, Oracle Cards, etc. To do the reading, begin by concentrating on your connection to community. Then draw 6 cards using these questions:
1) What does my community most need right now?
2) What skills or abilities do I have that can help meet that need?
3) What skills or abilities should I develop further to help meet that need?
4) What is the first step I should take in order to support my community?
5) What shape will that work take?
6) What is the outcome of my involvement?
My own message is that the community most needs deep connection. I am to use my skills as a teacher and guide and to further my ability to see a new path forward. My first step is simply to keep going – to continue moving forward even when it’s difficult. The shape my work will take is the survival of the whole through a difficult period. The outcome is a journey toward a bright future.
Would you like to share your results? Hit me up in the comments. Or, if you’d like someone to do this reading for you, drop me a line at Glasse Witch Cottage.
May the summer sun see you growing strong, and may the roots you reach out nourish you.