I’m tired and it isn’t even 10 AM yet. It’s been a long week. Without any other considerations I’d probably spend the weekend in bed with a book.
Instead I’ll be going to an initiation ritual with folks from church. Some of the people in my coven will be getting their first degree and it’s a big deal for them. I want to be there to celebrate with them, to help out with the set up and clean up. As a neophyte I won’t participate in ritual but hang out with the other neophytes and make sure the feast is ready.
It doesn’t sound terribly exciting but I’m looking forward to it. My tradition has a lot of emphasis on service, and being of service to my community is important to me. One day, if I survive the neophyte classes, there might be a neophyte setting out plates and checking the clock while I’m going through initiation. I know I will appreciate it.
When we think about community we often think about BIG things: like community centers, governing and organizing systems, umbrella organizations or social issues. Sometimes community simply means being there. Showing up. Setting out the potato salad.Being a valuable part of a community doesn’t mean you’re an adept at occult arts, a musician, an artist, a teacher or a craftsman. Those are really cool things, but they aren’t necessary. Showing up, pitching in, supporting each other and just being friendly is the basis of community. Bringing the vegetarian chili can mean more to your community than your deep knowledge of the kabbalah.
Sometimes I think that’s how our communities should start. Rather than begin with a cult of personality they should start with people bringing the baked beans and trading off babysitting on circle nights. I respect tradition and knowledge. They are what give community purpose and drive. Yet what builds community is people actively showing up and supporting each other, treating each other like family, even if it means they’re going to be sitting around playing Scrabble until the ritual is over…