Welcome to the online journal of a pair of Quaker Pagans.
Enjoyed the visit to your guest blog. I've been, I guess, an "armchair" Pagan, in the sense of reading about forms of Wiccan practice and doing some of my own trance work (starting from reading Jung on active imagination, but shaped a bit by reading Starhawk and others). My woodsy community experiences have been either adolescent Girl Scouts or on the Quaker side (we have a periodic weekend singing community that's largely out doors, and our Yearly Meeting is held at a camp). So I found your account stirring up some sighs of envy and regret, imagining communal ritual and community connecting over campfires. But I don't think I'd have the stamina to do full-bore Pagan community as you describe in addition to Quaker involvement. Glad you have the richness of two forms of spiritual community to allow cross-fertilization!
Well, I will say that, since becoming "full-bore" in my Quaker life, most of my Pagan experiences have been limited to ongoing contact with friends. I no longer lead any Pagan groups, nor have much contact with newcomers except through my writing; Quaker work takes up what time I have during the school year that doesn't go into teaching.I was to have attended another private Pagan retreat week this coming week--the first in about two years--but the closing on the house conflicts with it! Still, I hope to go next year, and perhaps organize a morning meeting for worship among that tribe. :-)I miss spending more time with my Pagan community. But I got to keep the lessons they taught me, and the friendships, and I still love to spend time there when I can.
I'm struck by the differences in your community experiences as a Pagan and my own solitary experience. I've always considered myself a contemplative Pagan or even a "Protestant Pagan." I wonder if anyone would ever be able to pick me out as a Pagan apart from that which I say or write that makes the fact explicit. Your reflection did remind me of one of my very favorite songs from childhood which says, "They will know we are Christians by our love." Wouldn't that be nice if it were true?
I wish you would have expounded a little bit on how and why betrayal is a "feature and not a bug," because if I could figure that out maybe I could reframe my experiences in such a way that I could let go of my distrust enough to participate with people.
Hystery, the process of becoming un-solitary, in face to face life, has been very difficult for me. I know I often turn to an online community (as in the blogosphere) to give me the courage and affirmation I need before I've dared move forward in my new, Quaker community. This has made the process a good deal easier than it was to enter community the first time, though still really difficult.I should write more about that, I think. I go through waves of intense fear and anxiety, almost to the point of paranoia, when I try to fully enter a new community for the first time. Thus far, it has always been worth it--though I've been burned, and badly, more than once.Souris--the bit about betrayal by other humans in community as a bug and not a feature has been hard won. I did not feel this way once upon a time. Certainly, my becoming Quaker has intensified my sense that forgiveness is both harder than we like to believe and more essential to living fully and freely and in the Spirit... but I was growing into that knowledge anyway.Probably the place I've written about that process the most clearly is in my spiritual journey series, especially in parts 8 through 12. It is still something I wrestle with constantly: I am by nature judgmental, at least a teensy bit arrogant, and quick to anger. Happily, I think I'm also quick to love, and relatively quick to let go of anger. But this process of learning that, pitiful as human beings are, it is my job, as another human, to learn to love and forgive them... it has been both difficult and rich. And I'm not done yet!Thank you for your comments. Blessed be.
Cat, it is indeed difficult to be un-solitary for those of us who require it for our mental well-being. My public persona takes care of that job but then leaves me pretty jangled and exhausted when I finally put that face back in the drawer at the end of the day. I do hope that among Friends I may, with time, find a community that grants me a bit more reciprocity than I have with my public speaking and teaching. Friends seem so loathe to discuss intellectual and spiritual matters with relaxed and humorous passion. That is what I crave.
Post a Comment