Pax posted an entry today talking about building Pagan community. It’s well worth reading, and I highly recommend checking out. (I also recommend checking out Pax’s blog in general.)
As one or two of my recent entries may have indicaed, the thought of community has been on my mind a lot, so Pax’s post really rang home with me. I especially appreciated the following comments that he made when discussing the nature of Paganism:
I would observe that for the different Pagan faiths and paths there seems to be an overall theme of development into being a better person (personal growth and perhaps enlightenment, although it is not neccesarilly phrased as such) by practicing certain rights, and developing our relationships with the Divine (or the All That Is) and with the Spirits of the World Around Us (Elements and Land Spirits), and living certain (intertwining and overlapping) virtues and values, and by building our relationships with others in our groups and faiths and societies through those virtues and values and practices…[Emphasis mine]
I’d say that overall, Pax pretty well sums up many of the central themes unfolding as I follow my own spiritual path. But lately, it’s that last part — the part I emphasized — that has really been waying on me. There is an aspect to my spirituality that is very dependent on my connection to others and my place in community.
In the past, I’ve explored the theme of passion and living life to the fullest, which is another important aspect of my walk. To be frank, with a patron goddess like Freyja, it’s kind of hard not to take a passionate, fully-involved view of life. And in some ways, I see this concern with community as a natural outgrowth of such an approach to life. After all, the people we interact play an important part in our lives and are often an integral part of enjoying it to the fullest.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us are not hermits or recluses. I know I’m certainly not one. (Indeed, over the past few years, I’ve discovered just how much of a people person I really am.) As such, while we may need, enjoy, and even cherish our moments alone, our lives would not be complete without sharing our lives and many of the special moments with others. Indeed, I would argue that time spent with others is what actually makes a significant number of those moments so special.
Community enables us to help, heal, strengthen, and rejuvenate each other. It makes even the strongest individual even stronger. It is that glue which enables us to build something that is greater than each of us — both individually and collectively. Because in the end, that whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
(The picture in this post is of the participants of an open Lammas rite sponsored by the now defunct Pagan Outreach Center back in 2006.)