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Bergere Profile
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21st Century Pagans


21ST CENTURY PAGANS:


Where there's a Witch, there's a Way


I can't say this too often: There are many wise people are out there, right now, doing an immense deal of good in their neighborhoods. There are also some larger, well-run groups which offer advice, training, networking, and support. Some even perform charity work and host Pagan Pride events (a pretty gutsy thing to do in these harsh times). The most hopeful thing I know about present day Paganism is that these good people are finding one another. Thanks to the Internet (and specifically, The Witches' Voice) Pagans can share resources and contact lists for good groups, festivals, teachers, other Solitaries, and events.

Organizers also know a lot about the Problem Children, too, not to mention the abusers, divas, flakes, would be gurus, thieves, and cons who lurk among us. Most organizers keep lists based on their experiences with these people. While mere gossip is discouraged, we do share information and we will warn each other about troublemakers when we need to.

We also keep lists of what my friend Snakemoon calls, "The Ordinary Pagans"; the fun loving, hard working, talented, trustworthy folks. (9) So don't be afraid to ask for references when you begin working with someone new and don't hesitate to make some phone calls before you give someone responsibility, especially if a project involves working with minors.

Paganism is changing as we speak. Will we Pagans truly support each other or will we let jealousy, Witch Wars and dysfunctional modes of behavior ruin the Circle? A lot depends on how healthy our community chooses to be, and whether or not we work together and share information in responsible ways.

Pagan groups that wish to thrive in this new century can do the following:


Be flexible and adapt to the changing mystical, economic, political and social realities around us while keeping our core values intact.

Model healthy personal boundaries and group standards.

Practice constructive ways of handling conflict and sharing power.

Learn how to deal with stress, and avoid doing too much and risking "burn out".

Require courteous, respectful behavior from all our members.

Find ways to support personal growth, health, and harmony within our group, and in the larger community.

Set up a system of consequences, including ouster, for those members who are abusive or untrustworthy.

Unite with other Pagan groups to stand against the abusers and predators among us.

Share information and resources with other responsible groups.

Practice what we preach about tolerance and abide no hate speech or bigotry among our members.

Use open, transparent, real world accounting practices with regard to any collection or expenditure of funds.

Protect the children in our midst from abuse (either within or outside the group) and help them to grow strong and flourish.

Decide what we want to create, as individuals and as a group, and support each other as we work towards these goals.

4/29/2006, 2:06 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bergere   Send PM to Bergere
 
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Re: 21st Century Pagans


A LITTLE SOUP COULDN'T HURT:

Many people who come to Paganism have been raised in a different belief system. Some of our folks need to heal from religious abuse. Others choose to keep the progressive, supportive or charitable elements from their old belief system alive in their new practice. Pagans often say that they feel like they have finally "come home" when they find this path. I know that feeling. Even so, many miss the community and the caring that some churches and temples offer. As one Pagan gal put it, "No one in my circle is going to bring me soup when I am sick. "

If we want to really build healthy communities (no matter how large or how small) we are going to have to learn to really care for one another. That doesn't mean we pay a circle member's rent, but offering bit of soup, or maybe doing some babysitting for a hardworking parent really isn't asking too much.

There are some things to admire about the way the other groups do things. Why? Because they work! We Pagans have a right to keep whatever works (like that soup), and leave the rest behind. For a discussion of this issue, I recommend reading an essay titled. "The Christians & the Pagans. "

In that essay, I ask about another mystery: "How is it that a People so willing to point out intolerance on the part of other faiths can be so blindly intolerant themselves?"

Ladies and gentleman, the issue here is a human one. Every group has people in it who share our values, some we don't want to know, and some we will have to defend against. (10) Every group also has within it those people who inspire us by their charity, compassion, and courage. Once that is understood, we can seek out the Great Hearts and work together on something that is really important, like war and peace, world hunger or whose turn it is to watch the kids at the pool.

In Kuan Yin, I wrote about the dual mysteries of strength and compassion which I learned, in part, by living with a partner who is a both martial artist and a Buddhist:

Whenever I am tempted to lash out in anger (I am reminded) that compassion is a dynamic force. My tradition teaches that this force must be directed outwardly, as well as inwardly, in order to be effective. For me, this means that I cannot fight intolerance or prejudice directed towards me with more of the same. I can defend my loved ones and myself, never you fear, but I can do so in a way that leaves my integrity intact. More then once the thought of Kuan Yin has kept me from playing the fool in someone else's game. This is what is meant by right action. It does not mean "no action" or "reaction"; it means action that is taken from a position of wisdom, understanding, and strength.

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4/29/2006, 2:07 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bergere   Send PM to Bergere
 
Saijen SilverWolf Profile
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Re: 21st Century Pagans


Well said!!!

I really enjoyed reading these!

---
Blessed Be,
~*~ Saijen ~*~

~~*~~ .~~*~~
4/29/2006, 4:09 pm Link to this post Send Email to Saijen SilverWolf   Send PM to Saijen SilverWolf Yahoo
 
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Re: 21st Century Pagans


Thanks Saijen.

Once in awhile doing on line reading, I find some very well written articles that express how I feel better than I can write. emoticon emoticon
4/30/2006, 1:30 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bergere   Send PM to Bergere
 


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