(I wrote this late at night a while back but kept it in draft form while working on other things.)
Meditations and rituals today for all those lost in 2001 and since, and all those remembering loved ones they deeply miss. As usual, I will take a large decorated sheetcake down to our local firehouse. We do it to honor the men and women who protect us here, as well as those lost in New York. This station is known among us as the Firehouse of the Gods because the people who work there are the most gorgeous group of hard bodies we have ever seen in one place. It's no wonder then, that some of our staff love to go with me on this errand....
Part II was published at TWV today. Now both parts of It's A Mystery are now up at Vox. We published these articles a month apart in our FCE newsletter, but Fritz and I thought that publishing them back to back at The Witches' Voice might be more effective for that venue.
It's a Mystery: Part I
Dysfunctional Behavior and the Pagan Scene
It's a Mystery:Part II
Healthy Pagan Groups and Individuals
I predict that Part II will not be as popular as Part I. I think that Part I (the Problem) is so very popular because people can send the links around via email to their groups and say "See! There is a problem! That's fine as affirmation and far less fine as finger pointing, but it's not something I can control.
Some people now use Part I as a litmus test to see who's really what in their groups because the Problem Children really hate that article.* That too is fine, if it helps prevent them from working with people who will become problems down the line. But my favorite aspect of all this is that Part I:
* Helps those who really do their emotional and spiritual homework feel a little bit less alone
* Helps Organizers, teachers and Circle leaders set boundaries, and
* Aids people who are searching for same find the more healthy groups and circles.
I really love the letters I get from people (usually Ordinary Pagans) who say "I thought I was the only one who felt like this!" . No, dear hearts, there are lots of you out there. Take courage and keep looking.
That said, I know that Part II (the Solution) will be less well read because in that section I say that we cannot fix anyone, that they have to do the work themselves and that it is not easy. It's a long article because I wanted to give them both the ways to heal and the reasons for healing. But such healing work is neither simple nor glamorous and telling people in the age of 'insta Witch that there are no quick fixes is never a popular line. Ah, well. Let those with an ear, hear.
I also talk about the ways in which pagan groups can find volunteers, work well with others and thrive in the 21st century. So there is a lot to digest in that article, which can be a bit daunting. As DragonLady says, "The community has been in Jr. High too long, let's see how they react to graduate work."
One especially nice thing: I wrote about Solitary Pagans as equals in Part II and they are already writing in to say "Thank you" for that. Too often Pagan groups disparage the Solitary Way, forgetting, I think, how hard it can be and how authentic it really is. So, if I helped a bit there, I'm glad.
Pagan Pride Day:
PPD is coming up. I love this event, especially the charity aspect and the voter registration drives. We started the Witches' Ball in 2000 in part because no other Pagan groups we knew were really doing charity work in the area, and we've given thousands of dollars every year to the Humane Society and other rescue groups. Over time, other Pagan groups have had the same ideas (great minds on a single thought) and I think it's made a huge change it the way we perceive our relationship to our neighbors and vice versa.
It's encouraging to see that there are now over 100 people in the cyber version of Spiral Steps EarthWise support group. We started the cyber group up in May and so far, it's been a source for a vigorous and civil exchange.
Looking in the Mirror:
* OK, they usually hate it - I got a letter today from a notorious Problem Child who has a number of followers out here. Someone sent Part I of It's a Mystery to said "Leader", no doubt thinking they could learn a thing or three. Said Leader then sent it around to all of their followers (and cc'd me, as well), telling everyone that they need to read it.
Hummmmmm. It's so easy to point fingers at others and so very hard to look inside. This note infuriated one of our Counsel members, as she has no patience with this person. Over the years, she has suffered in cleaning up some of the messes left behind by Said Leader's sillier followers in other Pagan groups. I wrote Said Leader a polite "thank you", bc'd the Counsel member, and added a sentence at the end, a sentence I send to all the Organizers who write to me about this piece, because I believe that we need to do our emotional homework more than anyone else or we don't deserve to lead.
"Our people need healing and support and our Organizers need to set standards, and look in the Goddess's mirror ourselves. That's a very tricky mirror; it can show us the delusion we want to see or what is really true for us. The readiness is
I doubt that Said Leader will really get the point, but at least I tried.