Friday, September 01, 2006
Working In The Wider World - Ordinary Pagans
Anne Hill has tackled the core issues with Reclaiming (and many other groups) head-on. In her post, she spoke to the work of Ordinary Pagans and the future we are building together, without using that specific term. (1)
...at this point, the best thing we can do is to take these skills and use them in the world at large. Figure out how to translate them into our jobs, our child raising, our interactions with the non-Pagan world.......the more our networks are made up of genuine friendships, people who trust each other, listen to each other and like working together, the more genuine people we will attract who may come to share our values.
Snakemoon, another thoughtful Pagan, put it this way:
Experience all things as sacred. Treat the Mother's living body with awe and respect. Lovingly create altars of gratitude and joy. Continually seek transformation though trance, spell work, music, and dance. Work magic; the act of changing consciousness at will, to change my state of being, and my state of mind. Seek enlightenment and transcendent knowing but seek also what my friend Cerridwen calls "endarkenment", the wisdom of one's own unconscious mind because in truth, only the shadow does know.
She goes on to say:
Work straightforward magic every day, with little fuss or ado, just because it needs to be done. Work magic at home, in the yard, in the car, in the office. Work alone, with lovers, children, friends, family, pets, and even strangers. Work through grief and fear and loss, and also work magic to celebrate, to thank, or simply to delight. Invoke and create new insights, new jobs, new homes, new loves, and new lives."
To my mind, Ordinary Pagans are people who have homes, jobs, friends, and families. They also have very rich lives outside of the Pagan scene.
As Snakemoon notes, these people walk between worlds. Sometimes they work as professionals or are active in local charity efforts, local schools, or interfaith projects. No matter what they do for a living, they are not afraid of responsibility and their lives are not full or chaos, drama and trauma. Ordinary Pagans bring concentration, professional, "can do" attitudes, dedication and, standards, to this practice. There are more of them then anyone realizes.
The term includes those who are joined in polyamorous families, many who are involved in the arts, people who are active in the leather and tattoo communities, as well as those who teach tarot and practice other magickal or creative arts. It also includes lawyers, doctors, teachers, technophiles, librarians, soldiers, police officers and nurses. It is not so much a lifestyle, as an empowered, creative, and capable state of mind. These are people you can count on.
Someone once asked me what I look for when I meet other people. This was my answer:
I look for people who who are working on their "stuff" because I won't work to work with those who are willfully unconscious or addicted to being victims. I like to have fun, and I need to be to be around people who can have fun without hurting themselves or others. I don't need my friends and colleagues to be perfect, but I do need them to be on a path, any path, spritual or not, and to be working that path towards growth, just as I am.
As I've said before, the people I want to know need to care about something other than themselves. After much searching, I've found a good number of functional, healthy, happy, creative Pagans and others I can work with. Many of them are active in charity projects, volunteer work or interfaith work. It took me 10 years to find some of those folks, and I had to meet a hundred Pagan people for every one I actually wanted to know better. Is this group of people unusually powerful or wyrdly elite? Nope. Neither am I (and bless these folks for putting up with my many imperfections). But they are funny, and smart, balanced and thoughtful, well read and honest. Each of them is committed to becoming the best person they can be, without excuses. They are brave and inquisitive and and strong minded, and they call me on my sh**t. I love being around them. I'm a better person for knowing them, and I like to think that they are better for knowing me. Maybe the best way to say it is this: We celebrate each other with respect and love much in the same ways that we celebrate the Goddess....and we get things done.
(1) I like this term because it is such a lovely and amusing paradox. I agree with Carolyn Myss when she calls paradox, "the language of the divine". I believe that the Goddess speaks truths to us in paradox, and lets us tease out the meanings for ourselves.