As Pagans we tend, as a community, to be stereotyped as non-conformists but we all have those aspirations to the perfect life - perfect just seems to mean something different to us... But as a community, I feel there are things that we’re missing, that other faith communities have.
For starters, our circle is very patchy. For the most part, we rarely meet up on a regular basis and we have so many solitaries that it’s not like we can just go to church on a Sunday and touch base with our clan... But it also goes slightly further than that.
Most faith groups have systems in place to campaign for the rights of those in their community, to take spiritual care of their vulnerable and disabled, to offer help and support to their children and families... As a faith at large, we don’t have that!
Or do we?
The rights, freedoms, and indeed; credibility, of the Pagan population at large are still being, mostly, ignored by the rest of the world. The most likely reaction you’ll get to telling your employer that you’re Pagan is a “knowing” smile that indicates that he thinks this is a bit daft. In some more dramatic cases it can affect the way you do your work because people stop taking you seriously. I’ve heard of this happening a lot and it’s happened to me personally on a fair number of occasions, professionally and socially. The rights of my children, two of whom have decided that Paganism is for them too, are being ignored and my assertions of their religious freedom has caused a lot of stress in previous schools, though luckily their current school is very good about it.
But who do we turn to, to fight for our rights, to educate the masses on the truth of our practices, to be a point of contact in the press instead of allowing any loon in a pointy hat to claim to be a voice for all of us. Who takes care of the spiritual health of our vulnerable and disabled? Who reaches out to the children and families? Who sits in endless meetings with inter faith groups, in education board meetings, in government debates, in legislative discussions; who represents us in the world?
So many people say that no one has the right to speak for us, that there’s this wrong with this organisation and that wrong with that one... But surely, not lending your support at all is doing us as individuals and as a faith group, a real disservice?
I’m not sure about other places in the world but here in the UK we have the Pagan Federation (England & Wales), Pagan Federation Scotland, The Druid Network, the Pagan & Heathen Symposium (which is actually a group of organisations who have come together for the good of the community)...
These organisations need your support if they are to carry on! Numbers show that membership of these organisations is dropping and the hard work they do is being jeopardised by this!
Let’s put aside the politics of this Local Coordinator or that District Manager and look at the bigger picture... Volunteers come and go but the work of these coalitions needs to go on!
So, if you have the time, look into the groups that operate, or possibly are hoping to operate, in your area and if you don’t have the time or inclination to volunteer yourself, membership doesn’t cost much and it goes a long way to funding their vital work, work that helps us as a faith community and you as a person who identifies as Pagan, Witch, Druid, Heathen and other labels within the Pagan umbrella.
Some of these organisations come with fab personal perks. Not only are you funding vital work and showing support to your community’s voice but, for instance in the Pagan Federation, membership comes with subscription to their fabulous magazine, Pagan Dawn, which is published quarterly and is chock full of great articles, recipes and reviews. Some of the districts even have their own newsletter and you can sometimes use your membership to get discounts at some of your local Pagan style stores (this differs depending upon your district obviously).
It is time that we, as Pagans, started working together in a way that we never have before. Supporting those who can be our voice before our song is completely drowned out once again by the thundering storm that is the rest of the world.
These are difficult and often terrifying times we live in and there may come a time where organisations, like those linkd below, become extinct because the lack of support whilst they deal with the unbelievable pressures of defending our rights and freedoms just becomes too much to bear.
Please consider adding your voice to the chorus, before we little birds are swept away.
xXx Blessings xXx
xXx Debi xXx