Pagan Community Questions

by Veronica Cummer, author of Sorgitzak: Old Forest Craft and Masks of the Muse

I’ve thought a lot about what makes a community, let alone a pagan one.  After attending many Pagan Prides where this topic always seemed to come up, whether there was a panel scheduled on it or not, it seems something that we pagans long for…but aren’t quite sure how to acquire and don’t understand why it is we don’t have one already.

Yes, pagans believe in many things and practice in many ways and there are countless traditions here in the Twin Cities (and, probably, more showing up all the time).  Yet…a community must be built around SOMETHING.  If we can’t agree on hardly anything, that makes it hard to have a community. At a Pagan Pride two years ago, I recall that a single room of assembled pagans, heathens, and witches could barely come to an agreement that we all considered Mother Earth to be sacred. It’s a long way from that to sharing something that can tie a community together with bonds that can withstand very tough times.

Still, when someone respected dies then it often happens that people pull together across traditions, especially when that person had a powerful effect on the local pagan scene over the years. A community forms around that passing, in a way, at least so long as its support is needed by those left behind. Also, perhaps,to express a common grief and recognition.

So…what builds a community?  The shorthand is the need for one…

But what is that that pagans need?  Well, we all need what others need, such as food, shelter, etc, but we also need religious freedom to believe what we believe and practice what we believe, either in our homes or in public. That’s pretty obvious. But that could be said about many communities, so what brings together pagans, heathens, and witches in particular?

Well, looking to the past, people used to gather together to work (physically and spiritually) for the prosperity of their home, their village, their land.  Magical people were at the forefront of those workings. If the magic failed…well, people would die.  What sort of prosperity do modern day pagans need to gather together to promote?  A lot of pagans don’t really know much about farming, and most farmers would look funny at you (or worse) if you went to their land and did rites for the crops to grow.  But there are other kinds of prosperity.

I don’t have a pat answer, but I feel that these are some of the questions.  WHAT kind of prosperity does the Twin Cities need and is lacking?  Or what does it currently have that needs further promoting or protecting?  First and foremost, pagans and witches are tied to the land…so what does the land need?  What do the people who live there need?  What can we do to help?  THAT’s what is needed to build a community—common goals and common purpose, even if we tend to try to get there slightly differently and believe half a dozen different things from each other before breakfast.

Copyright © 2009, Veronica Cummer, All Rights Reserved.

Coven Power–What It’s Really All About

by Veronica Cummer, author of Sorgitzak: Old Forest Craft

The center of any coven needs to be love. Love is the greatest magick, the greatest virtue any witch can ascribe to. Yes, witches are meant to be teachers and healers, to promote fertility of the land and of the community, to worship the Gods, but behind all those duties lies love. Behind all those responsibilities, must lie love.

But, sadly, some covens seem confused by this at times, perhaps because the witches within them are confused or, worst still, the High Priest and High Priestess. For this kind of love has nothing to do with power, at least not the sort of power having to do with being the voice of authority in a coven or being the center of its attentions. That kind of power or power-seeking stems from insecurity, particularly that of not knowing deep down inside who you are and why you are here.

One of the biggest obstacles towards this—besides a lack of a strong sense of self—is confusing divine love with other forms of love. Or confusing what isn’t even really love at all with love, which is the far greater problem. For divine love isn’t controlling, it isn’t envious, it isn’t tinged with regret or shame or anger or fear or based upon the idea of I’ll do this for you so you’ll do that for me.

Divine love is a gift. Divine love is being able to see and fully experience all of life and yet stand apart from it at the same time, to be able to stand in the center of your own being, the center of the Wheel, and not be pulled off balance. Divine love is the ecstasy of the Goddess. Divine love is the ecstasy of the God. Divine love with what They make together or, rather, what that symbolizes—a union that creates a greater whole than the sum of its parts.

Just as divine love is coming to be your own inmost divine self and learning to act out of the knowledge without fear in your heart. Something that every witch needs to come to and that covens as circles of witches bound together to a singular purpose need to express, as well. For each coven forms a Self, a living and conscious Spirit, and that Spirit also needs to know divine love at its core.

copyright © 2009 Veronica Cummer, all rights reserved.