Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Superordinate Goals for Community and Kindred

So, I'm still processing a lot, and I've still got a lot more to read, but I've got some thoughts spinning in my head that I need to get out into the world.

What goal or goals could the whole community share that would bring us all together?

And under that, what goals might my Kindred share that we might contribute to the whole?

When I think about goals for the community as a whole, I think about the Tiffany Aching books. Yes, they are fiction--they are part of the Discworld series by Sir Terry Pratchett. But these books talk about what it really means to be a witch, and from my perspective, these books have it right. What I learned in Tiffany Aching's stories have become part of my working definition of what walking my Path is really all about.

I quote now (and this is a quote some of my friends have seen before, no doubt) from the second book in the series A Hat Full of Sky:

'Because she likes people,' said the witch, striding ahead. 'She cares about 'em. Even the stupid, mean, dribbling ones, the mothers with the runny babies and no sense, the feckless and the silly and the fools who treat her like some kind of a servant. Now that's what I call magic - seein' all that, dealin' with all that, and still goin' on. It's sittin' up all night with some poor old man who's leavin' the world, taking away such pain as you can, comfortin' their terror, seein' 'em safely on their way . . . and then cleanin' 'em up, layin' 'em out, making 'em neat for the funeral, and helpin' the weeping widow strip the bed and wash the sheets - which is, let me tell you, no errand for the faint-hearted - and stayin' up the next night to watch over the coffin before the funeral, and then going home and sitting down for five minutes before some shouting angry man comes bangin' on your door 'cos his wife's havin' difficulty givin' birth to their first child and the midwife's at her wits' end and then getting up and fetching your bag and going out again. .. We all do that, in our own way, and she does it better'n me, if I was to put my hand on my heart. That is the root and heart and soul and centre of witchcraft, that is. The soul and centre!' Mistress Weatherwax smacked her fist into her hand, hammering out her words. 'The . . . soul. . . and . . . centre!'

Echoes came back from the trees in the sudden silence. Even the grasshoppers by the side of the track had stopped sizzling.

'And Mrs Earwig,' said Mistress Weatherwax, her voice sinking to a growl, 'Mrs Earwig tells her girls it's about cosmic balances and stars and circles and colours and wands and . . . and toys, nothing but toys!' She sniffed. 'Oh, I daresay they're all very well as decoration, somethin' nice to look at while you're workin', somethin' for show, but the start and finish, the start and finish, is helpin' people when life is on the edge. Even people you don't like. Stars is easy, people is hard.'

People. That's what it's really about. What we can do for each other.

But there is also this (again, from A Hat Full of Sky):

'She tells the land what it is. The land tells her who she is,' whispered Awf'ly Wee Billy. 'She really does hold the soul o' the land in her heid'

The land. The land we live on. It gives us shape, and we give shape to it.

So if I were the one picking superordinate goals for the Pagan community as a whole, they would be goals of service to the people around us and the land that we live on.

I hold it as truth that we all have the Divine within, so every act is sacred, everything we do is a step on our path. I know not every Pagan and Heathen agrees, but I know a number of us do not separate the physical from the spiritual. We leave behind those dualities and revel in the sacredness of this physical and natural world. And so I draw no lines between the gifts of seers and the gifts of auto mechanics. We all have something to offer each other. We all have help we can give one another, and skills we may be able to share or to teach.

I think someone who can offer a class on bike repair or lend a pair of hands in a community garden is just as important to the well-being of the community as a priestess who can lead a ritual.

Maybe one of our folk really needs to learn about the names of Odin, and maybe another really needs to learn the best way to get the laundry done.

If we all pooled our skills together, we could make our world a better place, and we could help a lot of people.

If we open our eyes, we can see the needs of those around us. If we open our minds and hearts, our land can shape us to do what we need to do, and we, in turn, can make our land grow and thrive.

Tell me, when you look around your city, do you see people with needs? Land that needs healing? Work that needs doing? Dare I say, corruption that needs fighting?

My vision is for a Pagan community without borders. One where we can come together in consensus to create overall goals, then go back to our smaller groups and work out smaller goals that will pour into the larger goals.

My vision is for a Pagan community that puts its people and its land first, a community that sees physical and spiritual goals as all part of the whole.

More to come later, my friends. But for now, I'd like to know what ya'll think good overall goals for the community as a whole could be.

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