As I have written previously on several ocassions, in Druidry the tide between Samhain and Yule is a time of chaos, a time where we allow ourselves to drift and dream, floating in the cauldron, letting go of the need for handles to hold on to. Out of this dreaming come ideas that begin to move from raw potentiality into real possibility. And for me, this season has yielded two possibilities that I will hold as seeds to be planted for the new year’s cycle of growth.
The first idea is the creation of a pagan dance ritual that is a deep dive into the intuitive, a rite of shared vision. I have observed in the pagan communities a sense of fierce independence, which I think a core strength in our traditions. But often this independence comes at the expense of our shared interdependence. I think as a community, we are going to need to become closer, more reliant on each other as global economic recession/depression really begins to take off. Life is going to have to become more local. And as people of the Earth, pagans can lead in this process of learning to live in cooperation and harmony with the land, building resilience within our local communities.
Bringing this communal consciousness to the pagan community will involve deep ritual. Within the Native American traditions there are numerous rites that are all about holding the community together. People gather to seek vision, not for themselves, but for the tribe. Sundance, Naraya, the Long House and Vision Quest are just a few rituals that are about healing the tribe and not just for the benefit of the individual’s spirital journey. I see no counterpart to these within the pagan community. So I am working with others to create one. It will be a pagan rite through and through, honoring the Spirits of Place and held within our own cultural heritage. It will be local.
The second dream that has bubbled up from the cauldron is that of Druid College. I am working with another druid priest to create a new organization that is completely geared toward the training of priests (within Druidry, “priests” refers to both men and women). Again, this has everything to do with community. While many organizations offer courses on Druidry, they are geared towards presenting Druidry to the individual, to be used to their own ends. We are crafting a place where people can learn to become priests that are in service to the land, the people and the gods – priests of Nature. Rather than individuals who are “followers” of Druidry, we want to teach and support people to become “carriers” of the tradition. And to that end, we will be offering training for people who want to step up and be of service. A lot of work ahead to craft such a college, but this is so needed. The need for priests is so great and the number of people stepping forward are so few. For those willing, we want to share what has been giving to us by our teachers, passing on the knowledge to the next generation, completing the cycle of inspiration that is at the heart of Druidry.
So the common thread between these ideas is the concept of community. At a recent lecture by Nicole Foss of The Automatic Earth blog, she made the comment that in the face of the coming global depression, we need to transform virtual communities into real communities. This is happening beautifully within the Permaculture community. And I thought about the state of our pagan community. Other than Beltane on the Beach here in Maine at Popham Beach, we pretty much exist as a “virtual” community. Yes, we have real groups, groves, tribes and covens that gather, but the interconnection and sharing between them is very limited, most of it taking place on the internet. So how do we make the tribe stronger, more connected, more resilient?
My answer is to simply start with reaching out and making connections. This pagan dance for vision will happen here in Maine. It will be the counterpart to Beltane on the Beach, the inward journey to Beltane’s outward celebration. The Druid College will be a place to reach for potential and bring those learning into service for the whole community.
I am sure we can have a stronger more resilient tribe of pagans that care for and support each other. And if we put our collective heads and hearts together, we can show the world a way to live on the Earth with honor and consciousness, while minimizing the harm we do as we express our humanity. This dream needs to be realized.
Thoughts? Would love to hear feedback on these projects as well as your own dreams moving into possibility for the new year ahead.
Blessings of new growth found in the depth of the darkness,