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Thread: Your Community Experiences?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Bird of a Feather

    Your Community Experiences?

    What have your experiences with Pagan communities been like? Good, bad, ugly? I'm looking to hear what you've been through, in terms of both participating and in leading Pagan groups.

    Faith is easy -- until the moment you actually need it.

    "Since when are facts subjective?" - Athena_Nadine

    "Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all convictions, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity."

    – W.B. Yeats, "The Second Coming"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    A lost soul, swimming in a fishbowl
    Sent you a PM
    It's been minutes, it's been days. It's been all that I remember. <3

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Blue View Post
    What have your experiences with Pagan communities been like? Good, bad, ugly? I'm looking to hear what you've been through, in terms of both participating and in leading Pagan groups.
    Horrific. I went to a Pagan Meetup so that I could interact and develop friendships with other Pagans.

    Right out of the gate I found I had absolutely *nothing* in common with them. I didn't "work with" deities, I didn't smoke weed or want to dance naked in front of a bonfire. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with any of those's just not me.

    It was a terrible experience for me. Hellenic Recons seem to be quite scarce.
    "The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common:
    instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views,
    which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that need altering."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    northwest WA
    Over the years I have occasionally gotten an idea in my head to go looking for local Pagans, and every single time I have been increasingly disappointed.

    Ranging from just childish silliness, to mayhem. It's sadly just not my thing. I do sometimes like the individuals I meet that claim to be Pagan, but have yet to meet a group of people that I would spend any amount of time with let alone expose my children to.

    Most groups are someone (or a group of someone's) idea of a power trip/egomania, and/or total nonsense, and/or a complete shambles resulting in drama and internal strife.

    I first sought group involvement in 1986, so it's been well over 20 years, and I haven't bothered at all for at least 6 or so.

    I'm just not a joiner I guess.
    "He drew a circle that shut me out
    Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout
    But love and I had the wit to win;
    We drew a circle that took him in."

    -- Edwin Markham

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Akron, OH
    Ha ha! I'm reading this, because I was thinking about going to a meet up this weekend. It would be my first, and I have had some reservations about the group just in the few things I've read about them, so maybe I should just skip it eh?

    Hail Ptah! The craftsman who, like myself, sculpts worlds with his words.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Unfortunately, and in general, in MY experience most of the pagans I've met at "Pagan" events seem to really want World of Warcraft to be real. This applies to all the Pagan "Fests","Faires",and "Covens" I've dealt with.
    I'm not sure what kind of person this is, but they don't ever seem to have a grasp of the real word. Swords, fairies, "power abilities" and general discussion of online role playing games is prominent. I hate to say it but they seem to be using Paganism as a means to escape from life. And also what is it with these people and being overweight and smoking?
    I attended a workshop on Tarot once, and everyone was ultra cool. Lots of genuinely interested people. Good questions, respectful, intuitive, and aware. No WoW rejects.
    A local meetup group advertises itself as a "Hiking" group and much to my joy they are actually predominately pagan/druid/wiccan and sincerely invest themselves in the wonder of the natural world. I met a guy who I became good friends with actually.
    I've met better people in situations where the event is not advertised as "Pagan".
    Last edited by miromanyth; January 18th, 2011 at 11:21 PM. Reason: spelling

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Sonoma County, CA, USA
    About the only positive pagan experience I've had (repeatedly) is the local Goddess Craft Faire in early December in Sebastopol, CA. Most of the people there are kind; the fruitest thing I have encountered there was the speaker on-stage telling us about how dolphins colonized earth via solar-powered space ships.

    There was the year that, in the feminist mood of "freedom" they had five year old girls performing bellydancing, which was vaguely sexual and HIGHLY uncomfortable in nature... But that was probably the most uncomfortable/unlikable thing I experienced there, and that wasn't necessarily strictly pagan.

    However. When I was first introduced to paganism as a teenager, I was involved with a group of individuals (in this same area) who were very much fascinated with the eternal "witch wars" mindset. Psychic/magical warfare and all that. They even had my 15-year-old self convinced I was some sort of reborn past-life Atlantean empress that they all had been reborn to guard... These people were in their 30s, maybe even 40s! I ask you, WTF?

    Luckily, people tend to fall into two groups in this area - granola-crunching crystal-hugging newagey folks (who are generally kind/peaceful), and hubcap-sized-pentacle wearing witch wars LARPers (who generally want to start some drama about anything at all possible).

    And there are more of the newagey folks in public life... but I haven't attended any "witch" meetups. Just the Goddess faire. Might be a different atmosphere there.
    "The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star stuff.
    We are a way for the cosmos to know itself."

    Carl Sagan, as quoted by The Symphony of Science

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    the online stuff i am going to PM you.

    offline was pretty much anti-social. In my area the local pagan shops there is at least one problem with either the owner and/or workers. One owner did give me things as i knew her for over 20 yrs. she one time gave me a pewter witch called Hecate(don't know if it was a hint to pray to Hecate)

    local covens are even worse. usually they are pretty much cliqued.

    A few people did try to make contact but usually someone interferred and deterred it. and they went after one girl that was asking me stuff on witchcraft. and to top it off her brother was always there. and another guy would try to discuss cermonial magics and same stuff as well.

    Actual gatherings were pretty much the same. the shop vendors there were nicer since most of them are not from NYC.
    I think one guy talked to me in 2009 as well as Wendy Rule waving and smiling at me.

    Basically the attitude i saw it as this: don't say hi to me and i will not call the cops on you.

    no one said hello to other people outside the cliques. the younger people at the organizations didn't say hello. older members would.

    one ritual I did attend was a tad nicer. but even then the high priest had a kill you bastard look on his face when he spoke with me. and the sub-high priest(the high priestess went into labor just a day before) had an almost complete hatred towards druids and pretty much anything. just hate. ended up doing a meditation on meeting with Mercury as that who was called upon.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Oxford, UK
    I once worked with a group where we'd meet up to celebrate the sabbats. This was a really positive experience, and really helped me when I was younger to work out my own path.

    I've met a lot of pagans through association with this group and other events, and have had generally positive experiences.

    At the larger, national events and conventions, it's usually harder to meet people who are more serious. Some of my experiences have been ... less than positive.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Within the hinterlands of the Midwest
    My experiences in the pagan community can be summed up in one word. Disappointing.

    A majority of folks I've met, weither online or in real life, either just use paganism/pagan faiths to get back at "The Man/Big Brother/The Establishment/The Elite/Mom and Dad", use it as an escapist crutch to run away from their own problems, or as a way to oggle someone's junk. They don't have much of anything serious to discuss in the way of spirituality and metaphysics, and have the organization of a herd of schizophrenic cats. Hell, most of them sound like they either need to stay away from, take some family counseling to help them deal with their social issues, or leave the political soapboxing at home with someone who actually gives a shite about your agenda

    The people who are actually serious about their faith, concepts of metaphysics and spirituality, who don't drown themselves in droll hyper-skepticism, elitism, political side-stepping and/or flippant spiritual superficiality, have a meaningful name (not one they pulled out of a crackerjack box), have some sense of work ethic, organization and communication that extends to groups outside the coven/kindred/church/cabal/circle, generally get along with other people of a different faith (including those of abrahamic faiths) are becoming few and far between.

    And while I'm here, I've got just simple word of advice for any college pagans, or those wanting to associate with them. Unless they can coherently explain what their faith is, can point you to some good informative texts where they base their information (or at least back it up), can function in a group without trying to either upstage, backstab, sleep with, or ignore all other productive members of the group, and generally act like someone who isn't a socially maladapted pissant who doesn't know how to be not associate with them. Too many college pagans have left me with a taste of bitter ashes in my mouth.

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