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Thread: Your Community Experiences?

  1. #61
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    columbia river gorge
    Age
    45
    Posts
    566
    I've met a few pagans that I could call friend that were truly well meaning. But most are so busy patting themselves on the back and praising everything they do that I just can't stand them. They know it all and everyone else is blessed to know them because they are all knowing. I guess I just meet the wrong people. I don't know but it never fails.

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Age
    30
    Posts
    301
    I'm relieved to hear that others have had problems with the pagan community.

    This is going to sound a bit judgmental, but bear with me. The biggest problem I've had is that MANY (not ALL) pagans don't really take care of themselves, or seem to make much of an effort to live in the real world. As a young vegan dancer and writer, it bugs me that these folks are often so overweight, or have no social or critical thinking skills, or think fantasy is the only type of book. It's embarrassing, quite honestly, and goes against what I see as the most important parts of following a fertility/ecstasy/earth path.

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    61
    I don't think the Pagan community is really any more susceptible to that kind of behavior than other religious groups, it's just that our community is often so small that it amplifies the effect those people have.
    "There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. By doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses one still gets wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you will get the same soaking. This understanding extends to all things."

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
    Age
    40
    Posts
    67
    I had replied earlier in this thread pretty negatively about past experiences with the pagan community. However, I did work up some courage a few weekends ago (mostly it was my friend who talked me into going with her, since she had been going for a few months) and went to the local meetup for the town I currently reside in for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of down-to-earth older folks there, and learned that the group has been around for seven years. I realize you get drama with any group of people, and I have only been to one meet up, but I'm looking forward to attending more.
    Last edited by The Grumble; January 31st, 2012 at 04:09 PM. Reason: Grammar fix.

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    27
    When I ventured into the Pagan world I was so nervous. Though older than most, I was still very uneasy about how to go about learning what I wanted to learn. I went to the local bookstore and was browsing through the books in the New Age/Occult section, really wondering why some books were even in that section.
    From behind me a heard a very familiar voice say hello in a beautiful Austrialian accent. When I turned around I was speechless. What would this parent of one of my students say?think?report? In a very quick moment she reached over to the shelf, took of a book, handed it to me and gave me her business card. All she said was " Call me when you are done"
    What a relief but also what a surprise. Though I was acutely aware of the Pagan community in FL, the connection to someone I knew was not expected.
    So I read the book and called her, eager to learn more and get pointed in a direction that I could explore. First she suggested meetup. So I went. Very uncomfortable. A slightly mentally unstable woman, another woman who turned out to be a hoarder and leach and a kind of creepy guy. But here I was. The universe put this in my path and I firmly believe that it is the journey, so I went with it.
    Turns out the hoarder was part of a Goddess Spirituality group that met through a sponsership of the UU church. So I was invited as her guest. Turns out this group was filled with woman of all ages, even different schools of thought. What a wonderful discovery.
    From that point on for the next 5 years I went every Monday night and we discussed so many aspects of spirituality, paganisn, feminism. We had time at the beginning to talk about us. A whole 5 minutes when the people in the room are actually listening to what you say and offering help if you need it. We had rituals together, taught classes in Reclaiming, as the group was a part of the Reclaiming community started by Macha Nightmare and Starhawk. People came and went for lots of reasons, yet to this day we all are in contact with someone from the group.

    This group also led to one of the most life changing spiritual moments I have been able to expierence. Because of my affiliation with the group I was invited to a camping outing in Georgia. I cannot even begin to explain the expierience. I had always just done things by myself, without my husband, but the next year I asked him to camping with the group. There were 14 of us and he said yes. Not ever being a spiritual man, he holds those 5 days as his wake up call, when he finally saw the world around him in a way that finally made since.

    Now living in Nv, I have yet to make those kind of connections, but the lesson here is:
    Though some expierences are difficult and even uncomfortable, you never know what they will led you too. So keep an open mind, try lots of groups and don't go back to the ones that don't fit. You are your own authority and don't let others dictate what you should or should not do or how you should or should not perform your rituals. Being a Pagan is popular for lots of reasons, but for those that hold the spirit in their heart and honor the ways with respect; well those are the people we strive to be and surround ourselves with.

    Perhaps a new Goddess Group, rooted in NV, is on the horizon for 2012.

    I can only hope!

    Gypsyblu

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Goddess country
    Posts
    38
    I have come across good pagan groups and bad. I joined the UU church years 20 ago when I learned they had a CUUPs group (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans). I quit going to that church when I moved an hour away, and the CUUPs group kind of disbanded, but some are very good friends to this day. They are great people. I learned how to conduct ritual from them, and have held many rituals in the stone circle I built in my backyard.

    On the other hand, I joined a pagan meetup group. I went to a few meetups and was on their email list. These people were nasty, and spent a lot of time on the email list slamming this one member who was successful, I guess because they were jealous since I could see no other reason for their vitriol. When I came to her defense and called them on their horrid behavior, only more tactfully than that, they started slamming me. Needless to say, I left that group of horrible people who gave paganism a bad name.

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    UK
    Age
    46
    Posts
    35
    Interesting thread.

    I've had good and bad experiences too, mostly good it has to be said. The one bad experience, well if I'd have used common sense and listened to my subconcious hopping up and down and yelling 'get out of this' it wouldn't have happened. I've found that you can 'guage' the group pretty well on first meetup by what the conversation turns to when they're not asking you questions. If they chat about workings they've done, or which local talks they hope to attend then they're probably ok (they're probably running the moot with the speakers too) if they have a tendency to moan about other people in the community - time to go.

    The bad group I was with fell into the latter category, gotta say alarm bells should have rung harder when the 'tarot night' we attended turned into chat about the latest episode of a reality tv show that was on at the time (that I hated - that goes for all reality tv) 'oh do you mind if I just put this on to see who gets voted off' shows both a lack of respect for your guests and for the 'teaching' you're meant to be giving. Muggins here put up with it because there was no other group locally - or so I thought.

    Another moot had regular speakers and was not held in a pub - always a good start imo - I ended up joining the group that ran and still runs it, the 'bad' group disbanded some time after I left, the current moot and group is still going strong after ten years plus. Nuff said really!

    Moonwitch - that group you mention sounds just like the one I was with - and we're on opposite sides of the world lol - people are the same the world over.

    On the whole though I wouldn't ever let one bad experience put me off, I've been to many many open rituals and group meetings and had lovely joyful experiences and learned much, even the 'bad' group had one good outcome, making a friend I still see today. My rule now is if the person organising something blows their own trumpet too hard I just quietly walk away, I'm more interested in those folks who get on with the job and have the benefit of the community at heart , Usually it's also those who organise things and then muck in themselves and help out.
    Last edited by Okarnill; March 9th, 2012 at 05:51 AM.

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    377
    Not certain if I've posted on this thread before, as its been around a long time and so have I on this site.

    But, here goes!

    I'm 24 years old, an undergraduate in Religious Studies from a state university, going into law school, and have actually been fairly involved in the Pagan community where I live. We have a pagan campground(though technically non-religious and open to all, but its clearly made by pagans for them) near where I live, Camp Gaea, and a myriad of festivals there, a whole community of believers and non-believers alike. We've also got a large and vibrant community here in the Topeka, Kansas City, and Lawrence parts of the state. I've had access to different covens, public rituals, and was involved with my campus's pagan student group for years(and was the President for some time).

    Over all my interactions with the Pagan community have been good- but I have to give credit to the truth that where i come from there is a huge community, and I can easily hang out with the people I like versus the people that rub me wrong. I'd say my 'issues' with the Pagan community come more with a frustration over many members lack of knowledge of real history, lack of study and knowledge of religious deities they co-opt from other cultures, and because of my involvement with a camp community we've had lots of issues where I live between 'Playgans' and Pagans.

    But, by and large, we're growing as a community. I remember in the 90's the belief in the literal history of 'The Burning Times' was rife within the community, and since then people have become educated, and understand their religion and religious history in a more adult and mature light.

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,140
    Overall, my experience has not been good. I met one woman who is older, and claimed to have been raised pagan. Well every time she recounts the history of her life, the story changes. First her mother was an atheist, then a pagan, then a witch - you get the idea. She is holier than thou and absolutely the nastiest, most unbalanced person I have ever met.

    As far as pagan groups/meetups, when I was fairly new to it I met up with one group that was run by a friend of a friend. She was supposed to be our teacher but I found out quickly that she was not knowledeable at all, expected me to do tarot readings for FREE in a room full of people (sorry, but I need quiet and privacy - it's not a parlour trick), and she smoked weed with all six of her kids by different daddies. She was also a very hateful person.

    Then there are the weirdos. And I don't mean to come across as judgemental, but the pagan community seems rife with people living in a fantasy world. All in all, I've met about 10 people that I would consider legit: They're not into drugs, don't use "spiritual experience" as an excuse for promiscuity, knowledgeable, are balanced people that don't like to stir the drama pot, and generally kind in nature.

    Honestly, I just prefer to practice solitary in my own home. It's private, quiet, and I can do my rituals in a way that are meaningful to ME.
    Mental retardation strikes every 30 seconds. - D. Duane Tony

    Thank you instinct for Merlin.



  10. #70
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    377
    Quote Originally Posted by Sun_and_Saturn View Post
    Overall, my experience has not been good. I met one woman who is older, and claimed to have been raised pagan. Well every time she recounts the history of her life, the story changes. First her mother was an atheist, then a pagan, then a witch - you get the idea. She is holier than thou and absolutely the nastiest, most unbalanced person I have ever met.

    As far as pagan groups/meetups, when I was fairly new to it I met up with one group that was run by a friend of a friend. She was supposed to be our teacher but I found out quickly that she was not knowledeable at all, expected me to do tarot readings for FREE in a room full of people (sorry, but I need quiet and privacy - it's not a parlour trick), and she smoked weed with all six of her kids by different daddies. She was also a very hateful person.

    Then there are the weirdos. And I don't mean to come across as judgemental, but the pagan community seems rife with people living in a fantasy world. All in all, I've met about 10 people that I would consider legit: They're not into drugs, don't use "spiritual experience" as an excuse for promiscuity, knowledgeable, are balanced people that don't like to stir the drama pot, and generally kind in nature.

    Honestly, I just prefer to practice solitary in my own home. It's private, quiet, and I can do my rituals in a way that are meaningful to ME.
    I think you hit the nail on the head. There are some people with serious theological and spiritual study, and then there are others that... Well, want to learn how to cast fireballs, enjoy ren fair, and play a ridiculous amount of video games.

    Although, I take exception to your judgment on pot users; I know plenty that are mature and functional, and others that are immature and have... Issues. I have no problem with a lot of the behavior you listed, I just don't like it when people basically use a religion as a shield to excuse it. Do that because you like to do that, but let me be really clear; partying, having sex, drinking, and hanging out does not equate to religion, religious experience, or really any form of Wiccan practice. At this point in the argument, the 'Playgans' argue that your trying to make Wicca dogmatic and Christian like. But, no, actually, you can do all those things, and still be Wiccan, but being a member of a religious faith involves being an 'actual member and practitioner' and not a poser.

    /facepalm

    This really wrankles me.

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