There’s a chant out there from the Spiral Rhythm CD I Am - that goes
One spirit in the dark, like a candle wavers.
Many spirits joined as one, burn with the power of the blazing sun.
There is strength in community, the circle empowers you and me.
The circle binds yet sets us free, as we will, so mote it be.
I listened tonight, as I walked home from my evening reference shift at work (random music shuffle is a form of divination and sometimes consolation) while I was thinking about a recent post on the blog Making Light which essentially asks “What happens when new spiritual experience opens up under our feet, and we’re not sure what to do with it?”
My answer is far too long for a comment there – and I knew this before I even started typing – so I figured it would be a fine post here instead. (Look! This blog still exists! Really!)
Continue reading One spirit in the dark
(A note here that my experiences and thoughts are focused on initiatory small-group work – in other words, stuff that is deliberately designed to create certain kinds of changes over a relatively short (and often intense) period of time, in service of a specific goal, and done with a quite small number of people. Some of the points here apply to other Pagan settings, but I think it will probably be fairly clear which is which.)
Part 1 has some background about my own experiences and experience working with chronic (and emerging) medical issues in the context of my religious witchcraft work. This part was brought about by someone who wrote a letter of interest to me about group work, and as part of that, wondered about how much detail about health issues was important. This is something I discuss in some detail on the current group information pages, but I felt it deserved to be broken out in a little more detail.
Much more below…
Continue reading Health and Craft – more general thoughts
Welcome! This post is going out as part of the fourth yearly Blogging Against Disabilism Day hosted by Diary of a Goldfish . As I mentioned in March, I’ve been dealing with some long-lasting health issues, and have recently come to the conclusion that thinking of this as disability in a number of senses (even though I hope that there will continue to be further recovery) is the sensible thing to do.
And I knew that for BADD, I really wanted to talk about the intersection with the modern Pagan community. On Friday, I posted about my own take on my personal responsibilities and some practical process pieces, because the community parts, below, kept getting longer and longer.
For those coming here via BADD links:
I hope much of this content (and Friday’s post, linked above) will be of interest for non-Pagans: many of the things I’m going to mention here apply to anyone hosting small events in their home that have a specific goal or focus, whether that’s religious or educational or personal. Some points, of course, are specific to Pagan religions, but I’ll try to explain those as I go.
If you’re not familiar with modern Paganism and want to learn more, you might want to check out the three posts in my Background – Intro link. These begin by talking about Paganism in general (part one), religious witchcraft and Wicca (part two) and my personal practice (part three). I also welcome sincere questions, though due to my own needs and commitments, I may not be able to respond immediately (May 1st is a significant holy day for a number of Pagans, including me, though my group ritual is actually tomorrow.)
The bare minimum you need to know for the rest of this post to make sense:
- There are many different religions under the Pagan umbrella with a wide range of practices and beliefs. For length reasons, I can’t go into lots of detail here, but think of it like the range of *all* of the strands of the religions of the Book (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) in all their myriad forms, and then some.
- Many Pagan religions put a significant value on self-responsibility in varying forms. This has both benefits and challenges for people with accessibility needs.
- I follow and lead a group in a specific path (tradition) that has a specific way of doing things for many common ritual tasks. (Much like lots of religious traditions). Some things are up for negotiation, some things aren’t.
- Pagan groups in general are often autonomous but exist in context in a community: they set their own guidelines in accordance with their specific path. Obviously, guidance from teachers and other leaders in the community and community interactions in general help shape these choices.
- Paid clergy are uncommon: costs beyond nominal expenses are usually shared by all in the group in some form.
- Many Pagan groups meet in private homes – this raises all sorts of access considerations, which I’ll be talking about below. They’re also often small, so you’re often balancing the needs of 3-13 people, not dozens.
- There are some larger Pagan events – both open/public rituals (in parks or larger indoor spaces), but also camping festivals and indoor weekend conferences.
- While the number of Pagans is growing (though exact stats are tricky to manage, for varied reasons), there are some areas with many Pagan group options, and some places where there are few to no group options available to someone due to transportation, scheduling, or interest issues. (i.e. sometimes there’s a Pagan group with a different set of practices or focus than someone prefers.) Many Pagans practice on their own as a result, or with close family members. (In this post, I’m focusing on group work, however, since individual adaptations are a lot simpler to negotiate.)
- We are, after all, in this, talking about the practice of religion, a subject where people often have very strong emotional yearnings, connections, and desires. Sometimes the obvious ‘logical’ thing doesn’t actually serve as well as we’d wish. (I’ll be coming back to this one.)
Onward to the actual post! First, I want to talk about the things that we could do better (as a community in general, and specific parts of that community in places), and then I want to talk about some tools that I think deserve broader attention in doing some of those things better.
Continue reading Access and Pagan Practice
On Saturday, I’ll be posting some of my thoughts for Blogging Against Disabilism Day hosted by Diary of a Goldfish . In working on that post, I realised that I a) wanted to talk about some of my own thoughts about dealing with my needs but b) it was distracting from the other things . . . → Read More: Thinking about limits and responsibility
I think there are many possible combinations of options here: I think each of us will have a range of possibles, and some things on either end that we would not consider for whatever reason. So, here’s my list, broken down by situation, with some comments about why.
I have a ‘day’ job I care about, am passionate about, and have invested quite a bit of time and money in (yay, graduate school). It’s also a career that I think adds to the betterment of the world.
I’m also fond of a certain amount of safety-net. I’m a single woman, living alone, with some chronic health issues, and it’s hard to manage health care and a stable income in that setting without a day job. (I am deeply in awe of the people who do.)
In other words, I don’t expect my religious or magical skills to pay for my general living expenses, in any way shape or form. While I would like to devote more time to writing and to other creative work in the field, it’s something that needs to be fit around my school-year job for the forseeable future.
Continue reading Money and Craft : my personal take