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Post Info TOPIC: Problems (and solutions) for Pagan Groups?


Honoured Mook

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Problems (and solutions) for Pagan Groups?


About two years ago, I attended a meeting for "Pagan Meetup" encompassing the valley I live in. There's very few groups that do anything, so I was eager to go. Unfortunately, despite having a lovely group of people, we're running into some problems that I imagine other Mooks might have encountered, too.

 

Pagan is a huge umbrella term, so we have a few people who practice traditional Wicca, a Hellenistic revivalist, two polytheists, and then eclectics. It's remarkably hard to coordinate any kind of group ritual when everyone follows different paths. We're also all used to working alone, so coming together with a bunch of individuals that share similar, but not identical, beliefs and ritual methodologies has been a challenge.  Does anyone have any suggestions for group activities that might be inclusive to multiple paths without necessarily favoring a Wicca-dominated approach?

Have any suggestions for solutions? Or any problems with groups of your own?



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Mookish Deity Most High

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Having never done anything remotely like that, my suggestions are based on completely different experiences but it might be of some use to you.

Firstly, why not suggest that one person/group within the group lead a ritual according to their beliefs and everyone else observes/takes part as they choose, then another time (I don't know if you're meeting monthly, more or less) someone else does it and you work together to prearrange who does what for major festivals i.e. one group starts with their blessing, someone else brings bread to share with their prayers and you all get a piece of your own personal preferences in the shared group.

But it does seem like a difficult task. Some of these groupings can be as diverse as the modern major religions are from each other and I can imagine the logistical nightmare of trying to get everyone to sing from the same/similar song sheet might be a bit much of the days that are most special and sacred to multiple paths. So it might be best to avoid meeting on those occasions and keeping your celebrations private if it is important to you that things are done the way you feel most comfortable.

The other solution I could see would be to throw out the idea of group rituals altogether, and keep your meetings to informal sessions sharing elements of your beliefs without necessarily performing them together. I don't know if the intention of the meetup was exclusively for rituals or if you also had a mind to share experiences, recipes etc and talk about what you have in common... to meet in friendship because of shared beliefs but not exclusively to share those beliefs, if you get what I mean?

Aside from the logistical problems you're facing, it sounds like you've got a great bunch and you're rather lucky to have that, so make the most of it!

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Honoured Mook

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Thanks so much! I really appreciate your feedback.

We were meeting about once a month originally--we ended up taking some time off. I live in the Northeastern USA, so we end up with a lot of snow every winter, and the meeting place is a good drive for all of us so we tend to take that time off.

It's definitely an awkward mix to say the least. We tried having members each lead rituals once a month, but unfortunately, not all of them were so skilled at leading an event. We were most disappointed with one of the older members in the group. He's been practicing Wicca with groups for over 20+ years, so we were excited for his experience and he is good at generating ideas. He just doesn't want to do any of the work to organize and put them together. It ends up being the same two members each time unfortunately.

I actually really like your idea of meeting together and just throwing the rituals out completely. They're a lovely bunch of people (mostly), just not the best for working together I'm afraid. We did meet with the intention of doing rituals specifically, but you're certainly right--we could definitely gain more just from meeting and sharing resources instead of trying to coordinate something spiritually.

Thanks for your feedback!

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Die, v.: To stop sinning suddenly. -Elbert Hubbard


Honoured Mook

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Hey Lokrais..

I haven't been on here in a while and have just seen this thread!

I attend a few pagan moots, and most people that attend have various beliefs, but the one thing that we have in common is that we are all open to others practises.

We usually hold Open Rituals for the Sabbats and like suggested above, we take turns in writing rituals :) We have had Wiccan rituals, Kabbalistic rituals and even Norse rituals :)

Another good thing to do, is perhaps plan to meet once a month, and have suggested speakers.. we have had Astrology talks, incense making workshops, talks on the Tarot etc. etc

Hope this helps! x

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Runic Mook of the North (mod)

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What about chanting? It's a nice way to attune yourself to the world, the people around you and create something together that is more than the sum of its parts. Everyone can bring their own voice and practice working together. Plus it doesn't require any preparation or planning beforehand. You just meet up, start singing and explore the divine. Another idea (which I admittedly haven tried myself) is to make a sacrificial stew. Everyone bring something to the pot. I think a good approach is to keep it extremely simple and with the goal of everyone learning to work together, while maintaining their own path. Unity through diversity. Also, allow for people leaving in the middle of things if they want or need to. In my experience, someone using tremendous amounts of energy trying to persuade everyone to participate against their wishes is much more disruptive than someone quietly leaving the ritual. if someone pulls, don't push. Little disclaimer here: most of my (limited) experience is with either one or two people I know very well or with big groups of people who don't necessarily know each other. I've never been involved in a situation like yours.

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