The sun was shining, the breeze was warm, and we were out for a walk. Lunch had just wrapped up and our bellies were full, but we had decided to go for a walk regardless, not knowing if the weather would turn cold again or if the day would end in rain. It was a lovely day, contrasting brilliantly against the subject of our conversation: the massive problems in the Pagan community.
Perhaps it would be better to call it a vicious rant of embittered words and vitriol, scathing remarks of damnation, and frothing comments only made clear by the wild hand gestures that accompanied them.
There were many issues we discussed: cultural appropriation, heterocentrism, cissexism, transphobia; about a dozen issues were covered in the span of two hours. But the one that kept coming up was this: your ego has no place in the Pagan community if you are in a leadership role.
Thus the title of today’s entry.
Community has been a subject on the minds of many in the past week or so. A dozen or more blog posts have popped up citing the problems in the community, as the author sees them, and ways to fix these issues – or even lamentations about how we cannot fix them. And though there are many issues covered that we could discuss today, that is not the intent of this entry.
So let’s talk about leadership and serving the community.
When in a leadership role, whether it be as a president of a student group, the head priest of a temple, or the executive director of a community center, there is one thing you must always remember: you are there to serve the community.
As a Pagan leader, as a true Pagan leader, it is not okay to serve merely to stroke your own ego. People look to you for guidance, they look to you to keep a clear head and maintain accurate and unbiased judgement on issues, whether you’re heading a discussion on good Pagan authors or discussing legal options that are available to a member who is currently being sexually harassed.
Your ego has no place there.
And if you cannot handle that, perhaps it is better to step down. Leave your post.
There are many flaws in the Pagan community; if we sat down to list them all, we would have dozens listed by the end of the day and more that hadn’t yet made it to the list. As we should work to solve them, we need first to develop Pagan leaders who can maintain their positions with dignity, humility, and fairness, without falling into the trap of their own ego.
But that is not to say it is only the leaders who must maintain this guise.
No, each one of us must learn how to be a community member, not simply out for our own selves. We should not look for a coven or a study group only to immediately begin assuming we can run it better, that it should be ours and work to put ourselves in charge. We should learn to cooperate with one another, to give and take, else we tear ourselves apart.
Your ego has no place in the Pagan community. Get it out of here.