Foundations of Community

This past weekend was busy. Saturday was Northern Virginia Pagan Pride Day out in Manassas Park. The Boyfriend and I got our things together and headed out early that morning to arrive at the park about fifteen minutes after the event opened. We got our programs and sat off to the side of the ritual space to watch opening rit. Since I’m not one for circles, I opted out. That is, until I saw that they were being given rounds of cedar wood. At that point, I knew that I would be joining the circle for the main rite.

We meandered through the booths for a bit and headed down to the workshop I was most interested in: Pagan Ethics. The first two there, we wondered if anyone would show up. A few minutes before the start, the man leading the workshop arrived and said that it might be just the three of us. Another two folks came in and we were a grand group of five.

When I first read the synopsis for this workshop, I was a little skeptical. Ethics is something that is rarely, if ever, discussed in the Pagan community. I said as much to the workshop leader; his reply was that it was for that reason that we needed to talk about it. We sat on the grass in the shade and went over what the base of our own moralities were, the core concept. For me, everything varies from situation to situation. I brought up the movie I saw many weeks ago, The Purge, a film that made me really examine the root of my own morality. It is a question I have struggled with for years now and I still cannot come up with an answer. And that’s okay. Though I walked into the workshop guessing that I might be Rede-thumped at, I ended up with an in-depth, fascinating discussion of what it means to build a moral system without a foundational text telling you what is wrong and what is right. I walked out of the small circle feeling happy and elated that I had had such a valuable discussion and was not shamed for still questioning the root of my own morality.

The rest of the day was mostly spent hanging out with The Boyfriend and meeting a couple other PPRW community members from the internet. I dragged one of them with me to the main rite and received my round of cedar, which I managed to snap in half about midway through the rite. Since the little circle of purple-heart cedar was supposed to represent our spiritual selves, I was really feeling nervous about it. After the rite, I asked for a secondary one which I plan to recharge with the same intent, only with a bit of my own spin on it. The original one…I haven’t decided what to do with it. I was recommended throwing it into a ritual fire, but as I have no idea when I might be a part of one next, that will have to wait. Or I may bury it or through it into the ocean. Or hold onto it. We’ll see.

Sunday marked my first ever church service. The Boyfriend and I went up to Maryland to visit a Unitarian Universalist Church. It was an interesting experience; lots of singing. No free food, which was disappointing, since I was told there would be food….

Community has been something I’ve taken for granted in my life over the years. As annoyed as I get with other people, I like having others to spend time with, to talk with, and to experience things with. Having no one out here for the last year, none in the spiritual community, has been difficult, especially after I spent three or so years with my own small community at university. So as October winds up, I find myself making more plans to reach out further to others in the community, to build more of a community to fall back on, and to develop relationships with others in the area. And, hopefully, I’ll succeed.

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2 Responses to Foundations of Community

  1. ladyimbrium says:

    I couldn’t make it to the event- I only have so much leave and time available. I’ll be down in southern VA this weekend though for the festival.

    • That’s understandable. The trip up is at least a couple of hours, depending on where you are coming from! Not sure if I’ll be able to attend the SoVA one, but it’s tempting.

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