When I first became a Pagan, as a conscious choice rather than a sort of subconscious philosophical belief system, I was very into “Pagan Unity” and uniting the various factions in my little community. I was looking for a solid group, with values and ethics, that was willing to mentor the new and challenge the mature. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one, and the one we ultimately spent a time in was um…well, not these things. But we learned, and we put our energies into finding like minded people in our own area, attempting to create that haven where Pagans of all stripes could feel welcomed.
We started a group in our own area, we incorporated as a non profit, we worked our behinds off to try to create the group we had been looking for, knowing that there were others out there who also were looking for the same things. And there were. The problem is that everyone wants to run it for themselves. So now, seven years from that first searching, we have a little group of friends and like minded people, a group less than half the size it was two years ago, that is probably in it for the long haul (barring moves to other parts of the country). There is no point in being a nonprofit as we don’t have enough membership to bother with it, if indeed we ever did…we may have simply been entirely too ambitious and had too great expectations in that regard. The idea was good, the timing was not.
I find that over the years, my interests have changed from ‘spirituality’ as something to be developed, something to be focused on in and of itself, to something that is integrated into my life. Once upon a time, if I felt the need to meditate, I lit a candle, lit incense, and focused. Now, I simply go into my garden and work. If I want to work on spirituality, on connection with the Divine spirit, I also go into the garden or spend time watching my chickens. If I want to work on fellowship, I call my friends, make plans, or simply think about how the food that I’m growing or my eggs nourish those that eat them.
I don’t know if this is a natural evolution but this is the path that I have ended up on. Although I wish I lived closer to my friends, my fellow seekers, I am grateful to know them, grateful that I have ended up where I am. And I am glad to realize that food is indeed most basic thing that knits us together, both in ourselves and to each other. The Egyptians have a word that means both ‘bread’ and life: Aisha. I think I’m beginning to understand the great spiritual message contained in that.