Pagan Infrastrucure ~What We Could Have

What do we want? I think this is a very fundamental question for most people, nevermind for those who are leading religious movements and trying to build up networks. ‘What do we want’ is how we build the future, the little bit we can influence beyond our gods’ will.

I like to think that dreaming up the future is basically laying the groundwork for it to happen. We have to first dream it before we can build towards it.

And so, I’ve been thinking of what I would like to see in pagan infrastructure in my dream community. I’ve even posted about it in my community group for my local pagans, and… something very shocking happened. There * gasp * was only one answer.

And this got me thinking… Is anyone out there even dreaming up infrastructures? Is anyone out there really, honestly, trying to build up more than a shop for local pagans?

Because fucking forgive me, but we’re the only community I know of that centers around a store.

You wouldn’t tell a newborn mom to go to the baby store to get help.

You won’t tell a disabled person to go the the handicapped section of a hardware store to get life tips.

For Fucks Sake, peoples. Get away from the stupid stores. We’ve got more to do than sell each other shit.

And you know what else I feel? I feel people think that the only option they have is to have group practice. Beyond that, they don’t even know what options there are to have!

So for those of you, here’s what we could have. And it’s not another stupid esoteric store, and you know what? Some of it won’t cost you a hundred dollar for a three hour course. No, you see, it’s community projects? Sometimes/mainly free? Yeah, get a load of this.

  • Spiritually focused mental health support groups – Of course, it’s me. We’re going to talk about mental health somewhere. But you know what? If we were to sit everyone down and have talks about our mental health, we would become more compassionate and people would have SOMEWHERE TO GO when shit goes down in their head.
  • Food networks. I’ve seen these for people in particular regions where they share whatever they have in surplus/what they don’t like. Pagans can grow stuff to intentionally share, or just share what they can afford to, like these secular networks do. These networks are great to prevent food wasteage, as well as giving another place for people to turn to for help when they fall through the governmental cracks.
  • Seed Swap groups. Because seeds are expensive and they expire.
  • Skill share networks. Need someone to fix your tires? Need incense? Come on folks, this stuff shouldn’t cost as much as it does. Help each other out.
  • Exercise groups. Healthy body anyone? What would a pagan-themed exercise even look like? Nature walks? Yoga while acknowledging cultural appropriation? Weights together? Those who move together… grow together?
  • Collective Kitchens. Cooking is boring. Cooking together is surprisingly easy, energy efficient, and much more motivating. Bonus for kitchen witchery too!
  • Mentorship programs. You know how wee little baby witches are always looking for people to mentor them? Well, let’s create local mentorships! Just like big brother/big sister programs the mentors can be vetted by seniors in the group, and selected for having balanced heads. They can then make sure our little newbies get off on the right path and don’t just blow money left right and center.
  • Librairies. Okay, we’re all book hoarders. Between us all, we’ve probably got dozens of copies of the same book. So why don’t we share? Because we’re hoarders, is why. Why not set up a local bookshop in someone’s living room, where people can drop books off that they’ve done with? People don’t have to leave their books there forever, they could lend them for a month or two, and take them back afterwards.

 

There you go folks. A bunch of ideas off the top of my head -> all possible to be done in a free or nearly free format. How do I know? Because I’ve either been part of a free one or a nearly free one. It’s not that hard, and if the Christians can do it, we should be able to do it with the help of our gods.

 

 

Rest and Happiness — Druid Life

Continuing on my rant about the discrimination welfare recipients receive – here is a great piece on the need for rest and how it affects our mental health!

 

There is nothing like being exhausted to bring on the depression and anxiety. There is also nothing like pushing yourself to work when exhausted to lower self esteem and make you feel awful. Rest is a basic human need, and if for some reason you can’t have it over long time frames, your mental health […]

via Rest and Happiness — Druid Life

Taking Care and Rant about Discrimination

I think that somewhere, in my mess of a self, I’ve leveled up. Maybe my practice as a priest for a pagan group is paying off in spiritual spades. But I doubt it. I find that the rituals have been having their desired effect, and as such I have been feeling nebulously better. This better-ness was actually doing me NO GOOD at all until my wifey ordered me into at least one day of rest. One day.

Well, one day has now become three thanks to me being so good at it.Why? Because I feel great. I’m sleeping if I’m tired, eating when hungry – both novel things for me – I’ve cut out a TON of sugar from my diet and am doing yoga two to three times a day, as well as maintaining steady chores.

Wow. How did I get there? What magical incantation did I use?

Here it is: I forced myself to stop trying to make money to make our situation better.

Ouch. It hurts to admit that I, as a welfare recipient, am not even trying to make money in some way. But I just can’t. My mental health suffers too much in my frantic attempts at finding ‘something’ or ‘some way’ to support us. I’m not even envisioning getting to a state of health where I can work. I’m just resting.

It’s humiliating, but I think I’m finally going to just relax and let myself not earn money. And I’m cringing just writing it – which says something about our society as a whole.

Why is it so hard to not earn money, even when doctors agree we can’t? Why do we (and I use ‘we’ because I’m sure I’m not alone in this) feel so guilty for something that is part of our social agreement? For something that, in the case of illness, is hardly one’s fault? Something that is doctor prescribed?

Rant begins *

We live in a capitalist society, that we all know. But what does this mean to the poor, the sick, the disabled, or better yet, those who live with all three? Those who are dependent on others for their own welfare?

My mother always says that there is spirituality to be found in poverty, and I’m sure that is true. You see things, beautiful things, from the experience of needing help and receiving it. But you also feel the pressure of the system.

A system that devalues you for not being able to produce. A system that constantly urges you to ‘get a job’ and ‘not be a bum’.

There is something to be said about the fact that I’ve heard more jabs about welfare recipients than I almost have about colored people – and I live in a racist society. We are trained to believe that because we do not produce money, that we do not participate in society in any meaningful way. That if we do not produce money, we produce nothing at all.

Let’s just sit and stew on that for a minute. No money, no value. But what if we are taking a monastic path? What if we do volunteer work? What if we simply cannot do anything other than function?

We are all trained to be givers, producers of valuable things, but isn’t there value in being a recipient? I’m thinking here of a friend’s sister, who is mentally handicapped and cannot care for herself. What of her role in society, where she is wholly dependent upon others? Doesn’t she enrich us by offering her unique perspectives, her joys and challenges?

Isn’t there value in being a recipient, a leper, a priest, in being a caregiver, a support system, just something other than the producer?

I’m tempted to say that, obviously, the answer is that we are all valuable in this web of life. After all, animals do not produce. Yet they are all valuable within their fragile ecosystems. And yet, how do we manifest this precious value to members of society? How can we thank them, value them, and destroy this system that devalues them?

I don’t have a fast-and-hard answer. But I will say that this Christmas, due to my financial situation, I gave out handmade gifts and spent time with relatives, and that felt right. We need to appreciate what it is that everyone can give, no matter how ‘little’ or much.