I’ve been scarce for a while. My absence can be summed up in one sentence. I was helping to care for my mother who had terminal metastasized cancer and she went to the ancestors in November. I tend to be introspective as a matter of course, but losing your one surviving parent will make you even moreso. And then just two months later, my friend Eddy passed away from a sudden heart attack.
My thoughts are inspired by seeing people rally both around me and Eddy’s partner and mother after these two deaths, and this is where it led…
The day after my mom died, before saying anything publicly about it (aka the social media declaration), one of my local friends got in touch with me. I was supposed to get in touch with him that Monday about getting together and when I did not, he knew something big was happening. The year before, he helped his own mother as her health failed and she died. My mother’s tumor had moved into her lungs, and his mother had sarcoma of the lungs. So he knew, better than anyone around me, just what I was going through. The funny thing is, he was one of the last people I would have expected to support me.
And that is where community comes in. During the last few months, my support has come from people all over the spiritual map, from monotheist to atheist, to agnostic, to neopagan, to polytheist, to African traditional religions. I feel so thankful that I have been able to draw from such a diverse group of people during this time and some of those differences fall away. Which is why the vitriol I see among pagans and polytheists have been driving me to a particular level of crazy. Our communities are not all that big enough that we can afford the level of divisions going on. This is not to say we should all sing Kumbaya and asking why we can’t all just get along. Nor should we try to make some grand meta-tradition and put aside our own practices, whether they be modern or rooted in history.
What I am saying, and wishing, is that we can learn how to communicate and try to work together a little better without turning to cattiness and attacks. I want to see us as a community learn how to talk to each other and listen. I want to see a continuation of inter- and intrafaith work happening. While I was not able to participate, seeing Christine’s work on Pagan Tea Time is what we need more. Not people retreating into their circles or potential echo chambers.
My own spiritual community is quite varied. As far as I know I am the only Kemetic Orthodox hedge witch, so trying to find someone doing exactly what I do is not going to happen anytime soon. But I do have people with whom I can talk, exchange ideas, and remind me there’s a bigger work. I have Antinoans, Discordians, Neopagans, Thracians, even former Dianics. Do we always do the same thing? Not by a long shot. Do we always agree? No. That doesn’t mean we can’t work together and support each other more. We’re minorities within minorities, and potentially within further minorities.
Maybe with some of the connections forged through Pagan Tea Time, we can get more dialog and forging of bonds, and find deeper levels of support. From those places can we best be activists, with a firm foundation under us.