Death, Community vs. Movement, and Pagan Legacy

One of the fascinating confluences of this year’s Sacred Space conference (still time to register on site for the weekend) has been, on the one hand, a set of workshops/rituals focused on aging, death, and dying and the workshops that, whatever their titles, wound up being about legacy, what happens to what Jason Pitzl-Waters called the Pagan Movement (a term that he prefers to Pagan Community and I think he’s likely right: good framing makes good neighbors) as many of us die (Byron Ballard said: Oh, just say “death.” Quit with the “passed away” and other euphemisms and I think she’s likely right, as well), or become too old to participate in the movement at our current levels.

One of the ideas humming around in my head is that there is actual research on how different generational cohorts (e.g., the Baby Boomers, GenX, GenY (I’m sorry, GenY; it’s true. I forgot you guys and had to come back and add you. So everything you think about how you don’t get the credit you deserve is true), the Millenials, etc.) process information, act in organizations, find fulfillment, etc. I’m also thinking about yesterday’s post about making people feel that their authentic selves are genuinely included (if you didn’t read Joe Gerstandt’s short and good post on this topic, you REALLY should). I’d love to see sessions at Pagan conferences that would actually present the research (so that, just for example, we “olds” as my friend Atrios calls us can quit getting mad at “the kids” for their short attention spans and so that the kids can stop being mad at the olds for their orientation to hierarchy and to earning your cred before you get responsibility) and then have a panel discussion with representatives from the different cohorts.

I’m going to be 58 tomorrow. It’s unlikely that anyone in my family will continue as Pagan once I’m dead, although that Pisces G/Son with the elvish blood, well, we’ll see. But I’d like to leave Paganism a living tradition. I’d like it to be easier for young women to come to the Goddess than it’s been for me. I’d like some future white-shoe law firm Pagan lawyer to not even have to consider being in the closet.

The only way that can happen is if we reach out and allow young people to be their authentic selves in an inclusive environment. (Now, seriously; I mean it. Go read Joe.)

Picture found here.

7 responses to “Death, Community vs. Movement, and Pagan Legacy

  1. Happy birthday, dear. And stop going on about being “old.” Fifty eight isn’t old.
    No age is “old” unless you believe it is.

  2. I’m 62 and I still believe in this…

  3. ‘. . . I’d like to leave Paganism a living tradition. I’d like it to be easier for young women to come to the Goddess than it’s been for me. I’d like some future white-shoe law firm Pagan lawyer to not even have to consider being in the closet.’

    First of all, best regards on your natal day (from someone who is 10-years-and-a-bit older than you).

    Second, WRT the quote above–I do hold out great hope for the youth of today. Survey after survey is demonstrating quantum shifts is societal attitudes to various issues related to human rights and social justice. These changes are coming about, in large part, not because the bigots and haters have had a change of heart, but because the old bigots are dying off and the young people regard the hatreds that their elders have been propagating as repulsive and immoral.

    A professorial acquaintance of mine, when teaching an intro course on social issues, tells his students about the existence (within living memory) of anti-miscegenation laws. The first reaction of many of them is to suspect that he’s pulling their leg. When they realize that he’s serious, they wonder how people could ever have been so stupid and vile. The current prejudices against Witches and Pagans will (or so I hope) arouse the same reactions twenty years from now. So mote it be.

    Again, best wishes for your birthday.

  4. On one hand, “The only way that can happen is if we reach out and allow young people to be their authentic selves in an inclusive environment.”
    On the other, “If you have a deeper relationship with tv Witches, vampires, and werewolves than you have with your landbase, you might be doing it wrong.” (from 2/24/14 post).
    In late Feb., I struggled with the second line you had posted for two reasons (1) as someone who suffers frequent bouts of chronic illness, I’m often stuck inside and therefore have enjoyed the presence of t.v. Witches, etc. as my only magical experience/outlet during a difficult time, and (2) they are fun.
    With today’s post, I struggled again with your 2/14/2014 post because young people’s authentic selves might (temporarily or initially) include a ‘relationship’ with t.v. characters, at least until they really get the hang of a Pagan worldview and truly, deeply, understand what it’s all about.
    I struggle because it’s both an off-putting line and one I agree with.

    Because I’m 43 and work directly with college age students, I can see both sides of this issue. I would love nothing more than to connect with my landbase every chance I get, but sometimes I’m too ill to sit up and type, so let me fly my freak flag and enjoy what I can. And, if you let young folks enjoy a bit of media-inspired magic, it may open their eyes to the real world of myth, magic, folklore and Paganism in all its wondrous forms.

    Thank you for your wonderful blog which I look forward to reading every week, and Blessed Be on your birthday!

  5. *oops – the second date should have been 2/24/2014 too

  6. Thank you everyone for the good wishes and kind comments. Phantom, thank you for making me look with new eyes at the whole “tv witch” issue!

  7. Happy Birthday! As for the age thing, you are a mere 5 years my senior, AND 3 years younger than that man who did not take any photos of you this past weekend (yes, he told me that you and he discussed it. I am glad that that was cleared up.) I spend most of my time with people far younger than I and that is really the bottom line-they are people. The difference in the ways that the generational cohorts tend to behave is because each generation is dealing with a society that was formed by an earlier one. And that earlier one behaved (and formed a style of society) in reaction to the world they were brought into. Perhaps, if we try harder to keep in mind that so much behavior is a form of reaction it will be easier to find that common ground.
    (Oh, and did anyone ever tell you that you speak the way you write, or perhaps vice versa?)

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